What are the Best Vitamins to Take for Your Heart?
What are the Best Vitamins to Take for Your Heart?
Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. Nearly half of all Americans have at least one of the three risk factors for heart disease. High cholesterol, high blood pressure, and smoking are the leading risk factors. These risk factors can lead to heart failure, heart attack, stroke, or even death.
Over 57% of adults over the age of 20 have reported using a dietary supplement within the past 30 days. Vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids are the most popular supplements used. Many multivitamins and supplements claim to help prevent heart disease, but can they really? Learn how vitamins and supplements can be beneficial to your heart’s health.
Can vitamins and supplements protect you from heart disease?
The simple answer is no, vitamins and supplements cannot protect from heart disease or prevent a heart attack, stroke, or cardiovascular death. While multivitamins and mineral supplements do not prevent cardiovascular diseases, they may help lower the risk factors and they have several benefits for overall health.
With so many vitamins and supplements claiming to have benefits to your heart, it can be hard to determine if they actually do and what effect they have. While there has been research done on the effectiveness of dietary supplements on cardiovascular health, the results are not very clear.
What are the best heart health supplements?
The main source of nutrients comes from a healthy, whole-food diet. Those who generally eat healthily do not need to take a daily vitamin or supplement. While you can get vitamins from certain fruits, vegetables, nuts, healthy oils, and whole grains, supplements can fill the gaps in your diet.
Some studies have suggested that certain vitamins may reduce the risk of heart disease. When taken in moderation, vitamins and supplements are beneficial to your overall health but should still be used in conjunction with healthy eating habits.
4 vitamins that are good for your heart
1) Vitamin D
There is some evidence that suggests there is a link between low blood levels of vitamin D and heart disease. Individuals with low levels of vitamin D have an increased risk of heart attacks, stroke, and hypertension. You can check your vitamin D levels with a simple blood test. It is important to know your vitamin D levels because too much vitamin D is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.
2) Folic Acid
Folic acid is a B vitamin. Folic acid has been proven to lower homocysteine levels, which can harden arteries. You can get plenty of folic acids through foods like spinach, asparagus, and whole grains.
3) Omega 3 Fatty Acid
Found in oils from certain types of fish, vegetables, and other plants, omega-3 fatty acids have many health benefits including lowering blood pressure. Research shows that omega-3 led to a 28% reduced risk of heart attacks, and a 50% reduced risk of death. These fatty acids are not produced in the body, so they must be consumed through your diet or supplements. You can use fish oil supplements to get omega-3.
Low magnesium levels have been linked to cardiovascular risk factors such as high blood pressure, cholesterol, and hardened arteries. Research has shown that up to 50% of Americans are magnesium-deficient. Taking a magnesium supplement can help lower blood pressure. Magnesium can also be found in foods such as spinach, nuts, and avocados.
Are some supplements bad for your heart?
Intro to supplements that may harm your heart The FDA regulates dietary supplements as food, not as drugs. Many dietary supplements on the market can cause more harm to your health, or be harmful when taken in conjunction with other medications or an existing medical condition.
When considering taking dietary supplements, avoid the following:
● Combining supplements
● Using supplements with other medicines
● Substituting supplements for dietary needs
● Taking too many supplements
It is important to always consult with your doctor before introducing a dietary supplement to your health routine. Try to get these nutrients from foods instead of turning to supplements. Any dietary supplements should be taken in moderation.
Supplements to avoid
Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant, but it may do more harm than good for cardiovascular patients. Vitamin E has been linked to a 13% higher risk of heart failure and a 21% increased risk of hospitalization for heart failure. Vitamin E can actually increase your risk of heart failure or stroke, and patients with heart-related health issues are discouraged from taking it.
There is evidence that calcium supplements may increase the risk of heart attacks. Too much calcium may cause plaque buildup in the arteries and damage the heart. While calcium does have health benefits, particularly in those with osteoporosis, patients at risk for cardiovascular disease are advised to avoid the supplement.
High amounts of choline may increase the risk of heart disease. Too much choline can increase the risk of blood clotting, heart attack, stroke, and death. Choline helps produce a compound that may directly contribute to narrowing the artery walls through plaque build-up.
How to choose the best vitamins and supplements for your heart
Always talk to your doctor before introducing supplements into your diet regimen. You should take supplements for your heart health under the advice of your healthcare provider. The best place to start is by getting a blood test to determine if you are deficient in certain nutrients.
Best practices for a healthy heart
While including multivitamins and supplements into your regimen may help compensate for missing nutrients, the key to a healthy heart is a healthy diet and lifestyle. Eduardo Sanchez, M.D, The American Heart Association’s chief medical officer for prevention, says, “Eat a healthy diet for a healthy heart and a long, healthy life”.
Your lifestyle can increase your risk for heart disease. Avoid a diet high in saturated fats, trans fat, and cholesterol, get adequate physical activity each day, and avoid tobacco products and smoking. A healthy lifestyle includes adequate exercise, no smoking, controlling blood pressure, and lowering cholesterol. Try eating nutrient-rich foods that include folic acid, magnesium, omega-3, and vitamin D. If your diet includes these foods and you are still deficient, take vitamins to supplement your diet.
It is important to see a doctor regularly to have your blood pressure and cholesterol levels checked, especially if you have a family history of heart disease. If you are at risk for heart disease or have any questions about your heart, please schedule an appointment with CVG. Our experienced team of doctors will walk you through every step of learning about heart care and treating heart problems and conditions!