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Can Supplements Help Your Heart?

  • Category: Heart & Vascular
  • Posted On:
  • Written By: Baton Rouge General
Can Supplements Help Your Heart?

There are shelves full of vitamins and other nutritional supplements that claim to “improve your blood pressure” or that they are “good for your heart health.” Sounds great, right?

Not only is this too good to be true, but too much calcium and vitamin D are associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. And some supplements interact with your medications and cause side effects. There is one possible exception according to the latest research – omega 3 fatty acids may help reduce risk of heart attack.

Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids – found in some fish and nuts -- work by lowering the body’s production of triglycerides. High levels of triglycerides can lead to coronary artery disease, heart disease and stroke. Two servings of fatty fish per week provides enough for most people, but for those who don’t get enough in their diet, supplements may be helpful.

In a study of patients with chronic heart failure, supplementation with fish oil, a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids, resulted in a small but statistically significant decrease in the number of patients who died or were hospitalized for cardiovascular reasons. In another trial, supplementation improved heart function and decreased the number of hospitalizations in some patients.

Eating the right food is the best way to get your heart the nutrients it needs. This means lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, healthy fats, less salt and whole grains. Don’t rely on supplements to make up for poor dietary choices.

Always let your doctor know which supplements you’re taking. And remember that a healthy diet plus other lifestyle choices like exercising and not smoking are your best bets at reducing the risk of heart disease.