When you step inside the pharmacy, do you feel overwhelmed by the towering shelves of vitamin and mineral supplements? You may even wonder “which ones are effective?” or “are they worth the money?”
If you want to live a healthier life and avoid heart disease, these are good questions. So let's take a look at which supplements you should add to your diet or medicine regimen for your heart.
Four supplements that support your heart health
#1: B vitamins
Taking a vitamin B6, vitamin B12 or folic acid supplement alone supports heart health. Alternatively, you can also get a dose of B vitamins by taking a multivitamin. B vitamins protect your heart by lowering levels of homocysteine, an amino acid by-product, which is a well-known risk marker for cardiovascular problems like stroke and heart attack. Taking a B vitamin supplement will be especially beneficial to you if you’re deficient in this essential vitamin, which is necessary for keeping your body running like a well-oiled machine.
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#2: Fish oil
Fish oil supplements are abundant in omega-3 fatty acids, which have withstood rigorous study as a heart protector. In fact, due to the high mercury levels in some fresh fish, taking a fish oil supplement may be the safest way to get your omega-3 fix. The American Heart Association recommends that those who have a documented heart disease
get 1 g daily of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) from oily fish. However, it also says that a fish oil supplement could be considered in consultation with your doctor. For people with bad blood fats also known as elevated triglycerides, higher doses of prescription fish oils (around 2 g to 4 g a day) can be quite effective.
#3: Vitamin D
A growing body of research suggests that taking a vitamin D supplement can be highly beneficial to your heart health. But this supplement isn’t completely necessary for everyone. Doctors say that you only need to take a vitamin D supplement if you really need it – and the only way to determine that is to get blood work done. If your test results show that you’re deficient in this vitamin despite consuming lots of vitamin D-rich foods and getting 10 to 15 minutes of unprotected sun each day, then you should definitely go for it.
You may not have heard of resveratrol before – this nutrient is a polyphenol that’s found in red wine and red grape skins. Yup, that’s exactly why both red wine and red grapes are considered heart-healthy! Now you can reap the benefits of this heart health-boosting polyphenol in the form of a supplement, too. Just be sure to consult your doctor first to help you determine an appropriate dosage.
In addition to the top four heart health supplement recommendations, you must always remember that a wholesome diet is still the best multivitamin. The secret to vibrant health isn’t consuming isolated nutrients in supplement form, but rather consuming more foods that are rich in them.