29 Jan 4 Key Heart Health Supplements
Cardiovascular disease is the #1 Killer of Americans. About one-third of the deaths worldwide are caused by a heart or stroke related disease. Several years ago I wrote my first book “4 Pillars of Health: Heart Disease” and covered even more of the statistics about the disease and its causes. Today, I want to enlighten you into 3 key supplements I believe are critical for All of us to consider using on a daily basis to either help prevent or possibly treat this horrible disease.
Before I get into these 3 supplements though, I would love to share the risk factors that are uncontrollable and controllable. Uncontrollable risk factors are those in which you have absolutely no control over such as gender, age, family history, and race. Controllable risk factors are things that you can change such as smoking, activity level, cholesterol, hypertension, and weight.
Uncontrollable Risk Factors
- Family History
Controllable Risk Factors
- Physical inactivity
- Being Overweight
- Abnormal blood fats (Cholesterol/triglycerides)
- High Blood Sugar
- Metabolic Syndrome
- Medication use
- Salt/Sodium use
- Homocysteine levels
- C-Reactive Protein (CRP)
In order to address the prevention or treatment of “Heart Disease” we need to need to focus our efforts on the areas we can control. We need to make extreme efforts to minimize those risk factors that are actually in our control. After that, there really isn’t much else you can do.
Back to my 4 critical supplements for those who have cardiovascular health concerns. Keep in mind that if you are already under a medical providers help and on medications that you need to clear the use of my suggestions with them too.
Omega-3s (Primarily Fish Oil which is EPA and DHA)
For years, experts have been extolling the many benefits of the primary Omega-3s found in Fish oil- EPA and DHA. Can you get enough from your diet? NO WAY. I joke that you would need to eat a boatload of fish to get the Omega-3s you get from a supplement. (And you would probably have heavy metal poisoning along with the fish!)
Most consumers follow the dosing based on the amount of fish oil in a capsule, teaspoon, and packet. The real key is the total amount of Omega-3s per serving. Here is an example: Let’s suppose that I have a condition where the suggested dose was 2000mg (2 grams) of Omega-3s per day. You need to read the supplement facts information on the back of the bottle because each brand available has a differing amount of Omega-3s per serving (don’t forget to read your serving sizes too). For example, XYZ brand may contain 1000mg of fish oil per capsule and yield 500mg of total Omega-3s. This concentration means that I would only have to take 4 capsules per day to get the 2000mg of Omega-3s Taking the wrong dosage will keep one from fully realizing the benefits of fish oil products. Be aware that not all Omega-3s from Fish Oil products are the same. You need to read your labels carefully for serving sizes and amounts of Omega-3s in that serving size.
For most average adults, I suggest between 2-4000mg of Omega-3s per day.
CoQ10 or Ubiquinol
Of all of many antioxidant supplements, I want to focus in on two compounds in particular. By now, most of you have heard of CoQ10 or Coenzyme Q10. But, many are not familiar with Ubiquinol? CoQ10 (Ubiquinone) and has been taken as a supplement by millions of people over the past thirty years. Ubiquinol is the reduced-active antioxidant form of CoQ10, which has only recently been available.
CoQ10 is considered one of the more powerful fat-soluble antioxidants and is naturally produced in the body. In my opinion, it is the MOST important Antioxidant you can use for the prevention and elimination of cardiovascular disease. It also plays an important roll in the energy production that occurs within your cells. Both ubiquinone and ubiquinol are critical to the cellular ATP (energy) production cycle. Without the presence of both ubiquinone and ubiquinol within the body’s cells, cellular energy cannot be generated or sustained.
As we age, Ubiquinone (CoQ10) levels begin to decrease (beginning around the age of 20). Additionally, the body’s ability to convert these declining levels of CoQ10 into ubiquinol (the reduced active form) is also diminished with age. Without proper levels in the body, the body produces less energy and lacks a strong defense against free radicals (linked to many of our major health challenges).
Due to its established role in the body’s energy production process, ubiquinol should increase energy, stamina and general wellness in most people, especially in those who cannot efficiently convert CoQ10 into ubiquinol. Ubiquinone (CoQ10) will continue to be an important supplement for those who want to maintain good health in there 20s and 30s. Ubiquinol however, will be of particular importance for those over 40 (like me). I recently switched from CoQ10 to Ubiquinol when I learned about it a few years ago. My personal results are amazing. I am realizing the benefits immediately and with significant better results. I can only relate that back to the possibility either I wasn’t absorbing my CoQ10 or converting it into the active form. Initially, I would suggest taking 2-300mg Ubiquinol per day for a week, and then drop back to 50-100mg per day. I take 200mg per day on the days I do cardiovascular exercise and 100mg per day on the alternate day. STATIN Alert! If you are currently using a statin medication, you should consider using at least 60mg per day of Ubiquinol or CoQ10 to make up for what might be depleted by taking your medication. Personally, I would consume more due to the fact that you must have other risk factors for cardiovascular disease other than elevated cholesterol levels. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
Hawthorn is what I would call a tonic for the whole cardiovascular system. Tonic herbs provide a more complete effect and help to balance out systems in the body. In the case of Hawthorn, even though I recommend it to help lower someone’s blood pressure, I would also use it to help someone who has low blood pressure. Yes, this may sound a bit crazy, but it is what it is.
Hawthorn is widely regarded in Europe as a safe and effective treatment for the early stages of heart disease and is endorsed by Commission E- the branch of the German government that studies and approves herbal treatments. It is used to promote the health of the circulatory system and has been found useful in treating angina, high blood pressure, congestive heart failure and cardiac arrhythmia. It has been found to strengthen the heart and stabilize it against arrhythmias.
There is also evidence for cardiovascular system improvement, particularly with angina, congestive heart failure and acute myocardial infarct. This may be due to the herb’s antioxidant activity.
Dosing varies depending on the product (brand) you purchase. I suggest following the manufacturers labeling instructions.
Vitamin K2 (More specifically Menaquinone-7 or MenaQ7)
I have to confess that this supplement is very new to me. It didn’t even make it into my book just a few years ago and I only recently started studying it and now taking it personally.
Unlike the other fat-soluble vitamins, vitamin K is a bit more complicated to describe. Why? There are 2 natural occurring forms of vitamin K and each one comes from different sources and has different health benefits. Grouped together as K, they not only play a role in the body’s ability to clot (stop the bleeding from a cut or scrape), bone building and strength, fight certain types of cancer, and support a healthy cardiovascular system (veins and arteries). Through these diverse actions, vitamin K holds promise in helping to prevent and manage some of the most crippling conditions associated with advancing age, including osteoporosis, coronary artery disease, and blood clots that can induce heart attack or stroke. Simply put, vitamin K can have an impact on most areas and bodily processes. In fact, vitamin K is sometimes referred to as “the forgotten vitamin” because its major benefits are often overlooked.
The main function of Vitamin K is modifying proteins to give them the ability to bind calcium. In this way, it “activates” the calcium-binding properties of proteins. However… the roles of Vitamin K1 and K2 are quite different and I feel that they should be classified as separate nutrients altogether.
Even within the discussion of Vitamin K2, there are two forms: Menaquinone-4 and Menaquinone-7. Recent studies show that natural vitamin K2 as Menaquinone-7 is consistently found to be much more effective compared to Menaquinone-4. This is mainly due to menaquinone-7 being better absorbed and lasting longer (8-10 times longer) in the body. These two reasons and the fact that Menaquinone-7 is the form with the most credible research showing its benefits are why I use and recommend using Menaquinone-7 as part a daily supplement regimen. The branded ingredient MenaQ7 is the brand of K2 that has the most compelling research.
Why is MenaQ7 (K2) so important for heart health? One of the key functions of vitamin K2 is to make sure the calcium in your body ends up in you bones and not in your arteries (hardening of the arteries). A recent study gave more light to this showing that people with the highest intake of vitamin K2 had a much lower risk of heart disease. Another study using specifically MenaQ7 showed that supplementing with vitamin K2 (menaquinone-7) not only inhibited age-related stiffening of artery walls, but also made a significant improvement in the elasticity. (Thrombosis and Haemostasis May 2015)