Written By: Autumn Enloe, MS, RD, LD, CLT
With February being National Heart Month, many people are searching for the best foods and supplements to keep their heart healthy.
Although there’s not one specific food or supplement that will cure our health problems, incorporating a nutrient-dense diet and high-quality supplements on a daily basis can help improve our health.
The heavily-researched Mediterranean Diet is associated with better cardiovascular health outcomes such as a reduction in heart disease and stroke, and incorporating high-quality supplements with this diet can be a great addition (1,2).
So what supplements are best for our heart?
This article will talk about the top five best supplements for a healthy heart, as well as things to keep in mind when it comes to supplements.
The 5 Best Supplements for a Healthy Heart:
1. Citrus Bergamot:
Citrus bergamot is an Italian citrus fruit that contains antioxidants and can help protect the body against free radicals. It’s commonly used as a flavoring in Earl Grey Tea.
Berberine is a compound that is extracted from several different plants; including a plant called Berberis. It has a long history of usage in Chinese medicine, and numerous studies have found benefits of Berberine for heart health.
For example, one study found Berberine to help upregulate the LDL receptor cell sites in the liver, where the body can then break down excess cholesterol and excrete it. It’s also been found to have a positive impact on reducing triglyceride levels and fat stores (5,6).
3. Monacolin K
Monacolin K is an active compound naturally found in red yeast rice. It has also been used in Chinese medicine for many years, due to its cholesterol supporting effects. Monacolin K is chemically identical to the active ingredient in the widely used cholesterol-lowering medication called lovastatin (7).
Studies have found it to help reduce LDL cholesterol levels as well as C-reactive protein levels; a marker of inflammation in the body (8).
CoQ10 is a popular supplement used for energy, also has a positive impact on our heart health. CoQ10 (Coenzyme Q10) is an antioxidant nutrient naturally found in our body. It helps generate energy in the body and supports mitochondrial function. Although our bodies produce it naturally, our levels of CoQ10 decline with age (9).
Research has found that statin drugs can decrease the level of CoQ10 in our bodies, so supplementation may be beneficial for anyone taking a statin drug (10).
5. Fish Oil:
Fish oil is one of the most commonly consumed supplements, and for good reason. It’s rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids, which are beneficial for our heart. When looking for a Fish Oil supplement, make sure it contains both EPA and DHA Fatty Acids.
Things to Keep in Mind:
When it comes to adding any new supplements to your routine, it’s important to talk with your healthcare provider first to prevent any interaction among other supplements or medications.
In addition, quality is especially important when it comes to supplements since taking poor quality supplements can be harmful to our health. For example, studies have found polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in some fish oil brands, proving that it’s critical to know where your supplements are coming from (18).
Lastly, supplements are not meant to replace a healthy diet, but are meant to support it. Focusing on your health as a whole is key for heart health. This includes eating plenty of nutrients and color, moving your body daily, getting enough sleep, managing stress, as well as taking high-quality supplements.
Along with incorporating a healthy diet of plenty of vegetables, fruit, high-quality proteins and healthy fats, supplements such as the ones described above can provide great benefit for heart health.
Do you take any of these five supplements we discussed? Let us know in the comments below!
Autumn Enloe is a registered dietitian in Minnesota. She has a private practice where she focuses on helping women take care of themselves through proper nutrition, supplement and lifestyle adjustments. She provides remote nutrition coaching and frequently posts free nutrition content and recipes at her website: www.autumnenloe.com. In her free time she enjoys chasing around her toddler, laughing with her husband, creating recipes in the kitchen, and practicing yoga.