By Kyle Hilsabeck, PharmD.
February is Heart Health Month, and CarePro would like to provide information about some ways to reduce your risk of heart disease. An estimated one third of deaths worldwide are related to heart disease, making it the number one cause of non-accidental deaths. There are many things you can do to reduce your risk of heart disease, with the most important of these being lifestyle changes. We often times focus on cholesterol and blood pressure, but there are many other factors that play into heart health. These include antioxidant support, anti-inflammatory support, and correction of vitamin and mineral imbalances. Again, the safest and most effective way to do this is through lifestyle modification; however, there are some medications and nutrients that can provide benefits. It is important to discuss any supplementation with your doctor, pharmacist, or other trusted health-care provider.
Vitamins, antioxidant support and a healthy heart
It is important to remember that your body does not need any single vitamin by itself, rather it needs all of them, in balance, and working together. The best way of obtaining this is through a well-balanced and healthy diet. Unfortunately – this is often the last thing people want to change, so most people do not get adequate nutrition from their diets. This is why it is important to find a well-balanced, high quality multivitamin that is designed to mimic natural sources of these ingredients. A poorly designed vitamin can actually deplete other essential nutrients, causing many other problems. Your heart is a muscle that beats constantly, meaning it needs a lot of oxygen. This also means that it experiences much more oxidative stress, which is why you need antioxidant support from vitamins A, E, and C. Oxidation is the same chemical process behind rusting, so think of these vitamins like putting a coat of wax on the car to prevent rust. However, before buying a bunch of vitamin A, C, and E, remember that these need to be balanced with other nutrients like all of the B vitamins, Vitamin D, and minerals such as magnesium, calcium, potassium, and selenium. CarePro Advance MN multivitamin, rated 3.5 out of 5 stars by the Comparative Guide to Nutritional Supplements, was formulated to provide a precise balance of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and metabolic nutrients all working together to ensure a healthy metabolism, proper organ function and the prevention of cellular damage.*
Vitamin D supports a healthy heart
If you had to pick any single vitamin to take, this would be a good starting point. Vitamin D deficiencies are being implicated in virtually every disease being studied, including heart disease. There are studies suggesting that more than 90 percent of the world population does not have adequate blood levels of vitamin D due to decreased sun exposure, increased use of sunscreens, clothing, and inadequate dietary intake. The daily intake requirements are being re-examined but all research is showing that it needs to be much higher than the current 400 – 800 IU per day. Evidence suggests that doses as high as 2,000 IU/day are barely enough to prevent a deficiency during winter months and that many people will require more than 5,000 IU every day. This is something you need to discuss with your doctor, but it could be one of the most important vitamin deficiencies to correct. CarePro carries vitamin D in two different doses: 1,000 IU and 5,000 IU.
Fish Oil / Essential Omega-3 fatty acids for a healthy heart
Try to get at least 1,500 mg of combined EPA+DHA every day to help reduce cholesterol and provide anti-inflammatory support. There is more and more data showing that omega-3 fatty acids are important for every system in your body including immune, cardiovascular, nervous, and endocrine. Some seeds and nuts including flax, hemp, chia, and walnuts can also provide omega-3 fatty acids, however marine sources are much more potent. CarePro Advance Omega Marine Lipid Concentrate provides 1,500 mg EPA + DHA in three daily softgels.
Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) supports heart health
Also called CoQ10, ubiquinone, or ubiquinol. This vitamin-like cofactor is required for some of the most important chemical reactions in your body, including how every cell produces energy from the calories you eat. It also helps to recharge antioxidants like Vitamin C and E allowing them to do their work elsewhere in the body. The best dietary sources of CoQ10 are organically produced organ meats like heart, kidney, and liver. This is because these are the organs that need the most of it to function properly. Certain medications can actually deplete your body’s CoQ10, many of which are used in people with heart disease. Statins are a popular class of cholesterol lowering medications that are known to deplete CoQ10 and this is thought to contribute to some of the potential side effects like muscle pain. Ask a CarePro pharmacist about our new Ubiquinol-QH 100 mg supplement, which is in the active reduced form and is also absorbed five times better than some of the other CoQ10 supplements.*
Additional supplements for heart health
There are many other supplements shown to benefit heart health, but these all need to be discussed with your doctor or pharmacist before using. This is especially true if you are being treated for any chronic conditions. Many of these supplements can be found naturally in a well-balanced diet, but they can also be purchased as extracts or in pill form. This includes curcurmin (turmeric), green tea, carnitine, acetyl-l-carnitine, and resveretrol/red wine extract.
The main purpose of National Heart Health Month is to raise awareness about preventing or reducing oxidative stress, inflammation, plaque formation (cholesterol/atherosclerosis), and oxygen deprivation to the heart tissues. Taking pills or supplements may help to an extent, but they are not intended to replace the lifestyle modifications that we have all heard many times: diet, exercise, weight reduction, smoking cessation, stress reduction, hydration and adequate sleep.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA.