Target Specific Heart Health Risks

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Heart Protection Nutritional Supplement Guide:

Following a heart-healthy diet can do a lot to reduce risk, but for many people, it's not enough. Heart-protecting drugs usually come with troublesome side effects, such as fatigue and the possibility of liver disease. For some risk factors, like homocysteine ​​and low-density lipoprotein prescriptive drugs are not available.

HEART HEALTH FACTORS TO BE AWARE OF:

I. Total Cholesterol: Desirable cholesterol is below 200; Borderline high is between 200 and 239; High is 240 and above.

Beneficial Nutritional Supplements:

Plant sterols. Beta-sitosterol and other plant sterols have a chemical structure similar to that of cholesterol, which enables them to reduce the absorption of cholesterol from the intestine. Several studies have found that plant sterols can lower cholesterol levels by an average of 6 to 8 percent. Take sterols supplements 2 to 3 times a day, products labeled plant sterols, phytosterols, or beta-sitosterol.

Niacin: This form of vitamin B-3 has been known since the 1950's to reduce cholesterol levels. Approved by the Food and Drug Administration for lower cholesterol, it is sold both by prescription and over the counter. As effective as niacin is, it triggers the release of histamine, which often will turn the skin beet red and tingly for about an hour. If you keep taking niacin, the intense flushing episodes should always ease. Start at 100 mg. Once or twice a day and work up to 500 to 1,000 mg. Three times a day.

Coenzyme Q10: People who must take statin drugs should also take 100 to 200 mg. Of CoQ10 a day because statins can depletes the body's natural supply.

Low-Density Lipoprotein (LDL) Cholesterol: Small, dense LDL globules are far more likely to cause blood clots than are larger, less dense ones. And when a person's antioxidant intake is low, LDL oxidation increases, which appears to be a key step in the development of heart disease. If total LDL is high, it may be wise to have an additional blood test to find out which type predominates.

Beneficial Nutritional Supplements: Plant sterols can lower LDL levels by an impressive 8 to 14 percent. Take sterols supplements 2 to 3 times a day, products labeled plant sterols, phytosterols, or beta-sitosterol.

Vitamin E: Will not lower LDL, but will curb its tendency to promote heart disease. Contrary to common thinking, LDL is not entirely bad – it's needed to transport fat-soluble nutrients, such as vitamin E and coenzyme Q10, through the bloodstream. Vitamin E and other fat soluble antioxidants prevent LDL oxidation. Take 400 to 800 IU of natural-source vitamin E.

Dietary Options: To lower LDL, reduce your intake of saturated fat (in fatty meats and dairy products) and avoid processed foods containing trans fats such as most shortenings, partially hydrogenated oils, and most cookies and crackers on the market.

High-Density Lipoprotein (HDL) Cholesterol: HDL is widely considered the "good" form of cholesterol, mainly because it helps transport the LDL or bad cholesterol to the liver where the LDL is then processed for excretion. The higher your HDL levels, the lower your risk of heart disease.

Ideal HDL levels are 55 mg./dL or higher for women and 45 mg / dL or higher for men.

Beneficial Nutritional Supplements:

L-carnitine: A component of protein, is highly recommended.

Fish Oil "Omega 3" Supplements: Contain eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) – both essential dietary fats that boost HDL. They're also potent blood thinners so they prevent clotting, and they help to regulate heart rhythm.

Niacin: A form of vitamin B-3, will raise HDL levels. You may experience an intense one-hour flushing sensation after your take it. Aim for 500 to 1,000 mg. Three times daily.

Dietary Options: To boost HDL, do not skimp too much on fats, particularly heart-healthy fish oils and olive oil. Low-fat diets, long recommended to reduce the risk of heart disease, actually lower HDL levels. Cut back on refined carbs, which can decrease HDL.

Triglycerides: Triglycerides actually account for most fat found in the blood and in body fat. A higher ratio of triglycerides to HDL has been associated with a significant increase in heart attack risk.

Anything under 150 mg./dL is considered normal. Aim for 100 mg. Or less. Levels of 150 to 199 mg. Are borderline high, and 200 mg. And above are considered high.

Beneficial Nutritional Supplements:

Fish Oil Supplements: Can lead to impressive reductions in triglyceride levels. In some studies, plant sterols have also been shown to reduce triglycerides.

Dietary Options: Triglyceride levels are directly related to the quantity of refined carbohydrates you eat, so reduce your intake of table sugar, white bread, cookies and other sweets, refined pasta, and bagels, and focus instead on whole grains.

Homocysteine: Homocysteine ​​is typically a short-lived byproduct of protein metabolism – it's only when levels become elevated that they cause trouble. If you eat lots of veggies, particularly those that contain folic acid such as spinach, romaine lettuce, and other greens, there's a good chance your homocysteine ​​is at healthy levels.

The American Heart Association monitors normal levels to be from 5 to 15 micromoles per liter of blood. Ideal levels are under 7.

Beneficial Nutritional Supplements:

Three B Vitamins are particularly helpful in breaking down homocysteine: folic acid (1,000 to 5,000 mcg daily), vitamin B-6 (25 to 50 mg daily), and vitamin B-12 (2,000 mcg daily.)

Dietary Options: Load up on leafy greens: spinach, romaine lettuce.

V. Glucose Tolerance

Beneficial Nutritional Supplements: Many supplements can help lower and stabilize glucose and insulin levels, but if you already take glucose-regulating drugs, be sure to work with your physician to adjust their dosage.

Alpha-Lipoic Acid: An antioxidant, is widely used in Germany to treat peripheral neuropathy, a nerve disease caused by diabetes. Studies have found that it can lower both glucose and insulin levels. Take 100 to 300 mg. Daily.

Chromium Picolinate: An essential mineral, has been shown to lower glucose and cholesterol levels. Take 400 to 1,000 mcg. Daily.

Cinnamon: Can lower fasting glucose, total cholesterol, and triglyceride levels.

Ginseng Supplements: 1 to 3 grams of American ginseng (Panax quinqufolius L.) significantly reduced the rise in blood sugar.

Silymarin: The antioxidant-rich extract of milk thistle, is well known for increasing liver activity. Italian researchers found that 600 mg. Of silymarin daily reduced several key measures of glucose tolerance, including fast glucose and insulin, over the course of a year.