Maintain A Healthy Heart
There’s an old saying that goes, “The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.” While this saying is a humorous generalization of the stereotypical big eater, it’s actually quite true in the context of health and well-being, for both women and men. This is because your heart and your circulatory system (known collectively as the cardiovascular system) require a steady, unending supply of essential nutrients to function at peak efficiency over the course of your lifetime, many of which must be obtained from your diet.
Each year the American Heart Association, in cooperation with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institutes of Health, and other government sources, release updated cardiovascular health statistics to the public. In 2016 cardiovascular conditions were the leading cause of mortality worldwide. The direct and indirect costs of these conditions, including expenditures and lost productivity, is estimated at 316.6 billion dollars. The majority of Americans 20 years of age and older, and almost 69% of adult Americans (159 million adults), are considered to be overweight or obese. *
It’s clear that we could be doing a better job of maintaining the health of our heart and cardiovascular system. One of the best ways to ensure normal, healthy cardiovascular function throughout life is a healthy diet, plenty of physical activity, and dietary supplements to help fill any gaps in nutrition.
Your cardiovascular system is composed of the heart, arteries, veins, arterioles, capillaries and blood.
The heart is one of the hardest working organs in the human body. On average a healthy human heart beats over 100,000 times a day, 24 hours a day, slowing down only slightly while we sleep. Of all the muscles in your body, the heart is by far the hardest working. In the average person’s lifetime it’s estimated that the heart will beat well over two billion times. Its primary function is to pump blood throughout your body.
Your heart is part of your circulatory system, which is the vast network of blood vessels that deliver blood, and in the process life-sustaining oxygen and nutrients, throughout your body. Researchers estimate that all of the blood vessels in the human body, laid end-to-end, would circle the Earth more than two times!
Your heart pumps blood out through your arteries, which are the largest of your blood vessels. Arteries divide into smaller vessels the further they travel in your body, becoming smaller arterioles and eventually your body’s smallest blood vessels, capillaries. Capillaries are responsible for ensuring that blood is distributed throughout the body, even to the smallest and most remote areas and appendages. After arterial blood has delivered its oxygen and nutrients, it’s returned to the heart through your veins, sometimes carrying cellular waste materials and carbon dioxide to be dropped off on the way back for processing and eventual elimination.
Blood is comprised of plasma, red blood cells (erythrocytes), white blood cells (leukocytes), and platelets (thrombocytes). Red blood cells are your body’s oxygen transporters, carrying vital oxygen from your lungs and distributing it throughout your body. White blood cells are an essential part of your body’s immune defenses, helping to protect your body from a variety of cellular threats. Platelets are responsible for blood clotting, which helps to stop bleeding after injury. Your blood also transports a variety of substances, including vitamins and other nutrients, electrolytes, hormones, antibodies, and even warmth, to all parts of your body
The normal, healthy functioning of your cardiovascular system is vitally important to other body systems. The nutrients your digestive system obtains from food are carried by your blood throughout the body. Your immune system relies heavily on white blood cells as the first line of defense against foreign microbes. Platelets play a vital role in controlling bleeding, which helps improve your chance of survival after injury
Nutrients that Support Normal Cardiovascular Functions
As always, a healthy diet and regular exercise are the two most effective ways to maintain cardiovascular health throughout life. However, some of us may have a tougher time maintaining the health of our heart and circulatory system due to genetic predisposition and other factors.
The following nutrients are either essential for cardiovascular health, or have unique benefits that make them ideal for supporting normal cardiovascular functions.**
Coenzyme Q10, also called CoQ10 and ubiquinone, is a natural compound that plays a central role in your body’s production of energy.** Through its involvement in aerobic cellular respiration CoQ10 helps the body produce energy in the form of adenosine triphosphate, or ATP.* ATP is then broken down into adenosine diphosphate, or ADP, which is then used for energy reactions throughout your body. Since the heart has the highest energy requirement of any organ in the body, CoQ10 is an essential nutrient for normal heart function.* CoQ10 is also a free radical scavenger.**
NOW®Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is a vitamin-like compound that plays a central role in cellular energy production.** CoQ10 is found throughout the body, but is especially concentrated in the heart, liver, and kidneys and production has been found to decline with age. CoQ10 works with vitamin E as a potent free radical scavenger in cell membranes, as well as within blood vessels.** Years of scientific research have shown that CoQ10 helps to maintain a cardiovascular system and normal nervous system function.** We offer a variety of CoQ10 strengths, ranging from 30 mg up to 600 mg. We also offer the reduced, free radical-quenching form of CoQ10, ubiquinol.
Omega-3 is a group of unsaturated fatty acids that are also referred to as essential fatty acids, or EFAs. Omega-3 fatty acids are important to many body systems, but especially important for cardiovascular health because they can help maintain normal triglyceride levels.** Because your body doesn’t manufacture omega-3 fatty acids on its own, you must obtain them from your diet, primarily from cold water fish such as halibut and mackerel.
NOW® Red Omega™ Red yeast rice (RYR) is the natural product of the fermentation of rice with red yeast (Monascus purpureus). For centuries, RYR has been used as a flavoring and coloring agent in Asian cuisine, and has been valued by traditional Asian herbalists as well. NOW® Red Omega™ is carefully produced to avoid the presence of citrinin, an unwanted by-product of the RYR fermentation process.
This product is further enhanced with the addition of CoQ10 and omega-3 fish oil to support healthy cardiovascular function.**
In addition, NOW offers a great selection of omega-3 supplements in a variety of potencies and sources, including Cod Liver Oil, Krill Oil, Ultra Omega 3-D™, and more.
Pantethine is a derivative of pantothenic acid, also known as vitamin B-5. Pantethine helps to support normal production of cholesterol and aids in the regulation of already-healthy serum lipid levels, which helps support normal cardiovascular function.**
Pantethine is a highly absorbable and biologically active form of pantothenic acid (vitamin B-5). The metabolic activity of pantethine is due to its role in the formation of coenzyme A (CoA), an essential cofactor for lipid, carbohydrate, and protein metabolism.* Pantethine helps to support proper cholesterol production and fat storage processes in the liver, which can help to promote healthy body fat distribution.** It has been shown in clinical studies to assist in the maintenance of already healthy serum lipid levels for the support of a healthy cardiovascular system.**
Niacin is a water-soluble B vitamin that, like most other B vitamins, plays an important role in the metabolism of proteins, fats and carbohydrates.** Research indicates niacin helps to support healthy circulation and helps to maintain cholesterol levels within the normal range.**
NOW® Niacin - Vitamin B-3 is also known as niacin, niacinamide, and nicotinic acid. It plays a role in the metabolism of proteins, carbohydrates and fats, and is involved in the production of hydrochloric acid.** The niacin (nicotinic acid) form helps to support healthy circulation as well as maintain cholesterol levels within the normal range.** We offer several niacin formulas, including sustained release and flush-free products.
Hawthorn is an herb with a lengthy history of use in certain traditional herbal systems. Hawthorn possesses a variety of natural compounds, including flavonoids such as oligomeric proanthocyanidins (OPCs), that may help support aspects of cardiovascular health, including circulatory health and blood pressure already within the normal range.** As with most herbs, more research is needed to verify hawthorn’s purported benefits.
NOW® Hawthorn Extract - Hawthorn leaves, flowers and berries have been used for generations by herbalists as a cardiovascular tonic.** Hawthorn promotes cardiovascular health by supporting cardiac muscle tone and vascular integrity.** Hawthorn extract also exhibits powerful free radical scavenging activity.** NOW® Hawthorn Extract is standardized to 1.8% vitexin that, along with other natural components, has been found to support normal blood flow and may help to maintain blood pressure already within the healthy range.** NOW offers both 300 mg and 600 mg capsules of this extract in vegetarian capsules.
Plant sterols, also known as phytosterols, are substances that are found naturally in a variety of foods including nuts, grains, vegetables, fruits and more. Cholesterol is actually a type of sterol from an animal source. In the body, plant sterols compete with other types of sterols, including cholesterol, for absorption.** In this way, they can help reduce the amount of cholesterol your body absorbs, which helps to maintain cholesterol levels already within the healthy range and thereby supports healthy cardiovascular functions.**
NOW® Beta-Sitosterol Plant Sterols – Our BetaSitosterol Plant Sterols formula has CardioAid®-S Plant Sterol Esters, a combination of the ester forms of beta-sitosterol, campesterol and stigmasterol. Plant sterols are plant-derived compounds that are structurally similar to cholesterol so that they help to limit the absorption of cholesterol from the digestive tract.** In this way, CardioAid®-S can help to maintain cholesterol levels already within the normal range.**
Other NOW® Cardiovascular Support Supplements
NOW® Cholesterol Pro™ - Cholesterol Pro™ is a combination of two unique ingredients that have clinically demonstrated their ability to help support serum lipid levels already within the healthy range.** Bergamonte™ is a standardized polyphenolic extract that can help to support cardiovascular health, as well as proper blood sugar management.** CardioAid®, a plant sterol combination, has also demonstrated its use for the support of healthy cholesterol levels already within the normal range.**
NOW® Red Yeast Rice - Red yeast rice is a natural product that has been used by Asian traditional herbalists since approximately 800 A.D. Produced by fermenting red yeast (Monascus purpureus) with white rice, red yeast rice is commonly used in cooking applications to enhance the color and flavor of foods. NOW® Red Yeast Rice is carefully produced to avoid the presence of citrinin, an unwanted byproduct of the fermentation process.
NOW® Blood Pressure Health - NOW® Blood Pressure Health combines two botanicals widely known to support healthy cardiovascular function.** MegaNatural®- BP™ is a patented and clinically tested grape seed extract standardized for polyphenols. MegaNatural®-BP™ has flavonoids that can support healthy arterial function and may help maintain blood pressure already within the healthy range.* In addition, we’ve included a standardized hawthorn extract for free radical protection and cardiovascular support.**
NOW® Vein Supreme™- NOW® Vein Supreme™ is a combination of botanical ingredients for the support of healthy vascular function.** Vein Supreme™ features Trunorin™, a clinically tested and patented extract of Prickly Ash Bark, whose characteristic constituents have been found to promote normal venous function and integrity.** Also included are Butcher’s Broom and Horse Chestnut Seed Extract, both of which have long histories of use for the support of healthy veins.**
NOW® Policosanol - NOW® Policosanol is a blend of long-chain fatty alcohols (LCFAs) derived from sugar cane. LCFAs are naturally occurring plant waxes. Studies indicate that these plant waxes may influence healthy blood lipid metabolism.** NOW supplies this supplement in both 10mg and 20mg strengths.
The NOW Difference
Since 1968 NOW has been empowering people to lead healthier lives with an award-winning selection of dietary supplements, natural foods, sports nutrition, health and beauty, and essential oil products. With more than 1,400 products, NOW is your source for natural health products of the highest quality. Available at fine health food stores across the nation and online, NOW products are fuel for your healthy lifestyle. Live happy, live healthy, live NOW!
* 2016 American Heart Association 2016 Statistics At-A-Glance https://www.heart.org/idc/groups/ahamah-public/@wcm/@sop/@smd/documents/downloadable/ucm_480086.pdf
**These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease