Supplements and heart disease prevention

Uncategorized May 05, 2024

While a balanced diet rich in whole foods is the foundation for heart health, certain supplements may offer additional support in preventing heart attacks. Here are some of the best food supplements backed by research for heart health.

  1. **Omega-3 Fatty Acids:** Omega-3 fatty acids, particularly eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), found in fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, and sardines, have been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease. Fish oil supplements can provide a concentrated source of omega-3s for those who don't consume enough fish. Recent evidence suggests you should take a pure EPA supplement, or one that contains more EPA than DHA. For vegans and vegetarians chia, hemp seeds, flaxseed, walnuts, and seaweed preparations are high in Omeg-3 fatty acids and especially alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) another omega-3 fatty acid.
  2. **Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10):** CoQ10 is an antioxidant that plays a crucial role in energy production within cells. It may help lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart-related conditions. CoQ10 levels decline with age, and supplementation may be beneficial, especially for individuals taking statin medications, which can deplete CoQ10 levels. According to the Mayo Clinic “CoQ10 has been shown to improve symptoms of congestive heart failure. Although findings are mixed, CoQ10 might help reduce blood pressure. Some research also suggests that when combined with other nutrients, CoQ10 might aid recovery in people who've had bypass and heart valve surgeries.”
  3. **Magnesium:** Magnesium is involved in hundreds of biochemical reactions in the body, including those related to heart function and blood pressure regulation. Low magnesium levels have been linked to an increased risk of heart disease. Magnesium supplements may benefit those with deficiencies or certain risk factors for heart disease.
  4. **Garlic:** Garlic has been studied for its potential to lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, as well as its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Garlic supplements, particularly aged garlic extract, may offer cardiovascular benefits such as slowing the process of atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), though more research is needed.
  5. **Berberine:** Berberine is a compound found in several plants, including goldenseal and barberry. It has been shown to improve various markers of heart health, including cholesterol levels, blood sugar control, and blood pressure. Berberine supplements may be beneficial for individuals with metabolic syndrome or type 2 diabetes. Berberine has been used in Chinese medicine for more than 2500 years and there has been a growing interest in studying it as a treatment for cardiovascular disease. Recent researches showed that it has an anti-heart failure, anti-hypertension, anti-hyperlipidemia, anti-insulin resistance, anti-arrhythmias, and anti-platelet aggregation quality.
  6. **Green Tea Extract:** Green tea contains catechins, which are antioxidants that may help lower cholesterol levels, improve blood vessel function, and reduce inflammation. Green tea extract supplements provide a concentrated dose of catechins and may offer cardiovascular benefits.
  7. **Red Yeast Rice:** Red yeast rice is a fermented rice product that contains naturally occurring statins, compounds known to lower cholesterol levels. Red yeast rice supplements may help reduce LDL ("bad") cholesterol levels and lower the risk of heart disease, though they should be used cautiously and under the supervision of a healthcare provider due to potential side effects.
  8. **Fiber Supplements:** Soluble fiber supplements, such as psyllium husk or glucomannan, can help lower cholesterol levels by binding to cholesterol in the digestive tract and promoting its excretion. Fiber supplements may be beneficial for individuals who struggle to meet their daily fiber intake through diet alone.
  9. **Plant Sterols and Stanols:** Plant sterols and stanols are compounds found in plants that have been shown to reduce LDL cholesterol levels. They work by blocking the absorption of cholesterol in the intestines. Plant sterol and stanol supplements are often added to fortified foods or taken as supplements to help lower cholesterol levels.
  10. **Vitamin D:** Vitamin D deficiency has been associated with an increased risk of heart disease. Vitamin D supplements may help improve cardiovascular health by reducing inflammation, supporting blood vessel function, and regulating blood pressure. However, more research is needed to determine the optimal dose and effectiveness of vitamin D supplementation for heart health.

Before starting any new supplement regimen please consult with your healthcare provider, especially if you have pre-existing health conditions or are taking medications, as some supplements may interact with medications or have adverse effects. Additionally, supplements should complement a healthy diet and lifestyle, not replace them.


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