Give Your Heart a Gift

Hearts, the primary symbol of love, can be found everywhere in February, including card, candy, jewelry, and grocery stores. And although gifts from the heart are perfect for Valentine's Day, taking specific nutrients for your heart may be the best gift you can give yourself – now and all year long.

Heart disease has become the number one killer in Western nations. Between 40-50%, or nearly one in every two people, in these nations will die from some form of cardiovascular disease.

And it is an equal-opportunity killer, being the leading cause of death for both men and women, as well as for every race living in the industrialized nations. In fact, more people die of cardiovascular disease than of the next five leading causes combined.

Because of the staggering statistics, the study of cardiovascular disease has become an area of major focus in recent decades. Doctors and researchers have identified numerous lifestyle steps you can take to reduce your risk of stroke and heart attack, lower your blood pressure, and prevent cardiovascular disease. These include not smoking, getting regular exercise, and eating a heart-healthy diet.

We now also have a better understanding of how specific natural compounds – in addition to your daily supplement program – can help support a healthy heart and cardiovascular system. Some of the nutrients that have been shown to have the most benefit are:

 B-Vitamins and Betaine: B6, B12 and folate all reduce homocysteine levels in the blood, which is very important because high homocysteine levels can double the risk of heart disease. Betaine works with the B vitamins to lower homocysteine levels.

Coenzyme Q10: CoQ10 is one of the only substances that strengthens heart contractions, and it helps stabilize the electrical activity of the heart. (Statin drugs may interfere with production of CoQ10, increasing the need for supplementation.)

Garlic Extract: Garlic has numerous phytochemicals that help normalize blood pressure, reduce platelet stickiness, regulate blood lipid levels and reduce atherosclerotic plaque formation.

Green Tea Extract: Green tea is a natural source of catechin antioxidants, polyphenols and flavonoids, which together help dilate blood vessels to improve blood flow, stop inflammation in and relax arteries, and prevent LDL cholesterol oxidation.

Grape Seed and Grape Skin Extract: These extracts are natural sources of anthocyanidin antioxidants, which reduce blood clotting. Grape skin also contains resveratrol, which decreases blood platelet stickiness and keep blood vessels open and flexible. Grape seed extract can raise HDL ("good") cholesterol and may reduce triglyceride levels.

Hawthorn Extract: This herbal extract has a direct effect on the electrical activity and conduction in the heart which strengthens the heart, regulates heart rhythm and helps normalize blood pressure. It also works well to supplement the effects of ACE inhibitors.

L-arginine: An amino acid, L-arginie can counter the constriction of blood vessels and keep blood flowing smoothly, even if there is plaque buildup.

Magnesium: This mineral is valuable for energy metabolism in the heart and appears to work with calcium and potassium to regulate blood pressure. It may also protect against atherosclerosis, or plaque buildup. Magnesium deficiencies are common.

Notoginseng: This herb improves blood flow and helps regulate heart rhythm by helping to stabilize the electrical activity of the heart.

Policosanol: This extract reduces inflammation in the artery lining and may be an effective balancer of cholesterol levels

Taurine: This amino acid has a direct effect on calming and stabilizing the electrical conduction of the heart muscle, thus helping to regulate heart rhythm.

Tocotrienols: These important antioxidants – cousins of vitamin E tocopherols – help regulate cholesterol and may prevent LDL cholesterol from oxidizing.

DHA and EPA These omega-3 fatty acids appear to reduce your risk of dying of heart disease. Omega-3 fatty acids are also believed to reduce inflammation throughout the body, decrease triglycerides, lower blood pressure, and reduce blood clotting.

Many of these compounds work best when taken together, so make sure you take not only the right ones, but also take them in the right combinations for maximum effect. Our Cardiovascular Support has been formulated to supply all of the above specialized nutrients (except omega-3 fatty acids, which are found in Basic Nutrient Support) in the most effective amounts and ratios to each other to support all aspects of cardiovascular function.

Special Note: If you already have an existing heart condition, please consult with your doctor before starting this or any nutritional program.

Proverbs instructs us, "Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life." Just as the Bible speaks of the heart as the center of our spiritual lives, so it is the center of a healthy mind and body.