Cardiovascular disease, also known as heart disease, or coronary artery disease (CAD), is the number one killer in the United States. Diet and lifestyle play an important role in preventing and reversing heart disease, and certain herbs and supplements can help lower your risk for heart disease and treat heart conditions you've already been diagnosed with.
Several herbs and supplements may help in fighting atherosclerosis, the underlying cause of most heart disease. Atherosclerosis causes plaque to build up in your arteries, blocking the flow of oxygen-rich blood to your heart and other organs. It can cause a heart attack and even death.
Atherosclerosis is common in the developed world, but virtually unknown outside of it, due to the different diets and lifestyles of people in the developing world.
Herbs and Supplements
Here are some nutritional supplements that may help decrease your risk of developing heart disease:
CoenzymeQ10, or CoQ10, or ubiquinone, is a chemical that plays a crucial role in a cell’s ability to extract energy from food. Because the heart is the hardest working muscle in your body, it’s essential that your heart have a constant supply of CoQ10 so it has energy to do its work. This chemical decreases with age and low cholesterol also depletes it.
This study shows that taking CoQ10 supplements reduces oxidative stress and increases antioxidant enzyme activity, relieving symptoms of cardiovascular disease. CoQ10 is safe and well-tolerated and although it’s not readily absorbed orally, a more “bioavailable” form, ubiquinol, offers better absorption into your bloodstream.
Statin therapy can deplete CoQ10, therefore anyone taking a statin drug should consider taking CoQ10 supplements.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are essential nutrients that help reduce inflammation caused by atherosclerosis. They also lower levels of triglycerides, fatty blood components that block your arteries. High triglyceride levels are linked to atherosclerosis and diabetes.
This study shows that consumption of omega-3 fatty acids, commonly found in fish, is linked to lower blood pressure, better blood lipid profiles, including lower triglycerides, and a reduced risk of death from heart disease.
For centuries, people around the world have consumed green tea for its health benefits. This study looks at one of its chief components, the antioxidant epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), for its ability to protect the heart. The study shows significant benefits with the consumption of five to six cups of green tea per day. Green tea extract is also available as a supplement in capsule form.
Like green tea, pomegranate juice has been consumed for centuries, with the belief that the ruby red fruit promotes health. Modern scientists prove this belief in this study. Powerful antioxidant chemicals in pomegranate fruit and juice may help reverse atherosclerosis and lower blood pressure.
Magnesium and Potassium
One study shows that taking magnesium supplements may reduce blood pressure and that they are good for overall heart function and heart disease.
Another study shows dietary intake of potassium to improve heart function as well by helping to offset the rise in blood pressure from a high-salt diet.
You may have always been told that sodium chloride, or table salt, is bad, but substituting magnesium and potassium salts for table salt can actually lower blood pressure, as shown in this study.
Heart disease is a serious and dangerous disease in the United States. You can treat and prevent heart disease by decreasing risk factors, such as maintaining a healthy blood pressure and cholesterol level, managing stress, eating healthfully, and getting plenty of exercise. Herbs and supplements can help prevent heart disease and reduce its symptoms by lowering blood pressure, improving breathing, and helping your heart to function better.