Heart Health and Nutritional Supplements
By: Dr. Peggy Malone
On this week’s episode of my television show Living Well, we talked about Heart Health. We had so much great content that I split it into two. If you haven’t had a chance to check out Monday’s post, I interviewed Public Health Dietician Cathy MacPherson on the symptoms of Heart Attack and Stroke and some nutritional strategies for a healthier heart.
For today’s post, I will review my Episode 13 interview with Ryan Meloche who is the National Accounts Manager for Douglas Laboratories and Pure Encapsulations. We chatted about the benefits of using nutritional supplements to help your heart health.
How can nutritional supplements help Cardiovascular health?
There are several ways that nutritional supplements can help to improve heart health depending on which level of cardiovascular health or disease one is dealing with.
Supplementation can vary from preventative care and supporting cardiovascular function and structure to therapeutic management of various disease processes such as high cholesterol and triglyceride levels, high blood pressure, managing cardiovascular risk factors such as high homocysteine, C Reactive Protein, and blood glucose regulation.
Ryan reminded us that it is really important to work with your qualified health care provider if you would like to start taking supplements as a complement or an alternative to care that you may already be under. This is super important!
You will likely be able to find many of the supplement ingredients discussed here at your local health food store but remember with supplements, you get what you pay for. If you buy your nutritional supplements at a big box store, they may be cheaper but they will also have fillers and not the best of the ingredients you are looking for.
Using a professional supplement has great benefits including the access to quality raw materials on the market that have clinical science to back them. Professional supplements are available from many health care providers such as Chiropractors, Naturopaths, and even some Medical Doctors.
Lets look at Hypercholesterolemia, or high cholesterol.
This condition can be readily assisted with natural supplements such as Phytosterols.
By taking phytosterols with a meal, the phytosterols will compromise the absorption of dietary cholesterol into the body because your body will prefer to absorb the phytosterols. This means your body won’t take in as much of the bad cholesterol from your diet which will help to lower your overall LDL (bad) cholesterol
Douglas Laboratories has a product called CardioEdge that includes Phytosterols that will help to lower your bad cholesterol.
It also contains pomegranate which is a phytochemical important in supporting the health of the body’s capillary blood flow and proper vascular permeability, integrity, and resiliency. In other words…pomegranate is good for your heart!
Most importantly, Cardioedge contains a trademarked raw material called Sytrinol which has been shown to bring down Total Cholesterol by as much as 24%, LDL (bad cholesterol) by as much as 28% and Triglycerides by as much as 22% in a 4 week period. (This is super impressive!!)
Using Cardioedge or supplements that contain the same ingredients as well as Omega 3 Fatty Acids would be a great protocol to help with high cholesterol.
The Omega 3 Fats EPA/DHA should be considered as an additional therapeutic option for hypertriglyceridemia and also displays cholesterol lowering effects. Omega 3 fatty acids can lower triglyceride levels by as much as 20% to 40%.
What about Hypertension (High Blood Pressure)? What value would supplements play here?
This is a condition where it’s definitely worth reiterating that a qualified health professional should be helping you with these supplement decisions.
Douglas Laboratories has a product called Cardiostolix that has been backed by research and is designed to support optimal cardiovascular function with a particular focus on supporting the body’s natural blood pressure regulatory mechanism.
It contains Hawthorne and Coleus which are herbs that have vasodilatary, or vessel dilating effects, (They open up and relax your blood vessels) so they support healthy circulation and reduce peripheral vascular resistance (pressure) and enhance blood flow.
Another ingredient NSK, is an enzyme produced from the fermentation of soy cheese. It has demonstrated results promoting healthy blood flow, circulation and blood vessel function. It also helps to reduce C Reactive Protein (CRP) which is a marker for inflammation in the blood vessels. This is a risk factor and is something that is tested for when a patient is suspected to have some heart health issues.
Another key ingredient is Ameal Peptide which is a hydrolyzed milk protein that supports the body’s own blood pressure regulating mechanism.
These peptides are angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors and block the rate of production of angiotensin II, a peptide that can cause blood vessel constriction and can contribute to elevated blood pressure.
You may know that many people are prescribed pharmaceutical ACE Inhibitors to decrease high blood pressure so it’s great to hear that there are more natural options.
What core supplements do you feel are essential for Optimal Cardiovascular Health in general?
First, a good quality multivitamin is a must. Then Omega 3 Fatty Acids, d-Ribose (Corvalen), and CoQ10 would be great support for optimal cardiovascular health.
Patients with cardiovascular disease would benefit from omega 3 fatty acids since fish oil supplements have been shown to have beneficial effects on nearly every risk factor for cardiovascular disease.
Additionally, they reduce cardiovascular risk factors without adversely affecting glycemic control and improves insulin sensitivity for type II diabetics.
Corvalen (d-Ribose) is a natural sugar that our body produces and is indicated for Cardiovascular health both for supporting optimal cardiovascular health but as well as when one suffers from various cardiovascular conditions.
The problem is that our heart and skeletal muscle do not efficiently convert glucose (that we get in food) to ribose which ultimately converts to energy (ATP).
With stressors on our body such as environmental, emotional, and physical stress including disease, this conversion becomes even more inefficient therefore it is important to support this energy synthesis for the heart to keep it healthy.
Similarly, Coq10 is one of the major energy producers for the heart and is a potent antioxidant. Research also supports CoQ10 to help promote healthy ventricular functions, blood flow, heart rhythm, endothelial function and glycemic control so it is a generalized cardiovascular support product with many other benefits in the body.
Of course, lifestyle factors are also very important. Regular moderate exercise, reduced consumption of alcoholic beverage and saturated fats and not smoking, as well as increased consumption antioxidant rich foods such as grains, fruits and veggies would be recommended.
I have heard that you should take CoQ10 when taking given cholesterol related drugs. Could you comment?
CoQ10 is indicated for heart and cardiovascular health as a whole as significant levels of CoQ10 are found in Heart Muscle and numerous clinical studies have demonstrated improvements in the function of the heart after supplementation with CoQ10.
It is essential to use CoQ10 when one is taking statin drugs (like Lipitor or Crestor) as our body’s ability to produce CoQ10 decreases when taking these drugs.
CoQ10 is one of the major ATP or energy producers for the heart so with a compromised cardiovascular health state to begin with let alone the further insufficiency associated with the statin use, why deprive the heart of one of major highly concentrated energy producers?
Supplementing with CoQ10 will help off-set this. General recommendation is take 100mg of CoQ10 per day.
Look for the form of CoQ10 called ubiquinol as this is the body ready form directly usable by the body without requiring conversion.
There are amazing benefits to be had from the use of nutritional supplementation to improve your heart health and to help support your body if your cardiovascular health isn’t at 100%.
Again, make sure that you work with a qualified health care provider if you would like to start a supplement program to help with your heart health.
Here’s to your healthy and happy heart!
A former varsity Basketball and Rugby player, she has since entered the world of endurance athletics where she has completed 2 Ironman Triathlons, 3 Marathons, several Half Marathons and many other Triathlons, Road Races and Off-Road Adventure races of varying distances.
Her own athletic endeavors and injuries have given her valuable insight into working with athletes in her practice for both the care of injuries as well as for the improvement of athletic performance.
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