The World Health Organization and the American Heart Association have reported cardiovascular disease as a leading cause of mortality, making it essential to address and ideally prevent the condition. Fortunately, several of the risk factors for cardiovascular disease are modifiable, such as elevated blood pressure, irregular cholesterol levels, and being overweight or obese.
Most of us worry about our health and tend to think that we have little control, but I promise you that this just is not true. Even when you have some of the risk factors listed above, there are a myriad of things you can do every day to mitigate your health risks. You can take better care of your cardiovascular system by eating a healthy diet, consistently exercise, get enough sleep, mitigate your stress, and take some supplements to support your healthy lifestyle.
I also believe in individualized medicine, but there are several supplements that can benefit anyone concerned about their heart.
Coenzyme Q10, commonly referred to as CoQ10, is a fat-soluble antioxidant found in the body’s heart, kidneys, liver, and pancreas. CoQ10 provides heart cells with energy and protects them from free radical damage, supporting cardiovascular health. As a dietary supplement, CoQ10 may reduce inflammation and improve markers of cardiovascular function when used in conjunction with statin medication.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids, and more specifically eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), are well-known for their anti-inflammatory and cardioprotective effects. Intake of EPA and DHA has been associated with a lower risk of heart disease and fatal coronary heart disease. Additionally, omega-3 supplementation may improve peripheral artery disease (PAD) and atherosclerosis, a condition characterized by the build-up of plaque and narrowing of the arteries.
Hawthorn (Crataegus spp.)
Hawthorn is a genus of medicinal herbs that includes approximately 300 different species. Several beneficial effects of hawthorn have been identified, including antioxidant, hypotensive (blood pressure-lowering), and anti-atherosclerotic (to prevent or counteract atherosclerosis) effects. Research suggests that long-term hawthorn supplementation may help improve the signs and symptoms of heart failure.
Garlic (Allium sativum)
A member of the allium plant family, garlic is a culinary and medicinal herb. Garlic has been shown to provide antimicrobial, antioxidant, hypoglycemic (blood sugar-reducing), and hypolipidemic (blood lipid-lowering) effects. Garlic supplements have been shown to reduce total cholesterol levels, improve blood pressure in hypertensive patients, and lower C-reactive protein, an indicator of inflammation.
An essential mineral, magnesium is required for over 300 reactions in the body, including blood pressure regulation, nerve function, and cardiac conduction. In Western countries, an estimated 68% of adults consume below the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of magnesium daily. Supplementation with magnesium may provide several cardiovascular benefits and has been shown to be effective in the treatment of hypertension, pre-eclampsia, eclampsia, mitral valve prolapse, and heart failure.