Your heart is an organ unlike any other in your body. From day 21 after conception, throughout your entire lifetime, your heart beats a familiar lub-dub. It is in an ongoing state of muscular contraction and relaxation from nerve signals and impulses. This lifelong process allows the movement and exchange of oxygen, waste products, and nutrients in the blood, the cardiac muscle, and throughout your body.
Your heart’s capacity for work is astounding. In adulthood, it beats an average of 72 times per minute, 4320 times per hour, 103,680 beats per day, and 37,843,200 beats in a year! Every heartbeat pushes blood through 60,000 miles of blood vessels. Imagine what type of car would be needed to accomplish this same work effect.
This magnificent organ requires daily nutritional support to maintain its lifelong function. Cardiac muscle cells, nerves, signaling mechanisms, blood vessels, and its mitochondria require nutrients to perform and maintain function.
In recent years, researchers have found that individuals with weaker, aging hearts were deficient in several nutrients. A study published in the September 2018 Journal of the American Heart Association, showed several nutrient deficiencies in patients with aging, decreased cardiac function. In this study, all individuals tested were deficient in at least 4 nutrients. Those with the greatest loss of cardiac fitness had more significant total nutritional deficits. The most common nutrient deficiencies in order of findings were calcium, magnesium, vitamin D, vitamin E, zinc, vitamin C, vitamin K, folate, vitamin B12, pantothenic acid/vitamin B5, vitamin B6, selenium, iron, phosphorus, niacin, and thiamin/vitamin B1.
Another study evaluated individuals with aging heart health while on a one-week long low-sodium diet. In that short time, participants were unexpectedly found to have insufficient intake of calcium, thiamin, and folate. Imagine what the consequences might be with a longer duration diet and with other common food restrictions.
A recent 2020 Position Paper of the International Lipid Expert Panel identified several nutrients essential for the aging heart. Nutrients highlighted included coenzyme Q10, hawthorn extract, omega-3 essential fatty acids, carnosine, magnesium, vitamin D, L-carnitine, probiotics, thiamin, iron, d-ribose, beetroot, vitamin C, vitamin E, cocoa and dark chocolate. There are other nutrients that affect cardiovascular health, too.
Here are highlights of a few select nutrients that show how important they are for heart health.
Coenzyme Q10 is one of the most critical nutrients for your heart and its mitochondria. Inside each cardiac muscle cell are vast numbers of mitochondria required for the manufacturing of energy. These mitochondria depend upon adequate coenzyme Q10 to produce ATP required for heart muscle contractions. Cardiac mitochondria have the highest concentration of Q10 compared to other tissues. Coenzyme Q10 provides antioxidant support for the heart. It is also used to stabilize calcium ion channel activity.
Coenzyme Q10 declines with age. Q10 levels are also depleted with use of statin-cholesterol lowering medications and other medications.
Coenzyme Q10 doses range from 60 – 600 mg/day. There are water and fat-soluble forms. Fat-soluble forms such as Super Coenzyme Q10 and Super Q10 Ubiquinol provide superior absorption compared to the water-soluble form. These forms make it ideal to support Q10 levels throughout your whole body.
Hawthorn extract has been used as a cardiovascular tonic for many years. It provides antioxidant protection to heart and blood vessels. It naturally supports heart contraction strength. It contributes to blood vessel dilation throughout the vascular system and coronary blood vessels, as it inhibits activity of the angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE). Hawthorn extract provides support for cholesterol metabolism and modulates inflammatory signals.
Clinical trials show that hawthorn extract helped improve energy and aerobic exercise tolerance in adults with age-related cardiac decline. Recommended dosage is 160 – 1800 mg/day.
Magnesium is required for heart muscle relaxation, electrical current and ion activity, cardiac rhythm, and mitochondria function. It works together with other minerals such as calcium, potassium, sodium, and chloride as well as B vitamins.
Magnesium also supports blood vessel relaxation and blood flow. It is required for the balance of blood sugar, insulin, and inflammatory mechanisms, which impact overall cardiovascular function.
Magnesium is commonly deficient in the Western diet. As many as four out of five individuals fail to obtain adequate magnesium in their diet. High stress levels also rapidly deplete tissues of magnesium to offset its harmful effects. Poor digestive health affects its absorption. Numerous medications interfere with its absorption or cause your body to lose it.
Resveratrol was not mentioned in the above lists of nutrients, yet it deserves a brief discussion here for its impact on heart health. Resveratrol, a polyphenol compound found berries, grapes, and other plants, has many biological benefits for your cardiovascular system. It is a highly potent free radical scavenger. It supports and protects healthy nitric oxide activity, which affects blood vessel relaxation. Resveratrol synergistically supports and increases the activity of glutathione and SOD antioxidant defense systems in your body.
Resveratrol supports cardiac cells and signaling pathways, protecting them from stress that changes their shape and function. It inactivates and modulates NF-kappa B, TGF-beta and mTOR signaling pathways that contribute to thickening of blood.
Resveratrol activates AMPK and SIRT1 gene expression and anti-aging activity. This supports mitochondrial biogenesis or the birth of new mitochondria. It aids in clean-up of worn-out mitochondria, i.e., mitophagy.
Resveratrol provides modulatory effects with inflammation management. It aids in the production and activation of anti-inflammatory cytokines and enzymes, while it inhibits the manufacture of pro-inflammatory cytokines.
Things that Impact Your Heart’s Nutritional Demands
Age, poor diet, alcohol intake, tobacco use, drug-nutrient depletions, high cortisol, blood sugar stress, poor tissue oxygenation from anemia or respiratory disorders, blood pressure (low and high) dysregulation, vascular blockage, obstructive sleep apnea disorders, illness, sedentary lifestyles, and more affects the demands and capability of your heart.
Think about how you are proactive about your health. You may use nutrients to stay mentally sharp and support your mood. You may routinely use calcium and vitamin D to support bone health. Others may supplement with vitamin C and zinc for immune health.
Give your beating heart some ongoing TLC with support such as Daily Energy Multiple Vitamin with coenzyme B vitamins for heart energy and mitochondrial function. Add Super Q10 Ubiquinol, Cardio Helper for antioxidant support. Don’t forget your mineral support too! We offer many highly absorbable forms of minerals. Customer favorites include Muscle Mag, Daily Bone Xcel, Blood Booster, and Potassium Plus.