Our heart has one of the most important jobs of all the organs in the body. Its purpose is to pump blood throughout the body via the circulatory system. It also supplies crucial oxygen and nutrients to the body’s tissues while removing carbon dioxide and other waste material. Not an easy feat!
That’s why keeping our heart strong and healthy is important. There are the obvious methods of eating right and exercising. But what else can you do to keep your heart healthy? Another way is by taking supplements. These ensure your body receives the needed nutrients while supporting the body’s overall function.
Do Heart Supplements Work?
There are supplements for every other part of the body so why not the heart? But do they even make a difference? While it’s not clear if supplements help prevent heart attacks, research shows that some may help lower cholesterol, improve blood pressure as well as other factors that can put you at risk for heart disease (1).
So if you are looking to improve some of the risk factors that lead to heart disease, you may want to consider adding these supplements to your regimen.
Having the necessary amount of fiber daily is important not just to ensure waste is removed from the body, but also because fiber can cut down on the amount of cholesterol your body takes in from food.
It is found naturally in fruits, vegetables, grains and legumes, but sometimes adding more via a supplement is necessary. Blond psyllium husk is a popular choice because there is some evidence it can lower the bad (LDL) cholesterol while raising the good (HDL) cholesterol.
Other fiber options include methylcellulose, wheat dextrin and calcium polycarbophil. If you decide to add fiber, make sure you start it slowly, gradually increasing the amount you take to prevent gas and cramping. It’s also important to make sure you drink plenty of water if you increase your fiber.
Sterols And Stanols
These are found in nuts and grains, but can also be bought in supplement form. They also reduce the amount of cholesterol your body takes in from food and may help lower LDL cholesterol.
Known as coenzyme Q10, this supplement may help lower blood pressure. Our body naturally makes a small amount of this enzyme.
It may help cut down on triglyceride levels in the body, which is an unhealthy fat in the blood because it is full of omega-3 fatty acids. It can also help lower blood pressure.
It may lower blood pressure, slow the buildup of plaque in the arteries and lower your risk of blood clots. It can be added to foods or even taken in supplement form.
Sipping green tea may actually help improve cholesterol by lowering LDL and triglycerides and raising HDL levels.
It helps lower the level of homocysteine, an amino acid that has been associated with arterial hardening.
What Supplements Are Bad For Your Heart?
Not all supplements are good to take if you have heart issues or are at risk of cardiovascular disease. Here are some vitamins and supplements that may be bad for the heart.
As good as calcium can be for bone health, it may increase the risk for plaque buildup in the arteries. It can be beneficial for the cardiovascular system, but vitamin D and K2 need to be at optimal levels because they manage calcium.
Even though it may improve digestive issues and prostate health, it can cause high blood pressure and deplete potassium levels.
This amino acid can be deadly when taken in supplement form. So while it may have some cardiovascular benefits, it’s best to avoid this one.
Because of the caffeine-like compound in it, it can have some negative heart side effects.
St. John’s Wort
It’s known to ease some mild depression-like symptoms, but it can actually cause blood pressure spikes.
What Is The Best Vitamin For Your Heart?
Heart health can be boosted by managing risk factors and eating a diet rich in the right vitamins and minerals. Food is the best way to get the compounds and fiber you need, but if you eat healthy, you may not get all the nutrients you need from food alone.
If people had to choose one supplement to benefit their heart, omega-3 fatty acids should be the one to consider. Two servings of fatty fish per week provide enough for most people. But if people don’t eat enough to meet the serving size recommended, taking a supplement may be necessary.
Omega-3 fatty acids can reduce inflammation in the body that can cause damage to the blood vessels which lead to heart disease as well as strokes. It also reduces triglycerides and slow plaque buildup in the arteries while working to lower blood pressure.
How Can I Lower My Heart Rate?
Having an elevated heart rate is one of the strongest predictors of cardiovascular disease. But fortunately, there are supplements available that may help to lower your heart rate.
Again it’s the power of omega-3 fatty acids. Studies show that omega-3s reduce heart rate (2). It was a greater reduction in people whose heart rate was higher. The ability of omega-3s also depended on how long people took it. People who took it for more than 12 weeks saw a greater reduction in their heart rate.
Fish oil can also reduce heart rate during times of increased cardiac need such as exercise. So not only does it help during rest, it can also help during times of stress.
How To Keep The Heart Healthy And Strong
Keeping the heart healthy is a combination of steps including:
- Eating healthy
- Exercising and staying active
- Staying at a healthy weight
- Don’t smoke and stay away from secondhand smoke
- Control your cholesterol and blood pressure
- Drink alcohol only in moderation
- Manage stress
Sounds easy enough, but it can be a struggle to manage all of these steps at one time. So it’s important to take it one step at a time and make the necessary changes to reduce your risk factors and stay healthy because there is a lot you can do to prevent heart disease.
Consider adding heart strengthening supplements like omega-3 fatty acids or make sure you are eating the recommended amount of fatty fish each week.
Supplements That Can Help
We know the power of omega-3 fatty acids, but another supplement you should look into is spermidine. Spermidine is naturally found in many of the foods that we eat, but like most nutrients, we rarely eat enough to reap all of the benefits.
Spermidine is a polyamine that is associated with cellular health. We need cells to be renewed throughout our life to stay healthy. As we age, our blood polyamine levels decrease along with cellular growth and renewal.
Our body has its own recycling system known as autophagy that helps to get rid of the old, damaged cell parts for new, healthy ones. Spermidine assists in this process and in replenishing the body’s blood polyamine levels leading to a resurgence in cellular renewal that may aid health and longevity.
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