Supplements for the Heart

Feb 25, 2019

heart health month heart supplements

By Renell Cronk, RDN, LD

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”), heart disease is the number one cause of death in the United States, and stroke is following close behind at number five. A major player contributing to these issues is a lack of nutrition in our daily diet. There are many nutrients our body needs to support a healthy functioning heart and cardiovascular system; many of which we can’t always get through food alone. This is where supplements can be of help, to fill in those nutrient gaps. Show your heart some love and check out these five supplements to support a healthy cardiovascular system!

EPA — Also known as eicosapentaenoic acid, is found in Omega 3 fish oil supplements. EPA produces eicosanoids, a potent anti-inflammatory compound. Eicosanoids reduces blood clotting, blood pressure due to dilation of blood vessels (as known as vasodilation), and inflammation. EPA also supports healthy triglyceride levels. It is recommended to take 500-1000mg Omega 3 fish oil daily. Not all Omega 3 is created equal. It is recommended to buy an Omega 3 supplement in triglyceride form that also contains antioxidants like vitamin E or astaxanthin to keep the oil from going rancid.

CoQ10 — Also known as Coenzyme Q10, helps with energy production. Without CoQ10 we cannot make ATP (adenosine triphosphate) or energy. The most active tissues in our body, like the heart muscle, have the greatest need for energy or ATP. This is why CoQ10 is essential for a healthy heart. With that, CoQ10 functions as an antioxidant and protects LDL cholesterol from oxidation. Also, if you are taking statin medication, this can block the body’s natural production of CoQ10. It is recommended to take 100-300mg daily of the active form of CoQ10 known as Ubiquinol.

L-Arginine — L- Arginine is a conditionally essential amino acid; stress and injury can drain the body’s supply.  L-Arginine primarily works by increasing nitric oxide in the blood. Having higher nitric oxide levels relaxes and dilates blood vessels, which helps to increase blood circulation to organs like the heart. Protein is a great source of L-Arginine or it can be supplemented. It is recommended to talk with your doctor about the appropriate amount to take daily.

Grape seed Extract — Also known as OPCs (oligomeric proanthocyanidins). OPCs is a type of flavonoid that helps strengthen arteries, veins and capillaries which in turn helps to support the health of blood vessels and their flexibility. OPCs also help to improve swelling and circulation in the body. It is recommended to take 100-150mg daily of grape seed extract or OPCs.

Cayenne — Cayenne is a blood flow stimulator which promotes blood circulation and helps to carry nutrients to the cells more efficiently. Cayenne contains a compound called capsaicin which dilates arteries and blood vessels to support circulation and blood pressure. It is recommended to take 30-120 mg one to three times daily.

Disclaimer: Dietary supplements can interact with prescription medications. If you are taking a prescription medication, talk with your doctor before considering taking these supplements.

References are available upon request.

About the Author

Renell Cronk is a Registered Dietitian with PsyMed, Inc. She helps educate and prepare Nicholson Clinic patients before and after surgery with meal planning, recipe ideas, nutrition education and more. Nothing gives Renell a greater feeling of accomplishment and joy than helping individuals achieve their health, lifestyle and nutrition goals.

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