Love your heart! More than just a symbol of love this February, healthy hearts are central to long lives. Sadly, there is no magic diet or combination of supplements that guarantee you’d live forever. However, there are lifestyle and nutritional changes that can be made to support the health of your cardiovascular system. These changes can increase your odds for living a long and healthy life.
Fundamental advice given by the American Heart Association is to eat a plant-rich, low-salt, whole-food diet. They advise you avoid smoking and stress; and exercise regularly. You can also supplement these basics with some specific nutrients which have been shown to support one or more elements of your cardiovascular physiology and the function of your heart.
Metabolic Maintenance’s newest offering is a Berberine + Chromium supplement. Research has demonstrated that berberine, a botanical extract, possesses various cardiovascular benefits. Berberine helps maintain cholesterol levels already in the normal range .
Berberine’s impact on blood glucose levels is also particularly noteworthy. Imbalanced blood sugar is a risk factor for cardiovascular issues. Berberine supports normal insulin sensitivity and balanced blood glucose metabolism in fed and fasting states . Chromium offers similar support to glucose balance and metabolism. These data suggest Berberine + Chromium may be helpful for those who are interested in maintaining a healthy metabolism and cardiovascular system.
Additionally, berberine has been investigated for its actions in pathways that support normal inflammatory response and its antioxidant properties. Both of which are essential for maintaining a healthy cardiovascular system . Balanced and appropriate inflammatory responses are central and essential to cardiovascular health.
2. Omega 3s
The American Heart Association also highly recommends regular intake of omega-3 fatty acids . Omega 3s are found naturally in some foods such as flax seeds and cold water fish. Extensive science supports the use of omega-3 fatty acids to maintain healthy blood pressure and cholesterol.
There are three main types of omega-3 fatty acids. First, ALA (alpha-linolenic acid) is an essential fatty acid because the human body needs it, but doesn’t make it internally. The other two types are EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). EPA and DHA have been shown to be more important for heart health, and for healthy inflammatory balance.
Also when it comes to heart health, clinical research has demonstrated that the source of your omega 3s matters too. It is well documented that fish oil consumption is associated with better cardiovascular health. It supports normal insulin sensitivity and glucose metabolism, and supports healthy inflammatory response. The problem with relying on eating cold-water fish for your omega 3s is that pollution and bioaccumulation has led to significant mercury levels in fish flesh, among other toxins. While you may be helping your heart, mercury poisoning can result from eating too much contaminated fish.
Metabolic Maintenance’s Mega Omega Extra Strength fish oil supplement is a rich source of the omega-3 fatty acids, EPA and DHA. The fish oils sourced for this supplement are concentrated, purified, and thoroughly tested by a third party lab. We provide the benefits of omega-3s without the risk of contaminants common in fish, such as mercury and arsenic.
Mega Omega Extra Strength offers 1000 mg of concentrated fish oil, including 450 mg of EPA and 340 mg of DHA per softgel. While you should always consult a physician before changing or adding to your health regimen, the American Heart Association recommends that even patients with healthy cardiovascular systems should be consuming omega 3s regularly. Patients interested in supplementing for cardiovascular health may consider consuming about 1 gram (equivalent to 1000 mg) of EPA + DHA daily.
3. CoQ10 (with or without Red Yeast Rice)
Coenzyme Q10, or CoQ10, is a mitochondrial coenzyme, and is essential for the production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the fuel for essentially all cellular activities. The mitochondria within each of our cells rely on stored CoQ10 for the process of transforming the energy from the carbohydrates we eat into the form of energy cells can actually use to function. ATP is essential for a healthy metabolism, stability of bones, neurological health, and the functionality of muscles. In fact, it is through this relationship with ATP that scientists estimate CoQ10 may be responsible for producing 95% of the energy required by the human body.
The heart requires a lot of energy. It beats approximately 86,400 times a day and coenzyme CoQ10 is responsible for the energy production that helps to power each beat. Since the 1970’s, we have known that lower levels of CoQ10 are a characteristic of cardiovascular challenges, but only in the last 10 years has there been definitive evidence to show CoQ10 supplementation can improve endothelial function [5,6].
Natural production of CoQ10 slows down progressively as we age, so it makes sense that the tissues requiring the most energy begin to suffer in our later years. Metabolic Maintenance offers CoQ10 supplementation in powder or capsulated form, at different strength doses, and in formulas such as Red Yeast Rice + CoQ10.
Derived from rice fermented with the red yeast Monascus purpureus, Red Yeast Rice is a traditional Chinese ingredient. Through its action on cholesterol synthesis, red yeast rice supports healthy lipid balance . Moreover, red yeast rice contains naturally occurring compounds like sterols, isoflavones, and monounsaturated fats, which contribute to its cardiovascular benefits.
Magnesium is an excellent nutrient for relaxation across the entire body. Within that broad scope, one of its functions is to relax, or dilate, the arteries, which eases the flow of blood through the vessels . Normal blood pressure is essential to cardiovascular health . Maintaining a healthy blood pressure, with the help of natural supplements like magnesium, is a great way to maintain the health of your cardiovascular system.
No organ is an island of course, and the heart and its function affect the function of other organs and body systems. It is advantageous to remember you are a whole organism and you should consider your health from a holistic point of view. For instance, your mental health and stress level can have an effect on the health and function of your heart. General inflammation can also cause, promote, or amplify almost every known degenerative disease, including heart disease.
You have already taken a great step towards heart health by taking the time to research and educate yourself on some natural ways to take care of your body. Be sure that your wellness regimen treats your whole body first and foremost, but supplements can be a great addition to strengthen certain body systems that may need an extra boost to function at their best.
Curcumin, the active compound in turmeric, has also emerged as a promising cardiovascular support supplement.
Compelling evidence from clinical trials and meta analyses show that curcumin supplementation positively influences various cardiovascular risk factors. Similarly to berberine, curcumin can support normal levels of total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, and triglycerides already within the normal range, while concurrently supporting high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol . These changes contribute to a healthier lipid profile, a crucial aspect of cardiovascular well-being.
Furthermore, curcumin has demonstrated antioxidant properties and support for healthy inflammatory response. Both activities can impact longevity of the cardiovascular system. A 2017 review published in the journal Nutrition emphasized the potential of curcumin as it has numerous pathways it influences via both its antioxidant properties and its effects on the body’s normal inflammatory response, providing a protective shield for the heart .
Curcumin‘s impact on endothelial function, a key determinant of cardiovascular health, has also been a subject of scientific investigation. A study published in the American Journal of Aging in 2017 found that curcumin supplementation improved endothelial function, promoting better blood flow and resilience of cardiovascular health .