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Supplements for Heart Health

While there’s no substitute for consistent, healthy habits, your physician might suggest a nutritional supplement to enhance your heart-healthy lifestyle.

While there’s no substitute for consistent, healthy habits, your physician may suggest a nutritional supplement to enhance your heart-healthy lifestyle.

  • Soluble fiber: Psyllium (seed grain) is available as a laxative and fiber supplement. Oats and barley contain beta glucan, another soluble fiber that lowers LDL cholesterol.
  • Red yeast rice (RYR) extract: A product of yeast (Monascus purpureus) grown on rice, RYR contains monacolins, which are similar in chemical structure to drugs lovastatin and mevinolin and inhibit cholesterol production. Several studies suggest that RYR may lead to a moderate reduction in LDL cholesterol. Side effects are rare, but information on long-term safety is limited so proceed with caution.
  • Fish oil: Studies on Omega-3 fats in cold-water fish have been positive for reducing triglycerides. Omega-3 fats also have other potential cardiovascular benefits.
  • CoQ10:  CoQ10 has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects on blood vessel function. CoQ10 studies show benefits for patients after bypass surgery and heart failure.

A cautionary note for anyone with heart disease, high blood pressure or high cholesterol: The FDA does not regulate dietary supplements or their ingredients as strictly as it does conventional food or medicine, so it’s crucial to discuss them with a doctor before you start taking them to ensure proper monitoring of their effects.

This post was written by Robert Graham, MD, Associate Program Director and Director of Resident Research at the Department of Medicine at Lenox Hill Hospital.


Contents of the health blog are the property of North Shore-LIJ Health System and are provided as a health resource for consumers, health care professionals and members of the media. The medical content on the North Shore-LIJ Health Blog is for informational purposes only and should not be considered a substitute for consultation with your physician regarding diagnosis, treatment or any other form of specific medical advice.   These materials may be reprinted for noncommercial personal use only. "North Shore-LIJ Health System," "North Shore-LIJ," "northshorelij.com," "VivoHealth," their related entities and logos are trademarks of the North Shore-LIJ Health System. Copyright © 2011 North Shore-LIJ Health System.  All rights reserved.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Louise February 28, 2013 at 12:43 PM
I could not tolerate fish oil; it caused chronic diarrhea. I switched to krill oil will no side effects so far.

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