Top 5 Supplements For Heart Health
It’s February and that means our focus is on heart health!
Did you know that there are an estimated 70,000 heart attacks each year in Canada? That equates to one Canadian having a heart attack every seven minutes. There are also close to 14,000 Canadians that die each year as the result of a heart attack? These numbers aren’t meant to scare, but are meant to educate and inform us of the real risk of heart disease. It’s important to asses your risk of cardiovascular disease so as to implement safe and natural therapies to prevent cardiac events. Do you know your risk? Try using this great tool to assess your 10 year heart disease risk.
Now many of us check our blood pressure regularly, monitor our cholesterol, try to eat healthy and exercise regularly right? Well sometimes our diet suffers or we start lagging on our exercise regimen. Depending on your risk for heart disease, there are targeted heart healthy supplements, vitamins and minerals to enhance and provide needed support to the cardiovascular system. The following are 5 heart healthy supplements I recommend adding to your natural medicine cabinet.
Phytosterols- are natural plant components that look structurally very similar to cholesterol. The great part about phytosterols is that they are poorly absorbed by the body and are excreted faster from the liver than cholesterol. So why is this important? Studies have shown that phytosterols, because they look so similar to cholesterol, compete with and displace cholesterol from the body. Therefore, phytosterols can help to reduce cardiovascular disease risk by lowering our ‘bad cholesterol’ or LDL and lowering total cholesterol levels. Consuming around 2g per day of phytosterols can help reduce LDL cholesterol levels by 8-15%.
Fish Oil- is rich in our essential omega-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic aid (EPA) and docosahexanenoic acid (DHA). These fats are considered essential because our bodies can not make them and they must be obtained through the diet. EPA and DHA reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease by improving arterial wall tone, suppress blood clotting, limit atherosclerosis, help increase our ‘good cholesterol’ (HDL cholesterol) and reduce serum triglycerides. Fish oils at the proper dose can also act as an natural anti-inflammatories which can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Co-Q10- is a compound synthesized in the human body and has properties similar to those of vitamins. It’s localized in the mitochondria and is essential for energy production in the cells of the body. Obviously the body is very dependant on energy production and this is especially true for the heart. Think of it this way, each cell in your bicep would contain 200 mitochondria for energy production while every heart cell contains 5000!
CoQ10 levels will decrease with age and are usually lower in patients with chronic disease. Another common factor that causes diminished CoQ1o levels is the consistent use of prescription drugs such as statins. Therapeutic doses between 100-200mg can protect against cardiovascular disease and also acts as a potent anti-oxidant.
Magnesium– magnesium deficiency is one of the most common mineral deficiencies in North America. Magnesium is especially important in heart health and has been shown to improve blood pressure, shown benefit in congestive heart failure and supports healthy heart rhythms. Doses around 500mg per day can help improve heart health.
Probiotics- yes our good gut bacteria are at it again! The gut and the heart seem so far apart, but maintaining a good gut flora has drastic impacts on heart health. Our good digestive bugs have been shown to lower blood cholesterol, reduce blood pressure and may help to prevent heart disease.