Heart disease is responsible for most deaths worldwide for both men and women of all races. In the US, One person dies every 36 seconds from cardiovascular disease contributing to 1 in 4 deaths every year, therefore, most of us are rightfully concerned about our own risks.
Common medical practices have failed us when it comes to reducing the risks of heart disease. Worldwide we have spent billions of dollars trying to address heart disease and it still represents the most common cause of death. So what can you do to help with heart health?
There are five key supplements that I feel contribute the most to overall heart health: Omega-3 Fatty acids (Fish oil), Bergamot, Quercetin, CoEnzyme q10, and Vitamin K2.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are probably the most popular and recognizable of these supplements. Omega-3 fatty acids are composed of Alpha-linolenic Acid (ALA), Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA), and Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA).
Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to:
- Decrease arrhythmias (irregular heart rhythm)
- Decrease inflammation
- Diminish build-up of plaque in arteries
- Enhance insulin function
- Help convert nutrients from food into usable energy
- Help with mitochondrial function (produce energy in your cells)
- Lower blood pressure
- Lower triglycerides
Omega-3 fatty acids can be derived from the following food sources:
- Hemp seed
- Fish (albacore, tuna, mackerel, salmon and everyone's favorite - Sardines
However most of us prefer to take it as a fish oil based capsule with recommended dosages ranging from 900-2000mg per day.
Bergamot is a citrus fruit that is native to the Calabria region of Italy. It is thought to be a hybrid of lemon and bitter orange. Recent human studies have suggested that thanks to the flavonoids (plant-based antioxidants) it contains, bergamot extract can help reduce high cholesterol. One study published in 2013 showed that cholesterol dropped significantly among 77 patients who took 1,000 mg of bergamot extract daily for one month, enabling them to cut their statin dose in half. Bergamot also has been shown to raise HDL (“good”) cholesterol. Bergamot has also shown some promise in weight loss. A 2021 study notes that combining bergamot with artichoke leaf extract leads to similar decreases in cholesterol and a reduction in waist circumference and fat tissue in adults with overweight and might be more effective than supplementing with bergamot alone.
Dosages range from 500-1000mg
Quercetin recently came into public view due to its benefits with the covid-19 virus, but quercetin’s benefits go far beyond covid. Quercetin has been shown in recent studies to be beneficial in helping blood sugar, obesity, and heart health. In regards to blood sugar, Quercetin improves insulin sensitivity which allows the body to pull blood sugar out of the bloodstream and into the muscle thereby reducing blood sugar levels. Quercetin’s benefits in heart health are quite diverse. Quercetin has been shown in studies to:
- Reduce inflammation
- Reduce oxidative stress
- Dilate blood vessels thereby allowing for better circulation
- Reduce cardiac cell death
- Reduces calcium overload in the cell which can lead to cell death
Dosages range from 500-1000mg
CoEnzyme Q10 (CoQ10)
CoQ10 has been associated with heart health for many years, most notably for its use in people that are taking Statin drugs for cholesterol. Statin drugs are known to deplete the body of CoQ10 which can lead to heart pain and cellular damage. CoQ10 exerts in beneficial effects in the following ways:
- Important for energy production in the cells
- Acts as an antioxidant to scavenge free radicals
- Is beneficial in heart failure due to its ability to aid in muscle contraction
- Has a moderate effect on lowering blood pressure
- Can reduce or limit Left Ventricular Hypertrophy (muscle overgrowth)
- Can reduce Left Ventricular Fibrosis (scarring of the tissue)
- Dosages range from 30 to 300mg with normal dosing 60 to 120mg
Vitamin K has two components Vitamin K1 and vitamin K2. Vitamin K1 is the predominant form of vitamin K present in the diet. K1 is predominantly found in green vegetables, whereas K2 is synthesized by bacteria and are primarily found in food where bacteria are part of the production process. Major sources of K1 include spinach, cabbage, and kale, and absorption of dietary K1 is increased in presence of butter or oils. Beyond leafy greens, K1 can also be found in fruits like avocado, kiwi and grapes. The main known sources of K2 are fermented foods, meat, and dairy. Vitamin K2 in the form of MK-7 has been shown to be active in regulating osteoporosis, atherosclerosis, cancer and inflammatory diseases.
It is well documented that vitamin K2 protects the body against vascular calcification or hardening of the arteries. Specifically, vitamin K2, in the form of MK-7, has been proven in numerous studies to have a long-term protective effect on the development of calcification. The following are all benefits of vitamin K2:
- Risk reduction of cardiovascular disease
- Inhibits vascular calcification (hardening of the arteries)
- Decreases the development of atherosclerosis
- Improves vascular elasticity
At Moore’s Compounding Pharmacy we have designed a Heart Health Pack that contains:
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Kelby Gorman, R.Ph.
Moore’s Compounding Pharmacy