(NC)—Did you know that your heart beats about 100,000 times a day, pumping blood and oxygen to every cell in the body? The heart needs a constant supply of blood, with oxygen and nutrients, which it gets from the coronary arteries. If these arteries become damaged or blocked, and the heart doesn’t receive enough oxygen, heart muscle can be damaged or killed. And that can kill you. Improving circulation, strengthening your heart and supporting cellular health are all important for a long life and a strong heart.
The nutritional supplements most often recommended for heart health by naturopathic physicians include:
Coenzyme Q10 – also called ubiquinone, from ubiquitous, which means ‘everywhere at once’. Required by every cell in the body, CoQ10 helps “spark” the chemical reactions that produce cellular energy. Free-radical fighting antioxidants, including CoQ10, help prevent cardiovascular disease and other degenerative diseases and slow cellular aging. Like vitamin E, CoQ10 prevents oxidation of LDL cholesterol, reducing plaque build-up in arteries.
Omega-3 Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs) – EFAs are natural health-supporting oily food compounds that need to be consumed through diet as the body cannot manufacture them. They include DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) used in the membranes of the brain, eyes and glands, and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) which decreases inflammation, blood pressure and water retention. Quality fish oil supplements like Webber Naturals omega-3 super concentrate are standardized to provide 400 mg of EPA and 200 mg of DHA per capsule, more than double what some fish oil supplements provide. Omega-3s improve circulation and have an anti-inflammatory effect on the lining of coronary arteries. Some formulas combine CoQ10 and Omega-3s for additional heart support.
Antioxidants – These include a wide range of supplements — from berry concentrates, to Vitamins C and E, to beta carotene and green tea extracts, and resveratrol (from red grapes) — but what they have in common is the ability to neutralize free radicals to prevent cellular damage. Free radicals are unstable molecules that rob oxygen from other molecules. This is a process, called oxidation, that weakens cells, compromises immunity and speeds age-related decline. Antioxidants provide overall health support and are especially important for the heart and brain.
B Vitamins – Research shows that a combination of B vitamins (B12, B6 and folate) can reduce homocysteine levels. High homocysteine levels are an indicator of higher than average heart attack risk. Niacin is another important B vitamin that can safely improve cholesterol levels and circulation.
Garlic – Long known to improve circulation, research shows that garlic can improve blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Its capacity to support cardiovascular health may result from its ability to improve the elasticity of blood vessels.
Whatever supplements you choose for your heart’s health, the two most important ways to support that pump haven’t changed — eating a balanced diet and getting plenty of exercise. Your heart will thank you.