Anyone age 50 or older needs a strategy for preventing heart disease. Heart Disease is the Number 1 killer in the U.S., responsible for 40% of all deaths. As state in my previous blogs, we all know Obesity and poor lifestyles in diet and exercise are a major factor in this epidemic. Nutritional supplements, though, are a critical component in any plan to improve our heart’s health.
After reviewing numerous sources, I have come up with a composite of the most recommended heart health supplements that everyone, particularly those of us “mature” folk, should consider. Most can be safely taken in any combination. However, red yeast rice and high-dose niacin should be taken under medical supervision. In no particular preference the supplements are:
- Fish Oil
If you’re not eating at least two servings a week of a fatty fish such as wild salmon or sardines, you should take 1000-3000 mg daily of fish oil . Research shows that fish oil’s omega-3 fatty acids can reduce your risk of a heart attack by more than 30%. by reducing inflammation that can cause harmful clotting, reduce high triglycerides that can lead to fatty liver, reduce the risk of clogged arteries after angioplasty or bypass surgery, lower your risk for an irregular heartbeat, lower blood pressure and reduce your risk for stroke.
This energy-producing substance is concentrated in heart muscle, but with age, the levels drop. Getting extra CoQ10 is important if you take a statin drug, since these drugs deplete CoQ10. It’s also essential if your heart is weak. Taking CoQ10 after a heart attack significantly lowers your risk of another heart attack. It can improve symptoms such as shortness of breath, swelling of feet, enlarged liver and trouble sleeping in people with congestive heart failure.
- Red Yeast Rice
Like statin drugs, red yeast rice reduces cholesterol levels. It contains the same active ingredient as statin drugs such as lovastatin, it also contains sterols, isoflavones and monounsaturated fatty acids, all ingredients that provide additional heart protection. Due to increased risks for liver damage, particularly for diabetics, red yeast rice should only be taken after consulting with your doctor.
- Vitamin D
People with low vitamin D levels are more likely to have the risk factors that cause heart disease: type 2 diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Vitamin D also affects how well your body absorbs two minerals important for a healthy heart: calcium and magnesium. Many experts now recommend 2,000 IU or more a day of vitamin D.
Resveratrol is the anti-aging component of red wine. It promotes cardiovascular health by helping to prevent blood clots and may help keep your heart healthy by limiting the effects of cardiac fibrosis, a hardening of the heart tissue. Use a daily supplement of 400mg of standardized resveratrol extract.
- B vitamins
Folic acid, B6 and B12 have been used to reduce blood levels of homocysteine, a toxic biochemical that can harm blood vessels and cause cholesterol to stick to blood vessel walls. Niacin, another B vitamin, is sometime prescribed for treating high cholesterol. It acts on high cholesterol differently than statin drugs and is a first choice for people who need to increase their HDL. Medical supervision is recommended for Niacin consumption due to its risks to skin and liver.
- Vitamin E
Vitamin E helps prevent blood platelets from sticking together, a big factor in blood clotting; stop oxidation of LDL cholesterol, a factor in hardening of the arteries; lower blood pressure by promoting production of blood vessel relaxing nitric oxide, and inhibit cholesterol production in the liver.
Garlic extract can preserve elasticity in blood vessels and slow the development of atherosclerosis. It can modestly reduce blood pressure and high cholesterol.
Flavonoids are found in berries, red wine, chocolate, nuts, onions, apples and citrus fruits. They reduce the inflammation associated with heart disease, improve the ability of blood vessels to relax, strengthen capillaries and act as powerful antioxidants. Some of the best sources of flavonoids are, acai extract and goji berry extract, pomegranates, blueberry, bilberry, cranberry, and grape seed extract.. Green Tea is especially noted by nutritional experts for its ability to improve cholesterol levels.
Magnesium is essential for the proper function of the entire cardiovascular system. It can improve energy production in the heart, dilate coronary arteries, and reduce blood pressure and cholesterol.
Chromium may reduce LDL and increase HDL. Typical changes are small but important since each 1% decrease in total cholesterol carries a 2% reduction in heart attack or stroke risk, and every 1% increase in HDL carries a 4% decrease in risk.
- Vitamin C
Vitamin C may help prevent the oxidation of cholesterol. It also is associated with lower total and LDL cholesterol, and higher levels of HDL.