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These Specific Supplements Reduce Cardiovascular Risk, According To Research

Morgan Chamberlain
Author:
December 9, 2022
Morgan Chamberlain
mbg Supplement Editor
By Morgan Chamberlain
mbg Supplement Editor
Morgan Chamberlain is a supplement editor at mindbodygreen. She graduated from Syracuse University with a Bachelor of Science degree in magazine journalism and a minor in nutrition.
Image by Lauren Lee / Stocksy
December 9, 2022

To say that our country struggles with heart health is an understatement. According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, more than 800,000 Americans die from cardiovascular disease (CVD) every year. That's one in three deaths.

Luckily, there are many ways we can utilize nutritional strategies to improve our heart health and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease—including staying physically active, not smoking, getting adequate quality sleep, and eating nutrient-dense foods that help lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels, enhance blood flow, and bolster blood vessel health.

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While we know certain foods support cardiovascular health (think oats, salmon, walnuts, and blueberries), less research has been conducted on which specific nutrients (e.g., vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids) and phytochemicals (e.g., antioxidants and polyphenols) are responsible for their heart health benefits.

Reducing cardiovascular risk through dietary supplementation.

In a new meta-analysis recently published by the Journal of the American College of Cardiology1, scientists reviewed 884 randomized controlled trials (RCTs) to see which nutrients and phytochemicals have the most profound effect on heart health.

In the RCTs investigated, 27 different single-ingredient supplements (vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, antioxidants, polyphenols, and amino acids) were tested to determine their impact on the following CVD risk factors, as well as cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes events:

Cardiovascular disease risk factors:

  • High systolic blood pressure (SBP)
  • High diastolic blood pressure (DBP)
  • High total cholesterol 
  • High low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol 
  • Low high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol
  • High triglyceride levels
  • High hemoglobin A1C
  • High fasting blood glucose
  • High fasting blood insulin
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Cardiovascular disease & Type 2 diabetes events

  • All-cause mortality
  • Cardiovascular disease mortality
  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Coronary heart disease (CHD)
  • Arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat)
  • Type 2 diabetes

Which supplements reduce cardiovascular risk?

Of the supplements tested, approximately 60% demonstrated moderate- to high-quality evidence for reducing cardiovascular disease risk factors. These nutrients and phytochemicals include:

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Evidence shows that supplementing with these incredible nutrients and phytochemicals can do wonders in reducing your CVD risk by lowering your blood pressure and promoting healthy cholesterol and blood sugar levels.

That said, only three of these supplements demonstrated the ability to reduce cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes events in RCTs:

  • Omega-3 supplements decreased CVD mortality, heart attack risk, and coronary heart disease events.
  • Folic acid supplements decreased stroke risk.
  • CoQ10 supplements decreased all-cause mortality events.

The takeaway.

If you're looking to reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease and Type 2 diabetes events, supplementing with omega-3 fatty acids, folic acid, or CoQ10 is a smart and effective solution.

Many other supplement ingredients (e.g., vitamin D, magnesium, zinc, curcumin, quercetin) have also been shown to reduce CVD risk factors, so check out this new research and talk to your health care provider about which supplement might be beneficial for your personal heart-health goals!

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Morgan Chamberlain
Morgan Chamberlain
mbg Supplement Editor

Morgan Chamberlain is a supplement editor at mindbodygreen. She graduated from Syracuse University with a Bachelor of Science degree in magazine journalism and a minor in nutrition. Chamberlain believes in taking small steps to improve your well-being—whether that means eating more plant-based foods, checking in with a therapist weekly, or spending quality time with your closest friends. When she isn’t typing away furiously at her keyboard, you can find her cooking in the kitchen, hanging outside, or doing a vinyasa flow.