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Supplement Perspectives

Heart Health: A Big Problem with Supplement Solutions (Part 2 of 2)

In my previous post, I looked at the effects of heart health on the population. The numbers were grim, but I believe three supplements can help bring a level of optimism. 

CoQ10 (Ubiquinol): CoQ10 is one of those encompassing dietary supplements with both general health benefits (e.g., anti-aging, antioxidant) as well as specific health applications (e.g., cardiovascular, diabetes, etc). It is a fundamental component in energy production, immune response and protection against damage by free radicals. 

CoQ10 is part of the mitochondrial electron transport system and is synthesized in all cells. It is essential to the bodys production of energy in the form of adenosine triphosphate (ATP). This holds special importance for the heart, which is loaded with mitochondria and has the bodys highest concentration of CoQ10 because of the significant demands made upon it.

However, aging reduces access to CoQ10. Although it can be obtained from the diet (mainly from fatty fish, organ meats, and whole grains) as well as synthesized in small amounts, both of these routes decline with age. The bodys declining capacity to extract and assimilate CoQ10 in later years plays a role in the development of various cardiovascular conditions.

Ubiquinol is the reduced form of CoQ10 and the most highly absorbed. It is directly used in human metabolism as a lipid-soluble antioxidant. While standard CoQ10 (ubiquinone) supplements can be converted into ubiquinol in the body, this conversion can be less efficient in some individuals, based on age, genetics, blood sugar status, or level of oxidative stress.

Fish Oil: The mainstream media has been reporting on the benefits of fish oil for years. Studies have shown that the Omega-3s found in fish oil helps prevent and fight heart disease, as well as cancer, depression, arthritis, Alzheimer's disease, ulcers, diabetes, hyperactivity, and other diseases. Omega-3s can be found in flaxseed, walnuts, and a few other foods. However, the most beneficial form of Omega-3s, containing 2 fatty acids EPA and DHA can be found only in fish. Be aware to take fish oil products from companies that follow strict procedures to eliminate environmental contaminants to assure the highest purity of its fish oil supplements. 

Magnesium: Large studies have linked a magnesium deficiency to high blood pressure, while other studies have shown an association between magnesium supplements and a decreased risk of death from heart disease. A higher intake of magnesium may reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Adults with diabetes are two to four times more likely to have heart disease or a stroke than adults without diabetes. 

Certain supplements will help significantly improve cardiovascular health. There is no denying this fact. I highlighted a few above. There are many others. Manufacturers must do their due diligence and research the various compounds that claim to promote heart health. Are they clinically validated? Are the ingredients being considered sourced from quality suppliers? There are a number of things to consider.

Moreover, with the U.S. health care system a mess, it is vitally important that manufacturers promote a proactive approach to health. Remember that supplements are nutrients that enable the body to do wonderful things. I know this first hand. Conversely, its important to understand that pharmaceuticals are drugs that block a process and have numerous side effects which create other health challenges. Which path will you take?

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