Vitamins: Extra Help for Your Heart
Eating heart-friendly foods and getting adequate exercise may be all you need to prevent heart disease, but what about people who already have one or more risk factors?
Depending on individual circumstances and test scores, the new cardiologists will devise a course of supplements and nutrients to address specific problems. (Note that many of these substances do double or even triple duty on the front lines of heart health.)
To help manage cholesterol, the new cardiology turns to one or more of the flowing:
- Niacin, a B3 vitamin, lowers total cholesterol and LDL while raising HDL.
- Pantethine, a form of vitamin B5, reduces cholesterol production in the liver.
- Policosanol, a mix of essential alcohols derived from sugar cane, damps down the body’s cholesterol production.
- Garlic bulb and soy isoflavones reduce bad cholesterol and raise the good.
- Grape-seed extract blocks the enzymes that help process dietary cholesterol.
- Plant sterols, a form of fat found in nuts, vegetable oils, corn, and rice, also block the absorption of dietary cholesterol because they look like cholesterol to receptor sites in the intestines.
High amounts of inflammation and oxidative stressódetected by tests that measure CRP, Lp(PLA-2), and ferritin levels-call for one or more of the following:
- Vitamin C reduces arterial stiffness and raises HDL levels.
- Vitamin E protects against the formation of plaque and reduces total cholesterol.
- Fish oil reduces inflammation and may reduce plaque, but it also promotes heart health in general.
- N Acetyl-L-Cystein (NAC) boosts levels of glutathione, a powerful cellular antioxidant.
- Alpha lipoic acid (ALA), an antioxidant in its own right, also helps recycle the antioxidant vitamins C and E and glutathione.
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Natural Solutions: Vibrant Health, Balanced Living (formerly Alternative Medicine) magazine has been the trusted voice in the natural health field for more than 14 years. Natural Solutions guides and inspires its readers to make informed decisions about their health and well-being in every facet of their lives. In each issue we offer the latest news on health conditions, herbs and supplements, natural beauty products, healing foods, and conscious living. Our editorial content, backed by the strength and credibility of the research in our peer-reviewed practitioner journals, emphasizes practical solutions and gives its readers the information they need to better care for themselves.
Adapted from A Change of Heart, by James Keough (Natural Solutions, February 2008).