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Cardiovascular Health: Five Supportive Supplements To Consider

EnFuse Institute For Learning

Category: Health & Wellness

Cardiovascular Health: Five Supportive Supplements To Consider

A good supplement plan is a great addition to a heart-healthy lifestyle. Here are a few items to consider adding to your regimen.

1. Omega-3’s: EPA and DHA are the significant fatty acids that deliver widespread health-
promoting effects found in fish oil. One study found that EPA/DHA intake changed the
expression of 1,040 genes and resulted in a decreased expression of genes involved in
inflammatory and athlerogenic pathways, such as NF?B signaling, eicosanoid synthesis, and
adipogenesis. 1 Additionally, it is hypothesized that EPA and DHA improve plaque stability,
decrease endothelial activation, and improve vascular permeability, thereby decreasing the
risk of a cardiovascular event. 2 Large doses of supplementation should not be consumed
without supervision. Fish oils might slow blood clotting, therefore, if taken them with
medications that also slow clotting might increase the chances of bruising and bleeding.

2. Plant Sterols: Both the National Cholesterol Education Program and the American Heart
Association have recommended plant sterols for reducing total and LDL cholesterol.
Phytosterols have a structure that is similar to cholesterol, thereby functioning to decrease
absorption and enhance elimination of dietary cholesterol. 3 A comprehensive review
comparing plant sterols to placebo concluded that intake of 2g per day of sterols reduced
LDL cholesterol by 10% with the effects independent of diet. 4 It is best to consume naturally
occurring phytosterols in plant foods and phytosterol-enriched foods.

3. Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10): CoQ10 is an endogenous lipid-soluble molecule in the
mitochondria that assists in making adenosine triphosphate (ATP) from dietary
carbohydrates and fats. CoQ10 primarily acts as an antioxidant in the heart but also
functions to stabilize cell membranes. CoQ10 protects LDL molecules that are implicated in
atherosclerosis from oxidizing; making it useful in preventing damage to the heart during
periods of stress. 5 Serum CoQ10 levels can be depleted by consumption of statin
medications, and lower serum levels have been found in those with existing heart
conditions. CoQ10 can also be appropriate as an adjunct to conventional treatment. 5

4. Niacin (Vitamin B3): Niacin is involved in carbohydrate and lipid metabolism. In
supplemental doses, it has consistently been shown to significantly lower serum levels of
LDL cholesterol and triglycerides and increase HDL cholesterol. 6 Moreover, genetic and
epidemiologic studies indicate that elevated serum Lp(a) is an independent risk factor for
myocardial infarction and stroke. Statins do not affect elevated plasma concentrations of
Lp(a), however, one study found that niacin can reduce concentrations of Lp(a) by nearly
40%. 7 Niacin is a potent vasodilator and can cause “flushing” symptoms. Therefore, it is
recommended to use extended release or wax-coated capsules and consume niacin in the
middle of a meal.

5. Magnesium: Magnesium’s anti-arrhythmic, anti-inflammatory and anticoagulant agent can
be of benefit in the prevention and treatment of numerous cardiovascular diseases. A
substantial body of epidemiological and experimental research links magnesium deficiency
and cardiovascular diseases such as hypertension and atherosclerosis. 8 Additionally,
magnesium is essential for insulin release by pancreatic ß-cells, and is also an important
second messenger for insulin action helping to normalize blood sugar levels. 9 Finally, serum
magnesium levels have been shown to be inversely associated with coronary artery
calcification. 10 Magnesium supplementation may not be recommended for those taking
calcium channel blockers, therefore, it is recommended to consult with your healthcare
professional prior to supplementation.



1. Bouwens M, van de Rest O, Dellschaft N, Bromhaar MG, de Groot LC, Geleijnse JM, Muller M,
Afman LA. Fish-oil supplementation induces antiinflammatory gene expression profiles in
human blood mononuclear cells. Am J Clin Nutr. 2009;90:415–24.
2. Dawczynski C, Martin L, Wagner A, Jahreis G. n-3 LC-PUFA- enriched dairy products are able
to reduce cardiovascular risk factors: a double-blind, cross-over study. Clin
Nutr. 2010;29:592–9
3. AbuMweis SS, Marinangeli CP, Frohlich J, Jones PJ. Implementing phytosterols into medical
practice as a cholesterol-lowering strategy: overview of efficacy, effectiveness, and safety. Can J
Cardiol. 2014;30(10):1225–1232.
4. Musa-Veloso K, Poon TH, Elliot JA, et al. (2011) A comparison of the LDL-cholesterol lowering
efficacy of plant stanols and plant sterols over a continuous dose range: results of a meta-analysis
of randomized, placebo-controlled trials. Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids 85, 9–28
5. Lee, Bor-Jen et al. “Effects of Coenzyme Q10 Supplementation (300 Mg/day) on Antioxidation
and Anti-Inflammation in Coronary Artery Disease Patients during Statins Therapy: A
Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Trial.” Nutrition Journal 12 (2013): 142. PMC. Web. 30 Dec.
6. Parsons W. B., Jr., Flinn J. H. 1959. Reduction of serum cholesterol levels and beta-lipoprotein
cholesterol levels by nicotinic acid. AMA Arch. Intern. Med. 103: 783–790
7. Carlson L. A., Hamsten A., Asplund A. 1989. Pronounced lowering of serum levels of lipoprotein
Lp(a) in hyperlipidaemic subjects treated with nicotinic acid. J. Intern. Med. 226: 271–276
8. Fox C., Ramsoomair D., Carter C. Magnesium: Its proven and potential clinical
significance. South. Med. J. 2001;94:1195–1201. 
9. Takaya J, Higashino H, Kobayashi Y. Intracellular magnesium and insulin resistance. Magnes
Res. 2004;17:126–36.
10. Hruby A, O’Donnell CJ, Jacques PF, Meigs JB, Hoffmann U, McKeown NM. Magnesium intake
is inversely associated with coronary artery calcification: the Framingham Heart Study. JACC
Cardiovasc Imaging. 2014;7:59–69.


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