We all know that improving health is the most popular New Year’s resolution.
This is the reason why many gyms and health clubs offer deals on their memberships at the beginning of the year. As a result, you should not be surprised to have your patients ask about ways that they can improve their health through diet, vitamins, and supplements. In particular, you should consider helping your patients focus on vitamins and supplements to support their heart health.
Improving cardiovascular health will not only lower their risk for high blood pressure, diabetes and a host of other chronic health issues, but will also help with weight loss and overall fitness. Read further to find out some of the important stats about cardiovascular disease, as well as some of the research into vitamins and supplements that improve heart health.
Heart disease stats
According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), cardiac disease is the number one cause of death among American adults, particularly among men and Caucasians.1
A number of risk factors can predispose patients for heart disease, but smoking, high blood pressure and high LDL (bad) cholesterol are the three main ones. The CDC estimates that as many as 50 percent of American adults has at least one of these risk factors.2
1. Omega-3 fatty acids
Fish oil is probably the best known of all the omega-3 fatty acids for improving cardiovascular health. The most common source is through fatty fish, such as salmon or mackerel.3 The American Heart Association recommends eating at least two servings of fatty fish per week for the general population with no history of heart disease and at least one serving per day for those who have been diagnosed with cardiovascular disease. Flaxseed, canola oil, or walnuts can be substituted for your patients following a plant-based diet.3
2. Folate, vitamins B12 and B6
A 2008 article published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition examined how a combination of folate and vitamins B6 and B12 might lower the risk for coronary heart disease in a large population of more than 40,000 Japanese adults, between the ages of 40 and 59, who participated in a public health survey including a food questionnaire.4
The researchers found 251 cases of coronary heart disease. In going over the food surveys, the researchers found that the incidence of coronary heart disease and myocardial infarction was lower among those subjects who reported folate, and vitamins B6 and B12, as part of their regular diet.4
The researchers concluded: “Dietary intake of VB(6) was associated with a reduced risk of coronary heart disease among middle-aged non-multivitamin supplement users. Dietary folate and VB(12) were also suggested to be protective factors for coronary heart disease.”
3. Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10)
Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is an antioxidant that the body produces during periods of growth, such as puberty. The natural aging process can lower CoQ10 levels. There has also been some evidence that people with lower CoQ10 levels have a greater risk for heart disease.
A 2008 article in Lipids in Health and Disease performed a meta analysis by pooling the results from eight papers examining the effects of CoQ10 on the lipid profile of patients with coronary artery disease.5 A meta-analysis looks for similar patterns among the results of the individual papers, in order to strengthen the findings.
Overall, the findings showed that those patients taking CoQ10 had significantly decreased total cholesterol levels and significantly increased HDL (good) cholesterol levels. The researchers concluded that these findings indicated that CoQ10 appears promising in terms of addressing total and HDL cholesterol levels for patients with coronary artery disease.5
The new year is a great time to encourage your patients to improve their diet toward one that is more heart-healthy. Supplements such as omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins B6 and B12, folate and CoQ10 are important components of such a diet.
1. Heart Disease Facts. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/heartdisease/facts.htm. Published Feb. 19, 2015. Updated Nov. 28, 2017. Accessed Jan. 20, 2019.
2. CDC. Million hearts: Strategies to reduce the prevalence of leading cardiovascular disease risk factors. MMWR. 2011;60(36):1248-1251.
3. Covington MB. Omega-3 fatty acids. American Family Physician. 2004;70(1):133-140.
Ishihara J1, Iso H, Inoue M, et al. Intake of folate, vitamin B6 and vitamin B12 and the risk of CHD: The Japan Public Health Center-Based Prospective Study Cohort I. Journal of the American College of Nutrition. 2008;27(1):127-136.
4. Jorat MV, Tabrizi R, Mirhosseini N, et al. The effects of coenzyme Q10 supplementation on lipid profiles among patients with coronary artery disease: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Lipids in Health and Disease. 2018;17(1):230.