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, the statistics about the disease and its causes. Today, I want to enlighten you about five essential supplements I believe are critical for All of us to consider daily to help prevent or possibly treat this horrible disease.
Before I get into these five supplements, though, I would love to share the risk factors that are uncontrollable and controllable. Uncontrollable risk factors are those you have absolutely no control over, such as gender, age, family history, and race. Controllable risk factors are things 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)
To address the prevention or treatment of “Heart Disease,” we must focus our efforts on the areas we can control. First, we must make extreme efforts to minimize the risk factors in our control. After that, there isn’t much else you can do.
Back to my five critical supplements for those who have cardiovascular health concerns. Keep in mind that if you are already under a medical provider’s help and on medications, 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? Probably Not! I joke that you would need to eat a boatload of fish to get the Omega-3s you get from a supplement.
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: Suppose I have a condition where the suggested dose is 2000mg (2 grams) of Omega-3s daily. You need to read the supplement facts information on the back of the bottle because each brand available has differing 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 Omega-3s. This concentration means I would only have to take four capsules daily to get the 2000mg of Omega-3s. Taking the wrong dosage will prevent 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.
CoQ10 or Ubiquinol
Of all the many antioxidant supplements, I want to focus on two compounds in particular. First, ubiquinol is the reduced-active antioxidant form of CoQ10 (Ubiquinone), which has only recently been available.
CoQ10/Ubiquinol is one of the more powerful fat-soluble antioxidants and is naturally produced in the body. In my opinion, it is the MOST critical antioxidant for cardiovascular health. It also plays a vital role in energy production within your cells. Ubiquinone and ubiquinol are essential to the cellular ATP (energy) production cycle. Without 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 (starting around 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, the body produces less energy and lacks a strong defense against free radicals (linked to many of our significant 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 those who cannot efficiently convert CoQ10 into ubiquinol. Therefore, Ubiquinone (CoQ10) will continue to be an essential supplement for those who want to maintain good health in their 20s and 30s. However, ubiquinol will be particularly important for those over 40 (like me). I recently switched from CoQ10 to Ubiquinol when I learned about it a few years ago.
Aged Black Garlic (ABG+)
Aged Black Garlic may be new to most. ABG+™ is a unique aged black garlic ingredient, standardized to ≥0.1% S-allyl cysteine (SAC). The reason I love (and take) ABG+ is due to its multiple benefits for cardiovascular health:
- Supports healthy cholesterol levels
- Supports healthy contraction of the heart
- Powerful antioxidant
- Promotes healthy blood pressure levels
Unlike other garlic supplements, ABG+ will not leave you with a funky garlic smell or with the potential for an upset stomach. I call this a big “smelling point” for ABG+.
If you haven’t heard of nattokinase, pay attention. Nattokinase comes from the fermented Japanese food Natto. The enzyme produced (nattokinase) during the fermentation process packs a significant punch for supporting your cardiovascular system. I included it here due to the vast clinical information showing its benefits for cardiovascular health. In addition, studies show that NSK-SD helps:
- Support Blood Pressure
- Decrease blood viscosity
- Break down fibrin (contributor to blood clot formation)
- Decrease C-reactive protein (CRP)
The unique mechanism of action of NSK-SD allows you to combine it with my other suggestions and approach your cardiovascular health from multiple angles. As with the previous supplements mentioned, I consume NSK-SD daily.
Even within the discussion of Vitamin K2, there are two forms: Menaquinone-4 and Menaquinone-7. However, recent studies show that natural vitamin K2, such as Menaquinone-7, is consistently much more effective than 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 of a daily supplement regimen.
One of the critical functions of vitamin K2 is to ensure the calcium in your body ends up in your bones and not in your arteries (hardening of the arteries). A recent study shed more light on this, showing that people with the highest intake of vitamin K2 had a much lower risk of heart disease. Another study using Vitamin K2 showed inhibited age-related stiffening of artery walls and significantly improved elasticity.
Putting a Bow on It
If it wasn’t obvious, the supplements listed above are part of my daily supplement program. Each has such unique and differing benefits to cardiovascular health I feel like I can’t do without them. Stepping back for a moment, I highly recommend getting a few tests done to ensure you are reaping your supplements’ benefits. One is the Omega-3 Index test. Just taking omega-3s doesn’t mean you are taking enough. Getting your score will help you adjust the amount you take to ensure you get the benefits you seek. (My last score was 11.1!!). Another test is called a calcium score. This test measures the mineral deposits in your heart. Since K2 and nattokinase play roles in this area, getting this core can give you more direction into your current state of heart health and a gauge for future testing. The last test is testing for CRP (c-reactive protein). CRP is an excellent indicator of inflammation in your bloodstream. Omega-3 and ubiquinol can play a huge role in decreasing this compound naturally produced by the body. Elevated CRP means you have a lot of inflammation in your bloodstream, which can lead to more severe issues in the future.