As Ireland continues on the road to becoming Europe’s most obese nation avoidable deaths and diminished quality of life due to heart disease are still part of our health climate. Better heart health is achievable through lifestyle choices and, where applicable, preventative and remedial supplementation. Coronary heart disease involves damage and narrowing of arteries and veins resulting in the heart having a more difficult job to fulfill its function of pumping blood around the body resulting in an increased risk of heart attacks and strokes.
Firstly reduce your exposure to the risk factors that predispose to heart disease. These include being overweight, smoking, excessive stress, insufficient exercise, raised cholesterol and diabetes.
A heart healthy diet includes lots of whole grains and vegetables, healthy fats from fish and vegetable sources, soluble fibre to both regulate the digestion and reduce cholesterol (oats and oat products like oat bran and oatcakes come to mind here) and heart healthy herbs such as garlic and turmeric.
Hawthorn is a very effective and quick acting remedy for high blood pressure.
If elevated cholesterol is a problem due to lifestyle or hereditary causes Red Yeast Rice (taken with COQ10 which is sometimes included in the supplement), Plant Sterol tablets (Irish made brand Zerochol comes to mind) and Soya Lecithin can all be beneficial.
Ensure healthy levels of both calcium and magnesium. Calcium aids the heart’s contraction and magnesium its dilation. Adequate vitamin K2 will ensure healthy calcium metabolism and stop it from being deposited on the artery walls causing harm to the blood circulation.
COQ10 literally powers the muscles, including the heart, it’s as simple as that! For most people Ubiquinol is the best form of COQ10 to use, an exception being in cases of poor digestion due to liver or pancreas insufficiency when a form which is mycellised for extreme ease of absorption known as Nurti Nano COQ10 might be preferable.
L Carnitine which is available both in liquid and tablet form plays the role of transporter of fats into the cells of the heart once again for energy production.
The heart health benefits of fish oils are widely known and include those of circulatory support, cellular energy fuel and anti inflammatory properties.
Resveratrol which is present in red wine and Japanese knotweed can improve heart cell health and vascular function by improving dilation. It also decreases the effects of glycation which is when sugar metabolism causes stiffening of the collagen in the blood vessel walls (an effect similar to that of cholesterol).
Homocysteine is an amino acid which is normally broken down into other compounds during metabolism. When this process breaks down homocysteine can build up in the body. Elevated homocysteine levels have been associated with heart attack, stroke blood clot formation, and perhaps Alzheimer’s disease. The nutrients which facilitate the ‘moving on’ of homocysteine which include B6, B12, Folic Acid and a compound called Trimethylglycine are available as a compound supplement (Solgar Homocysteine Modulators).
Lastly I’ll mention turmeric. Recent findings are linking more and more chronic, serious illnesses including bowel and lung diseases, skin problems, cancer and indeed cardiovascular disease with inflammation and Turmeric’s potent anti inflammatory properties may well have an important role to play in combatting them.
Heart health is fundamental to quality of life so look after yours. In no circumstances should you change a medication regime without consulting your physician but remember that medication is not the only way to stay healthy and many who have gone down that road have doubted its efficacy. Prevention, as always, is better than cure so please give the preventative route some thought.