Adequate exercise and a nutritional diet high in vegetables, fruits, lean protein, and fiber are key components to heart health. However, there are certain vitamins and herbs that have been shown to have a positive impact on blood pressure, cholesterol levels and obesity.
Not all health experts agree on the effectiveness of supplements however. For example, the American Heart Association
puts a strong emphasis on diet rather than supplements. With the exception of omega-3 fatty acids, the AHA says, "There aren’t sufficient data to suggest that healthy people benefit by taking certain vitamin or mineral supplements in excess of the [daily recommended intakes]."
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On the other hand, WebMD
takes the approach that some supplements may be beneficial, "Research shows that some supplements — in addition to lifestyle changes and medical treatment if you need it — may help lower cholesterol, improve blood pressure, and reduce other risk factors for heart disease."
Here are five supplements that may help keep your heart healthy:
1. Fish oil:
Because it is high in omega-3 fatty acids fish oil serves to lower triglycerides and according to the National Institutes of Health
, "it also seems to help prevent heart disease and stroke when taken in the recommended amounts." Omega-3 fatty acids have an anti-inflammatory effect and can also be found in walnuts, flaxseed oil, canola oil, and soybean oil. However, Harvard Health reports
that there are concerns that too much fish oil can actually increase the risk of heart disease and certain cancers. The general dosage is 1,000 milligrams daily.
Cardiologist Dr. Stephen Sinatra is convinced resveratrol is "the key to better heart health and longevity." According to Dr. Sinatra
, resveratrol protects the endothelial lining of arteries, which allows for better blood flow as well as protecting the arteries from oxidative free radical damage. Dr. Sinatra recommends a dosage of 30 milligrams per day.
"Every organ in the body — especially the heart, muscles, and kidneys — needs the mineral magnesium," reports the University of Maryland Medical Center
. Increased magnesium has been shown to at least "modestly lower risk" of coronary heart disease in men and the "risk of sudden cardiac death" in women. The mineral can serve to lower blood pressure and reduce arrhythmia. The DRI for men 19-30 years of age is 400 mg daily and 310 mg for women in the same age bracket.
4. Red yeast rice:
This traditional Chinese medicinal supplement is often promoted as an alternative to taking statin drugs that lower cholesterol. However, the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine cautions
that red yeast rice may have the same side effects as statin drugs and that manufacturing quality control is an issue. Red yeast rice contains Monacolin K, which is the same active ingredient in the prescription drug Lovastin.
5. CoQ10: Life Extension Magazine reports
that the heart is very sensitive to a deficiency of CoQ10 which is an antioxidant chemical compound needed for all basic cell function. In addition, statin drugs lower the body's natural ability to produce CoQ10. As reported by LEM, "Out of a total of 22 controlled trials of supplemental CoQ10 in congestive heart failure, only three have failed to show significant benefit." According to The Mayo Clinic
, the recommended dosage of CoQ10 to prevent heart disease is 200 milligrams per day.
This article is for information only and is not intended as medical advice. Talk with your doctor about your specific health and medical needs.
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