Column: Healthy Routes – Words for the Heart

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by Gladys Kublik, co-owner Neighbors Vitamin Shop

When the thrill of Valentine’s Day is replaced by the expectation of chocolate, it’s time to start thinking of the other hearts associated with the month of February. The hearts beating in the chest of every living human being, whether they are aflutter with love or simply beating on and on pumping the lifeblood through our veins, deserve our admiration, care and attention. The human heart beats more than two and a half billion times in an average lifetime and pumps the equivalent of 6,000 litres of blood daily.

It is always a good time to take care of our heart. I would like to share the words of one of our resource people Erin Macklin of Purity Life.

Complementary supplements can be critical in treating many cardiovascular issues. Here are a few key options that are simple and safe to use as supportive care to an existing health plan or as an aid in preventing heart problems in the future.

Magnesium: Your heart is the hardest working muscle in your body. Frequently we will treat sore, tired and achy muscles in one way or another but often we forget to treat this all-important muscle to some TLC. Not only has magnesium deficiency been linked to hypertension and cardiovascular disease, it is also theorized that since magnesium is such a key factor in relaxing muscles, it may aid in the relaxation of blood vessels and in turn lower pressure through dilation. Magnesium also has a similar action to prescription calcium channel blockers, often prescribed for high blood pressure. It “naturally balances out the excess calcium that is associated with the heart going into muscle spasm, which equals a heart attack.” A recent meta-analysis published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition concluded that “circulating and dietary magnesium are inversely associated with Cardiovascular Disease risk” This mineral is even more important for people who have increased their intake levels of calcium through their diet or supplementation for bone health. The balance between calcium and magnesium is critical.

Aged Garlic Extract (AGE TM): Aged Garlic Extract (AGE TM) is the ‘jack of all trades’ when it comes to heart health. It is widely studied, with more than 700 peer-reviewed research papers published. The amount of laboratory and human clinical studies on the particular ingredient is astounding. AGE TM has been shown in trials to aid heart health in multiple ways. These include “reducing…risk factors including blood pressure, cholesterol, platelet aggregation and adhesion.” The most well researched benefit of Aged Garlic Extract is its ability to lower LDL cholesterol while often maintaining or increasing levels of the heart healthy HDL. Because garlic can also prevent the oxidation of cholesterol, this supplement packs a mean one-two punch. AGE TM really is an ideal complementary supplement for overall heart health.
Coenzyme Q10: (CoQ10) is naturally found in every cell of the body. It is an important factor in the production of energy in all cells and a powerful antioxidant. The amount of natural CoQ10 in the body decreases with age and lower levels have been found in people with hypertension and also in people with high cholesterol. Prescription statins affect the biosynthesis of Coq10 in the body. One study showed a decrease in CoQ10 levels of about 40% when the patient was put on prescription cholesterol lowering drugs. Because CoQ10 is essential for the production of muscular energy, this has the potential to be quite detrimental to the heart and all other muscles. It has been theorized that decreases in CoQ10 levels may be the cause of a common side effect of prescription cholesterol lowering drugs: muscle pain and fatigue. Supplementing with CoQ10 has the potential to counter these side effects and has also been shown in some studies to lower blood pressure and cholesterol.

These are just a few of the key supplements that can certainly aid in prevention of cardiovascular disease and can very nicely complement and existing health plan. Other supplements that can be beneficial are plant sterols and Omega 3 fatty acids. Heart health has a profoundly personal effect on all of us.

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