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6 Super Heart Helpers
It is a sad fact that over 33% of all deaths last year were due to cardiovascular disease, a category of over 30 different conditions from atherosclerosis to congestive heart failure, mitral valve prolapse, arrhythmias, stroke and more. Cardiovascular disease is largely caused by diet and lifestyle and therefore preventable. The following 6 super heart protective nutrients should be part of your life extension program.
1) Omega-3, Heart Helpers
Omega-3s from fish oils are well known for their heart-healthy effects. Containing EPA and DHA, fish oils, are vital to eye, brain and colon health. Another excellent omega-3 fatty acid source is calamari oil which comes from South American calamari (squid) that are sustainably harvested and an eco-friendly source of omega-3 fatty acids with more DHA than fish oil.
DHA makes up 40 percent of the essential fats in your brain. Studies show that men and women over the age of 55 who have the highest levels of DHA were most likely to maintain health brain and cognitive function. DHA is superior for lowering high blood pressure than EPA and it is more potent at supporting optimal circulation. DHA is also the key to raising "good" HDL cholesterol.
Also, DHA, not EPA, has been found to support your brain and is the best fatty acid for eye health.
Environmentally Friendly Omega-3
And, if you care about the environment calamari oil is your best choice as it comes from deep-water, spawns quickly, multiplies fast and does not have the same issues with heavy metals like mercury that fish do because of their short life span.
Calamari oil is also more stable than traditional fish oils, making it less prone to rancidity. Best of all calamari oil does not cause the fish aftertaste or unpleasant "fishy burping" that is common with some fish oil omega-3 supplements.
2) Coenzyme Q10, Spark of Life
Coenzyme Q10 is found in almost every cell in the body. It is called the "Spark of Life" providing a powerful energy boost fuelling the energy producing action of the cell. This is especially important for your heart—a muscle that requires huge amounts of oxygen and energy to function. CoQ10 is also a potent antioxidant destroying free radicals that can damage your heart.
Research shows that 200 mg of CoQ10 per day can lower high blood pressure. And CoQ10 makes cells healthy and therefore less vulnerable to constriction, which can elevate pressure inside blood vessels. Coenzyme Q10 has also been studied for those with congestive heart failure where it has been found to extend life. People on statin medications should supplement with CoQ10 as this common group of cholesterol lowering drugs depletes the body of CoQ10.
3) L-Carnitine and Angina
Carnitine helps coenzyme Q10 do its job. Carnitine is a super antioxidant needed by your heart, brain cells and arteries. Mayo clinic researchers reviewed 13 controlled trials and concluded L-carnitine supplementation improved survival, angina symptoms, and ventricular arrhythmias following a heart attack. They attributed survival benefits to the ability of L-carnitine to limit the damage that occurs from a heart attack, stabilize heart cell membranes, and improve energy metabolism in heart cells.
More double-blind clinical trials show that L-carnitine supplements can improve exercise capacity in people with heart disease-related chest pain called angina. In addition, people with intermittent claudication (a condition caused by hardening of the arteries of the lower extremities) were able to walk farther without pain after they were treated with L-carnitine for six months. In people with congestive heart failure, L-carnitine supplementation increased exercise capacity, improved heart function, and increased survival times. And in a randomized controlled trial, patients started on carnitine supplements shortly after suffering a heart attack had a 90 percent decrease in death over the next 12 months, compared with people who did not receive L-carnitine.
The 3 Bs for Heart Health
The three B vitamins – folic acid, vitamin B6 and Vitamin B12 help protect our heart by controlling high homocysteine levels. Homocysteine is an amino acid produced in the process of protein metabolism. The day to day role of homocysteine in the body is to aid bone and tissue formation. When homocysteine levels rise damage to the cells and tissues of the arteries occur causing thickened areas in the arteries, which leads to heart disease.
4) Vitamin B6
Vitamin B6 comes in several forms but pyridoxal-5-phosphate is the safest and most absorbable form of vitamin B6. Vitamin B6 helps to change homocysteine back into the harmless amino acid cysteine. The Nurses' Health Study, conducted at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, screened more than 80,000 adult women for their intake of both folic acid and vitamin B6 in relationship to fatal coronary heart disease and nonfatal heart attacks. They found that women with good levels of vitamin B6 had as much heart protection as not smoking, lowering blood pressure and cholesterol provided.
5) Folic Acid
Folic acid got its fame for preventing neural tube defects in pregnancy but where folic acid really shines is in reducing heart disease. Folic acid works with vitamin B12 to control levels of the amino acid homocysteine. Low levels of folic acid are common and can be caused by alcoholism, inflammatory bowel disease, celiac disease and certain medications. Folic acid along with vitamin B6 and vitamin B12 are essential for reducing the risk of heart disease.
6) Vitamin B12
Seniors, vegetarians, vegans, and people with digestive issues and/or absorption problems are at particular risk of vitamin B12 deficiency. Vitamin B12 is used to treat pernicious anemia, heart disease, age-related macular degeneration and fatigue. Low vitamin B12 can cause fatigue, shortness of breath, nervousness, tingling in the extremities and numbness. Methylcobalamin is the most absorbable form of vitamin B12.3
Lorna Vanderhaeghe, MS, is Canada’s leading women’s health expert and has been researching nutritional medicine for over 25 years. You can read her FREE book Your 30 Day Heart Smart Solution at www.hormonehelp.com.