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A New Start?

Be heart smart!

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A New Start?

Ready to make a new start this year? Don’t forget about your heart! A routine of healthy diet, stress reduction, and exercise will go a long way toward helping to improve your odds of avoiding heart disease. Many natural products, too, can help improve your heart health.

Ready to make a new start this year? Don’t forget about your heart! A routine of healthy diet, stress reduction, and exercise will go a long way toward helping to improve your odds of avoiding heart disease. Many natural products, too, can help improve your heart health.

Depending on your particular risk profile, some natural products can help reduce your risk of heart disease, but not all products address the same risk factors. So what you need to reduce your risk can differ from what your neighbour needs.

Wondering what to take? Having your health care provider run some routine blood work is one place to start; the results can then be used to determine which supplements will be most helpful for you. You may find these examples useful.

Help for High Homocysteine Levels

Homocysteine is an amino acid found in the blood. Elevated homocysteine levels may be associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Clinical trials have shown that supplementation with a combination of B12, folate, and B6 can safely and effectively reduce
homocysteine levels by as much as 30 percent.

Help for High Triglycerides

Triglycerides (TG) are a form of fat and can be found in the blood. High TG is associated with other factors that are known to increase cardiovascular disease risk such as obesity, increased cholesterol, and inflammation. A reduction in elevated TG levels is associated with reduced cardiovascular disease.

Fish oil supplementation is an effective and safe way to help reduce triglyceride levels. A study published in the journal Heart (May 2001), found that fish oil may contribute to a reduction of TG levels by as much as 30 percent. In another study, conducted at the University of Guelph, the reduction in TG of postmenopausal women attributed to fish oil translated to a potential 27 percent reduction in risk of coronary heart disease.

In addition to their well-documented effects on triglycerides, fish oils have also been shown to improve the elasticity of arteries and have anti-inflammatory effects that may also be heart protecting.

Help for High LDL (“bad cholesterol”) and/or Low HDL (“good cholesterol”)

Consider policosanol. This supplement, in doses of 10 to 20 mg per day, performs double duty when it comes to balancing cholesterol levels by lowering LDL and raising HDL.

The results of clinical trials on this product are impressive. A meta-analysis published in the journal Pharmacotherapy (February 2005), found that policosanol can reduce LDL levels by more than 23 percent, and in a small Cuban study published in the International Journal of Clinical Pharmacology Research (2002), policosanol was found to raise HDL up to 12 percent.

There are many options available for improving your odds against heart disease. Consider eating well, reducing your stress levels, and walking to your neighbourhood natural health store as a good start.

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