Researchers from the University of Cambridge analysed the genetic makeup of people predisposed to produce higher levels of the blood fat and found they were more likely to suffer from heart disease.
Previous studies exploring the link had proved inconclusive - any positive association disappeared when controlling for HDL and LDL cholesterol.
The researchers suggested that cholesterol may mediate the affects of triglycerides on vascular risk, meaning that controlling for cholesterol could mask its effect.
To assess whether such a link exists, researchers compared the effect of genetically-raised triglyceride concentration in 350,000 people from 101 studies.
They used a novel approach called a Mendelian randomisation analysis, which uses genetic information to mimic aspects of a drug trial.
The analysis compared heart disease risk in people who have inherited different versions of a gene known to influence blood triglyceride levels.
Researchers found that people with a genetic tendency for higher triglyceride levels also had a greater risk of heart disease.
Lead author Dr Nadeem Sarwar: ‘Although these genetic findings are consistent with a causative role for triglyceride fats in the development of heart disease, they do not replace the need for large randomised clinical trials of medications that can lower blood triglycerides.'
He added: ‘Such trials should help establish whether lowering triglyceride levels can reduce the risk of heart disease.'