Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in America.1
Although it’s more common among men and Caucasians, the three main risk factors for heart disease include smoking, high blood pressure, and high LDL cholesterol levels. The CDC estimates that almost half of all Americans have at least one of these three risk factors.2
Given these statistics, many patients may be wondering what they can do to decrease their chances of developing cardiovascular disease or minimize the damage it may have already done. Taking an drug-free approach, chiropractors can advise patients about the best supplements for heart health. Here are just a few of the most common natural agents.
Fiber is found naturally in many foods, including legumes, bran, berries, leafy green vegetables, whole grains, and nuts.3-4 It can cut down the amount of cholesterol in the body, as well as stimulate proper digestion. The Institute of Medicine recommends that women get at least 25 grams of daily fiber and men get 38 grams.3,5 Unfortunately, the average American only gets about 15 grams from food intake, so a fiber supplement is an excellent dietary addition.5 Blond psyllium husk is generally considered the best of these supplements.3,6
Fish oil is perhaps the best known of all cardiovascular supplements for cutting cholesterol and improving cardiac health. Studies have suggested that the omega-3 fatty acids can cut triglyceride fat levels by as much as one-third.3-6 Patients can either increase their intake of fatty fish, such as cod or salmon, or take supplements. For patients who do not like the taste of fatty fish, a supplement may provide them with the omega-3 fatty acids that they need.
Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is one of the newer supplements for heart health. It is an antioxidant made naturally in the body and is essential for cell function.7 As the body ages, the levels of CoQ10 decrease, which may lower protection against high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or other heart-disease-related conditions. Adding CoQ10 supplements to the diet may help boost the body’s natural protection of the heart.3,7
1 “Heart Disease Facts.” Centers for Disease Control & Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/heartdisease/facts.htm. Published Feb. 19, 2015. Accessed July 16, 2015.
2 CDC. Million hearts: Strategies to reduce the prevalence of leading cardiovascular disease risk factors. United States. 2011. MMWR. 2011;60(36):1248-1251.
3 Web MD. “6 supplements for heart health.” http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-and-supplements/lifestyle-guide-11/supplements-heart-healthy?page=2. Accessed July 16, 2015. Reviewed July 7, 2015.
4 Palmer S. The top fiber-rich foods list. Today’s Dietitian. 2008,10(7):28.
5 Institute of Medicine. Dietary Reference Intakes for Energy, Carbohydrate, Fiber, Fat, Fatty Acids, Cholesterol, Protein, and Amino Acids. National Academies Press: Washington, DC.
6 Covington MB. Omega-3 fatty acids. American Family Physician. 2004,70(1):133-140.
7 Mayo Clinic. “Coenzyme Q10.” http://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements/coenzyme-q10/background/hrb-20059019. Updated Nov. 1, 2013. Accessed July 16, 2015.