VLDL Cholesterol Calculator

Determines very low-density lipoprotein cholesterol based on triglycerides value from lipid profile.

Refer to the text below the tool for more information about VLDL and its importance.


Very low-density lipoprotein (VLDL) cholesterol is one of the four major lipoprotein particles (along with HDL, LDL and chylomicrons) and contains the highest amount of triglycerides. It is most often reported as part of the lipid profile to determine risk of heart disease, as along with LDL, VLDL is considered a type of bad cholesterol, as it builds up on the walls of arteries.

Lipid profiles are recommended every 5 years to screen for risk of heart disease but testing may be ordered more frequently where other risk factors coexist (e.g. diabetes, high blood pressure, genetic factors or high BMIs).


  • VLDL = Triglycerides / 5
  • VLDL – C (IF Hyperlipidemia present) = 0.166 x Triglycerides
Parameter Normal Low Normal High
Triglycerides 60 mg/dL (0.68 mmol/L) 150 mg/dL (1.69 mmol/L)
VLDL 2 mg/dL (0.1 mmol/L) 30 mg/dL (0.78 mmol/L)

Triglycerides
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1. Fill in the calculator/tool with your values and/or your answer choices and press Calculate.

2. Then you can click on the Print button to open a PDF in a separate window with the inputs and results. You can further save the PDF or print it.

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Very Low-Density Lipoprotein Cholesterol Explained

Very low-density lipoprotein (VLDL) cholesterol is one of the four major lipoprotein particles (along with HDL, LDL and chylomicrons) and contains the highest amount of triglycerides. It is most often reported as part of the lipid profile to determine risk of heart disease, as along with LDL, VLDL is considered a type of bad cholesterol, as it builds up on the walls of arteries.

VLDL particles are released by the liver into the bloodstream, some of it is cleared in the bloodstream but most of it is ultimately being converted in LDL by blood enzymes.

When high levels of VLDL are present, the conversion of VLDL to LDL is slowed and the accumulation of intermediate particles in the walls of the arteries is thought to contribute to the development of atherosclerosis and coronary heart disease (according to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute's National Cholesterol Education Program Guidelines ATP III).

Lipid profiles are recommended every 5 years to screen for risk of heart disease but testing may be ordered more frequently where other risk factors coexist (e.g. diabetes, high blood pressure, genetic factors or high BMIs).

Formulas

VLDL can be determined from the measured triglycerides via:

  • VLDL = TG/5
  • VLDL – C (IF Hyperlipidemia present) = 0.166 x TG

Normal Ranges

Parameter Normal Low Normal High
Triglycerides 60 mg/dL (0.68 mmol/L) 150 mg/dL (1.69 mmol/L)
VLDL 2 mg/dL (0.1 mmol/L) 30 mg/dL (0.78 mmol/L)

An elevated level of VLDL cholesterol (greater than 30 mg/dL / 0.78 mmol/L), like elevated LDL cholesterol, is considered a risk factor for heart disease and stroke.

Please note that the above estimation method may become inaccurate at triglyceride levels greater than 400 mg/dL (4.5 mmol/L) because other lipoproteins are usually present.

VLDL cholesterol concentrations are usually estimated from triglycerides but can be measured directly using techniques such as lipoprotein electrophoresis and ultracentrifugation. However, these techniques are complex and expensive, usually employed in research.

VLDL levels can be decreased by taking steps to decrease triglyceride levels by making healthy lifestyle choices, keeping a healthy diet, losing excess weight and exercising regularly.

 

References

Wilson PW, Zech LA, Gregg RE, Schaefer EJ, Hoeg JM, Sprecher DL, Brewer Jr HB. Estimation of VLDL Cholesterol in Hyperlipidemia. Clin Chim Acta 1985; 151(3):285-91.

Carr SS, Hooper AJ, Sullivan DR, Burnett JR. Non-HDL-cholesterol and apolipoprotein B compared with LDL-cholesterol in atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease risk assessment. Pathology. 2019; 51(2):148-154.

Martin SS, Blaha MJ, Elshazly MB, Toth PP, Kwiterovich PO, Blumenthal RS, Jones SR. Comparison of a novel method vs the Friedewald equation for estimating low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels from the standard lipid profile. JAMA. 2013; 310(19):2061-8.


Specialty: Hepatology

Abbreviation: VLDL

Article By: Denise Nedea

Published On: June 15, 2020

Last Checked: June 15, 2020

Next Review: June 15, 2025