7 Supplements Heart Doctors Take Every Day
Your diet delivers a lot of nutrients, but sometimes your heart needs a bit more. Here, heart experts share the supplements they take daily to stay healthy.
Found naturally in fatty fish (think mackerel, tuna, salmon, and sardines), these healthy fats can reduce the inflammation tied to heart disease. “These healthy fats are not made by the body so you have to get them from food,” says Suzanne Steinbaum, a cardiologist in New York.
Steinbaum sometimes falls short of the American Heart Association’s (AHA) recommendation to eat fish twice a week, so she takes omega 3 supplements daily. These supplements may also lower the risk of heart failure, according to the AHA.
Vitamin D is also known as the sunshine vitamin because the body produces it when skin is exposed to sunlight. The problem? The sunscreen we wear to stave off skin cancer may also prevent vitamin D absorption—and low levels of vitamin D are linked to a host of diseases, including heart disease. “I wear tons of sunblock and a big wide-brimmed hat to protect my skin from cancer, and I take 2,000 international units of vitamin D a day to make sure my levels are where that need to be,” says Dr. Steinbaum. A simple blood test for vitamin D can tell you whether or not you need supplements.
The flavourful bulb helps lower blood cholesterol levels and may lower blood pressure and blood sugar, as well. “I started taking Kyolic Aged Garlic Extract a few years back when I received news that I had hypertension,” shares cardiologist Matthew Budoff, MD, a professor of Medicine at David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.
Budoff takes two garlic pills a day. “I’ve led multiple studies on the supplement that demonstrated coronary plaque regression and blood pressure lowering effects,” he says. “I would recommend it to anyone seeking help with hypertension or early heart disease.”
Neica Goldberg, a cardiologist in New York, heard about this B vitamin from a manicurist who suggested she take biotin to strengthen her nails. “I take it when I remember, and my nails are stronger for it,” says Dr. Goldberg, who prefers to get her nutrients from whole foods as opposed to supplements. (Here are some ways to make your supplements more effective.)
Perry Frankel, MD, a cardiologist in Lake Success, New York, takes glucosamine supplements daily. “It’s proven in studies to be good for joints, and in a head-to-head study it beat out certain pain relievers,” says Dr. Frankel. “It also helps form new cartilage.” These are among the reasons that it tops the list of arthritis home remedies even doctors strongly recommend.
This antioxidant is popular among supplement takers. “Data shows that it helps boost your immune system,” Dr. Frankel says, which is important for those who work in healthcare settings. Cardiovascular surgeon David A. Greuner, MD, FACS, of NYC Surgical Associates, agrees. “I take Vitamin C because of the antioxidant effects, the overall effect on skin maintenance and health, and the fact that I never eat enough fruit,” he shares. Vitamin C deficiency has been linked to an increased risk of heart disease, according to a review study in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences. What’s more, the study suggests that supplementing with vitamin C may boost heart health—especially in people with low blood levels of vitamin C.
(Following a vegan diet? Keep in mind that you’re more likely to be deficient in these nutrients.)
Heart surgeon and talk show host Mehmet Oz, also known as Dr. Oz, says multivitamins are the most essential supplement to take on a daily basis, and he always practices what he preaches. “Make sure it includes vitamins A, C, D, E, and K, as well as potassium, zinc, and iodine,” he writes on his website.
Next, learn to recognize the warning signs your vitamins aren’t working properly.