The average heart can pump 2,000 gallons of blood each day throughout the body. It beats 100,000 times a day, and during an average lifetime, it will beat more than three billion times. Even at rest, the heart works twice as hard as the leg muscles of a sprinter. Maintaining a healthy heart throughout our lifetime is critical. Here are some of the most beneficial nutritional supplements for supporting a healthy heart.
- Fish Oil: The omega-3 fats in fish oil are some of the most important nutrients for promoting heart health. They support healthy blood clotting, a normal heart rhythm, and blood vessel health. There are more than 30,000 published studies on omega-3s. Fish high in the beneficial omega-3s EPA and DHA include salmon, mackerel, tuna, and sardines.
- MCTs: Medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) are different than other dietary fats in their molecular structure and how they work in our bodies. The body utilizes MCTs as an immediate fuel and energy source versus storing them like other dietary fats. MCTs help reduce recovery time following strenuous exercise and support endurance. MCTs are typically sourced from non-hydrogenated coconut oil or sustainably sourced palm kernel oil.
- Vitamin D3: Vitamin D3 plays an important role in promoting bone and muscle health. And although we can get vitamin D3 from food or the sun, many of us still do not reach the recommended daily intake. The best way to determine how much vitamin D3 your body needs is to have your vitamin D level tested. According to the Vitamin D Council, optimal levels range from 40 to 60 ng/mL.
- Vitamin K: Research over the past several years has been showing how important vitamin K is for adults and children in supporting healthy cardiovascular function. Most of vitamin K’s benefits are derived from its role in making several key proteins, particularly osteocalcin and matrix GLA protein. Without enough vitamin K2, a significant amount of osteocalcin will remain inactive and unable to bind to calcium.
- Vitamin B3 (Niacin): Niacin helps convert carbohydrates and fat into energy and also supports heart health. Niacin may cause flushing or itching, so look for time-release formulas that minimize or eliminate these side effects by providing a gradual release of niacin over a period of several hours. Since B vitamins support healthy energy levels, it’s best not to take them close to bedtime.
- Magnesium: Magnesium is necessary for more than 350 enzymatic processes in the body. When it comes to heart health, it plays a role in maintaining a healthy, normal heart rhythm and supporting muscle health. It works with calcium, vitamin D3, and vitamin K2 to support optimal cardiovascular system health. The amount of magnesium that each person will tolerate varies, so start wit ha small dosage like 250 mg before bed.
- Vitamin E: Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that helps protect against free radical damage and also plays an important role in promoting heart health. Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin. Look for natural-source vitamin E on your product label.
- CoQ10: Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is another important antioxidant that we produce in the mitochondria of our cells, where ATP (energy production) occurs. CoQ10 is concentrated in our muscle cells and liver, and is highly concentrated in our heart. A variety of factors can affect CoQ10 production – we make less of it as we age, and it can be depleted by certain medications.
- Ribose: Ribose is a naturally occurring carbohydrate that promotes healthy heart function and muscle health and provides energy for our cells. D-ribose can help reduce recovery time following strenuous exercise. Ribose is available in powder form, which can be added to water, juice, coffee, or a smoothie.
- Fiber: Fiber is essential for overall well-being and supporting heart health. Fiber is found in two forms: soluble and insoluble. Most fibrous foods like fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, seeds, and whole grains contain some of each. Insoluble fiber provides bulk and is considered great roughage for the bowels. Soluble fiber dissolves in water and forms a gelatinous substance in the stomach. The Daily Value for fiber is 25 grams per day based on a 2,000-calorie diet, and most Americans do not consume nearly enough.
Take charge of your heart health by utilizing some of the many options available for natural support. Your health care practitioner can help you determine the best supplements to add to your daily regimen.