Is it just us, or is 2024 already flying by? New Year’s passed in a blink, and now looming on the horizon is Hallmark’s most profitable holiday of the year: Valentine’s Day.
So there seems to be no better moment to discuss the health of another enigmatic ideal that ticks away relentlessly, just like time. That is, of course, your heart!
February marks the beginning of both American Heart Month and the stressful, two-week period before V-Day that has every coupled-up person in a gift-buying tizzy. While we don’t want to add too much to your shopping list, we have our hearts set on sharing the best supplements for your ticker according to recent research.
Let’s get to the heart of the matter, then! Scroll on to meet the three supplements that are nearest and dearest to Dr. Neal’s heart for their data-backed cardiovascular benefits.
In This Article:
1. Omega-3 Supplements for Heart Health
- Form: Fish oil high in EPA + DHA
- Dose: 1,000–3,000mg per day
- Specifications: Find ethically sourced supplements tested for heavy metals
First on this heart-healthy supplements list is the all-around vitality booster known as omega-3, which should come as no surprise to regular readers. Omega-3 is at the top of Dr. Neal’s Vital5 and a frequently featured self-care supplement because it’s supported by clinical research and affects multiple body systems.
That, and the fact most of us aren’t getting enough omega-3s from our diets.
Learn More: Omega-3 Supplements: Are They Worth the Hype?
The crowning trio of omega-3 fatty acids — ALA, EPA, and DHA — have been linked to a number of cardiovascular benefits, with most of the positive results coming from high doses of the latter two.
Often recommended to treat hypertension, omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to bolster heart health by lowering triglyceride fat content and blood pressure. Proper omega-3 intake can even reduce the risk of sudden death in people with coronary heart disease!
But what does proper omega-3 intake look like?
If you ask The American Heart Association, regular folks should be getting at least two hearty servings of fish per week, while those with known coronary heart disease should aim for at least one per day. This is great news for fish aficionados — not so great for those of us who either can’t stomach or afford that much seafood in a week.
Should you still try to up your weekly intake of fresh-cooked fishy meals? Definitely! Our best chance at absorption comes from whole foods, but there’s a catch.
Finding the Best Omega-3 Supplements for Heart Health
Farmed and fresh-caught fish all pose a risk as they, like us, are swimming with the gross stuff we’ve dumped in the Earth’s waters. Think: Heavy metals, microplastics, and other toxins.
Look for omega-3 supplements that have high doses of EPA and DHA — close to 1,000mg per capsule — and low TOTOX scores to hit Dr. Neal’s science-based daily target of 3,000mg without wasting your health or money.
2. CoQ10 for Antioxidant Protection
- Form: Ubiquinone or ubiquinol
- Dose: 30-300 mg per day
- Specifications: Take with fat-containing meal for best absorption
A lesser-known hero for heart health, Coenzyme Q10, or CoQ10 to its friends, has started gaining popularity in the holistic wellness scene.
CoQ10 is an endogenous antioxidant. AKA, a compound produced by and for the body that exists in each and every one of our cells. It plays an important part in the conversion of food to energy, though the largest concentration of these enzymes is in the heart.
Our heart health naturally declines as we age — isn’t that a fun part of being human? — and part of that degradation process involves a reduction in CoQ10 levels. This fall could be inconsequential, science is still unsure, but what we do know through clinical research is that lowered CoQ10 levels are associated with a higher risk for heart failure.
But if we’re going to age, at least we’re aging during a time of advanced medical science! That’s how we know that oxidative stress, which is combatted by CoQ10’s antioxidant function, is a driving force of more than one cardiovascular disease.
And that prolonged supplementation of CoQ10 not only reduces oxidative damage, but also decreases vascular hypertension, increases nitric oxide levels for vasodilation, and lowers mortality from cardiovascular causes.
Plus, clinical trials have shown that CoQ10 supplements are, like Valentine’s Day chocolates, “safe and well-tolerated,” when taken appropriately and in the right form.
Finding the Best CoQ10 Supplements for Heart Health
In the body, CoQ10 is continually converted and re-converted from an oxidized version of the compound to a reduced one. Both are considered active (or activated) forms of CoQ10, and the best supplements will offer one or the other for maximum bioavailability.
The two unpronounceable words to look out for are ubiquinol, the reduced version of CoQ10, and ubiquinone, the oxidized option.
3. B Vitamins for Homocysteine Balance
- Form: Homocysteine Support
- Dose: 1 capsule per day
- Specifications: Safe for those with methylation difficulties
B vitamins are touted for their brain, energy, and sleep benefits, but did you know they can give your achy-breaky heart a little TLC, too?
Certain B vitamins — like folate, B12, and B6 — can break down an amino acid called homocysteine. Homocysteine occurs naturally in the body, but too much of the compound can lead to blood vessel and artery damage. High levels of homocysteine have been associated with hypertension, stroke, and coronary heart disease, too — which aren’t things you’d want to flirt with.
Hence why Dr. Neal formulated the proprietary, homocysteine-balancing supplement we’re giving heart-eyes right now: Homocysteine Support!
Studies show that reducing overall homocysteine levels by just 25% can help lower your risk of coronary heart disease and stroke. Each acid-resistant capsule in our Homocysteine Support formula contains a potent dose of the B vitamins associated with breaking down homocysteine and maintaining homeostasis for the heart. Like folate, in its most active and easily absorbed form, f-MTHF.
When supported by vitamin B6 and B12, as it is in Homocysteine Support, folate has the power to not only reduce homocysteine levels and in turn ease the burden on our hearts, but also reduce the overall risk for stroke. Low levels of plasma B6 have also been shown to have a negative effect on cardiovascular outcomes, as is the case with B12 as well.
And that’s not even mentioning the blood pressure benefits of riboflavin, another B vitamin featured in Homocysteine Support.
Finding the Best Homocysteine Supplements for Heart Health
Don’t get us wrong — you don’t have to take our homocysteine-focused b vitamin supplement for heart health. It’s just that, finding a B vitamin blend with only the activated and/or methylated forms of the micronutrients you need at a reasonable price is… Well, it’s no romantic walk in the park.
But you can always use our Homocysteine Support supplement as a reference point in your holistic heart health hunting! For driving down homocysteine in particular, look for the B vitamin supplements that contain these forms of these vitamins:
- Vitamin B2: As riboflavin 5′-phosphate, a more readily available form of B2
- Vitamin B6: As pyridoxal 5′-phosphate, the most biologically active version of B6
- Vitamin B9: As Quatrefolic, a patented form of bioavailable folate
- Vitamin B12: As methylcobalamin, the activated form used to treat nutritional diseases
But If Your Heart’s Not In It, Give Us a Call
Sorting through the cacophony of pseudo-science and sales tactics that surround supplements can take some time, but don’t lose heart! Now that you’re equipped with a veritable bouquet of heart health supplements to choose from, you can work towards improved cardiovascular function whenever your heart desires.
And it doesn’t have to be a Lonely Hearts Club, either. Our heart health experts are waiting by the phone — just like your soon-to-be Valentine, we hope! — ready to answer your supplement-related queries via Counterside Consult.