lifestyle

Best Supplements for Heart Health

Dr. Carla Montrond Correia ND, CNS

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Carla Montrond Correia ND, CNS

8 min read

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There are few things more important than taking care of your heart. Learn about supplements for heart health that can be a part of a healthy heart routine.

What Are the Best Supplements for Heart Health?

Research shows that there are some supplements that may help support your cardiovascular health. The best foundation to support heart health includes regular exercise and a healthy diet. Supplements that can promote heart health include omega 3s, coQ10, magnesium, and a multivitamin. Read on to learn how they may be great additions to your healthy routine. But, it is always important to talk with your doctor before taking any supplements. However, dietary supplements can be helpful to fill in dietary gaps, especially for those that find it difficult to maintain a healthy balanced diet.

Do heart health vitamins really work?

Some vitamins and supplements, such as vitamins B6, B12, and folic acid can help support the heart. These vitamins help break down homocysteine. Homocysteine is an amino acid that is normally found in the body in small quantities and is broken down to make proteins. Some studies suggest that deficiencies in vitamins B6, B12, or folic acid may result in high levels of homocysteine. High homocysteine levels can impact blood vessel function by increasing oxidative stress and may even lead to hardening of the arteries, lowering these levels can contribute to maintaining optimal heart health.

Beyond addressing deficiencies, supplements can also promote heart health. Astaxanthin, a carotenoid derived from algae, has been studied for its cardiovascular protective benefits. Some studies suggest it may help in maintaining healthy cholesterol levels.

Multivitamins and heart health

Although certain vitamins and minerals may promote heart health, there is as yet no strong evidence that multivitamins lower the risk of heart disease. However, since they can be an easy part of a wellness routine, there’s no reason not to add a multivitamin to your daily activities. Especially since the body requires certain amounts of vitamins and minerals to function and most diets may not perfectly meet the daily amounts recommended by the USDA dietary guidelines.

These dietary supplements are quite popular in the United States and around the world. But, it is important not to take these supplements as a way to make up for an unhealthy lifestyle. This means that whether you take multivitamins or not, it’s important to exercise, hydrate, get adequate sleep, and eat a balanced diet filled with plenty of fruits and vegetables.

Magnesium and heart health

Magnesium is an essential mineral that is especially important for muscle health and function. The heart is one of the most important muscles in the body that uses magnesium to help circulate blood throughout the body with its pumping action. One review illustrates how important magnesium is for the heart. It cites how magnesium may help maintain blood pressure already within normal range. The review also shares findings that those who took magnesium experienced improved mood and energy.

The study also stated that magnesium works synergistically with calcium and other minerals like potassium and sodium to regulate blood pressure. Magnesium can be found in nuts, legumes, and low-fat dairy products. You can also get this vital mineral from supplementation as well.

CoQ10 and heart health

Coenzyme Q10 or CoQ10 is naturally found in human tissues in varying amounts. The highest amount of CoQ10 is found in organs that have high rates of metabolism, and the heart is one of these organs. It acts as an energy transfer molecule in the heart. Coenzyme Q10 also prevents the generation of free radicals and possibly helps to prevent some of the damage that they could cause.

Levels of CoQ10 are lower in people with heart conditions or those who are taking certain medications.. Most people get enough coenzyme Q10 from whole grains, oily fish, and organ meat. But, a Coenzyme Q10 dietary supplement can have health benefits and this oil-soluble molecule can be dissolved in water or fish oil.

Omega-3 and heart health

Omega-3 fatty acids contain EPA and DHA and may be helpful in promoting heart health. These essential fatty acids cannot be produced by the body yet play an important role in the body. Omega-3 fatty acids help to:

  • Keep the heart beating at a steady rhythm and avoid arrhythmia
  • Lower both heart rate and blood pressure
  • Improves blood vessel function
  • When given at higher doses, it may alleviate inflammation and lower triglycerides

Omega-3 fatty acids can be found in flaxseed oil, fish oil, vegetable oils, and leafy vegetables, among other foods. Although there are options for obtaining these heart-healthy fatty acids through diet, omega-3 supplements that contain these essential fatty acids are a convenient alternative. In fact, in 2004, the FDA announced qualified health claims for omega-3 fatty acids, noting supportive but not conclusive research showing that consuming EPA and DHA omega-3 fatty acids may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease. Care/of offers a fish oil with 200 mg of omega-3 fatty acids from EPA and DHA.

Vegetarians and vegans may struggle with finding a plant-based omega-3 fatty acid. Fish oil is often the only option available. But algae oil is a great alternative. The benefits of this plant-based omega-3 fatty acid are supported by double-blind clinical trials. Care/of’s Veggie Omega provides 540 mg of EPA and DHA using sustainable microalgae.

Which supplements don’t work for heart health?

There are some dietary supplements that can be quite beneficial in promoting heart health. However, there are some supplements that could either provide no benefits for your heart health or, in some cases, could be harmful in large doses.

Vitamin E, although considered an antioxidant, can actually increase the risk of heart issues in some individuals which is why food sources of vitamin E are safer options. The American Heart Association does not support the use of vitamin E supplements to prevent cardiovascular disease, but does recommend the consumption of foods abundant in antioxidant vitamins and other nutrients. Vitamin E doses higher than 400 IU daily have been associated with negative health outcomes. This is why it’s important to discuss any supplement you are considering taking with your healthcare provider before consuming. High doses of supplements well above the 400 IU without guidance from your healthcare professional can lead to issues. So it is always important to discuss with your provider and if necessary check blood levels through labs.

How else can I improve my heart health?

There are many proactive steps you can take to safeguard your heart health and support a healthy heart. Eating a balanced diet of fresh foods and exercising regularly are some of the best ways to improve heart health.

Quitting smoking is also essential to heart health as well as maintaining a healthy weight. Finally, although it might not seem like there’s a connection, quality sleep for around eight hours per night is also a good way to support your heart’s health.

Food for heart health

Eating the right foods is one of the best ways to help your heart, and there are many foods that are good for heart health. Some foods that are particularly beneficial for the heart are garlic, nuts and berries, and foods containing dietary fiber. In general, you may want to skip the processed food isles and instead look for fresh foods that are high in antioxidants, especially colorful foods, like peppers, tomatoes and citrus fruits. Limiting saturated fats (like fried foods) and red meat and deli meat is also important. Excess saturated fat can negatively impact heart health.

Garlic is very good for the body as a whole as it has defensive properties. The aroma of garlic is unmistakable, but it holds more than just a distinctive smell. That fragrance denotes the organosulfur Allicin. This defensive compound has shown antibacterial and antioxidant properties. Garlic can help promote the maintenance of healthy cholesterol levels and normal blood pressure levels. However, it can interact with certain drugs. So, it is important to talk with your doctor before using garlic, especially if you are taking blood thinners.

Research has also shown that both nuts and berries are helpful for supporting heart health. These nutrient-dense foods have antioxidant properties, which can help manage free radicals, which can contribute to cholesterol molecules becoming artery-clogging plaque. Increasing your nut intake can support the body’s protection from oxidative stress. Nuts contain both omega-3 fatty acids as well as arginine, an amino acid which contributes to helping keep blood vessels relaxed. Some nuts also contain Alpha-linolenic acid, an essential fatty acid, which helps support a healthy cardiovascular system.

Superberries are a special group of berries (including acai berries, blackberries, blueberries, goji berries and raspberries) which have particularly high levels of vitamin C. Since vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant, it can be a beneficial part of a nutrition program that supports cardiovascular health. Care/of’s Superberry is known as the Antioxidant Ace because it’s packed with nutrients from 11 superfruits, providing 500 mg of vitamin C in each serving.

Dietary fiber has been shown to be significantly beneficial for heart health. This relationship is strongest with cereal fiber, especially whole grains. Servings like 30 -50 g of milled flax daily have been shown to support normal cholesterol levels. High fiber diets which contain between 21 to 38 g of fiber each day help promote healthy cholesterol levels.

Exercise for heart health

It’s well known that regular moderate exercise is good for cardiovascular health. In fact, we’re just beginning to understand how significant of a health risk a sedentary lifestyle can be, including its impact on the heart.

Most any type of movement is good, from gentle exercise like yoga to intensive workouts like HIIT. It has been popular for several years now to encourage people to walk at least 10,000 steps a day. If you are new to exercise, you may want to talk to your doctor to determine the most reasonable exercise program for your fitness level.

Also, remember that research indicates that too much exercise can actually damage the heart. So, with exercise, like with most things, moderation is best. Jogging for 15 minutes a few days each week, according to the study, is preferable to less intense strolls or high endurance hours of extreme cardio.

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