Heart Disease month is in full effect; however, there are misconceptions about what keeps your heart healthy or what can destroy it. Low levels of vitamin D have again been linked with reduced survival rates in patients with heart failure. The study, conducted at the University Medical Center, Groningen, in the Netherlands, also suggested that low levels of vitamin D are associated with activation of the Renin Angiotensin System (RAS – a pivotal regulatory system in heart failure) and an altered cytokine profile.
Researchers have found low levels of vitamin D:
- Lower your chance of surviving heart failure
- Increase your risk of developing heart disease
- Increase arterial stiffness (a major risk factor in heart disease and stroke)
- Had a 25 percent higher risk of dying from heart disease or stroke
Optimizing Vitamin D and living a healthy lifestyle is the foundation to a healthy heart. Here are helpful tips to keep you healthy:
- Vitamin D
Make sure to have your Vitamin D level checked. I recommend one check in the summer and one in the winter because your level will change naturally with the season. This can be done through our office, your primary doctor, or individually at a lab testing facility. Sunlight is a great way to get vitamin D. Your ability to convert sunlight into vitamin D is dependent on several factors, such as the color of your skin, where you live, and how much sunshine your skin is exposed to on a regular basis. The trouble is these people aren’t regularly outside during the normal school and work week. In fact, many kids aren’t out on the weekend either. So generally, people would benefit with using a vitamin D supplement to stay healthy.
- Heart Healthy Omegas
Fish Oil contains the highest amount of Omega-3 Fatty Acids which benefit the heart and especially those who have cardiovascular disease. Healthy fats are essential for to every cell and help heal and decrease inflammation on the cell membrane. I recommend three grams/per day along with healthy fats in your diet such as wild caught salmon, grass-fed meats, coconut oil and avocados.
- CoEnzyme Q-10 (CoQ10)
The beneficial effect of CoQ10 in the prevention and treatment of heart disease is due to its ability to improve energy production in cells, inhibit blood clot formation, and act as an antioxidant. If you are on a statin medication you should consider taking this enzyme. The precursor, Ubiquinol, is more readily absorbed and a great option as well.
Magnesium is used in scores of enzymatic reactions, and it’s necessary for normal muscle function. A shortage can cause or worsen heart problems. One possible sign of a magnesium deficiency would be muscle cramping (a.k.a. having a “Charlie horse”) at night. Use a magnesium oil spray on the skin for better absorption and utilization.
- Gut Health
Digestive health has been linked to heart health and stroke. A Sweden study found health of your gut flora can either increase or decrease your risk for heart disease and stroke. Taking a probiotic supplement and decreasing your grains and sugars will help. One of the best ways to strengthen your gut health is by eating fermented vegetables such as sauerkraut, Kimchi, pickles, pickled beets and others. Fortunately, there are many brands now at the grocery store that carry great tasting fermented vegetables!
These are just a few ways that you can maintain a healthy heart. Do not wait until a crisis to make the necessary changes in your life. Take massive action, seek help if needed, and keep your focus on the goal and not the obstacles in your way. Contact my office for advice or to schedule a consultation: 336.288.4677