Each of us is very different—from our metabolic rate to our ability to absorb nutrients—and therefore our individual needs for heart-health supplements can be very different. In addition, diet and lifestyle, as well as emotional health and, of course, family history, work together to determine our own unique risk profile for conditions such as heart disease.
That’s why, while I recommend a couple of core nutritional supplements along with my “Awesome Foursome” for everyone concerned with heart health, I also suggest that you take your own health status into account when rounding out your nutritional supplement regimen. So, here are some heart-health supplements to consider adding to your core supplementation program, along with info on which other health conditions they can benefit the most.
Alpha Lipoic Acid
Alpha lipoic acid is considered a universal antioxidant because of its wide-ranging ability to neutralize free radicals, as well as its unique ability to conserve and rejuvenate other important antioxidants such as vitamins C and E. It has a host of health benefits from supporting heart health to promoting the body’s ability to properly metabolize sugar.
Suggested dosage: The usual recommended daily dose of alpha lipoic acid is 30 to 100 mg. I recommend up to 500 mg of alpha lipoic acid per day if you have blood sugar concerns. Even at high levels, there are no apparent side effects.
As I’m sure you’re aware, calcium is essential for healthy bones and teeth and is one of the most important tools for reducing the risk of osteoporosis after menopause. There is also evidence that this heart-health supplement can promote a healthy mood and, in concert with magnesium, help you sleep better at night. And research suggests that calcium supplementation can promote normal blood pressure.
Suggested dosage: Sufficient daily amounts of calcium are 750 mg for women and 500 mg for men. High-quality multis often contain calcium. So, if your multi includes at least 500 mg of calcium, additional supplementation is probably unnecessary.
In addition to its antioxidant super powers, vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, aids in the absorption of calcium and magnesium, two key minerals for bone and heart health. Also essential for the development of healthy connective tissue, vitamin C supports overall immune health and is key for maintaining healthy joints.
Suggested dosage: There is near-universal agreement that you need a minimum of 200 mg of vitamin C per day. I recommend up to 1,000 mg daily. Look for vitamin C in 500 mg ascorbic acid capsules. If you have a sensitive stomach, consider an esterified source, such as EsterC. I recommend that you stay away from chewable types of vitamin C, which are usually loaded with sugars and binders.
Vitamin D is simply essential to just about every aspect of overall health, helping your bones, heart and blood sugar levels. That’s because we now know that along with assisting in the absorption of calcium and phosphorus (which are vital nutrients for bone health), vitamin D also boosts your immune system. There are actually two forms of this important vitamin: D2 and D3. D2 is found in some foods. But it’s less active than D3, which is the form of vitamin D your skin manufactures with exposure to UV light (sunshine).
Suggested dosage: For healthy individuals, I recommend 2,000 to 3,000 IUs of vitamin D3 daily. If you have less than optimal health, I suggest up to 5,000 IU of vitamin D a day. If you are taking 5,000 IUs be sure to get your blood levels checked for vitamin D.
There’s no question that vitamin E helps support immune and cardiovascular health. There is also evidence that vitamin E improves circulation, protects you from oxidized LDL cholesterol, supports eye health, relaxes leg cramps and improves skin and hair.
Suggested dosage: Buy natural vitamin E with mixed tocopherols (including alpha tocopherol succinate and gamma tocopherol) and aim for a daily dosage of 200 IUs. Caution: If you are taking Coumadin (warfarin), I suggest a maximum of 200 IUs of vitamin E per day due to the potential for excess blood thinning.
This vitamin manages calcium in the body—keeping it in the bones and out of arteries. Consequently, early research shows that adequate vitamin K2 is beneficial to both cardiovascular and bone health.
Suggested dosage: I suggest 150 mcg of this heart-health supplement daily. Look for products derived from menaquinone-7 (MK-7), which is more bioavailable than its relative, MK-4. Caution: If you are taking Coumadin (warfarin), you should not supplement with vitamin K2 as this vitamin counteracts the drug’s blood-thinning effects.
More Dr. Sinatra Advice on Heart-Health Supplements
What special heart-health supplements do you need if you are an avid exerciser? Find out which antioxidant supplements you should take if you exercise a lot.
Which specific heart-health supplements can help lower blood pressure? Learn the details of my Healthy Blood Pressure Supplementation Program.
Which specific supplements will lower cholesterol? Discover the heart-health supplements that help maintain optimal cholesterol levels.