Properly caring for your heart can greatly reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease, which is still the leading cause of death in the United States. The most important way to protect your heart is, first and foremost, by living a healthy lifestyle, which includes eating well, exercising regularly, and not smoking. However, supplementing a proper diet with extra minerals, amino acids, and other nutrients can provide even greater benefits. Supplements can be confusing. What do all those names and numbers mean, and what exactly do they do? Here’s the scoop about five powerful, heart-health boosting supplements on the market today.
Extract from hawthorne berries is an age-old remedy that has been shown to improve circulation and lower blood pressure. It is considered a relatively safe and effective therapy for mild to moderate congestive heart failure. In congestive heart failure, the heart has a reduced ability to pump blood effectively, often due to a previous heart attack. Hawthorn acts as a vasodilator, increasing blood supply to the heart and improving circulation to the extremities by decreasing arterial resistance. Hawthorn also has positive inotropic and beta-blocking effects, along with antioxidant chemicals called flavonoids, specifically procyanidins, as well as anti-inflammatory benefits. Hawthorn leaves, flowers and berries are used by herbal practitioners in the UK to treat hypertension in conjunction with prescribed drugs. Look especially for organically grown products.
Now for some names! DHA/EPA, which stand for docosahexaenoic acid and eicosapentaenoic acid, are essential (Omega-3) fatty acids found mainly in the flesh and oils of cold-water fish. Ideally, you should eat several servings of fatty fish each week. If not, then taking a fish oil supplement is a good idea — one suggestion is 1000-2500 milligrams (mg) for general maintenance, and 3000-5000 for a therapy dosage. For the heart, fatty acids help lower elevated blood pressure, regulate cell activity, and keep blood triglyceride levels low. They also form neural transmitters, essential for brain function and intellectual development, particularly in fetuses, infants, and the elderly. Finally, taking DHA may be beneficial for maintaining normal eye retina function.
This essential amino acid is used by the body to release energy in stored fat, and has been called a prime agent in the optimum fat burning process. Where necessary (i.e. in the absence of carbohydrates), the body turns to fat storage for energy to power your muscles. Without L-carnitine, cells have greater difficulty absorbing and processing fatty acids, and thus accessing body fat for use. Potential heart benefits for L-Carnitine include easing the symptoms of angina, lowering blood triglycerides and LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, and speeding recovery after a heart attack.
CoQ10, while produced naturally in the human body, can sometimes fall to below-optimum levels, a symptom reported in patients with heart conditions. CoQ10 is involved in the making of an important molecule known as ATP, which serves as a cell’s major energy source and drives a number of biological processes, including muscle contraction and the production of protein. Research indicates that CoQ10 may be beneficial in treating angina and elevated blood pressure. It also functions as an antioxidant. One expert suggests pairing it with D-Ribose to boost cellular energy.
Magnesium is an essential mineral that is often depleted in people who drink too much alcohol, take laxatives or diuretics, or have heart conditions. Scientific research has discovered benefits of magnesium supplements in relieving cardiac arrhythmia (erratic heartbeat) and congestive heart failure. If you discover that exercising gives you chest pain, take 200-300 mg of magnesium a couple times a day for relief. Some fizzing formulas are absorbed particularly quickly by your body.
There you have it! I hope this article has been useful to you. Keep in mind that there is no substitute for good choices and a healthy, balanced diet. But with such considerations, and additional help from supplements like these, it is very likely possible for you to stave off cardiovascular disease, and many other ailments that afflict so many people today.
Remember that it’s a good idea to consult your regular physician before adding a supplement to your daily program. After you do this, a naturalistic practitioner can further discuss your options with you, such as benefits, best brands, and correct dosages.
To your health!