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Heart Health & Cardiovascular Support Supplements

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About Heart Health & Cardiovascular Support Supplements

The cardiovascular system consist of a pump (heart) and delivery system of pipes (blood vessels) to deliver oxygen and essential nutrients to the cells of the body. Cardiovascular disease relates to disease affecting the heart or blood vessels, such as hypertension, palpitations and poor peripheral circulation. Many supplements may assist with the management of a range of cardiovascular conditions, which are typically herbal or nutritional in nature.

 

Hypertension is a common condition created by too much pressure inside the blood vessels. This is may be due to atherosclerosis (plaque) build-up and calcification, which causes the blood vessels to stiffen, losing their elasticity. Without adequate blood vessel dilation, the pressure created by blood increases when the heart is contracting and at rest. This can be compared a garden hose, in that the pressure inside will decrease with an increased hose diameter and a constant tap pressure.

 

There many causes of hypertension, such as persistent psychological stress which can lead to a high sympathetic nervous system tone. There is even a medical name for hypertension when the cause is unknown: essential hypertension (primary hypertension). Supprting nitric oxide synthesis may assist with blood pressure management, as this naturally synthesized gas stimulates smooth muscles inside blood vessels to relax, leading to dilation and a lowering of the blood pressure.

 

The amino acids arginine and citrulline are effective ways to support nitric oxide production. Ironically, citrulline may be superior to arginine in elevating blood arginine levels due to the differing first pass effects as reported in The Journal of Nutrition in 2017. Arginine should not be discounted, however, as F1000 Research demonstrated in 2014 that it can modulate blood lipids and even fasting blood sugar. Another method for supporting nitric oxide synthesis is by providing natural nitrates, which function as substrates through an alternative pathway. Nitrates are naturally found in spinach, lettuce, cauliflower, strawberries, grapes and beetroot.

 

Cardiovascular complaints can also include cold hands and feet as well as decreased cognitive capacity. Promoting peripheral circulation may be beneficial in these instances, with herbs such as Ginkgo biloba, Brahmi, Garlic and Ginger offering potential benefits. Nitric Oxide boosters, including citrulline, arginine and agmatine, may be helpful for these conditions. Antioxidant supplements can be helpful to reduce LDL cholesterol oxidation making it less likely to contribute toward atherosclerosis. Antioxidant containing supplements include Vitamin E, Olive Leaf extract, COQ10 (or Ubiquinol) and even Krill Oil may protect against LDL oxidation.

 

LDL Cholesterol has gained a bad rap over the years as a contributor to atherosclerosis. However, it does play the important role as a cholesterol transporter for the body. Cholesterol itself is an important nutrient manufactured in the liver as a basic starter molecule for hormone synthesis. Testosterone, oestrogen and progesterone are all synthesized from cholesterol. Evidence is beginning to point towards the small particle size LDL as potentially more atherogenic than the larger "fluffier" LCL particles.

 

Bergamot has shown promising results in several clinical trials with regards to improving cholesterol ratios, triglycerides and even body fat levels. This specialised citrus extract is a rich source of bioflavonoids, and has also been shown to reduce HMG CoA Reductase activity in the liver. This is a function of Red Rice yeast Extract as well, which has been shown to inhibit activity of this enzyme. HMG CoA Reductase is one enzyme of many that are needed to synthesize cholesterol in the liver. However, halfway along the cholesterol biosynthesis pathway, a metabolite called Farnesyl PP is produced, some of which is actually used for Coenzyme Q10 production. Therefore, any HMG CoA Reductase inhibitors, natural or otherwise, have the potential to reduce Coenzyme Q10 levels, which is important for mitochondrial health and ATP synthesis. Fortunately, Coenzyme Q10 supplements are readily available and are best taken with HMG CoA Reductase Inhibitors.

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