Supporting Heart Health With Supplements


Best Supplements for Heart Health

Your heart is crucial to your health beating tirelessly 24/7 to keep you going, pumping blood throughout the body to provide your tissues with important nutrients and oxygen.

In the UK, heart and circulatory diseases result in 1 in 4 deaths. Increasing numbers of people are suffering with high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels and blood circulation problems resulting in serious heart conditions, which can lead to heart attack and stroke.

To decrease your cardiovascular risk, it is crucial to keep your heart and blood vessels healthy and functioning optimally. Besides exercising regularly, there are many nutrients that play a vital role in heart health.

Higher doses of nutrients have a significant and therapeutic effect for heart disease so here is a list of heart health supplements, to keep your heart healthy and pumping.

Supplements for heart health

Magnesium

Magnesium is known as ‘nature’s muscle relaxer’, and as a supplement for circulation, has the same effect on the arteries, dilating the blood vessels and lowering blood pressure. Increasing your magnesium intake lowers your blood pressure and your risk of stroke[1].

The average daily magnesium intake for men and women in the UK is below the amount recommended by the government[2], and one study carried out by laboratory Mineral Check found 70% of Britons to have low magnesium levels.

If you have a deficiency of magnesium, it can lead to high blood pressure and irregular heartbeat, also known as arrhythmia.

A deficiency of magnesium can be a cause of heart arrhythmia, and this ‘heart-healthy’ mineral can be further depleted from the body by alcohol and coffee.

Taking magnesium can help prevent irregular heartbeats, improving circulation around the body[3].

Omega-3 fatty acids

Heart disease and stroke are the leading causes of death worldwide, but communities who eat diets rich in fish have remarkably low instances of these diseases[4], which is at least partially due to their high omega-3 consumption.

Omega-3 fatty acids help support normal blood pressure as well as improving heart rate variability[5], HRV, which is an indicator of greater cardiovascular fitness. Funnily a healthy heart beat contains healthy irregularities and there is always a time variation between heart beats.

If the intervals between your heartbeats are rather constant, your HRV is low, and if their length varies, your HRV is low.

Having high levels of fats in your blood, can increase your risk of heart disease.

A doctor will check your triglycerides level when conducting a cholesterol test, and if cholesterol high, lifestyle changes will be recommended such as losing weight, cutting out refined sugars and exercising. But taking omega-3 fatty acids in the form of fish oils can also lower circulating fat levels[6].

Supplements for circulation

Vitamin E

Vitamin E helps protect blood vessels by preventing changes in cholesterol which will allow it to build up in dangerous plaque within the walls of arteries, restricting blood flow.

Although cholesterol is a naturally occurring substance made by the liver and required by the body for the proper function of your cells, nerves and hormones, when cholesterol changes, it becomes dangerous.

Vitamin E serves as a protective antioxidant that fights the changes in cholesterol that make it harmful[7].

Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10)

CoQ10 is a powerful nutrient that sparks energy in every cell in your body, including your heart cells that work every minute of every day.

It’s also a powerful antioxidant that protects your arteries from structural damage[8] making it one of the best supplements for heart and circulation.

Besides helping to prevent heart ailments, Co Q 10 is beneficial in the treatment of heart conditions and has been effective in the treatment of coronary heart disease[9].

Vitamin K2

Vitamin K2 is a vitamin that is hard to find in our diets, but it is extremely important for the health of our cardiovascular system.

This vitamin is important for bone health, assisting the storage of calcium within bone, however when it’s absent, more calcium is deposied with soft tissues like arteries.

The more calcium that finds its way into our arteries, the stiffer the artery becomes, leading to poorer circulation and higher blood pressure.

Arteries become hardened by calcium, but sufficient vitamin K2 helps control calcium by shuttling it to the proper storage areas in the body – out of the blood and into the bones[10].

Increased arterial stiffness results in an increase in blood pressure, as the flow of blood is not as smooth and is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular events such as heart attack and stroke[11].

Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid)

Vitamin B5 helps optimise the circulation of blood by maintaining healthy levels of cholesterol in the arteries and preventing dangerous plaque build-up that could lead to heart attack or stroke[12].

It helps reduce LDL-cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood that make up part of the damaged artery walls.

Causes of Cardiovascular Issues

Heart disease covers a number of cardiovascular conditions, but it still remains the number one killer within the UK. Causes of cardiovascular issues can be genetic, but also lifestyle and diet influenced.

Certain factors may cause cardiovascular conditions such as atherosclerosis, a disease in which plaque builds up in the arteries, which can be a causative effect in heart attack or strokes.

Most of the risk factors for heart disease involve your lifestyle choices. This means that you can lower your chances of developing heart disease by pinpointing the areas that put you at risk and taking steps to change them.

  • Smoking – Smokers are more likely to develop atherosclerosis as smoking damages the lining of the arterial walls.
  • High Blood Pressure – High blood pressure damages blood vessels and make you more prone to heart attacks and stroke.
  • Unhealthy diet – A diet high in processed foods and sugar can pre-dispose you to conditions like insulin resistance and type-2 diabetes, increasing your risk of cardiovascular disease.
  • Drinking alcohol excessively – Drinking too much alcohol can result in raised blood pressure and heart arrhythmias.
  • Stress – Stress contributes to a multitude of conditions. It has a massive impact on the body’s immune system resulting in more oxidation and damage to blood vessels.
  • Obesity – Being overweight or obese increases your chance of increased blood pressure, high cholesterol and your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
  • Lack of exercise – Exercise reduces blood pressure and cholesterol, two problems associated with cardiovascular risk.
  • Lack of sleep – Not getting enough increases your risk of high blood pressure[13].

Heart health supplements are not a substitute for a healthy diet and lifestyle, but when used in conjunction heart supplements can help lower your cardiovascular risk and improve blood circulation.

 

[1] Bain, L.K. Myint, P.K. Jennings, A. et al. (2015). ‘The relationship between dietary magnesium intake, stroke and its major risk factors, blood pressure and cholesterol, in the EPIC-Norfolk cohort’, Int. J Cardiology, 196, pp. 108-114.

[2] National Diet and Nutrition Survey. Results from Years 5-6 (combined) of the Rolling Programme (2012/13 – 2013/14). Published September 2016. PHE publications gateway number: 2016248.

[3] Ganga, H.V. Noyes, A. White, C.M., et al. (2013). ‘Magnesium adjunctive therapy in atrial arrhythmias’, Pacing Clin Electrophysiol, 36(10); 1308-18.

[4] Villa, B. (2008) ‘Historical overview of n-3 fatty acids and coronary heart disease’ Am J Clin Nutr 87(6);1978S-80S.

[5] Villa, B. Calabrese, L. Chiesa, G. et al. (2002) ‘Omega-3 fatty acid ethyl esters increase heart rate variability in patients with coronary disease’ Pharmacol Res 45(6);425-428.

[6] Bernstein, A. Ding, E. Willett, C. et al. (2012) ‘A meta-analysis shows that decosahexaenoic acid from algal oil reduces serum triglycerides and increases HDL-cholesterol and LDL-cholesterol in persons without coronary heart disease’ Journal of Nutrition 142(1);99-104.

[7] Shekelle, P. Morton, S. Jungvig, L. et al. (2004) ‘Effect of supplemental vitamin E for the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease’ J Gen Intern Med 19(4);380-389.

[8] Kaya, Y. Cebi, A. Soylenerz, N. et al. (2012). ‘Correlations between oxidative DNA damage, oxidative stress and coenzyme Q10 in patients with coronary artery disease’ Int J Med Sci 9(8);621-6.

[9] Ayers, J. Cook, J. Koenig, R.A. et al. (2018) ‘Recent developments in the role of Coenzyme Q10 for coronary heart disease: a systematic review’ Curr Atheroscler Rep 20;29.

[10] Ronn, S. Haslef, T. Pedersen, S. et al. (2016) ‘Vitamin K2 (menaquinone-7) prevents age-related deterioration of trabecular bone microarchitecture at the tibia in postmenopausal women’ Eur J Endocrinol 175(6);541-549.

[11] Cecelja, M. and Chowlenczyk, P. (2012) ‘ Role of arterial stiffness in cardiovascular diseases’ JRSM Cardiovasc Dis 1(4).

[12] Rumberger, J. Napolitano, J. Azumano, I. et al. (2011) ‘ Pantethine, a derivative of vitamin B5 used as a nutritional supplement, favourably alters low density lipoprotein cholesterol in low to moderate cardiovascular risk North American subjects’ Nutr Res 31(8);608-615.

[13] Fernandez-Mendoza, J. Vgontzos, A. Liao, D. (2012) ‘Insomnia with objective short sleep duration and incident hypertension’ Hypertension 60.