Many people are interested in learning more about heart disease and dietary supplements in order to educate themselves on preventive strategies against heart disease. However, before we delve into some of the best heart health supplements, let's highlight some important facts about this disease.
Heart disease, also known as cardiovascular disease is the general term for diseases or conditions that affects the heart (cardio) or the blood vessels (vascular). As such, there are many different types of heart diseases. However, coronary artery disease is the most common type of heart disease.
Coronary artery disease means narrowing of the coronary arteries. It is caused by a process called atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), which is the gradual buildup of plague - deposits made up of cholesterol, other fats, and calcium. Eventually, diminished blood flow can “starve" the heart muscle and lead to angina (chest pain). A complete blockage can cause a heart attack. In fact, coronary artery disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the U. S. each year.
Moreover, many studies indicate that individuals with high cholesterol levels are much more likely to develop atherosclerosis than people that maintain low cholesterol levels. As such, many high cholesterol level sufferers seek information about heart disease and dietary supplements. In addition, it has been found that high levels of the amino acid homocysteine may be associated with an increased risk of atherosclerosis.
Indeed, hearing words like heart disease, heart attack, and stroke is scary and, as such, many people search for information in regards to heart disease and dietary supplements to promote heart health. However, we believe before you can make an informed decision about health disease and dietary supplements, it's important to understand the risk factors associated with this condition, which is vital to your overall preventive strategies against heart disease. They include:
- High LDL “bad" cholesterol
- Low HDL “good" cholesterol
- High blood pressure
- Lack of exercise
- Unhealthy nutrition
- Heavy alcohol intake
- Family history
Needless to say, the first step in preventing or reducing your chances for heart disease is committing to a healthy lifestyle. In fact, aside from age, gender, and heredity, you have a great deal of power in controlling each of the aforementioned risk factors of heart disease.
With that being said, let's move on to heart disease and dietary supplements.
While it's important to understand that no dietary or herbal supplement will counteract a poor diet or the lack of exercise, it can be powerful components when used along with a heart healthy diet and a health enhancing lifestyle. Now, in regards to your heart health strategy and/or strategies against heart disease, you may want to address it having three main goals in mind and then use a combination of diet, exercise, and dietary and/or herbal supplements that works best for you. We believe that heart disease prevention must be addressed from several different perspectives since the disease results from a number of related “risk factors" and not from a single cause.
The three main goals for heart health are:
- Opening Blood Vessels
- Strengthening the Heart Muscle
- Controlling Free Radical Damage - Antioxidants
Supplements that Open Blood Vessels
Our research indicates that when it comes to heart disease and dietary supplements used for opening blood vessels, the following are some of the best and, as such, may be a part of your preventive strategies against heart disease.
Ginkgo biloba is well renowned for improving blood flow throughout the body, including the heart muscle. Ginkgo is also a powerhouse antioxidant and it appears to reduce blood stickiness, which lowers the risk of blood clots.
Fish oil is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids (DHA and EPA) that benefits heart health. Fish oil helps prevent platelets in the blood from clumping together, reducing the risk that blood clots will form. It has also been shown to reduce blood pressure, lower triglycerides (blood fats) levels, and improve blood flow. Indeed, fish oil omega 3's are praised by many experts as being one of the best heart disease and dietary supplements, meaning it should be a part of your preventive strategies against heart disease.
Policosanol - Some studies have shown that policosanol can lower one's bad cholesterol (LDL) by up to 20% and raise beneficial cholesterol (HDL) by 10%.
Guggulipid is prized for its ability to lower bad cholesterol (LDL) levels as well as high blood triglyceride levels. It has also shown to boost the levels of good cholesterol (HDL).
Vitamin B Complex, particularly vitamins B6, B12, and folic acid reduce levels of homocysteine.
Chromium is a mineral that plays a role in helping to manage cholesterol levels. In addition, it can help improve blood sugar control for diabetes sufferers.
Garlic is noted to reduce cholesterol and triglyceride levels as well as slightly lower blood pressure. In addition, studies indicate that garlic can help reduce the likelihood of blood clots.
Other nutrients that help open blood vessels include: Niacin and Soy protein
Supplements that Strengthen the Heart Muscle
Our research indicates that when it comes to heart disease and dietary supplements to strengthen the heart muscle, the following are some of the best and, as such, may be a part of your preventive strategies against heart disease.
Magnesium - This mineral plays a vital role in controlling muscle contraction and relaxation. It is also involved in regulating blood pressure (by relaxing blood vessels) and can help reduce the tendency of blood clotting.
Coenzyme Q10 is prized for its ability to strengthen the heart muscle and help prevent heart attacks and heart disease.
Hawthorn is a powerful heart tonic. It also strengthens the hearts pumping ability (muscle), helping the heart to beat more forcefully and efficiently.
Other possible heart muscle strengtheners include: L- Carnitine and Potassium
About Heart Disease and Dietary Supplements: Antioxidants
Antioxidants are believed to help prevent heart disease by fighting free radicals, substances that harm the body when left unchecked. These nutrients are on a constant search and destroy mission, fighting the continuous onslaught of free radicals. The following dietary supplements help fight free radicals and, as such, should be a part of your preventive strategies against heart disease.
Grape Seed Extract is a rich source of flavonoid compounds (oligomeric proanthocyanidins, or OPCs) that perform as potent antioxidants and powerful blood vessel strengtheners.
Green tea contains a particular group of potent antioxidants called polyphenols. Green tea also protects LDL cholesterol and blood vessel linings from oxidative damage.
Some other antioxidants noted to help with cardiovascular heart health include: Vitamins C and E, and Resveratrol
Indeed, educating yourself about heart disease and dietary supplements is important. However, before you start any dietary supplement program for heart disease prevention or treatment, please make sure you discuss it with your physician.
We believe that you should consider, if possible, taking a comprehensive health heart product formulated by someone that is qualified to create such a supplement. Here are a few reasons why. . .
- It could be very dangerous to your health to mix and match supplements and nutrients on your own.
- A formulated heart health product using carefully selected ingredients can enhance their therapeutic benefits, often much better than taking a single herb or nutrient on its own.
- Ratios of nutrients have to be balanced perfectly in order for it to be optimally effective.
Although we have provided you with some of the best heart health supplements, there are highly sophisticated Nutraceutical companies that have designed comprehensive heart health products from lowering cholesterol levels to promoting artery and heart health. Therefore, it's important to understand the how and why of what makes these comprehensive products useful - an important factor in making an informed choice about heart disease and dietary supplements.
Cindy Amorin is the chief editor of Nutritional-Supplement-Educational-Centre.com an information-rich site that discusses nutritional, dietary, and herbal supplements and their potential therapeutic value.
For detailed information about these nutrients and others, please visit us at our: Womens Heart Health and Mens Heart Health webpage.