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|Top 15 Heart Remedies
There are many natural ways for both treating and preventing heart disease. Some may be used to supplement more conventional medical treatments, while others may even replace them. Always discuss alternative remedies and treatments with your doctor first, especially if you are already receiving coronary heart disease treatment. Some supplements may interact with conventional medicines and this needs to be checked by your physician.
When choosing nutritional pills look for ‘USP Verified’ products which have been tested for purity and potency by the United States Pharmacopeia. It should state USP verified on the label.
1. Co-Enzyme 10
This vitamin-type substance is one of the most important nutrients for the heart. It is naturally produced in the body by the liver but as we age we tend to make less. Also cholesterol lowering medications like satins interfere with the liver's ability to produce co-enzymes. To protect your heart and increase energy levels, take 100mg with lunch or breakfast every day. If you have had a heart attack you will need to take 200mg daily.
This versatile food is one of nature's super foods. Include plenty of garlic in your diet or take a daily garlic pill such as Allimax (UK) and Equaline (USA). Garlic helps to reduce the risk of cancer and heart attacks and lowers cholesterol. It also acts as a natural blood thinner and protects against infections. As garlic can thin the blood it is usually recommended to stop taking garlic capsules in the weeks preceding any surgery.
3. Fish Oil Pills
These pills contain omega-3 fatty acids which appear to reduce heart attack risk factors by preventing blood clots and heart arrhythmia by lowering triglyceride levels (cholesterol) and blood pressure. Natural sources of omega-3 can be found in sardines, Pollock, tilapia and salmon (2 servings necessary a week). Alternatively aim for 1 gram a day through fish-oil pills. A word of warning, it is possible to overdo a good thing. Do not exceed the daily recommended dosage of fish oil or you may find you bleed for longer if you cut yourself.
Studies show that this fruit disrupts the formation of atherosclerosis (plaque) in the arteries and helps reduce blood pressure. Trials in the United States showed that patients who drank the juice daily reduced atherosclerosis by up to 25 percent. It can be taken as a pure juice, as a whole fruit or in a concentrated capsule. Preliminary trials in 2009 show that pomegranate may also help prevent prostate cancer from becoming worse. The Life Extension Foundation produces excellent formulas with concentrated pomegranate (www.lef.org).
5. The Disappointment of Vitamin Pills
Traditionally it was believed that taking a folic acid and B vitamin supplement would help prevent heart disease. However in a 2008 large-scale study by the Harvard Medical School, doctors discovered that neither vitamin helped prevent heart attacks or stroke in women. Furthermore, although vitamin C supplements are supposed to help with reversal of blocked arteries, this study found no improvement in patients who took the vitamin. They also discovered that taking a daily vitamin E supplement was linked to an increased risk of hemorrhagic stroke. However it is clear that people who eat a diet rich in vitamins do help reduce their risk factors for heart disease, but just taking vitamin supplements appears not to help. Bottom Line: This study highlights the power of a healthy balanced diet.
6. Avoiding Iron Supplements After 50
Unless you have a medical condition which requires you to take an iron supplement, avoid taking them after 50. This is because excessive iron in the body is linked to heart disease in women (less so men).
7. Herbal Remedies
Taking hawthorn (100-500mg) and ginkgo biloba herbs (60-120mg) daily as a tea or capsule can help improve blood circulation. Specialist herbal companies produce formulas to balance circulation and the heart which include a mixture of hawthorn, lime blossom, motherwort and dandelion. WARNING: Always consult your doctor before taking hawthorn as it can lower blood pressure.
8. Selenium To Prevent Heart Disease
Some research shows that taking 100-200mg of selenium a day may lower the risk of heart disease, although researchers are not sure why. Additionally taking a selenium supplement for a long time may also reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. However talk to your doctor before taking supplements because selenium can interfere with medications, particularly antiplatelet meds and barbiturates. The best natural source of selenium is Brazil nuts - eat 1-2 nuts a day.
9. Beta-Sitosterol For Lowering Bad Cholesterol
This plant sterol can stop cholesterol being absorbed into your blood. The recommended dosage is between 800mg and 6g per day, taken 30 minutes before a meal. It may however deplete the body's reserves of beta-carotene and vitamin E, so ask your doctor if you need to take an extra supplement to replace them. If you are already using cholesterol drugs like Zetia or Pravachol, ask your doctor about any possible interactions.
10. Potassium Reserves
If you are taking diuretics, some may cause the body to lose potassium while others may dangerously increase levels. Potassium is important because it keeps electrolytes balanced and nerves functioning properly. If you are taking diuretics for lowering blood pressure or for treating congestive heart failure, ask your doctor about taking a potassium supplement.
Psyllium is a type of fiber which helps to lower cholesterol levels and acts as a natural laxative supplement. Recommended dosage is between 10 and 30g a day and doses should be taken 30 to 60 minutes after meals. As it may also help to lower blood sugar levels, those taking diabetes medications should talk to their doctor before taking psyllium.
12. Stay Happy
People who are generally happy and positive are less likely to develop heart disease. One study in the UK tracked 8,000 workers over a period of 6 years, noting the occurrences of coronary related deaths, non-fatal heart attacks, chest pain and/or angina attacks. Participants were asked to measure their happiness with themselves, their job, their family and their sex life. The results showed that those who were the most happiest overall were 13 percent less likely to develop coronary heart disease.
13. Plenty of Sleep
Studies show that women in particular are more prone to heart disease if they do not regularly get enough sleep. Researchers at the University of Chicago reported that too little sleep can promote calcium buildup in the arteries of the heart, leading to plaques that can then break apart and cause strokes and heart attacks in women. On average one hour less sleep at night causes an increase of calcium buildup by 16 percent. Ideally women should aim for at least 7 hours of sleep a night.
14. Test Your Heart
Heart testing is recommended to people already showing symptoms of coronary heart disease. Yet experts also suggest that people learn to test their own heart rate regularly. Start by testing your resting heart rate. If your heart is strong it will pump blood easily around the body, slowly and rhythmically about 60 to 70 beats per minute. If the heart is not strong, or there are blockages in the arteries the beat will be more frequent because the heart has to work harder to pump blood around the body.
15. Chelation Therapy
Under medical guidance it may be worth considering chelation therapy. This is a painless intravenous treatment which has saved thousands of people the necessity of undergoing heart bypass surgery and coronary angioplasty. It helps to unclog arteries and reduces the chance of stroke and heart disease. Although it is not a mainstream therapy, it has been used by over a million patients in the United States. Although it is only approved by the FDA for treating lead poisoning, some practitioners suggest it helps heart disease patients by reducing the amount of calcium in the bloodstream, helping to reopen arteries blocked by mineral deposits. It usually involves an injection of ethylene diamine tetraacetic acid (EDTA), a chemical that binds metals. Check the American College for Advancement in Medicine (ACAM) for a practitioner near you: www.acamnet.org. In the UK, the Arterial Disease Clinic has a few clinics throughout the country: www.chelation-uk.com.
Some studies show that acupuncture may help reduce risk factors for heart disease. It can help people who want to quit smoking, aid weight loss as well as lower cholesterol levels and high blood pressure.
See also: Coronary heart disease prevention tips, for more about exercise, maintaining a healthy body weight and eating a balanced diet. After a heart attack or stroke, do be sure to discuss cardiac rehabilitation with your healthcare team. Additionally, see books on heart disease to learn more about the condition and what you can do to help yourself.