Heart problems can be averted with healthy lifestyle. While a balanced diet meets the calorie and nutritional requirement of the heart, certain vitamins are especially recommended for maintaining the normal functioning of the heart. In addition to strengthening the heart muscles, nutrients help to lower harmful cholesterol and triglycerides levels, thereby sustaining normal blood flow through the coronary arteries.
Vitamins beneficial for the heart are present in a wide range of foods. A diet rich in fruits and vegetables can easily meet most of the nutritional needs of the heart. Occasionally, supplementation with appropriate dosages of certain vitamins is recommended for keeping the heart in good health.
Vitamins for Heart Health
High level of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or bad cholesterol in the blood increases the risk of coronary artery disease. LDL accumulating in the coronary arteries gradually narrows the blood vessels, reducing blood flow to the heart. To remove LDL from the coronary arteries, you must boost the high-density lipoprotein (HDL) or the good cholesterol level in the blood. HDL helps to clean and maintain the inner walls of the coronary artery.
Vitamin B3 or niacin plays an important role in boosting the HDL level in the blood. In addition, niacin also helps to lower the LDL and triglycerides levels. To improve your lipid profile, you can take 500 to 2000 mg of niacin per day. In some cases, high dosage of niacin aggravates heart rhythm problems and triggers hot flushes. However, flushing can be avoided by taking aspirin while using niacin supplement.
Studies suggest that vitamin B6 aggravates risk of heart diseases. By lowering the homocysteine level in the bloodstream, the B vitamin protects the heart from diseases. Homocysteine is a byproduct of metabolism. High levels of homocysteine increases risk of heart problems.
Folic acid or vitamin B9 is beneficial for the heart. It helps to lower the homocysteine level and prevents thickening of the walls of the coronary arteries.
Moreover, folic acid also helps to protect the heart from oxidative stress. By improving nitric oxide production in the blood vessels, folic acid reduces the risk of ischemic heart diseases. Taking at least 500 mcg of folic acid daily along with the other B vitamins can significantly reduce the risk of heart problems.
Vitamin B12 when combined with folic acid and vitamin B6 brings down the homocysteine level in the blood. The B vitamins convert homocysteine into a harmless amino acid called methionine. Consuming 300 mcg of vitamin B12 daily can diminish the risk of heart diseases.
People suffering from vitamins D deficiency are susceptible to heart problems. Vitamin D can protect you from angina and coronary arteriosclerosis. By lowering the blood pressure level, it diminishes the risk of heart attack.
Vitamin D works by suppressing activities of the parathyroid hormone (PTH), which is associated with medical conditions that increase the risk of heart problems. By improving calcium uptake, regulating nitric oxide production and preventing platelet stickiness, vitamin D is capable of improving the function of the heart.
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