This article originally appeared on Live in the Now.
Healthy eating and regular, moderate exercise are the core of heart disease prevention. But some nutritional supplements can help improve your cholesterol, reduce the formation of fatty plaque and clots and keep blood vessels flexible.
Here are five supplements worth considering:
Magnesium is absolutely essential for the proper function of the entire cardiovascular system. It can improve energy production in the heart, dilate coronary arteries (improving oxygen delivery to the heart), and reduce blood pressure and cholesterol. In one study, people who got 400 milligrams of magnesium a day reduced total cholesterol from 297 to 257 and raised HDL levels from 35 to 47 mg/dl. Many people don’t consume enough magnesium. Dosage: 350-400 milligrams a day, or more if you have low blood levels.
#2: Fish Oil
Fish oil can reduce triglycerides, by decreasing the body’s production of VLDL cholesterol. It also increases the liver’s uptake of triglycerides and may decrease cholesterol absorption from the gut. There is some evidence that fish oil increases HDL. Fish oil may increase the size of LDL particles, causing a more buoyant LDL to be formed, which might be less likely to cause heart disease. Dosage: 1 to 3 grams a day.
Chromium may reduce LDL and increase HDL in people with low chromium levels. Typical changes are small — a 10% reduction in total cholesterol and triglycerides and a 2% increase in HDL. That’s still important, though, since each 1% decrease in total cholesterol carries a 2% reduction in heart attack or stroke risk, and every 1% increase in HDL carries a 4% decrease in risk. Dosage: 200 micrograms a day.
#4: Vitamin C
Vitamin C can help prevent the oxidation of cholesterol. Plus, high blood levels of vitamin C are associated with lower total and LDL cholesterol, and higher levels of HDL. Dosage: 200 to 350 mg a day.
#5: B Vitamins
Folic acid, B6 and B12 have been used to reduce blood levels of homocysteine, a toxic biochemical that can harm blood vessels and cause cholesterol to stick to blood vessel walls. Dosage: 400 mcg folic acid, 50 mg of B6 and 500 mcg of B12.