For anyone wanting to live healthier and avoid heart disease, diet and exercise are your best bet. But if you feel you’re lacking some vital nutrients, or want to give your heart added support for healthy function, heart health supplements seem like a logical boost.
But are these vitamin and mineral supplements necessary to keep your ticker in top shape? Research suggests that there are no proven benefits to taking supplements for the heart. Let’s take a closer look at these findings and what you can do to protect yourself from cardiovascular disease.
Food is the Best Vitamin Source
Food can be very powerful, impacting the body in many positive ways. From cleansing your arteries to improving your mood, you can get all the nutrients you need to stay healthy by what you’re consuming on a regular basis. Heart health supplements are concentrated forms of nutrients, which oftentimes are unnaturally high doses. This makes it more difficult for the body to process, which can actually be detrimental.
In some cases, the nutrients are not as effective in pill form as they are when found in food because, when taken alone, they are not fully absorbed.
Research is Mixed on Heart Health Supplements
Research shows that supplements don’t have much benefit to heart health. Studies have concluded that those taking heart health supplements do not run a lower risk of stroke, heart attack or death from heart disease than those who do not use supplements.
One possible exception is fish oil. However, fish oil should only be taken if your doctor prescribed it, since it would be approved by the FDA as an effective treatment for those with high blood triglyceride levels.
Beware of Certain Heart Health Supplements
Because most supplements are not regulated, it is not guaranteed that you are getting the ingredients the label is saying you are, which means you are not receiving the benefits of those nutrients. Pills can often contain fillers that are not even close to the substances the package is claiming.
The bottom line? Get your nutrients from food, rather than by relying on supplements to replace them in your body. Getting nutrients in isolation is not the healthy way to go—eat a diet rich in healthy fats, fiber, carbohydrates and vitamins, all of which you can get if you eat fruits, vegetables, whole grains and fish.
Diet is just one piece of the puzzle. Exercise has proven to be another important component of heart health. But if you’re experiencing leg pain after exercise, you could have claudication, a symptom of Peripheral Artery Disease. Learn more about this condition with our free guide to get your heart health on track.