Nutrition, a healthy lifestyle, and toxin avoidance are critical to heart health. But supplements supplement these foundation components.
Ask 100 doctors if vitamins work. You will get a variety of answers and opinions. Most will scoff at the idea, some will shrug their shoulders like there may be some benefit, and a few will be enthusiastic.
The truth is medical doctors receive ZERO training in vitamins, minerals, botanicals, and other natural remedies. We are trained to shun anything but pills and procedures. MD’s get very little teaching on WHY people have disease. Trust me, I worked in hospitals for over 16 years.
Please understand there will never be a head to head comparison of Lipitor versus berberine, or fish oil versus aspirin. Since vitamins and natural supplements cannot be patented, no one is going to invest serious time, effort and money to study them. This leaves the door open for the skeptic to criticize natural remedies. Fortunately, there are thousands of papers proving vitamins do work!
I am a board-certified cardiologist recommending proven natural supplements instead of prescribing pharma to achieve health. We sourced the best quality supplements so follow the doctors you can trust. The following are my top 10 supplements for heart health.
These products and more can be purchased on our website, NaturalHeartDoctor.com.
Yours in health,
Dr. Jack Wolfson DO, FACC. – Natural Heart Doctor
I am often asked if a multivitamin is necessary. My answer is an emphatic, “Yes!”
A quality multivitamin will contain the foundation for a healthy supplement regimen and a healthy life. Too often, patients are taking high doses of a few vitamins, yet are horribly depleted in others. For example, many people take zinc to boost their immune system. Zinc consumption leads to copper loss. Calcium tablets are taken like candy but can be dangerous without proper vitamin K consumption. A multivitamin helps to make sure all the bases are covered.
From the Journal of the American College of Nutrition in 2013 comes a review of multivitamin studies. The conclusion is that multivitamins decrease overall mortality and appear to lower cardiovascular and cancer risk. Another recent study revealed improved brain function in people on a multivitamin. The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) also published a study showing multivitamins significantly reduced the incidence of cancer in men.
Even those of us who eat the best organic diets are held captive by nutrient- depleted soil. Reliance on fertilizer, which only replaces nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus, is leading consumers to micronutrient deficiency. Plants will grow, but the nutritional value is gone. Man will never be able to duplicate Mother Nature’s perfect soil. Food from 10,000 years ago grew naturally in the area and climate from which it was native. Broccoli, kale, and other greens grew only in select regions where the soil in the area was perfect for that food. Thousands of years ago, the air, land, and water were pure, leading to amazing vegetation. Today, pollution has ruined the skies and the streams. Pollutants kill the good bacteria in the ground. The negative effects of this are limitless.
There are valid concerns that the shipping of produce over long distances allows for nutrient decay. Picking unripe fruit results in diminished vitamin content. Antioxidants, such as polyphenols and carotenoids, are not produced until the fruit is naturally ripened on the tree, bush, or vine. Food storage and cooking can lead to vitamin loss. The best way to store food is in glass, yet light can destroy vitamins and phytonutrients.
Look for a multivitamin without artificial colors, flavors or additives. A good multivitamin should contain:
- Plenty of vitamin K2- keeps calcium in the bones and out of the arteries
- Activated B vitamins such as methylfolate, methylcobalamin, and benfothiamine
- Generous amount of potassium and magnesium
- Chromium and vanadium for blood sugar control
- Trace nutrients like lithium for mood and iodine for thyroid
I think you will love our Cardio MULTI, containing all the above quality nutrients and none of the typical toxic fillers and binders. Your dosage is 4 caps per day. One month supply.
2. Greens Powder Drink
Are you getting 8-10 servings of vegetables daily? I didn’t think so.
I start off every day with a green drink and so does my family. Nothing is healthier than fresh green juice made in your own home or local juice bar. Just make sure the juice is made from 100% organic produce. It boggles my mind how people choose to drink juice made from pesticide produce. Concentrating pesticides from non-organic produce into juice has devastating health consequences.
Another option is a powder made from dehydrated organic vegetables. Just add water and breakfast is served. I prefer this to capsules because a drink is more like a meal. The cost of this supplement should be considered as part of your food budget. Heather and I developed an organic greens powder drink called Daily Greens. Greens powder may be added to a protein shake and even added to salad. This is less expensive than fresh juice, and you can travel with it easily.
The health benefits are obvious. You are getting multiple servings of vegetables with a multitude of vitamins and minerals. The green drink is a blast of antioxidants, which boost immunity and protect the heart and brain. These products alone reduced inflammation in many of my patients.
But don’t just take my word for it. A 2013 study found powdered greens decrease inflammation and oxidation versus placebo. The levels of oxidized LDL, a major cause of blockages, were decreased. Another trial found total cholesterol and circulation were improved in those participants who drank a greens powder supplement versus a placebo.
Organic greens powders work! Try our Heart Greens and enjoy the health benefits that 1000’s of others are enjoying.
3. Chlorella and Spirulina
Chlorella is nature’s detoxifier. These fresh-water algae have been on the planet for two billion years and are a natural way to clean the body and the blood of toxic heavy metals. Chlorella provides tremendous amounts of nourishment in addition to detoxifying the body and blood. This little green guy is loaded with protein, more than beef on a per-gram basis. Chlorella contains a hefty dose of vitamin A and significant amounts of vitamins B, C and E. It’s packed with biotin, PABA and inositol along with iron, zinc and other minerals.
Several clinical studies on humans and animals found chlorella:
- Cuts the risk of cardiovascular disease.
- Improves cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood sugar.
- Improves blood pressure control.
- Boosts your immune system.
- Slows cognitive decline.
- Detoxifies heavy metals.
- Detoxifies insecticides and other chemicals.
- Reduces radiation damage.
Spirulina are tiny algae consumed as a food in powder or freeze-dried form. This powerhouse has been proven to prevent disease and to maintain good health. It contains a load of protein along with nutrients like iron, vitamins A, K, and B complex, as well as a generous supply of carotenoids with antioxidant properties such as beta-carotene and yellow xanthophyll. Spirulina also has fatty acids and nucleic acids to maintain cellular health and integrity.
Some of the health benefits of spirulina include:
- Improved cholesterol numbers. A large trial found that total cholesterol is reduced by 47 points in those who consumed spirulina.
- Boosts the immune system—an animal study from Taiwan demonstrated spirulina supports a healthy immune system. Spirulina contains nutrients like zinc, copper, iron, manganese, selenium, and chromium. One study showed spirulina helps with allergies by reducing nasal discharge, congestion, sneezing and itching.
- Slashes cancer risk—a study showed selenium-infused spirulina inhibited the growth of MCF-7 breast cancer cells.
Ten mixed carotenoids make spirulina the richest beta-carotene food. These carotenoids work together to increase antioxidant protection. Its beta-carotene is ten times more concentrated than carrots. This helps with healthy eyes and vision, and many consider it the ideal anti-aging food. Spirulina was awarded a patent in Russia in 1994 as a medical food to reduce allergic reactions from radiation sickness. Its unique combination of phytonutrients, such as chlorophyll, help cleanse the body of toxic chemicals.
Dr. Heather and I formulated our Superfood to contain 50% organic chlorella and 50% organic spirulina. We recommend it after seafood, after a workout, after the sauna, and any time you want a quick detox. It’s so important, we drink it every day with our morning smoothie or add to fruit salad (apple/mango/banana, walnut oil, hemp seeds, and Superfood!)
Probiotic literally means “pro-life,” and antibiotic means “anti-life.” Doctors use the word probiotic to encompass the trillions of bacteria that colonize our intestines. The GI tract has a delicate balance of beneficial and harmful bacteria doing the dance every day. When this coexistence gets out of whack in favor of the bad guys, symptoms and disease will start. The organs from the mouth to the rectum and the probiotics that live in those regions are of utmost importance to our health. Damage anywhere along that route will lead to disease.
When our ancestors wanted a carrot, they would pull one out of the ground and eat it. In present day, our store-bought vegetables are washed at the farm, washed at the store and then usually scrubbed at home to get off any dirt remnants. Chlorine, fluoride, antibiotics and other life-damaging chemicals are in most water. This results in food with much of the life-force destroyed.
I am not opposed to washing off our food due to toxic soil, air, water, and the hands of those who handled the food. But this loss of dirt on the food is reason to consume probiotics daily. Additionally, the bad bacteria from food handling is an excellent reason to take digestive enzymes with each meal.
Could many diseases afflicting our children, and the recurrent infections we all seem to get, be due to our sterilized society? Our hands used to be dirty from the soil during our hunter-gatherer lives. Not any longer. You can’t walk five feet without running into hand sanitizer, which effectively removes all good probiotics along with giving you an extra dose of chemicals that lead to cancer and disrupt hormones.
Poor nutrition from grain (especially gluten containing grains), dairy, and sugar wreak havoc on the gut and can allow the bad bacteria and fungi to flourish. Antibiotics and steroids are major offenders, as are allergenic foods. Also, genetically modified foods will surely alter our intestinal flora, as will fluoride and chlorine. Lastly, if your digestion is limited from inadequate amounts of stomach acid and digestive enzymes, disease will begin.
The health benefits of probiotics have been known for thousands of years. Our ancestors had no idea about the tiny bacteria themselves, but they knew the healing properties of fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir, and yogurt. One bite of these foods has trillions of good bacteria. I recommend eating kraut and/or kimchi several times a week. I am talking about raw, living sauerkraut from a company like Rejuvenative Foods and many others, not the garbage variety at a typical delicatessen. Kombucha tea is another excellent source of probiotics. Purchase all products in glass only.
Why does a cardiologist care about probiotics? Cardiovascular disease is a result of toxins leading to inflammation, and a major source of inflammation is the gut. Heal the gut and heal the heart. A study in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition found those patients randomly assigned to probiotics increased their HDL from 50 to 62. Probiotics may also reduce blood pressure. A 2015 study found heart failure patient’s ejection fraction improved from 39% to 46% with the use of probiotics. This improvement is on par with any pharmaceutical.
In addition, probiotics:
- Aid in food digestion and may reduce reflux symptoms.
- Enhance the synthesis of B vitamins and improve calcium absorption.
- Improve symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome and ulcerative colitis.
- (In women) Promote vaginal and urinary health.
- Support immune function.
- May inhibit antibiotic-associated, and Traveler’s, diarrhea.
- Improve your breath.
If you are looking to find a source for energy along with cardiovascular benefits, look no further than CoQ10. I know it is a strange name for a critical nutrient, but don’t dismiss it.
At a basic level, CoQ10 is made up of hydrogen, carbon, and oxygen. Nothing fancy, just those three atoms. You see, the energy furnace of the cell is called the mitochondria. Most cells contain hundreds of these fuel factories. Without mitochondria, the energy currency of the body, ATP, cannot be formed. CoQ10 is plentiful in the mitochondria.
CoQ10 is found in the human body in two forms, ubiquinone and ubiquinol. Debate rages on about which form is better. The simple answer is both have utility. Ubiquinol is an excellent antioxidant and free radical scavenger. It often travels around the body inside the LDL particle and protects the particle from damage. Ubiquinone is cheaper and may be a better option for those on a budget. We only sell the ubiquinol version called Cardio Q.
In a study presented to the European Society of Cardiology in 2013, CoQ10 supplements improved survival in patients with heart failure. Furthermore, the nutrient decreased hospitalizations and improved symptoms as compared to those patients using only a placebo. After two years, cardiovascular events occurred in 14% of patients in the CoQ10 group versus 25 % of patients in the placebo group. Regarding all-cause mortality at two years, 9% of patients had died in the CoQ10 group compared to 17% in the placebo group.
That is very impressive data. The latest meta-analysis out of Tulane University, which pooled results from thirteen studies involving 395 heart failure patients, found CoQ10 increased ejection fraction (a measurement of heart function) by an average of 3.7%.
CoQ10 is fat-soluble and is best absorbed with a meal. Dosing can range from 50mg on up to over 1000mg in divided doses depending on the medical condition. As we get older, the production of CoQ10 decreases. Several pharmaceuticals, such as statins and beta-blockers, also decrease levels. In fact, statins may reduce CoQ10 levels by 40% and supplementation may prevent statin-induced muscle damage. Those who perform strenuous exercise also benefit from CoQ10 supplementation.
6. Vitamin K
Most people understand vitamin D is critical to health but know little of vitamin K, the little orphan Annie of the fat-soluble group. Vitamin D promotes the uptake of calcium and keeps it floating around the blood, but it is vitamin K that stores calcium in bone and teeth. Without K, calcium deposits everywhere in the body, including blood vessels and coronary plaque.
Warfarin (Coumadin), a pharmaceutical that inhibits vitamin K activity, is linked to osteoporosis risk and to accelerated coronary calcification.
Vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin, along with A, D, and E. As such, it travels around the body bound inside the LDL molecule and other lipoproteins (notice the importance of LDL). Vitamin K is involved with many enzyme functions and is famous for its role in the blood-clotting cascade. Without K you will bleed, but additional K does not increase clotting risk.
Vitamin K is found as K1 and K2. K1 is synthesized by plants and found in high concentration in green leafy vegetables. K2 is the main storage form in the body and can be formed from conversion of K1, produced by bacteria in the large intestine (another reason to take probiotics) or ingested from animal sources. K1 is critical to blood clotting; K2 for cardiovascular protection, cancer, and strong bones.
Benefits of vitamin K2:
- Reduced risk of coronary artery disease.
- Lowers blood pressure.
- Lowers inflammation.
- Improves blood sugar control.
- Lowers cancer risk.
- Decreases mortality.
- Keeps calcium in bones and out of arteries.
The best way to get vitamins K1 and K2 is through food. Eat Paleo and you will be covered. For those who take vitamin D supplements, a K2 supplement is imperative. The more D you take, the more K you need. My rule of thumb is 50 mcg of K2 as MK-7 for every 5000 of vitamin D3. For those with coronary disease or a strong family history, at least 100mcg should be consumed daily. Speak with your doctor about vitamin K if you take warfarin.
I LOVE our Super K and take it every day.
7. Beetroot Powder
Beetroot is a dark red vegetable that grows underground. In short, it is fantastic for heart health.
According to the USDA, beetroot is an excellent source of fiber, folate, magnesium, potassium, iron, and zinc. There are many ways to consume beets, but the best way is raw. They can be shredded into salad, cut in slices like chips and dip into guacamole, or juiced.
Cooking may change some of the nutrient composition. Steam is the best way to cook. If you boil beets, drink the leftover water.
Health Benefits of Beetroot:
- Reduce blood pressure because they contain nitrates, which are vasodilators.
- Reduce homocysteine since beetroots are high in betaine which converts homocysteine to methionine. Elevated homocysteine is a risk factor for just about every disease.
- Improve endothelial function, which leads to healthier blood vessels.
- Improve athletic performance.
- Improve blood sugar control.
- Improve peripheral artery circulation.
- Provide tremendous antioxidant supply that limits free radical damage in the body.
- Inhibit platelet function, and act as a natural blood thinner.
We LOVE beets so much, we created Heart Beet organic drink powder.
When it comes to cranking up nitric oxide and improving blood flow, this combo is king.
L-citrulline is an amino acid originally isolated from watermelon rinds. Years of studying this protein building block led to some interesting findings. In a recent study, men with mild erectile dysfunction received a placebo for 1 month and L-citrulline, 1.5 g/d, for another month. A total of 24patients, mean age 57, finished the study without adverse events. An improvement in the erection hardness score occurred in 50% of the men taking L-citrulline and only 8% of the men when taking placebo. The average number of intercourses per month doubled in the treatment group. L-citrulline may be able to rival the little blue pill and it’s safe, cheap, and effective.
There are cardiovascular benefits of L-citrulline. A study was done on 35 heart failure patients randomized into two groups: an experimental group, with oral L-citrulline supplementation (3 g/day) and a control group. In the experimental group, the left ventricular ejection fraction (measure of heart function) increased by 20%. In addition, heart failure symptoms markedly improved in 35%. Another study found a combination of the amino acids citrulline and arginine improves endothelial function and blood pressure in patients with congestive heart failure.
L-arginine is another amino acid used by many people looking for natural remedies to hypertension, erectile dysfunction, and angina. It is a vasodilator that opens blood vessels, but the problem is that when taken orally, L-arginine is broken down by the body before it can really start working. In contrast, L-citrulline escapes this breakdown and is then converted to L-arginine. L-citrulline is excellent for muscle recovery after exercise and may even enhance athletic performance.
Want to be strong like a bull? Take taurine, the nutrient with many different functions. Taurine is found in animal tissues, and is a major constituent of bile, the digestive juice critical for breaking down food in your gut. In fact, taurine comes from the Latin word taurus, which means bull or ox, as it was first isolated from ox bile in 1827. Most of the production of taurine occurs in the pancreas from the amino acid cysteine. This is one of many reasons to maintain a healthy pancreas; therefore, avoid sugar and alcohol— two items that damage this organ.
A study from 1988 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition revealed vegans are woefully low in taurine, another knock against this unnatural diet. Animal products like meat and seafood are known to be excellent sources of taurine. Breast milk is high in taurine, highlighting its importance. If babies need it, we likely need it.
Boosting your intake of the amino acid cysteine, the precursor to taurine, is beneficial and is found in liver, eggs, and other meat cuts. Garlic, onions, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts also contain plenty of cysteine.
Some of the benefits of taurine include:
- Lowers blood pressure in hypertensive people.
- Improves cholesterol by increasing bile secretion.
- Increases hepatic LDL receptors.
- Improves heart function.
- Improves heart failure symptoms
- Improves exercise capacity.
- Improves endothelial function.
- Acts as an antioxidant.
Taurine also reduces extra heartbeats known as PVC’s by 50%. Many people experience these symptoms as palpitations or thumps in their chest. By combining taurine with L-arginine, the PVC’s totally stopped. Taurine may also prevent damage from diabetes and elevated blood sugar. Lastly, taurine easily crosses the blood-brain barrier and can improve mood and lower anxiety. Many natural supplements used for anxiety and depression contain this nutrient.
I am very successful in my practice at getting people off pharmaceuticals for high blood pressure and cholesterol. Inflammation markers are easily improved. My patients with heart failure are usually able to safely stop the drugs. Taurine is always part of a healthy supplements regimen to achieve these goals.
Our Vessel Support contains a hefty serving of citrulline, arginine and taurine. We are getting great results.
Magnesium is an element abundantly found in soil and is the fourth most common element on earth behind iron, oxygen, and silicon. Seawater also contains a lot of magnesium. Magnesium is so critical to health; it is found at the center of chlorophyll, the protein in plants that harnesses the energy of the sun. Magnesium is involved in over 300 enzymatic reactions in the body.
Some functions of magnesium include:
- Production and utilization of fat, protein, and carbohydrates, along with DNA.
- Cell division and growth.
- Immune support and inflammation regulation.
- Maintenance of sodium and fluid balance.
- Muscle contraction and relaxation.
- Cellular communication.
Most people are deficient in magnesium for a variety of reasons. The typical SAD diet (Standard American Diet) of fast food and sugar snacks washed down by soda does not contain much in the way of nutrition, let alone sufficient magnesium. White flour, white rice, and white sugar are void in magnesium. Additionally, magnesium is used up in many of the reactions to digest carbohydrates and sugar, therefore is not available for other basic body functions.
The amount of magnesium in the soil where even the best organic vegetables grow is limited. After years of farming, so many of the vital minerals are gone. In fact, a study from the Journal of the American College of Nutrition revealed a 40% drop in the nutrient content of vegetables since 1950! Another reason to consume a quality multivitamin.
Caffeinated beverages like coffee, tea, and soda produce a diuretic effect causing mineral loss through urine. Alcohol also wastes magnesium. Our ancestors drank spring water, well water, or water from streams and rivers, thus enjoying the high mineral content of those sources. Lastly, the phosphoric acid in soda binds magnesium in the gut and is therefore not absorbed.
Pharmaceuticals cause nutrient loss, led by diuretics that waste magnesium, calcium, and potassium. I check intracellular levels of these minerals in my patients, and they are low most of the time. Society is crazed with the idea that supplemental calcium prevents osteoporosis and fractures (not true).
Therefore, everyone and their mother load up on calcium, which leads to a magnesium deficiency.
Paleo people consumed magnesium to calcium at a 2:1 ratio. Chronic stress leads to magnesium depletion. The constant release of neurotransmitters, such as norepinephrine and dopamine along with the hormone cortisol, depletes magnesium. The deficiency of magnesium leads to anxiety, sleep loss, and depression.
Magne 5 is an excellent magnesium supplement.
OptiLipid combines 6 nutrients proven to support heart health. Brain health, immune health and anti-aging too!
Here are the 6 ingredients: berberine, curcumin, resveratrol, ginger, silymarin and green tea extract.
Berberine may turn out to be one of the best supplements of all! This botanical extract has received a lot of attention over the last few years for its incredible health benefits. Studies demonstrate an improvement in lipid control, diabetes prevention, heart failure, weight loss, and memory. Over 400 studies show berberine has effects on cancer cells!
Millions of people have the Metabolic Syndrome, which includes lipid abnormalities, hypertension, fatty liver, and elevated blood sugar. Berberine is proven to help control this condition.
Berberine activates a critical enzyme called AMPK. For review, an enzyme is a protein that turns product A into product B. AMPK is the master switch when it comes to cellular energy. When AMPK is activated, good things happen such as improved cholesterol, glucose, and energy.
Berberine lowers inflammation and improves vascular endothelial function. It basically leads to blood vessel expansion, therefore increasing blood flow. The diabetes medicine metformin activates AMPK, and berberine is just as effective when it comes to blood sugar control, without the side effects.
A recent meta-analysis combined data from 14 randomized trials involving 1,068 participants. Treatment with both berberine and lifestyle modification showed significant blood sugar and lipid benefits. Effects were like those obtained by the standard diabetes drugs metformin, glipizide, and rosiglitazone.
In 2004, an article described how berberine reduced triglycerides by 35% and LDL-cholesterol by 25%. Oxidation damage occurs to LDL causing it to become a toxic molecule, which easily enters the blood vessel wall. This can be prevented by berberine. In a 2011 trial of sixty patients with fatty liver disease, berberine demonstrated a 70% improvement in liver ultrasounds. Triglycerides decreased significantly in this trial.
Berberine improves arterial endothelial function and suppresses pro- inflammatory cytokines. A July 2003 study published in the American Journal of Cardiology examined the use of berberine in congestive heart failure (CHF). The authors divided 156 CHF patients into two groups. All patients were treated with typical drug therapy, but one group was also given berberine at a dose of 1.2 to 2.0 grams per day. After eight weeks of berberine treatment, there was a significantly greater increase in ejection fraction, exercise capacity, improvement of the dyspnea-fatigue index, and a decrease in PVCs [premature ventricular complexes] compared with the control group. Mortality was decreased in the berberine treated patients during long-term follow-up (7 patients receiving treatment died vs. 13 on placebo). Pro-arrhythmia was not observed, and there were no apparent side effects.
Berberine was found equivalent to amiodarone to prevent AFib.
- Lowers total cholesterol
- Increases HDL
- Lowers Lp(a)
- Decrease adipogenesis (fat formation)
- Increase reverse cholesterol and PON1 (this is good)
- Decrease amyloid and tau protein- factors involved in Alzheimer’s dementia
- Lowers homocysteine
Ginger is excellent for blood pressure, cholesterol and inflammation
Silymarin is a well known nutrient to support optimal liver health.
Green tea extract is perfect for oxidative stress
Resveratrol is the secret nutrient from foods like grapes to crank up HDL.
We created a delicious all in one shake mix. We call it Heart Defense. It is loaded with:
- Anti-inflammatory nutrients
- Vitamins and minerals
- Grass-fed whey protein- the best protein source
- Additional amino acids to support cardiovascular health
- Digestive enzymes
- NO SUGAR
Heart Defense – 2 scoops per day added to water or smoothie. Feel free to add other powders. (warning- our Superfood above has a very strong taste. Some people like it with Heart Defense- others don’t)