Heart disease is something that affects millions of Americans. In addition to those already diagnosed with heart disease, many will get a new diagnoses this year. The CDC points out that heart disease is the number one killer in America and significantly impacts both men and women, “About 610,000 people die of heart disease in the United States every year–that’s 1 in every 4 deaths. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. More than half of the deaths due to heart disease in 2009 were in men.” If you have heart disease, or are concerned you may be at risk of developing heart disease, it is important to speak to your physician to determine what testing may help you determine you best course of treatment for optimal health. Preventing and treating heart disease may involve prescription medication, a change in diet, a change in exercise and activity level or other things. Additionally, it is important to speak to your physician to determine if you could benefit from the addition of any vitamins, minerals or other supplements to help support a healthy lifestyle and prevent or treat your heart disease.
One of the most beneficial supplements in the effort to prevent or treat heart disease is antioxidants. Antioxidants offer a wide array of health benefits, preventing a variety of diseases, health conditions, common illnesses, improvement of skin, and much more. Antioxidants help prevent free radicals from damaging cells and DNA in your body. American Family Physician describes how antioxidants can help prevent and treat heart disease, “Antioxidants keep cholesterol from going through a process called “oxidation.” Oxidation happens when oxygen reacts with cholesterol in your blood. Oxidation causes the “bad” cholesterol (called “LDL” cholesterol) to stick to the lining of your arteries. The oxidized cholesterol can even block your arteries, so blood can’t get through. This blocking is called “atherosclerosis.” Some foods, especially fruits and vegetables, work in your body so this oxygenation process doesn’t happen. Vitamin E and vitamin C are probably the best vitamin antioxidants. If you already have heart disease, vitamin E might reduce your risk of a future heart attack. Vitamin C helps vitamin E work better in your body. It also improves the way your arteries work. Together, these two vitamins help protect your arteries from oxidized cholesterol. They also help your arteries relax and open up more.”
In addition to antioxidants, coenzyme Q10, also known as CoQ10, may help prevent or treat heart disease. CoQ10 is a substance similar to a vitamin and provides antioxidant properties as well as other health benefits. WebMD explains how CoQ10 helps prevent and treat heart disease, ” Your body naturally makes small amounts of this enzyme, also known as ubiquinone and ubiquinol. As a supplement, CoQ10 may help lower blood pressure, either on its own or along with medications. Other studies have found that adding it to heart failure drugs may help people feel better day to day. CoQ10 pills are also popular as a treatment for the side effects of cholesterol-lowering drugs called statins. Why? These meds can sometimes lower the amount of CoQ10 the body makes on its own. Some doctors suggest adding a CoQ10 supplement to make up for the loss, hoping it will relieve problems like muscle pain and weakness. But study results have been mixed.”
Finally, Vitamin D has been shown to be an important tool in the fight against heart disease. Vitamin D can be boosted with sun exposure but many Americans are actually Vitamin D deficient because we avoid prolonged sun exposure due to skin cancer and aging risks. LifeExtension explains the important role Vitamin D plays in heart health, “Abundant evidence now points to the numerous cardioprotective functions of vitamin D. Restoring vitamin D to normal levels has been found to help reduce inflammation, normalize blood pressure, and improve insulin sensitivity—all factors that reduce heart disease risk. Vitamin D deficiency has been shown to diminish contractile function of heart muscle cells, contribute to endothelial dysfunction, distort heart muscle structure (triggering hypertrophy, or abnormal heart muscle growth), and increase smooth muscle growth in the coronary artery wall—a process that leads to atherosclerotic plaque formation. Low levels of serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D have been linked with congestive heart failure, a condition in which the heart is unable to keep up with the body’s demands for blood and oxygen. A recent analysis showed that individuals with low serum levels of vitamin D had higher rates of high blood pressure, diabetes, and elevated triglycerides than those with higher vitamin D levels.” If you think you may benefit from any of these supplements, speak to your physician about what is best for your health and the possibility of adding supplements that may help prevent or treat heart disease.