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Online Wellness Community Natural Health and Anti-Aging News
Online Wellness Community Natural Health and Anti-Aging News

Arteriosclerosis Vitamins and Nutrients

Supplements and Vitamins that help fight Arteriosclerosis

Talk with your doctor before taking any of these vitamins, minerals, or supplements to make sure they are right for you; to establish the proper dose for your condition; and to make sure they do not interact with any prescription drugs, or herbs or supplements you also might be taking.

B Vitamins - Folic acid (400 mcg per day), vitamin B6 (25 – 100 mg per day), vitamin B12 (2 – 100 mcg per day) — The B vitamins help the body break down homocysteine, an amino acid that’s been linked to increased risk of heart disease and stroke. Researchers think that homocysteine may also contribute to arteriosclerosis by damaging artery walls, thus causing blood clots to form — but so far they haven’t found a definite link. Researchers also don’t yet know whether taking B vitamins reduces the risk of arteriosclerosis or heart disease, nor do they know how much might have an effect. If you have a number of risk factors for heart disease, talk to your doctor about checking your homocysteine levels and whether your doctor would recommend a B complex vitamin supplement. In the meantime, be sure to get enough B vitamins through your diet by eating fruits and leafy green vegetables every day.

Omega-3 fatty acids, found in fish oil (1 – 4 g per day) — There is good evidence that omega-3 fatty acids (namely EPA and DHA) found in fish oil can help prevent and treat arteriosclerosis by preventing the development of plaque and blood clots. Omega-3s can also help prevent heart disease, lower blood pressure, and reduce the level of triglycerides (fats) in the blood. One preliminary study found that people with high cholesterol who took fish oil and red yeast rice lowered cholesterol levels about as much as people who took simvastatin (Zocor). The AHA recommends that people eat at least two servings of fatty fish (such as salmon) per week. People with heart disease or those who need to lower triglycerides may need to take fish oil supplements. Because fish oil at high doses can increase the risk of bleeding, talk to your doctor before taking a high dose (more than 1 g per day), especially if you already take blood-thinning medication.

Beta-sitosterol (800 mg to 6g per day in divided doses about 30 minutes before meals) — Beta-sitosterol is a plant sterol, a compound that can stop cholesterol from being absorbed by the intestines. A number of well-designed scientific studies have shown that beta-sitosterol does lower “bad” LDL cholesterol levels in the body. Beta-sitosterol may lower the amount of vitamin E and beta-carotene absorbed by the body, so you may want to ask your doctor if you need to take extra E or beta-carotene.

Potassium – Your body needs potassium to keep electrolytes balanced and for nerves to function properly. Some diuretics may cause the body to get rid of too much potassium. If you take a prescription diuretic, your doctor may also recommend a potassium supplement. But be sure to check with your doctor before taking a potassium supplement if you take a diuretic. High levels of potassium can be dangerous.

Policosanol (5 – 10 mg two times per day) — Policosanol is a mix of waxy alcohols usually derived from sugar cane and yams. Several studies have indicated it may lower “bad” LDL cholesterol and possibly even raise “good” HDL cholesterol. One study found that policosanol was equivalent to fluvastatin (Lescol) and simvastatin (Zocor) in lowering cholesterol levels. It may also stop blood clots from forming. However, most studies have been conducted in Cuba by a research group that uses a proprietary form of policosanol and is funded by the manufacturer, so it is hard to evaluate the evidence. Policosanol may increase the risk of bleeding, and should not be taken by people who also take blood-thinning medication.

Antioxidant vitamins (beta-carotene, C, E) — Some large, observational studies have suggested that people who consume more antioxidant vitamins have a lower risk of heart disease than those who consumer lower amounts. However, no studies have shown a cause-and-effect relationship.

  • Beta-carotene — While some studies suggest that eating a diet high in beta-carotene (found in yellow, orange, and dark green vegetables) may protect against arteriosclerosis, other studies show it may increase the risk for people who smoke or drink a lot of alcohol. Researchers think that eating vegetables with beta-carotene also provides the body with other antioxidants that may have the protective effect, while just taking a supplement does not.
  • Vitamin C — Several studies suggest that eating a diet high in vitamin C can help protect against heart disease. But there is no evidence that taking extra vitamin C through a supplement will help.
  • Vitamin E — One randomized, placebo-controlled study failed to show any reduction in heart disease among people who took vitamin E. However, researchers are still studying the effects of vitamin E on heart disease risk.
  • Astaxanthin, choline and other antioxidants.

Selenium (100 – 200 mcg per day) — Some studies show that people who consume more selenium in their diet have a lower risk of heart disease, but again, researchers haven’t shown a cause-and-effect relationship. And one study found that taking selenium for a long time significantly increased the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Talk to your doctor before taking extra selenium.

Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) — Researchers believe that CoQ10 may inhibit blood clot formation and boost levels of antioxidants. One study found that people who received daily CoQ10 supplements within 3 days of a heart attack were much less likely to experience subsequent heart attacks and chest pain. They were also less likely to die of the condition than those who did not receive the supplements. Still, more research is needed to say whether CoQ10 has any role in preventing or treating arteriosclerosis. People who take statins may have lower amounts of CoQ10 in their bodies and may consider taking a supplement. If you take statins, ask your doctor if you need a CoQ10 supplement.

Polyphenols – Polyphenols are chemical substances found in plants that have antioxidant properties. Test tube, animal, and some population-based studies suggest that the flavonoids quercetin, resveratrol, and catechins (all found in high concentration in red wine) may help reduce the risk of arteriosclerosis by protecting against the damage caused by LDL cholesterol. However, more studies in humans are needed to confirm these findings.

One study of resveratrol in mice found that it protected against age-related damage to vital organs, including the heart and liver, even when the mice ate a high-fat diet. Although this study is promising, researchers need to confirm its findings and to see whether resveratrol would have the same effect in humans. No one is sure how much resveratrol you would need to see if there is any benefit. In addition, resveratrol may have estrogen-like effects, and researchers don’t yet know whether it would pose the same risks as estrogen supplements.

Vitamin D – Some preliminary studies suggest that vitamin D may also help protect against heart disease, but researchers aren’t sure why. One observational study found that women over the age of 65 who took vitamin D supplements to protect against osteoporosis had one-third less risk of dying from heart disease as women who did not take the supplements. And a recent study found that a vitamin D deficiency was associated with an increased risk of heart disease, especially among people with high blood pressure.

Anti-Inflammatory Ingredients – Tumeric, Ginger Root, Ginseng, Holy Basil, Curcumin, ECGC, and others.

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