The Heart-Health Supplements You Need

by Dr. Stephen Sinatra
Filed Under: Heart Health, Food and Nutrition, Nutrients and Additives
Last Reviewed 02/15/2014

The Heart-Health Supplements You Need

There’s no doubt that a healthy diet is essential for optimal heart health. But there are also a number of factors that make heart-health supplements an important part of maintaining a healthy body and cardiovascular system. Consider these four:

  • Diet. No matter how well you eat, it’s almost impossible to consistently provide your body with the right amount of nutrients day in and day out.

  • Drugs. Many prescription medications deplete the body of essential nutrients, which can lead to notable deficiencies that can affect heart health.

  • Age. As we get older, our bodies tend to produce less of certain nutrients, making  heart-health supplements crucial.

  • Exercise level. Even moderate exercise can generate free radicals—which are known factors in heart disease and other illnesses. But antioxidant supplementation can offset the damaging effects of free radicals.

Must-Have Heart-Health Supplement No. 1: High-Potency Multinutrient

To provide your body with broad, overall nutritional support, I recommend starting your heart-health supplement regimen with a high-potency multinutrient. A quality multi will even out the natural fluctuations in your diet and help offset age- and medication-related deficiencies. Look for a multi that includes all essential vitamins and minerals (especially B vitamins), as well as flavonoids and carotenoids. Get my specific recommendations on what a high-quality multinutrient should contain.

Must-Have Heart-Health Supplement No. 2: Omega-3 Fatty Acids

In addition to taking a high-quality multinutrient, I believe everyone interested in optimal heart health should supplement with at least 1 to 2 grams of omega-3 essential fatty acids daily. Essential fatty acids (EFAs) help lower your risk of heart disease by the following:

  • Promoting normal triglyceride levels
  • Keeping blood pressure in the normal range
  • Promoting normal cholesterol levels
  • Supporting circulation, blood flow, and blood viscosity (blood thickness)

One popular way to get your heart-healthy EFAs is by taking fish oil or other marine animal (krill or squid) supplements, which can be found at health food stores and grocery stores. However, be selective when shopping.

Because our ocean waters are getting more polluted, fish can be contaminated with heavy metals and toxic chemicals; and the large factory ships that catch the fish don’t always do a very good job of processing it right away, which means oils can oxidize even before they’re put into capsules. So, look for a fish oil product that can guarantee freshness, preferably one that includes antioxidants such as rosemary extract and vitamin E to ensure stability and freshness. Also, choose a heart-health supplement that delivers at least 150 mg of the EFA eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and 350 mg of the EFA docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).

Other Heart-Health Supplements

Along with my core supplement recommendations of a daily multinutrient and omega-3 fatty acids, I suggest adding certain supplements based on your specific health needs. And everyone with concerns about heart health should take the “Awesome Foursome.” That’s my name for the four heart-health supplements I believe are most crucial for energy production inside cells. This is particularly important in the heart, because the heart requires more energy than any other organ in the body. The more energy it can produce, the more efficient it will be.

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 nutritional supplements can help lower blood pressure? Learn the details of my Healthy Blood Pressure Supplementation Program.

Which nutritional supplements can help lower normal cholesterol? Discover the supplements that help maintain optimal cholesterol levels.

Read questions and answers about the Principles of a heart-healthy lifestyle.

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