Updated: Dec 1, 2020
I am not a big believer in taking medicines or pills, unless you really need them, and unless all other options are exhausted in terms of natural lifestyle and dietary choices to fix a health-related issue.
One of the most widely known of Greek medical texts, it requires a new physician to swear to uphold specific ethical standards. The oath is the earliest expression of medical ethics in the Western world, establishing several principles of medical ethics which remain of paramount significance today.
"I will use those dietary regimens which will benefit my patients according to my greatest ability and judgment, and I will do no harm or injustice to them. Neither will I administer a poison to anybody when asked to do so."
It is arguable today whether two elements of this oath are upheld currently where heart disease is concerned.
In allowing dietary and lifestyle interventions to be avoided, and by administering drugs which are proven not to improve a condition and are also proven to cause harm (statins for example, proven to have no impact on heart disease, but proven to increase deaths from "all cause" and additionally creating problems such as impotence, muscle pain, joint pain, memory loss, accelerated diabetes, dementia and Alzheimers disease) most doctors today do not meet their Hippocratic obligations.
Personally before any medications I would try natural supplements, and before any natural supplements I would try lifestyle interventions and dietary choices.
Having said that, where somebody already has a genetic profile pre-disposing them to heart disease or evidence of progression, or if they form, part of a high-risk group, then I think it makes sense to supplement a great "heart-healthy" diet with a few select supplements.
With this in-mind, I have created this list of my recommended supplements for optimal heart health, and added links on where you can buy quality versions with good bio-availability (in my humble opinion).
These are the supplements I recommend, and for whom.
If you have not had a heart attack but have a family history and feel you are at high risk, I recommend: 1. 2. 3. 4. 6. 11. 15. from the list below.
If you are taking Statins for any reason and you have decided NOT to come-off or reduce them, I recommend: 1. 7. 13. 15. from the list below.
All of the items below would benefit you, but in order to specifically avoid the muscle cramps and pains that come with statin use then at the very least take Co-Enzyme Q10.
Whey protein and creatine will help with muscle development, which will help increase the strength and efficiency of your heart, which is the most important muscle in the body.
If you have already had a heart-attack and have progressed atherosclerosis, I recommend:
A daily 2. (Omega 3) 3. (Magnesium) and 12. (Vitamin K ) washed down with a shake made from 7. 8. 13. & 14. 15. from the list below.
1. All Co-Enzyme Q10 is not equal.
The role of Co-Q10 is explained in detail in the book. Everybody should supplement with this as they age, but in particular those on statins as these reduce the bodies own production of Co-Q10.
The reduction of Co-Q10 from statin use is responsible the the muscle cramps and pains, and muscle weakness often experienced by long-term statin users.
There are two types of Co-Q10.... ubiquinol and ubiquinone. Ubiquinone is much less bio-available so I would avoid these supplements (they look cheaper but actually have much less effect).
The best form is ubiquinol, as it is water soluble and ready to act as soon as it is taken.
This is one of the ubiquinol supplements I would recommend for optimum efficacy.
2. Omega 3 - Anti-Inflammatory
Omega 3 lowers triglycerides, resting heart rate and blood pressure. It is highly anti-inflammatory, and is found mainly in oily fish.
Magnesium relaxes artery walls, reduces blood pressure. It can help to reverse endothelial dysfunction by interacting with calcium.
Zinc boosts the immune system, and studies have shown links between zinc levels and cardiac health.
In addition to essential metabolic functions, the level of zinc in the body also affects the heart muscle.
When oxidative stress occurs, it may be due to a shortage of zinc.
5. Vitamin B5
Otherwise known as pantothenic acid, vitamin B5 has a positive impact on triglycerides and LDL cholesterol pattern.
Cholesterol pattern type is more of a risk factor than cholesterol itself, so B5 is beneficial. It is also seen to lower LP(a) which can provide a massive reduction of heart attack risk for those with genetically high LP(a).
6. Vitamin C
Vitamin C helps with the production of collagen, and prevents damage to endothelial walls.
The start of the cascade of atherosclerosis is damage to the endothelium, so vitamin C can be seen as the first line of defence for atherosclerosis prevention.
Humans are one of the few mammals that can't produce our own vitamin C, and we get much less in our diets than we did historically. It is also a vitamin that we can't really take too much of, so I would suggest a good daily dose.
7. Creatine Monohydrate
Creatine is one of the safest supplements for muscle and strength development available, and has been shown to consistently improve performance in athletes. It is also a key component of heart contractions.
There has been little evidence to support a direct positive effect on heart disease, but as a key component in muscular performance, and with the heart being the most vital muscle in the body, I recommend adding this to a protein shake each day.
L-Carnitine is an amino acid that has been shown to increases survival rate of heart-attack survivors, and seems to make it less likely that they will suffer a subsequent heart attack.
It works with Co-Enzyme Q10 to facilitate the production of ATP, which is how the heart gets its energy.
Add some to a whey protein shake.
10. Trans Resveratrol
Resveratrol protects against blood clots, reduces blood pressure and is a very powerful anti-oxidant.
Probiotics can help to reduce blood pressure and have been shown to improve blood sugar levels.
They are the guardians of everything we digest, and as such are the key to extracting the benefits from nutrients.
A fully-functioning bowel flora is critical to overall good health and a functioning immune system.
12. Koncentrated K
Vitamin K2 prevents the build-up of calcium in the arteries. Found in nattokinase and some cheeses.
Click on the image for a link to the best vitamin K supplement on the market, from a man that has managed and monitored his own reversal of atherosclerosis through this and a few other supplements like magnesium and Co-Enzyme Q10 .
13. Whey Protein
Consumption of whey protein plays an "anti-obesity" and muscle-protective role during dieting, by increasing thermogenesis and maintaining lean mass.
In addition, whey protein has been shown to improve glucose levels and insulin response, promote a reduction in blood pressure and arterial stiffness, and improve lipid profile.
D-Ribose has been shown to improve the hearts ability to tolerate low blood flow, so is ideal for those that have suffered heart disease, and have some atherosclerosis that has reduced their arterial aperture.
It also helps with energy production and plays an enormous part in restoring diastolic function in the heart.
15. Vitamin D - Everybody should supplement with this!
Last on the list, but one of the most important supplements for overall health.
Vitamin D isn’t actually a vitamin, it is a pre-hormone. It is vitally important for your health.
It helps regulate insulin, supports the immune system, resists cancer cells, and is heart-protective amongst loads of other benefits.
Cross-sectional studies have reported that vitamin D deficiency is associated with increased risk of cardio vascular disease, including hypertension, heart failure, and ischemic heart disease.
In the Northern hemisphere, vitamin D levels can deplete during the dark winter months and should be stocked-up during the longer summer days, and those with skin-types which have evolved from these regions should expose themselves to direct sunlight to get this effect.
Darker-skinned populations living in the Northern hemisphere, and those that regularly use an SPF in face creams, or other sun-creams, tend to become very depleted in Vitamin D, and this can cause a myriad of health and immune system issues.
Vitamin D can be obtained through food, but as most in the Western world are chronically deficient in it, and with a general lack of vitamin D becoming very common, it is imperative to supplement with vitamin D.