What does a healthy heart mean?
A healthy heart is the product of a healthy circulatory system which beyond the heart, includes the blood vessels (veins and arteries) and blood. All the components of this system work together to deliver oxygen and nutrients to the body and remove waste products. When looking at ways to promote heart health, all parts of the circulatory system must be taken into consideration.
Heart disease and cardiac problems can show up in myriad of ways. Cardiac abnormalities can manifest as high blood pressure, unregulated blood sugar, high LDL cholesterol levels, atherosclerosis (a narrowing of the arteries due to plaque buildup), blood clots, spider and varicose veins. These more common conditions can lead to major cardiac events such as a heart attack or stroke, and are even thought to play a big role in the onset and development of neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s. You can read more about that here!
When we look we can see that a lot of the problems of the heart originate in the blood vessels, and this is important information!
Why is it important to keep the heart healthy?
A healthy heart is reflected throughout the whole body. Since the main function of the heart is to pump blood which carries nutrients and oxygen to all the organs, the overall health of our organs is in direct relationship to heart health.
The veins and the arteries transport blood and ensure all of our organs receive adequate nutrients and oxygen to function correctly. The second main of the blood vessels is remove waste products in order to keep the body functioning optically.
When the arteries and veins (blood vessels) are compromised, we see an increase in overall inflammation not only in the cardiovascular system, but throughout the entire body. The efficacy of nutrient and oxygen delivery becomes impaired and we can start to see a break down in our tissues contributing to disease.
Supporting heart health, and therefore the health of the entire body requires a multifaceted approach and one the most efficacious ways is through targeted nutrients. The heart and blood vessels require a variety of nutrients to run efficiently, keep homeostasis and execute their primary functions with ease. The most well researched nutrients to help prevent and reverse heart disease are astaxanthin, Coenzyme Q10, Vitamin C and Nattokinase.
Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10)
The heart is the most mitochondria rich environment in the body. The primary function of the mitochondria is energy production, and the heart requires a lot of energy to functional optimally. CoQ10 is a powerful antioxidant that protects the mitochondria from damage and due to this, it is innately found in high concentrations in heart tissue. Production of CoQ10 naturally declines with age and an increase in inflammation, both which tend to accompany onset of heart disease. Research shows adding sufficient amounts of CoQ10 back into the body has clinically significant cardio protective effects
Recommend Product: CardioNOx. This formula by AOR contains a therapeutic dose of CoQ10 along with the precursors to nitric oxide, another nutrient needed by the heart and cardiovascular system. CardioNox protects the heart and due to the increase of endogenous nitric oxide, its impact on the mitochondria and its natural anti-inflammatory properties. It's a natural support for healthy blood pressure.
A classic nutrient for overall health, vitamin C also has specific properties that make it an essential component of heart health. Being a potent antioxidant, vitamin C directly protects the heart from free radicals and lowers inflammation. Beyond this, research shows that Vitamin C is involved in:
- Reducing oxidation of LDL cholesterol and reduce amount of LDL in the body
- Protecting against atherosclerosis
- Supporting healthy endothelial function
- Improving lipid profile
- Reducing arterial stiffness
- Supporting healthy blood pressure
- Preventing lipid peroxidation
- Nitric oxide production and vasodilation
Recommend Product: LivOn Labs Lypo-spheric Ⓡ Vitamin C as it is the most effective oral vitamin C supplement on the market!
Like CoQ10, astaxanthin has an affinity for the mitochondria and by nature it is cardioprotective.
One characteristic of heart disease is not high cholesterol, rather high levels of LDL cholesterol and more importantly the amount of damaged LDL cholesterol. Astaxanthin has been shown to gravitate towards the LDL molecule and protect it, keeping it from becoming damaged and causing harm to the blood vessels. Astaxanthin also acts on the liver, increasing the number of LDL receptors, meaning it is able to directly reduce the amount of free floating LDL cholesterol.
Beyond this, astaxanthin is able to reduce inflammation and oxidative stress which are both key drivers of cardiovascular disease ranging from high blood pressure to stroke.
Recommend Product: Regenurex Astaxanthin. Why? Regenurex is a locally owned BC company with the highest standards for astaxanthin in Canada. The only one we at LivLong trust!
A lesser known supplement, nattokinase is an enzyme widely known for its benefits on cardiovascular health. The primary function of nattokinase is to dissolve fibrin.
Fibrin is a protein that is responsible for blood clot formation, and it’s something we want situationally and not in excess. Nattokinase can help to prevent blood clots on its own, while activating the bodies natural anti-clotting enzymes.
It is a natural blood thinner and as such as been used to reduce blood pressure, improve circulation and increase nutrient and oxygen delivery to organs such as the brain.
Recommended Brand: AOR nattokinase
Above supplementation, the importance of a whole foods, anti-inflammatory, nutrient dense diet cannot be overstated. We have several blogs related to heart health- take a browse through our blog and be sure to download the product sheets for the supplements listed in this blog for more information on them.
Disclaimer, this blog is for educational purposes only and is not medical advice, nor does it replace the recommendations from your doctor. If you take medication for anything cardiovascular related, check with your doctor before starting any supplement as they can contraindicate each other
Author: Lisa Kowalyk, CNP, B.Kin