February is heart month!
Cardiovascular disease is a blanket term which includes a number of issues including heart attack and stroke. Heart disease is the number one cause of death for both men and women in the United States
There are a huge list of supplements which are great for heart health, though I thought it might be helpful to list those we at Pass Health Foods would list as the top supplements for a healthy heart. Many of those on the list below have additional benefits, which just give more of a reason to try them.
If there is one supplement that I think of most when it comes to heart health it would be CoQ10.
CoQ10 is a substance found in every cell in the body. The body manufactures it on its own, but as we age, the body’s production of the nutrient is greatly lowered. CoQ10 literally gives the cells the energy required to function, and is found in the highest concentrations in the heart. Research has found benefit in supplementing with CoQ10 for preventing heart attacks, particularly a second heart attack, as well as for people with congestive heart failure (there’s a good article on CoQ10 and heart failure here). CoQ10 has been researched extensively; here’s a nice overview of more of its benefits. Another thing to mention is that most people with heart problems would benefit from the ubiquinol form of CoQ10, which is much better absorbed than the more common ubiquinone.
It’s especially important for people who take cholesterol lowering medications known as statins to take CoQ10, since statins like Lipitor deplete the body’s production of CoQ10.
Garlic is great for heart health due in large part for its benefits for lowering cholesterol. Garlic has also been shown in research to slow and reduce the buildup of arterial plaque by reducing inflammation and slowing oxidation of bad cholesterol (LDL). Garlic has also been linked in studies to lowered blood pressure.
Garlic is also fantastic for the immune system, and has antioxidant and antifungal properties. Research has also suggested that garlic can help to prevent a number of cancers, particularly cancers of the digestive tract. I prefer Kyolic brand garlic capsules since they are odorless (no one wants to have garlic breath), easy to swallow, and don’t cause stomach irritation.
Omega 3 Fish Oil
If there were a supplement that would be closest to an “everything pill” it would be fish oil. It has documented benefits for heart health, reducing bad cholesterol (triglycerides in particular), helping to increase good cholesterol (HDL), reducing inflammation, aiding in brain function, boosting mood, reducing arthritis pain, and more. It has also been shown conclusively in research to help prevent heart disease.
Fish oil varies greatly in the concentration of EPA and DHA, the beneficial parts of omega 3 fatty acids. The EPA and DHA in fish oil are the whole reason to take fish oil, so take care to look for a supplement that is high in EPA and DHA. The supplement with the highest amount of EPA and DHA per pill we’ve found is Solgar’s Omega 950, so that is the one we would recommend.
There are a ton of other supplements with benefits to heart health: vitamin K, niacin, hawthorn, olive leaf, nattokinase, Sytrinol, resveratrol, and more. Come by the store and we’d be happy to help you find the supplement that’s right for you.