VLDL Cholesterol

The following is a list of what is included in the item above. Click the test(s) below to view what biomarkers are measured along with an explanation of what the biomarker is measuring.

Also known as: Very Low-Density Lipoprotein Cholesterol, VLDL, VLDL-C

Cholesterol, Very Low


Triglycerides are a form of fat and a major source of energy for the body. This test measures the amount of triglycerides in the blood. Most triglycerides are found in fat (adipose) tissue, but some triglycerides circulate in the blood to provide fuel for muscles to work. After a person eats, an increased level of triglycerides is found in the blood as the body converts the energy not needed right away into fat. Triglycerides move via the blood from the gut to adipose tissue for storage. In between meals, triglycerides are released from fat tissue to be used as an energy source for the body. Most triglycerides are carried in the blood by lipoproteins called very low density lipoproteins (VLDL). High levels of triglycerides in the blood are associated with an increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease (CVD), although the reason for this is not well understood. Certain factors can contribute to high triglyceride levels and to risk of CVD, including lack of exercise, being overweight, smoking cigarettes, consuming excess alcohol, and medical conditions such as diabetes and kidney disease.
*Important Information on Lab Test Processing Times: Ulta Lab Tests is committed to informing you about the processing times for your lab tests processed through Quest Diagnostics. Please note that the estimated processing time for each test, indicated in business days, is based on data from the past 30 days across the 13 Quest Diagnostics laboratories for each test. These estimates are intended to serve as a guide and are not guarantees. Factors such as laboratory workload, weather conditions, holidays, and the need for additional testing or maintenance can influence actual processing times. We aim to offer estimates to help you plan accordingly. Please understand that these times may vary, and processing times are not guaranteed. Thank you for choosing Ulta Lab Tests for your laboratory needs.

The VLDL Cholesterol test contains 1 test with 2 biomarkers.

Brief Description: The VLDL (Very Low-Density Lipoprotein) Cholesterol test measures the level of VLDL cholesterol in the blood. VLDL is a type of lipoprotein that transports triglycerides from the liver to various tissues in the body. While it plays a vital role in lipid metabolism, elevated VLDL cholesterol levels can be a risk factor for cardiovascular diseases.

Also Known As: VLDL Test, VLDL-C Test, Very Low-Density Lipoprotein Cholesterol Test

Collection Method: Blood Draw

Specimen Type: Serum

Test Preparation: Patient should fast 9-12 hours prior to collection

When is a VLDL Cholesterol test ordered?

The VLDL-C test is rarely ordered separately. When a health practitioner wants to determine a person's risk of heart disease, it may be reported along with the findings of a lipid profile.

What does a VLDL Cholesterol blood test check for?

One of the four primary lipoprotein particles is very low-density lipoprotein. High-density lipoprotein, low-density lipoprotein, and chylomicrons are the other three. Each particle contains a combination of cholesterol, triglycerides, and protein, but in different amounts depending on the particle type. The biggest level of cholesterol is seen in LDL. The protein content of HDL is the highest. Triglycerides are found in the highest concentrations in VLDL and chylomicrons.

The liver releases VLDL particles into the bloodstream, which circulate in the bloodstream before being transformed to LDL when they lose triglyceride after carrying it to other regions of the body. VLDL appears to play a role in atherogenesis, a process in which plaques form on the inside walls of arteries, narrowing them and reducing blood flow, which can lead to heart disease and raise the risk of stroke.

There is currently no easy, direct method of determining VLDL cholesterol. However, because VLDL-C carries the majority of the circulating triglyceride and the makeup of the various particles is largely stable, the amount of VLDL-C can be estimated using the triglyceride value.

To calculate VLDL-C, multiply the triglyceride number by 5 if it is in mg/dL or by 2.2 if it is in mmol/L. In most cases, this estimate is used. When triglyceride levels exceed 400 mg/dl, however, the computation is invalid since additional lipoproteins are generally present. Triglycerides testing frequently necessitates that the patient fast before the sample is taken; otherwise, the calculations may be inaccurate.

Lab tests often ordered with a VLDL Cholesterol test:

When a VLDL Cholesterol test is ordered, it's often part of a broader evaluation of lipid metabolism and cardiovascular risk. Here are some tests commonly ordered alongside it:

  1. Lipid Panel:

    • Purpose: To measure levels of different types of lipids in the blood, including total cholesterol, LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol, HDL (high-density lipoprotein) cholesterol, and triglycerides.
    • Why Is It Ordered: To provide a comprehensive view of lipid health and cardiovascular risk. The lipid panel helps in assessing the balance of "good" and "bad" cholesterol and in determining the risk of atherosclerosis.
  2. Triglycerides:

    • Purpose: To measure the level of triglycerides in the blood.
    • Why Is It Ordered: VLDL particles primarily carry triglycerides, and elevated triglyceride levels can increase the risk of heart disease.
  3. LDL Cholesterol:

    • Purpose: To measure the level of LDL cholesterol.
    • Why Is It Ordered: LDL is another form of "bad" cholesterol associated with an increased risk of heart disease. It's important to assess both LDL and VLDL levels for a complete cardiovascular risk profile.
  4. High-Sensitivity C-Reactive Protein (hs-CRP):

    • Purpose: To measure CRP, a marker of inflammation in the body.
    • Why Is It Ordered: Chronic inflammation is a risk factor for atherosclerosis and heart disease. Elevated hs-CRP levels can indicate increased cardiovascular risk.
  5. Apolipoprotein B (ApoB):

    • Purpose: To measure ApoB, a protein that is a component of LDL and VLDL particles.
    • Why Is It Ordered: ApoB levels can provide additional information about cardiovascular risk, as each LDL and VLDL particle contains one ApoB molecule.
  6. Glucose and Hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c):

    • Purpose: To measure blood sugar levels and assess for diabetes or pre-diabetes.
    • Why Is It Ordered: Diabetes is a significant risk factor for cardiovascular disease and can be associated with abnormal lipid levels.
  7. Liver Function Test:

    • Purpose: To assess liver health.
    • Why Is It Ordered: The liver plays a crucial role in lipid metabolism, and liver diseases can affect cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
  8. Thyroid Function Test:

    • Purpose: To assess thyroid function.
    • Why Is It Ordered: Hypothyroidism can lead to elevated cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

These tests, when ordered alongside a VLDL Cholesterol test, provide a comprehensive view of an individual’s lipid profile and overall cardiovascular risk. They are essential for diagnosing and managing conditions that affect heart health, such as dyslipidemia, diabetes, and thyroid disorders. The specific combination of tests will depend on the individual’s risk factors, symptoms, and overall health status.

Conditions where a VLDL Cholesterol test is recommended:

A VLDL cholesterol test is essential in the following situations:

  1. Cardiovascular Risk Assessment: To assess a person's risk of developing heart disease or stroke, especially when there are other risk factors involved.

  2. Monitoring Lipid-Lowering Medications: For individuals taking cholesterol-lowering medications, the test helps healthcare providers monitor treatment effectiveness.

How does my health care provider use a VLDL Cholesterol test?

Very low-density lipoprotein cholesterol can be found in a lipid profile, which is a collection of tests used to estimate the risk of coronary heart disease and is an important component of cardiac risk assessments.

Increased VLDL-C levels are assumed to be due to the presence of particles known as lipoprotein remnants, which are intermediary particles on the VLDL-to-LDL conversion pathway. The conversion of VLDL to LDL is hindered when large amounts of VLDL are present, and the accumulation of intermediate particles is thought to contribute to atherosclerosis and coronary heart disease.

What do my VLDL Cholesterol Test results mean?

A high amount of VLDL cholesterol, like a high level of LDL cholesterol, is linked to heart disease and stroke. The presence of high VLDL in addition to high LDL may influence the type of cholesterol-lowering therapy utilized, such as lifestyle changes or medication therapy.

Low VLDL cholesterol levels are rarely a cause for worry.

Most Common Questions About the VLDL Cholesterol test:

Purpose and Clinical Significance of the VLDL Cholesterol Test

What is the purpose of the VLDL Cholesterol test?

The VLDL Cholesterol test measures the level of Very Low-Density Lipoprotein Cholesterol (VLDL-C) in the blood. VLDL-C is one of the five major groups of lipoproteins and plays a key role in transporting triglycerides in the blood. High levels of VLDL-C are associated with an increased risk of heart disease.

How does the VLDL Cholesterol test differ from other cholesterol tests like LDL and HDL?

VLDL Cholesterol is different from LDL (Low-Density Lipoprotein) and HDL (High-Density Lipoprotein) as it mainly carries triglycerides. While LDL is associated with "bad" cholesterol, and HDL is "good" cholesterol, VLDL-C can lead to plaque deposits in the arteries, similar to LDL.

Interpretation of the VLDL Cholesterol Test

How are the results of the VLDL Cholesterol test interpreted?

Typically, VLDL-C is calculated as a percentage of the triglyceride value, usually one-fifth of the triglycerides. Normal VLDL-C levels are between 2 to 30 mg/dL. High levels may indicate a higher risk of heart disease, while low levels are generally not a concern.

How is the VLDL Cholesterol test used in the context of overall cardiovascular risk assessment?

The VLDL Cholesterol test is often part of a lipid profile, which assesses the risk of heart disease. High VLDL-C levels, along with other risk factors like high LDL, can provide a more comprehensive view of cardiovascular risk.

What underlying health conditions may be indicated by abnormal VLDL Cholesterol test results?

High VLDL Cholesterol levels may indicate underlying conditions like metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, hypothyroidism, or kidney disease.

VLDL Cholesterol Test in Disease Management

How is the VLDL Cholesterol test used to monitor the treatment of hyperlipidemia or other lipid disorders?

The VLDL Cholesterol test can be part of a treatment monitoring plan for hyperlipidemia. If medications or lifestyle changes are prescribed, regular testing can track how well the treatment is controlling VLDL-C levels.

Can the VLDL Cholesterol test guide dietary and lifestyle interventions?

Yes, the results of the VLDL Cholesterol test can guide interventions such as a low-saturated fat diet or increased physical activity. These interventions aim to lower VLDL-C and reduce heart disease risk.

VLDL Cholesterol Test and Related Tests

Is the VLDL Cholesterol test usually performed with other lipid tests?

Yes, the VLDL Cholesterol test is usually part of a lipid profile, including total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, and triglycerides.

How does the VLDL Cholesterol test relate to triglyceride testing?

Since VLDL Cholesterol carries triglycerides, a triglyceride test is typically performed alongside it. High triglycerides usually result in high VLDL-C levels.

Miscellaneous Questions about the VLDL Cholesterol Test

Is the VLDL Cholesterol test used in the follow-up of patients with familial hypercholesterolemia?

Although LDL cholesterol is the primary target in familial hypercholesterolemia, VLDL Cholesterol may also be monitored to assess overall cardiovascular risk.

Can the VLDL Cholesterol test results change over time in the same individual?

Yes, VLDL Cholesterol levels can change due to factors like diet, weight, physical activity, medications, and underlying health conditions.

How is the VLDL Cholesterol test affected by acute illnesses or infections?

Acute illnesses or infections can transiently alter lipid levels, including VLDL Cholesterol, often lowering them temporarily.

Can the VLDL Cholesterol test be used in conjunction with genetic testing for cardiovascular risk?

The VLDL Cholesterol test, along with other cholesterol tests, can be used in conjunction with genetic testing to provide a more comprehensive assessment of cardiovascular risk.

We advise having your results reviewed by a licensed medical healthcare professional for proper interpretation of your results.

Customer Reviews