Best Supplements for Heart Health

Is taking supplements for heart health effective? Taking vitamins and minerals is not a substitute for eating a balanced diet. Ideally, a person should be making sure that what he or she is eating includes whole grains, lean sources of protein, low-fat dairy products, and fruits and vegetables.

To stay healthy, an individual must eat a certain amount of fat in his or her diet. Some foods containing sugar can also be part of a healthy eating plan, as long as they make up only a small percentage of what ends up on the plate.

Taking a multivitamin supplement every day can help to fill in gaps in nutrition when an individual is not able to eat properly. It’s important not to exceed the Dietary Recommended Intakes for vitamins and minerals. Before buying a product, examine the label to find out how much of each ingredient it contains. This information will help a consumer decide whether to use the product or not.

Antioxidants and Heart Disease

Antioxidants, which are Vitamins A (beta carotene), C and E, are very popular dietary supplements. The official position of the American Hearth Association is that it will not recommend taking these vitamins as a way to lower the risk of heart disease until more research has been conducted under controlled conditions to establish a clear health benefit from doing so. The Association recommends eating a variety of foods to get the benefit of these vitamins through diet instead.

Omega-3 Fatty Acid for Lowering Heart Disease Risk

Eating fish regularly can help lower the risk of heart disease. The American Heart Association recommends that people who have not been diagnosed with heart disease eat this food at least twice a week.

How big is a serving of fish? A serving is about three ounces (85 grams). It looks about the same size as a deck of playing cards. Good choices to keep heart disease risk low include:

  • Herring
  • Salmon
  • Trout
  • Tuna

Including fish in the diet can help to decrease the risk of heart disease by approximately 30 percent. To get the maximum benefit from eating fish, make sure that it is prepared in heart-healthy manner. Broiling or baking are much better choices than frying.

Patients who have been diagnosed with heart disease can also benefit from eating fish or taking an Omega-3 fatty acid supplement. An individual with high triglyceride levels can benefit from Omega-3 supplements as well, but he or she should discuss the dosage with a doctor before using this product.

Dietary Supplements for Health

Many people, from children to seniors, are interested in taking dietary supplements to help them stay healthy. These products do have a place in an overall health plan, but consumers need to understand what these products are and their limitations before deciding to use them.

Dietary supplements are more than just vitamins. When considering these kinds of products, read the label to understand exactly what the package contains. Along with vitamins and minerals, a product may also contain herbs or botanicals.

We get vitamins and minerals from the foods we eat. There are some foods that are healthier choices than others and contain more of the nutrients we need to stay healthy. Eating a balanced diet that includes items from all the food groups is the best way for a person to get the vitamins and minerals they need.

Too often, there are times when a person doesn’t eat as well as they should. They may be in a hurry and decide to grab something on the run, or choose to buy prepared foods (that are usually high in fat and calories, but lower on the nutritional content scale). Taking vitamins is a way to make up for the fact that we may not always be getting the right level of nutrients from the foods we eat.

Dietary supplements are not meant to be taken as a way to treat or cure illnesses. A patient should tell his or her doctor about all the medications they are taking, including any vitamins or herbal supplements. They can affect the way certain medications work, and may even have a bearing on how effective a particular drug is for treating a medical issue.

Before starting a program that includes dietary supplements, it’s a good idea to discuss the matter with a physician. This step is especially important if the patient is taking any prescription medications or is living with a chronic health condition. Once the doctor gives his or her approval for the dietary supplements, they should be taken according to the directions on the packaging.

Taking a multivitamin is relatively inexpensive way to make sure that an individual is getting all of the vitamins and minerals necessary for good health. Other supplements can be helpful as well, including calcium, Vitamin D and folic acid.

Calcium is important to ward off osteoporosis. Most people don’t get enough of this nutrient from the foods they eat, and taking it in a pill form makes sense. Vitamin D, the “sunshine vitamin” may be added to calcium supplements, since it helps with absorption.

Folic acid is recommended for all women of childbearing age, since it helps to prevent spinal birth defects. The recommended dose is 400 mg/day.

Increase Vitamin D to Lower Heart Disease Risk

Could something as simple as taking a vitamin lower or even eliminate your risk of heart disease? The results of two research studies indicate that the answer is “Yes.”

In the first study, researchers followed 9,400 patients for a year. The participants had low Vitamin D levels at the beginning of the 12-month period. By the end of the study, 47 percent of the group who had increased their Vitamin D levels had also lowered their risk of heart disease.

The second study was much larger in scale, with 31,000 patients participating. They were divided into three groups for tracking purposes. In each of the groups, the patients who increased their levels of Vitamin D to 43 nanograms/mL of blood had lower rates for the following health conditions:

  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Diabetes
  • Heart failure
  • High blood pressure

A “normal” level of Vitamin D in the blood was considered 30 nanograms/mL. Now, researchers have discovered that this level is too low. Heidi May, Ph.D., a cardiovascular clinical epidemiologist at Murray, Utah’s Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute, the study’s author, stated, “Giving physicians a higher level to look for gives them one more tool in identifying patients at-risk and offering them better treatment.”vitamins and diet supplements

A person who is concerned about his or her Vitamin D levels can see their doctor for a blood test to measure the current level. If the results show the levels are low, Vitamin D supplements can be taken. Since Vitamin D is also known as the “Sunshine Vitamin,” increasing time spent out of doors can give the levels a boost. Sunscreen should always be worn before going outside, especially during times when the sun’s rays are at their most intense. This is between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., when the sun is positioned directly overhead in the sky.

Omega-3 Supplements Don’t Help After Heart Attack

A new study has found that when patients who have had a heart attack are taking the medications recommended by their doctors, adding Omega-3 supplements as well doesn’t improve the prognosis. These results contradict earlier studies which concluded that Omega-3 supplements will help to prevent further heart problems.

Omega-3 fatty acids, which can be consumed when you eat salmon or mackerel, may help to prevent heart attacks. If you don’t eat fish as part of your diet, you can buy supplements to get the health benefits from this dietary supplement.

Dietary Supplements for Cardiovascular Health

You may be trying to eat well, but it can be challenging to get all the nutrients your body needs to stay heart healthy from diet alone. There is a place for dietary supplements for the heart in your overall eating plan. Start by taking a multi-vitamin daily. You may be curious about using herbal remedies to help you get and stay healthy, but do educate yourself about these products before you decide to use them. Tell your doctor what (and how much) you are taking the next time you go for a visit; this is information that he or she needs to know. Believe it or not, if you have high cholesterol you can take Metamucil, a source of fiber, which has proven an effective means of lowering bad cholesterol levels.