4 Supplements to Keep your Heart Healthy — The Drug Shop | Comfort, TX Compounding Pharmacy
1. Omega-3 (fish oil) Omega-3 fish oil was originally used to help decrease triglyceride levels and increase HDL (good cholesterol). This is exactly what we want our cholesterol profile to look like to prevent heart attack and stroke. Studies are now showing a whole bunch of other benefits too. Omega-3’s have been shown to decrease the risk of sudden cardiac death by 45% and a 35% lower mortality rate from heart disease. Studies have also shown using omega-3’s causes a lower risk of abnormal heart rhythms in people who have already had a heart attack. Hardening of the arteries has also been treated with Omega-3’s since they decrease the plaque and clots that develop in the arteries. Omega-3’s are found naturally in our diet mostly in cold water fishes, such as salmon, sardines, and herring. The best source is wild caught Alaskan salmon since they are the least contaminated fish supply available. The next best source is the smaller fishes like sardines. Unfortunately, the farm raised salmon has about half the amount of Omega-3’s that a wild caught salmon has. The AHA (American Heart Association) recommendation is to eat fish two times per week. Since it can be difficult to get all of our Omega-3’s from our diet, a supplement is usually needed to keep our heart healthy. A good daily dose of Omega-3 is about 1000mg daily with a combination of EPA and DHA in a 3:2 ratio. This is the normal dose for healthy people and those with coronary heart disease. To treat for cholesterol levels, a higher dose is recommended around 2000mg-3000mg daily. Have your doctor monitor you if you want to take anything above 3000mg daily. It may take 2 to 3 weeks to see an effect after starting an omega-3 supplement. A good fish oil will have both DHA and EPA and even other types of Omega-3’s in them. Krill oil is a highly recommended as a source of Omega-3’s since it also is a good anti-0xidant source and may be more bio-available to the body, but it can be much more expensive than fish oil. Other sources are cod liver oil and flax seeds. Please check with your physician or pharmacist before starting omega-3’s since they can interact with some heart and anti-clotting medications.
2. Vitamin D More and more studies are showing a correlation between low vitamin D levels and heart disease. Vitamin D has a role in decreasing blood pressure, inflammation and diabetes. All of these can contribute to heart disease. It is important to get your Vitamin D levels checked by your physician. The recommended daily dosing is 400IU to 2000IU daily as a supplement since we typically cannot get enough Vitamin D from the sun. Newer studies are showing that many of us need 5000IU daily to maintain an optimal Vitamin D level. Some people are so deficient they need prescription strength Vitamin D dosed once weekly.
3. CoQ10 Co-Enzyme Q 10 is essential for the production of energy in the cells of the body, especially the heart. It does this by helping the mitochondria (powerhouse) of the cell by helping it burn fuel more efficiently. This is not just true for the heart but for all the cells in the body! Unfortunately, many of our prescription medications can cause a depletion of CoQ10 in our body. The most popular prescription medications used for elevated cholesterol, the HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors (medicines ending in –statin), and beta blockers (medications ending in –lol) can cause depletion in CoQ10. I recommend taking 100mg of CoQ10 daily if you are taking either of these drug classes. The main side effect of the statin cholesterol medications is muscle pain. This is mostly attributed to a depletion of the CoQ10 that the medication causes in the body. Taking a supplement of CoQ10 can stop this side effect form occurring!
4. Vitamin E Vitamin E helps maintain health cholesterol levels in our bodies and has been shown to reduce arterial stiffness. In one of the arms of the Women’s Health Initiative, a dose of 600 IU vitamin E decreased overall cardiovascular mortality by 24% and in women over 65 it decreased it by 49%. I recommend a regular dose is 100-300mg daily or as directed by your physician. A side note here: If you are taking a calcium supplement, I highly recommend that you take a Vitamin D, Magnesium, and a Vitamin K supplement if supported by your physician or pharmacist. There is some evidence that oral calcium supplements can cause calcium deposits in the arteries causing issues with brain and heart health. These extra nutrients help the absorption of calcium from supplements. Please consult with your pharmacist regarding dosing of these vital nutrients. Wishing you well…..Gail