The Best and Worst Heart Health Supplements

Dietary supplements are a great way to prevent chronic disease and improve your overall health.

Supplements are not always beneficial, particularly if you’re trying to improve heart health. Some supplements can even be harmful, increasing your risk of developing disease.

The Journal of the American College of Cardiology published a study that evaluated the impact of micronutrients on CVD risk factors and clinical outcomes (heart attacks and strokes).

The study reviewed 884 controlled randomized trials, which involved a total population of almost 900,000 people and 27 different types of micronutrients. The study concluded that some micronutrients can improve cardiometabolic health while others increase the risk for CVD and mortality.

Best supplements for heart health

According to a recent analysis, here are the top supplements for heart health:

  • Omega-3 fatty acid: Supplements high in omega-3 fatty acid showed evidence of moderate to high quality that they reduce CVD risk factors such as CVD mortality and myocardial events. N-3 fatty acid is an essential fat found in fish oils and some plant-based sources.
  • L-arginine (L-citrulline): These amino acids are known to reduce blood pressure and improve blood flow. These amino acids can be found in foods high in protein, such as meat, dairy products, and beans.
  • Folic acid has been shown to reduce stroke risk. You can find it in supplements or foods such as leafy greens and beans.
  • Vitamin D: Supplements high in vitamin D have moderate-to-high-quality evidence that they reduce CVD risk factors. You can find them in supplements and foods such as fatty fish, eggs yolks and fortified food.
  • Magnesium, Zinc and Copper: These minerals have moderate to high quality evidence that they reduce CVD risk factors. You can take them as supplements or find them naturally in leafy greens and nuts.
  • It has been proven that CoenzymeQ10 can reduce all-cause mortalities. You can find it in food like whole grains, fatty fish and organ meats.
  • Melatonin has been shown in studies to reduce CVD risks. Melatonin is also found in natural foods such as walnuts and tart cherrys.
  • These antioxidants have moderate-to-high-quality evidence that they reduce CVD risk factors. These antioxidants are found in foods such as green tea, turmeric and cocoa.

Worst supplements for heart health

According to the study, certain supplements could be ineffective and even increase the risk for CVD or all-cause mortality.

Beware of these supplements:

  • Beta-Carotene – This supplement increased the risk of stroke, CVD mortality and all-cause death. Beta-carotene can be found in multivitamins and in food like sweet potatoes, carrots, and spinach.
  • Vitamin C: This product did not have a significant impact on CVD risk or type 2 diabetics. Vitamin C is an important micronutrient that is best obtained by eating fruits and vegetables.
  • Vitamin D: While vitamin D is important for bone health and immunity, the study found that it had no significant impact on CVD events or risk. Some studies have suggested that vitamin D may protect your heart. It is worth talking to your doctor about this.
  • Vitamin E: Like vitamin C, it did not have a significant impact on CVD events or risk. High doses of vitamin C may actually increase heart failure risk, particularly in diabetics.
  • Selenium Selenium has no significant effect on CVD risk or type 2 diabetics. This is another micronutrient essential that can be obtained by eating a diet rich in nuts, seeds and seafood.

It is best to consult your doctor before adding any supplements to daily routine. Some herbal supplements such as St. John’s Wort can interfere with heart medication and cause dangerous complications.