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February is heart month. Healthy heart. Loving heart. Sweet heart. Cardiovascular disease is the # 1 chronic disease in the U.S. and there’s not a better time to talk about what is available to help you have a healthy heart and a healthy life. There are many nutraceuticals, minerals and herbs that can help you have a strong, healthy heart. So, let’s highlight some of them.

COQ-10 - Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is a natural antioxidant synthesized by the body and is also found in some foods such as such as broccoli, dark leafy greens, nuts, fish, shellfish, pork, chicken and beef. However, these food sources are not sufficient to supply enough COQ-10 into the blood supply and heart muscle.

CoQ-10 assists in maintaining the normal oxidative state of LDL cholesterol, helps assure circulatory health, and supports optimal functioning of the heart muscle. Ironically, doctors may prescribe statin medications for heart and cardiovascular issues which deplete the body and heart of the much-needed CoQ-10. Anyone on statin medication should absolutely be taking a CoQ-10 supplement.

CoQ-10 comes in two forms: Ubiquinone and Ubiquinol - Ubiquinone is the more common form of CoQ-10 and is less expensive. When taken, ubiquinone it is metabolized in our body into ubiquinol. Ubiquinol is the stronger antioxidant form of CoQ10. As people age they can lose the ability to metabolize the common form of CoQ10 into ubiquinol. Anyone after the age of 40 can benefit more from taking the ubiquinol form.

Magnesium – Magnesium is a one of the most abundant minerals in the body and much needed for the health of the heart and cardiovascular system. Some researchers estimate however that 50 to 80% of people are deficient in the amount of magnesium the body needs. Among other things, magnesium helps relax blood vessels and is needed for proper muscle and nerve function of the heart. Research has shown that those low in magnesium have a higher risk of cardiovascular disease.

Magnesium also comes in several forms. Magnesium by itself is not easily absorbed in the body, so it must be connected to something else as a carrier. Here are several forms you may be familiar with.

Magnesium Oxide – A natural occurring form of magnesium derived from the earth’s crust. High concentration of magnesium but probably the lowest bioavailability in the body – about 4%. It also is used as a laxative as it attracts water into the bowel.

Magnesium Acid Complexes – Magnesium can be bound with organic compounds such as citrate, aspartate and gluconate. These compounds have a lower concentration of magnesium but better bioavailability.

Magnesium Salts – These forms of magnesium are usually minerals or salts found in nature such as magnesium chloride or sulfate. Magnesium Chloride has one of the highest levels of bioavailability due to its high solubility in water.

Magnesium Chelate – Magnesium can also be bonded to an amino acid such as lysinate, orotate or glycinate. These forms can be more readily available as they do not relay on solubility in the body but on protein pathways for absorption.

Omega-3 Oils – Although there is some controversy, the cardiovascular health benefits of Omega-3 oil has been very well established by numerous studies worldwide. They will help lower and stabilize higher cholesterol levels and the LDL lipoproteins, lower triglycerides along with lowering high blood pressure. Omega oils have been shown to lower the risk of heart attacks and sudden death. You should take between 2 to 4 grams of Omega -3 per day if at risk.

Hawthorn – Many parts of the plant hawthorn, including the leaves and berries have been used by traditional healers for heart health for centuries. Some studies have shown that a 900-mg dose of hawthorn extract was as effective as a common heart medication in improving symptoms of congestive heart failure. It has also been shown to be helpful for angina, especially due to low oxygen levels to the heart muscle.

With these options, along with a healthy diet and exercise, it is possible to have a healthy happy heart.

Brenda Valen, BS, CNHP, CNC
Gulf Coast Nutrition