Five Natural Supplements for Heart Health
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. Heart disease is a general term that encompasses an array of illnesses which result in damage to the heart’s lining, valves, muscle, arteries, or electrical system. Some risk factors leading to heart disease are controllable (smoking, diet, lack of exercise), while others are not controllable (age, gender, ethnicity). Good health and lifestyle practices are essential to reducing the risk of heart disease, and part of that routine can include natural supplements that provide benefits to the heart. With that in mind, here are 5 heart-friendly supplements with properties than can help reduce the risk of heart disease:
1) Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for human health but they are not made by the body. Clinical evidence suggests that EPA and DHA (the 2 omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil) help reduce risk factors for heart disease, including high cholesterol and high blood pressure. Fish oil also appears to help prevent and treat hardening of the arteries by slowing the development of plaque and blood clot. The most common sources of Omega-3 fatty acids are fish oil and flaxseed oil. EPA/DHA supplements are also available. Read more about the effects of omega-3 fatty acids for the prevention and treatment of several diseases.
2) Coenzyme Q10: Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is a vitamin-like substance found throughout the body, but especially in the heart, liver, kidney, and pancreas. CoQ10 is known to be highly concentrated in heart muscle cells and serves as a coenzyme in the production of energy within the cell. It is naturally present in small amounts in a wide variety of foods but is particularly high in organ meats, as well as beef, soy oil, sardines, mackerel, and peanuts. It is available as a stand-alone supplement or in combination with others. CoQ10 supplements are used extensively in Europe, Russia and Japan; the Japanese people use it to treat heart disease and congestive heart failure. Read more about the uses of Coenzyme Q10 in the prevention and treatment of diseases.
3) Psyllium: Psyllium is a soluble fiber that comes from an herb called Plantago ovata. The shrubby plant grows worldwide but is most common in India. Psyllium is used in the treatment of many conditions, including high cholesterol and high blood pressure. According to an article in Berkeley Wellness Alerts: “The soluble fiber in psyllium can help improve cholesterol levels…. The government’s cholesterol guidelines recommend psyllium for this purpose, as does the American Heart Association.” Psyllium is available as a stand alone supplement or in combination with other ingredients. It is a common ingredient in natural intestinal cleansing products.
4) Niacin: Niacin is a B-complex vitamin that is used by your body to turn carbohydrates into energy. It is commonly prescribed to increase high-density lipoprotein (HDL), or the “good,” cholesterol. While niacin’s effect on HDL is important, it’s also notable that niacin decreases your low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and triglyceride levels. High levels of LDL and triglycerides are significant risk factors for heart disease. Niacin is available as a stand-alone supplement but is most commonly found in multi-vitamins.
5) Hawthorn: Hawthorn is a common thorny shrub that grows in sunny wooded areas throughout the world. The berries, leaves, and flowers of the plant contain antioxidant flavonoids. Animal and human studies suggest hawthorn increases coronary artery blood flow, improve circulation, and lowers blood pressure. Hawthorn is used to help protect against heart disease and help control high blood pressure and high cholesterol. It is available as a stand-alone supplement (most commonly in a liquid form) or in combination with other ingredients.
Supplements can play an important role in your efforts to maintain optimum health and to ward off illnesses. When contemplating which supplements to include as part of your daily routine, make sure to consider your heart!