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Supplements and Heart Health: What Should You Be Taking?

A heart isn’t just a symbol for love; it’s one of the most important organs in the human body. Its main function is to pump blood through the blood vessels to your body’s 75 trillion cells to help them function properly.

Did you know that an adult heart beats around 100,000 times a day? In fact, that thumping sound that you hear is actually the sound of the four valves of the heart opening and closing.

There are a number of actions you can take to keep your heart functioning at its peak potential, such as starting a consistent fitness regimen and making a concerted effort to eat a healthier diet. On top of these heart-healthy ideas, you can consider adding supplements to your daily routine.

While there are many supplements on the market, today we’re going to focus on four that can help lessen your risk for heart disease.

Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10)

Though CoQ10 is naturally made in small amounts in the body, a deficiency of this enzyme may be due to disease, low dietary intake or even high CoQ10 use within the body. When a person has a CoQ10 deficiency, the results can include heart failure, high blood pressure and chest pain. Once the cause of the deficiency is pinpointed, a CoQ10 supplement could help to reverse these symptoms and increase the performance of the heart muscle, which in turn could improve your body’s overall muscle function.

Fiber

Fiber not only helps you feel fuller for longer. It can also help cut down on the amount of cholesterol that your body absorbs from food. It’s recommended that you consume at least 25 to 30 grams of fiber every day. Fruits, grains, vegetables and legumes are all viable sources of fiber. There is one form of fiber in particular that can help control cholesterol levels: psyllium. This soluble fiber has been shown to help people who are obese or overweight lower their levels of cholesterol, improve lipid levels and strengthen the heart muscle. Psyllium is a supplement that can be taken daily.

Fish Oil

We’ve talked about this supplement before, and for good reason. Fish oil pills are full of omega-3 fatty acids which can reduce levels of triglycerides – an unhealthy fat that’s found in your blood. But that’s not all; fish oil can help lower blood pressure as well. If you feel like you’re not getting enough omega-3s in your diet, the American Heart Association recommends that adults eat two oily fish servings per week. Oily fish can include anchovies, halibut, salmon and sardines. If you’re not a fan of seafood, you can still reap the benefits of these swimmers by taking a fish oil supplement that consolidates their health benefits into one capsule.

Garlic

Not only does it make food taste delicious – garlic offers benefits too, like its ability to slightly lower blood pressure while increasing your “good” HDL cholesterol levels. How so? Garlic works to slow down the buildup of plaque in your arteries, which in turn lowers your risk for blood clots. If you don’t characterize yourself as a cook but still want to reap the benefits, you can also find garlic in supplement form. There are varying dosages of garlic supplements. Check with your primary care physician to see which one works best for you and your health goals.

While supplements can support heart health, it’s important to not solely rely on them as a definitive solution. Rather, use them as a supplement to your healthy lifestyle. Before you beginning a supplement regimen, or if you’d like to learn more about what supplements might be best for you and your heart health, schedule an appointment at the St. Barnabas Medical Center where we offer both internal medicine and cardiology services.

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St. Barnabas Health System
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Gibsonia, PA 15044

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