Gifts of Love for Your Heart

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People often ask me what medications and supplements I recommend for heart health. It’s not up to me. Your cardiologist has to pick your medicine based on your medical history, age and individual response. As a pharmacist, I can certainly weigh in the most common medication categories. Those include diuretics, calcium channel blockers, ACE inhibitors and others which serve to relax blood vessels, eliminate fluid volume in your body and power up the heart beat.

Today I’ll focus on 2 important supplements to consider for heart health, and there are more articles about this posted at my website. First and foremost, please commit to exercising to the degree your doctor permits. It turns on life extension genes, no matter how sedentary you’ve been.

Consider supplementing with Coenzyme Q10, or CoQ10. This is naturally produced in every cell of your body, and it’s mostly concentrated in the heart so supplementing gives your heart a helping hand. CoQ10 is also found in your brain. It’s directly involved in the production of energy (ATP) which allows for cellular respiration; it keeps your heart “breathing” and/or beating in perfect rhythm. People with angina experience chest pain as the cells die in the heart and suffocate because they are not making ATP, meaning there is no cellular respiration.

In other words, the ailing heart is literally starving for CoQ10 which generates oxygen. There are hundreds of studies that demonstrate it supports heart health and a healthy cardiac rhythm. CoQ10 maintains muscle health when taking certain cholesterol medicines and female hormones. I recommend taking about 200 mg of CoQ10 (or 100 mg Ubiquinol) daily. I also recommend fish oil supplements because they provide “omega 3 fatty acids” which are healthy fats.

They are essential for optimal health even though  the human body does not manufacture them. Omega-3s are also  great at reducing inflammation-causing compounds like prostaglandins.  Luckily we can supplement with omega-3 fish oil products, some of which are “burpless” and easy to swallow. Omega 3s are well researched, and incredibly beneficial for a healthy heart. The American Heart Association has dietary recommendations for EPA and DHA (the two primary heart-healthy compounds present in fish oils).

They suggest at least two servings of fatty fish each week, or 500 mg of EPA and DHA if you do not eat fish. If you’ve had previous heart health concerns or cardiovascular disease, then consume 1 gram EPA and DHA. Those wishing to maintain healthy triglycerides can consume two to four grams of EPA and DHA per day. Check with your personal health care professional because some medications interact with higher doses of fish oil. Even the FDA allows a “supportive” claim regarding omega 3s and heart health benefits.

So if you love someone, skip the flowers and candy at Valentine’s. Think in terms of fish and CoQ10, it does a tremendous amount to help circulation and can even mend a broken heart if you know what I mean. I hear you, the flowers and candy are far more romantic … but my ideas will keep your love alive a lot longer.