With June serving as the official month for Men’s Health, it’s a good time for both men and women to evaluate cardiovascular health and strengthen the heart. As of 2010, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that heart disease is the number one leading cause of death among all age groups in the US, more than half in men. Smoking, living a sedentary lifestyle, diets high in saturated fats and sodium, and diets low in fruits and vegetables can all contribute to increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Therefore, quitting smoking, getting adequate exercise and making a more conscious decision of what you eat are essential non-pharmacologic risk reducers.
Statins (e.g. Lipitor®, Crestor®), ACE inhibitors (e.g. Vasotec®, Prinivil®), and beta blockers (e.g. Tenormin®, Toprol®) are just some of the more popular prescription drug classes that help to lower cholesterol, reduce blood pressure and decrease strain on the heart, respectively. Many pharmaceutical drugs like these inevitably deplete your body of critical vitamins and nutrients such as vitamins A, B, D, E, K, zinc and CoQ10, so supplementation is recommended. Speak with your doctor and pharmacist about these medications and how they may fit into your wellness regimen.
Regarding the natural side of improving heart health, hawthorn berry, ginkgo biloba, foxglove, red yeast rice and garlic all have clinical data to back up their efficacies. These plants and foods can mimic the same beneficial mechanisms of action as cardiac medications, so please discuss them with your primary care provider before using.
A placebo-controlled, double-blinded, randomized study of 65 Los Angeles firefighters found that a combination of aged garlic extract (1200 mg/day) and CoQ10 (120 mg/day) was shown to significantly improve blood vessel function and elasticity compared with placebo. If garlic and CoQ10 can even help people with high-stress jobs like firefighters reduce their risk of heart disease, just think of how you will benefit from them! Stop by any Peoples location to see how a summer full of happy, healthy hearts can be easy for any lifestyle!
by Casey Patton, Wellness Specialist
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