Heart disease claims about 610,000 people in the United States every year – that’s nearly 1 in every 4 deaths. The modern medical approach to preventing cardiovascular disease involves prescribing drugs with side effects that often lead to worse overall health and more drugs. Luckily there are natural options to help support your heart and keep it working well.

Your heart is a muscle that never gets a break. It has an important job to do, so make sure you give it the TLC that it deserves. Getting regular exercise and consuming a diet low in sugar and high in fiber is a good place to start. Research also shows that the following nutrients will give your heart additional support it deserves.

1. Hawthorn
Hawthorn berries have been a traditional remedy for high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol, and irregular heartbeat. Studies show that hawthorn increases the heart’s maximum workload, which improves exercise tolerance. Hawthorn also improves shortness of breath, fatigue, and the heart’s ability to use oxygen. Hawthorn is already an approved treatment in Europe for the initial stages of heart failure. The benefits of these potent berries are undeniable and should be a regular supplement for anyone with heart disease. 

2. Astaxanthin
Astaxanthin is an excellent cardiovascular support nutrient because it reduces free radical damage and inflammation. It has shown beneficial effects on cholesterol, blood pressure and overall heart health. Searching for an alternative therapy to statin drugs, researchers compared astaxanthin to a common statin. Astaxanthin was found to lower cholesterol and keep it down after discontinuing, while the drug did not. Adding astaxanthin supplementation to the drug therapy group also improved the drug’s efficacy. 

Astaxanthin’s heart benefits do not stop at cholesterol. It has also been shown to minimize blood clots by reducing chronic inflammation caused by free radical damage. In studies, astaxanthin quenched free radicals and improved circulation after just 14 days of supplementation. If you wish is to protect your cardiovascular health, then you should be taking astaxanthin.

3. Coenzyme Q10
Coenzyme Q10 is one of the best supplements for protecting the energy producing “powerhouse” of your cells, mitochondria. There are about 1,000-2,000 mitochondria in every cell of your body.  Cells that need to make a lot of energy, like muscles, have a higher number of mitochondria. Remember your heart is a muscle and it never gets a rest! Coenzyme Q10 is essential for the mitochondria to function and make energy properly. If you are advancing in age, have a chronic medical condition or take statin drugs for cholesterol, a high quality Q10 supplement is a necessity. 

4. PQQ
PQQ (pyrroloquinoline quinone) is a nutrient that is often used in conjunction with coenzyme Q10. The two make an excellent pair for supporting mitochondria and energy production. Research has shown that PQQ has an advantage over Q10 in that it can actually help make new mitochondria. This leads to more energy for you and your heart. Furthermore, the antioxidant status of PQQ is 5,000 times more potent than vitamin C, which means that it not only helps make new mitochondria, but also protects mitochondria from damaging oxidative stress. Whether you are young or old, don’t miss out on the advantages that PQQ can give to the powerhouses of your cells.

5. Magnesium
Magnesium is one of the most common nutrient deficiencies in America. Is it a coincidence that the most common cause of death in America is cardiovascular disease? Magnesium is essential for preventing cardiovascular disease in several ways.  It is an anti-inflammatory mineral and reduces the inflammatory signals, CRP (C reactive protein) and NF-kappaB. Reducing cardiovascular inflammation prevents hardening of the arteries and reduces plaque formation that can eventually cause a stroke or heart attack. Magnesium also prevents damage to the protective layer in the arteries called endothelial cells.  If endothelial cells get damaged, you can have difficulties regulating blood pressure and are more likely to form plaque on artery walls.  Magnesium also helps regulate cholesterol synthesis and put the brakes on excessive production in your liver.  With all the benefits magnesium provides, it is a staple supplement needed to protect your cardiovascular health.

The rising rates of cardiovascular disease are concerning.  People are doing worse with their diets and not getting the proper nutrients their heart depends on. Eating a diet high in fiber and antioxidants, getting regular exercise, and supplementing with these five heart-friendly nutrients is a great start. Don’t let a nutrient deficiency put you at greater risk for “the big one”. Do something today!