Heart Health: CoQ10 vs. Omega-3 vs. Red Yeast Rice
Are you trying to keep your heart healthy with supplements? Research shows that some nutrients may help lower cholesterol, improve blood pressure when combined with a healthy diet and exercise. However, it's unclear, if supplements help prevent heart attacks, strokes, and other problems, so always follow the advice of your medical doctor.
What are the 3 best supplements for heart health?
Omega-3s are a type fatty acids (nutrients that are important for normal metabolism) commonly found in fatty fish, such as salmon, sardines, or mackerel.
Conenzyme Q10 naturally occurs in the body and exists in many foods. It's a nutrient that acts as an antioxidant, protecting cells from damage, and participates in metabolic activities.
Red Yeast Rice is a type of fermented rice that that contains the compound monacolin K, which is the same active ingredient found in prescription cholesterol-lowering medications.
When taken supplementally, one thing they have in common is that all three are known to help reduce inflammation, which may boost your heart health. One is not necessarily better than the other, but each have their own interesting benefits.
CoQ10 is an antioxidant. Antioxidants protect your cells against the free radical damage caused by daily life. our body naturally makes small amounts of this enzyme, also known as ubiquinone and ubiquinol, however, studies show that the amount your body makes declines as you age. As a supplement, CoQ10 may help lower blood pressure, either on its own or along with medications. CoQ10 may also support your immune system and some studies show it may slow the growth of cancerous cells. It has been found to have anti-inflammatory effects that help keep your heart healthy. CoQ10 supplements are also popular to combat the side effects of cholesterol-lowering drugs called statins. Statins can sometimes lower the amount of CoQ10 the body makes on its own, creating a nutrient deficiency. Some doctors suggest adding a CoQ10 supplement to make up for the loss, hoping it will relieve problems like muscle pain and weakness.
Omega-3 has several different forms. DHA and EPA are found in cold-water fish, and are the best source fatty acids for slashing triglycerides. ALA, or alpha-linolenic acid, is another type of omega-3 found in plants sources such as nuts and seeds. ALA is less effectively synthesized by the body than DHA and EPA, but still offers benefits. Studies show that Omega-3 fatty acids may help lower blood pressure. It also seems to reduce the risk of irregular heartbeat and to lower cholesterol and increase blood circulation, according to the American Heart Association.
Red Yeast Rice
Red Yeast Rice is has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries. When red rice is fermented with certain strains of yeast, it creates a very low-dose statin by means of a substance called monacolin K. Monacolin K has the same chemical structure as the prescription statin lovastatin, although its profile and bioavailability are somewhat different. Research shows it’s considered to be a safe and effective supplement for those who have mild to moderate elevation of their cholesterol levels and no other heart disease risk factors.
Like statins, red rice yeast supplements would have the same precautions that relate to prescription cholesterol medications. It's been noted that statins can reduce the body's amount of CoQ10, so adding a CoQ10 supplement may be beneficial.
Before you take any supplement, consult with your doctor. Supplements are not regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, so it's important to find out about possible drug interactions and contraindications.
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National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health.
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Harvard Health Publications: "Online Medical Dictionary."