Cardiovascular Health: The Benefits of Heart Supplements
The heart is the most vital organ in the human body. It functions 24/7, pumping blood to every part of the body. And when the heart stops beating, other systems fail almost instantly. So, it’s important to do everything we can to take care of it and avoid the risk of heart disease. Simple life changes such as eating healthier, getting more physical activity, and quitting smoking can affect heart health. These interventions help to lower blood pressure, blood cholesterol, blood sugar, and body mass index, hence improving your overall cardiovascular health.
Essentially, a healthy heart starts with a healthy and well-balanced diet that includes foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and healthy proteins. This is the best way to prevent heart disease. However, despite your best efforts to eat a heart-healthy diet, you may be falling short of the recommended daily amount of certain nutrients. Therefore, you may consider taking vitamins and other nutritional supplements to get your recommended intake of those missing nutrients.
Many dietary supplements claim to improve heart health. Research shows that some supplements that are touted as heart-healthy may help lower cholesterol, improve blood pressure, and do other things that put you at risk for heart disease.
Supplements and Heart Health
Supplements come in various forms and while some supplements contain a single ingredient, many of them are a combination of ingredients like fish oil and vitamin D, for example. Supplements may be recommended in some situations, including being diagnosed with high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol, or prediabetes. So, to take good care of your heart, you may consider taking a heart vitamin in addition to your heart-healthy lifestyle.
Wondering do heart supplements work? Many of them are formulated to be good for the prevention or treatment of cardiovascular disease, although there isn’t enough evidence-based data to support this claim. The question of whether vitamin and mineral supplementation would offer cardiac benefits has been the subject of innumerable investigations. And while some studies have found no evidence of cardiac benefits, some suggest that using vitamin supplements actually protects your heart. Researchers say these nutrients can provide wonderful health benefits when integrated into the overall heart health plan that includes a healthy diet, regular exercise and good sleep habits. Taking a heart vitamin can maintain your cholesterol and blood pressure as well as prevent the risk of a heart attack or stroke. Of course, consider talking to your doctor first about the safety and potential side effects before taking any heart supplements.
Types of Heart Supplements
While the role supplements play can often be confusing, still, there are many great supplements that can benefit your cardiovascular health. Of course, none of them are a magic pill against heart disease, however, they can be a good addition to your heart-healthy lifestyle. Healthcare providers agree that your overall heart health plan should include nutritional supplements such as omega-3 fatty acids, fibre and sterols, coenzyme Q10, magnesium, vitamin D flaxseed oil, and folate (folic acid). These nutrients have been proven to help the heart to some degree. Let’s take a closer look at some supplements that are good for heart health.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids has been associated with lowering triglycerides, blood pressure, inflammation, along with reducing the risk of heart disease and stroke. These fatty acids are found in oil from certain types of fish such as sardines, mackerel, and salmon as well as flaxseed oil, chia seeds, walnuts, and canola oil. A blood test can check your omega-3 levels and if you’re deficient, your doctor may suggest taking an Omega-3 fish oil supplement. When used together with diet and exercise, omega-3 fish oil capsules have been shown to increase (good) HDL levels of cholesterol – by up to 30% – while lowering triglyceride levels in the blood. High levels of triglycerides can lead to coronary artery disease, heart disease, and stroke. Hence, by lowering the body’s production of triglycerides, this type of fatty acid reduces the risk of heart attack and stroke.
Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10)
Coenzyme Q10 or CoQ10 is a substance found in every cell of the body. It’s similar to a vitamin but also functions as an antioxidant. However, your body naturally makes small amounts of this coenzyme and hence you may need to consider taking a supplement. CoQ10 supplementation is said to be helpful in protecting the heart and your skeletal muscles as well as it helps boost energy and speed recovery from exercise. Either on its own or along with medication, CoQ10 can help lower your blood pressure.
Fibre can help lower the amount of cholesterol that your body soaks up from food, along with reducing the risk of heart disease and stroke. It’s best to get your daily dose of fibre from your diet. It’s found naturally in fruits, grains, vegetables, and legumes. However, supplements are another option to meet your daily fibre requirements, especially if you don’t include enough fiber-rich food in your diet. There is evidence that psyllium fibre supplements can lower “bad” LDL cholesterol while raising the “good” kind HDL, particularly when used together with a diet low in cholesterol and saturated fat.