Heart doctors take these supplements
You’re on the right track if you’re already following a good diets for heart health. While supplements aren’t usually necessary for people who eat a well-rounded, healthy diet, we asked heart doctors if there were some supplements that they take. Here’s what they had to say.
Found naturally in fatty fish (think mackerel, salmon and sardines), these healthy fats may reduce the inflammation tied to heart disease – among other benefits. “These healthy fats are not made by the body so you have to get them from food,” says cardiologist Dr Suzanne Steinbaum. When she falls short of the American Heart Association’s (AHA) recommendations that call for eating fish twice a week, she takes omega 3 supplements. If you don’t eat fish often, consider having your blood levels tested, she advises. These supplements were linked to a lower risk of dying after heart failure or a recent heart attack, according to 2017 research published in Circulation. Omega-3s are amongst one of the recommended supplements for diabetes, too.
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Vitamin D, known as the sunshine vitamin because the body produces it when skin is exposed to sunlight. The problem? Low levels of exposure to sunlight during darker months, and the sunscreen we wear to stave off skin cancer, may also prevent vitamin D production – and low levels of D are linked to a host of diseases and conditions including heart disease. “I wear tons of sunblock and a big wide-brimmed hat to protect my skin from cancer, so I take 2000 international units of vitamin D a day to make sure my levels are where that need to be,” says Dr Steinbaum. A simple blood test for vitamin D can tell you where you stand and whether you need supplements.
If you are taking or thinking of taking supplements to improve your health, read about 10 ways to make vitamins and minerals work better for you.
Wear, tear, and advancing age take their toll on our joints and bones: This is why cardiologist Dr Perry Frankel, takes glucosamine supplements daily. “It’s proven in studies to be good for joints, and in a head-to-head study it beat out certain pain relievers,” says Dr Frankel. “It also helps form new cartilage.”
Garlic does more than ward off vampires and cause bad breath. The flavourful bulb may lower blood cholesterol levels and blood pressure, according to research published in the Journal of Nutrition. “I started taking Kyolic Aged Garlic Extract a few years back when I received news that I had hypertension,” shares cardiologist Dr Matthew Budoff, who now takes two garlic pills a day. “I’ve led multiple studies on the supplement that demonstrated coronary plaque regression and blood pressure lowering effects,” he says. “I would recommend it to anyone seeking help with hypertension or early heart disease.” Fatty plaques in the coronary arteries are a sign of heart disease.
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This antioxidant is popular among doctors who take supplements: “Data show that it helps boost your immune system,” Dr Frankel says, which is important for those who work in healthcare settings. Cardiovascular surgeon Dr David A. Greuner agrees. “I take vitamin C because of the antioxidant effects, the overall effect on skin maintenance and health, and the fact that I never eat enough fruit,” he shares. Vitamin C deficiency has been linked to an increased risk of dying from heart disease, according to a review study in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences. What’s more, the study suggests that supplementing with C may boost heart health – especially in people with low blood levels of vitamin C.
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