VLDL Calculator

Created by Joanna Michałowska, PhD candidate
Reviewed by Dominik Czernia, PhD, Jack Bowater and Łucja Zaborowska, MD, PhD candidate
Based on research by
Wilson PW, Zech LA, Gregg RE, Schaefer EJ, Hoeg JM, Sprecher DL, Brewer HB Jr. Estimation of VLDL cholesterol in hyperlipidemia. Clinica Chimica Acta (October 1985)See 1 more source
W T Friedewald, R I Levy, D S Fredrickson Estimation of the Concentration of Low-Density Lipoprotein Cholesterol in Plasma, Without Use of the Preparative Ultracentrifuge Clinical Chemistry (June 1972)
Last updated: Jun 05, 2023

The VLDL calculator helps you to calculate VLDL cholesterol based on triglycerides concentration. VLDL stands for Very Low Density Lipoprotein, which is one of the five primary lipoprotein particles present in our bloodstream. The article below contains more information about it. You will be able to find out more specifics on what is VLDL, what are reference values for VLDL levels, and what is the difference between VLDL vs LDL.

We try our best to make our Omni Calculators as precise and reliable as possible. However, this tool can never replace professional medical advice.

What is VLDL (Very Low Density Lipoprotein)?

Below are some interesting pieces of information about very low density lipoprotein (VLDL):

  • They're one of the five major groups of lipoproteins (chylomicrons, VLDL, IDL, LDL, HDL);
  • They enables fats and cholesterol to circulate in the bloodstream, a water-based solution;
  • They're produced in the liver from triglycerides, cholesterol, and apolipoproteins; and
  • Their main function is the transport of endogenous products: triglycerides, phospholipids, cholesterol, and cholesteryl esters.

🙋 Curious about cholesterol? We have other tools that can help you: the [cholesterol units calculator], the cholesterol ratio calculator, and the (calc:730) LDL calculator!

VLDL calculation

Traditionally, most laboratories measure only three quantities: total cholesterol, HDL, and triglycerides. From the triglycerides, we can calculate VLDL using Friedewald's equation.

VLDL=tryglicerides5\mathrm{VLDL} = \frac{\mathrm{tryglicerides}}{5}

This formula was created by Friedewald and collaborators and allows VLDL to be estimated for triglycerides concentration up to 400 mg/dL400\ \mathrm{mg}/\mathrm{dL} (4.5 mmol/L4.5\ \mathrm{mmol}/\mathrm{L}).

If the patient has a higher triglycerides concentration, you should use another equation which accounts for hyperlipidemia. It was created by Wilson et al. and is more accurate; however, caution is still advised for TG>1000 mg/dL\mathrm{TG} > 1000\ \mathrm{mg}/\mathrm{dL} (11.29 mmol/L11.29\ \mathrm{mmol}/\mathrm{L}). We the formula is presented below:

VLDL=triglycerides×0.166\mathrm{VLDL} = \mathrm{triglycerides}\times 0.166

Reference values for VLDL levels - VLDL normal ranges

Normal VLDL levels range from 2 mg/dL2\ \mathrm{mg}/\mathrm{dL} to 30 mg/dL30\ \mathrm{mg}/\mathrm{dL} (0.1 mmol/L0.1\ \mathrm{mmol}/\mathrm{L} to 1.7 mmol/L1.7\ \mathrm{mmol}/\mathrm{L}).

Important: You should check your lipid profile every five years to screen for heart disease risk factors; however, more frequent testing may be required for patients with coexisting risk factors such as diabetes, high blood pressure or high BMI.

🙋 Knowing your cholesterol levels can help you calculate other disease risks: we created some tools for the purpose. Try our CVD risk calculator or our diabetes risk calculator.

VLDL vs LDL - what is the difference?

LDL stands for low density lipoprotein, and it delivers fat molecules to cells. VLDL, along with LDL, is considered "bad cholesterol" as it builds upon the walls of arteries.

Once in circulation, VLDL will come in contact with lipoprotein lipase (LPL), and after various transformations, the composition of the molecule changes, becoming a intermediate-density lipoprotein (IDL). Around half of IDLs are recognized by receptors in the liver cells and are endocytosed (brought into the cell). The rest undergo further modifications and become LDL.

VLDL cholesterol calculator - a practical example

You just read the most important information about very low density lipoprotein. Let's use a practical example to show how our VLDL calculator works.

  1. Let's assume that we want to calculate VLDL levels for a patient with a triglycerides concentration equal to 125 mg/dL125\ \mathrm{mg}/\mathrm{dL}.

Note that sometimes laboratories use different units - mmol/L\mathrm{mmol}/\mathrm{L}. You can use both in our calculator, as it has a built-in unit converter 👍.

  1. We will use Friedewald's equation in our calculation as the triglycerides level is not elevated.
VLDL=tryglicerides5=125 mg/dL5=25 mg/dL\begin{split} \mathrm{VLDL} &= \frac{\mathrm{tryglicerides}}{5}\\ &=\frac{125\ \mathrm{mg}/\mathrm{dL}}{5}\\ & = 25\ \mathrm{mg}/\mathrm{dL} \end{split}
  1. Our patient's VLDL cholesterol is 25 mg/dL25\ \mathrm{mg}/\mathrm{dL}. This result is within the normal range for VLDL levels.
Joanna Michałowska, PhD candidate
Enter TG concentration for the VLDL calculation
Triglycerides (TG)
⬇️ The result below is calculated using the most popular method - Friedewald's equation. It may not be accurate if TG > 400 mg/dL (4.5 mmol/L).
⬇️ The result presented underneath is based on the equation corrected for hyperlipidemia, but caution is still advised for TG > 1000 mg/dL (11.29 mmol/L).
VLDL corrected for hyperlipidemia
📈 Normal VLDL levels range from 2 to 30 mg/dL (0.1 to 1.7 mmol/l).
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