What supplements do you recommend to protect against heart disease?
Heart supplements are a multibillion dollar industry. It always surprises me that getting patients to take prescribed medications is a challenge and yet many individuals freely ingest a multitude of supplements and over the counter medications. While most are not harmful…the benefits are sometimes limited. Here is a look at some of the most widely used agents.
Found naturally in fruits, grains, vegetables and legumes or as a supplement such as psyllium, methylcellulose, wheat dextrin. Fiber rich foods have a low glycemic index so keep sugars down and lower bad (LDL) cholesterol while raising the good (HDL).
STEROLS and STANOLS
Also found in nuts and grains or taken as supplements they reduce cholesterol absorption and thus lower LDL.
Slightly lowers blood pressure, reduces plaque buildup and keeps the blood thin.
OMEGA 3 FISH OIL
There are 2 types; DHA and EPA. this has the strongest data and the American Heart Association recommends at least 1gm daily either through oily fish consumption or as a supplement. They help lower triglycerides however for individual with really high numbers (>500) a prescription product is recommended. Omega 3’s have been shown to improve survival however if you are on a statin then there is no additional cardiovascular benefit.
Offered as an extract or as a drink it can lower LDL and raise HDL cholesterol.
Also called ubiquinol they can help lower blood pressure, improve energy in heart failure patients and relieve some of the statin side effects of muscle pain and weakness. Unfortunately most of the supplement never gets absorbed.
Many studies are underway to evaluate its benefit but for anyone who is deficient up to 2000 IU can be considered.
This is the polyphenol found in red grape skin and red wine. The studies have been disappointing and a glass of wine is a better option than the supplement.
This curry spice has another polyphenol – curcumin which has antioxidant and anti inflammatory properties. Since plaque rupture is caused by inflammation it may reduce the chances of a heart attack.
These have been among the most disappointing. Vitamin E, Vitamin C, and Beta carotene were all evaluated in multiple large trials and failed to show any benefit. Anti oxidants from favorable fruits and vegetables is a much better choice eg berries, chocolate, spinach and kale.
B6, B12 and folic acid, as well as multivitamins in general, have shown no cardiovascular benefit. Multivitamins are still recommended however since they have a small benefit in reducing cancer deaths
Unless you are deficient, these supplements increase your cardiovascular risk.
In high doses both estrogen and progesterone are linked with blood clots, strokes and increased cardiovascular events
NSAIDS (Non Steroidal Anti Inflammatory Drugs)
Ibuprophen and naproxen are commonly used for reducing imflammation but they can raise blood pressure, cause fluid retention and increase heart attacks. They should be used in the lowest dose possible. Acetaminophen or aspirin are preferred. Even a baby aspirin is no longer recommended unless you have evidence of plaque buildup in your arteries.
All supplements should be taken as complementary therapy to any prescriptions your doctor may have recommended. Always ask about drug interactions and use the least amount necessary. Supplementing your life with a balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetables, exercise, laughter and love will be your best formula for a healthy heart!
Supplements and YOUR HEART
One of the most common questions I am asked in my clinic is what supplements do you recommend to protect against heart disease. The answer is both simple…NONE… and complex… depends on what you mean by a supplement.
A landmark study entitled INTERHEART showed that 90% of heart disease risk can be predicted by 9 risk factors.The six risk factors that increased risk include abnormal lipids, smoking, hypertension, diabetes, abdominal obesity, and psychosocial factors. The 3 risk factors that decrease cardiovascular risk include regular physical activity, moderate alcohol intake, and regular consumption of fruits and vegetables.
Many large trials looking at supplements such as vitamin B 12, folic acid, niacin, vitamin C, vitamin E and most recently vitamin D have failed to reduced cardiovascular risk and in some cases increased risk of other complications slightly. The concept of using supplements results from a lifestyle that has become more sedentar and stressful, and a diet that has become more processed and calorie decadent. Supplements are felt to help neutralize these adverse changes.
I would counter that the best supplements one can take come from proper dietary choices. There is ample evidence that antioxidants reduce the risk of heart disease. Finding the right mixture of supplements is more diffi cult than choosing the right foods such as vegetables rich in fl avinoids, (tomatoes, berries, chocolate and even caffeine). The highly touted Mediterranean diets’ success is largely in part to the incorporation of such foods.
Another important supplement (dietary choice) are omega-3 fats. The American Heart Association recommends 2 grams of omega 3-containing foods or supplements on a daily basis while eliminating all trans fats.
Multiple studies have shown that alcohol in moderation reduces cardiovascular risk in part by raising good (HDL) cholesterol. This amounts to 1 drink for women and 2 drinks for men daily, without the luxury of saving up all consumption for the weekend! Red wine confers the added bennefi t of antioxidants such as resveratrol.
Foods rich in dietary fi ber and having a low glycemic index (nuts, legumes and whole grains) work by reducing total caloric intake, improving diabetes control, and protecting against both heart disease and cancer risk.
So …other than a simple multivitamin…the path to a healthier heart is not in supplementing with tablets but rather with a richer choice of food and drinks in your daily lives!
Preventing Eye Injuries
Experts say more than 90% of eye injuries can be prevented by simply taking a few precautions and wearing safety glasses. Those can be with corrective lenses or without any power. Either way, the lenses have to be made from Polycarbonate or Trivex material.
If you use a lawn mower, leaf-blower, drill or similar power tools, you need protective eyewear. These glasses should have a snug, wrap-style frame to decrease the likelihood of small, airborne particles getting behind the lenses.
WORKPLACE EYE SAFETY PROGRAMS
In U.S. workplaces that involve any kind of airborne particles or noxious chemicals, employers must adhere to Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) guidelines for protective eyewear and emergency eye care.
Most protective eyewear standards require employers to provide prescription safety lenses to employees who need corrective eyewear.
LASER POINTERS, CHAMPAGNE CORKS AND FIREWORKS
Be careful with household chemicals, since many can burn your eyes. Always wear goggles, read instructions carefully, work in well ventilated areas and make sure the nozzle is pointed away from you.
Always wear appropriate eye protection when playing sports (protective sports eyewear). Have fun in the sun, but always wear sunglasses that block 99 to 100 percent of UV-A and UV-B rays when outdoors for extended times.
Looking directly at the light beam of a laser pointer can cause temporary vision loss and even permanent damage to the retina.
Champagne corks. During a celebration, you’re probably not thinking about eye damage. But a fl ying cork from a bottle of champagne can rupture an eyeball or cause a detached retina, both of which can cause blindness.
NEVER USE FIREWORKS. EVEN SPARKLERS BURN HOT ENOUGH TO MELT GOLD!
Safety is important and taking the necessary precautions to protect your eyes can help you prevent injuries. Preventing Eye Injuriesyour eyes can help you prevent injuries.