Understanding Heart Health: What Your Heart Wants and What It Needs
Written by Amanda Williams MD, MPH
Director of Nutrition – Boca Raton, Florida
Amanda Williams holds a doctorate in medicine from Xavier University in Aruba, a Masters degree in Public Health from Nova Southeastern University, and a Bachelor's degree in biology from St. Mary's College Orchard Lake. Tune in to Amanda Williams on InVite® Health Radio! Click here for the full listening schedule. Email Amanda: AWilliams@invitehealth.com
Understanding the complex anatomy and physiology of the heart and cardiovascular system is not an easy thing. To keep things simple, just think of the heart as a two-story house in a neighborhood with many streets. If your home has a leaky roof, drafty windows, or a door that sticks, then you know you need some repairs. Next, think of the neighborhood streets leading to your house having potholes or roadblocks that impede an easy commute. That same concept is how the cardiovascular system works. When the heart itself needs minor repairs or the blood supply to or from the heart is not efficient, you need to take action.
What to watch out for.
How would you know if your heart needs attention? There are some early indicators of lowered heart function. They include the following:
Testing your heart health
Having blood tests and or genetic testing can give insight into how well your cardiovascular system is working. If a genetic marker indicates you are at greater risk, then you can make appropriate steps to remedy the defect. If a blood test shows you have inflammation or plaque building up in vessels, this too can lead you to make necessary dietary and lifestyle changes.
Assessing certain blood markers can also give insight into how well your cardiovascular system is working, including:
- High sensitivity CRP (C-Reactive Protein)
- Lipoprotein-associated phospholipase A2 (Lp-PLA2)
- Natriuretic peptides (BNP and pro-BNP)
Genetic Testing may be a good option, in order bring you a better understanding of your heart and how to navigate a healthhy lifestyle. Genetic tests for heart health include the following:
- APOE E4
- Factor II
- Factor V Leiden
InVite® Health has taken the next steps to help you understand your genome with data that has revolutionized health, wellness and research. Visit an InVite® retail location to speak with a certified healthcare professional for our available DNA Test Kits.
How to address a heart that needs repair.
There are many ways to address potential heart concerns and to optimize your cardiovascular system. The first place to begin is your diet. As you we know, “you are what you eat”. I advise a Mediterranean diet, as it has been shown time and time again to be the most beneficial to the health of the heart.
Other lifestyle modifications will make a big impact on heart health, including exercise or some form of physical activity, maintaining a healthy weight, smoking cessation, and maintaining healthy blood pressure and blood glucose.
The next step to support your heart is to supplement with the appropriate nutrients. These nutrients will allow the cardiovascular system to generate energy, fend off oxidative stress, ease inflammation, and enhance cardiac function. Here is my top list of heart healthy supplements:
- Ubiquinol (CoQ10) supports cell energy in the heart and throughout the body†
- Omega-3 Fatty Acid (Fish Oil, Krill Oil, or Flax Seed) eases inflammation†
- Tocotrienol maintains healthy cholesterol and is a powerful natural antioxidant†
- Magnesium Glycinate supports healthy blood pressure and rhythm†
- D-Ribose supports cell energy†
- Activated B (methyl-B) for vascular and nerve support†
The heart is truly an amazing and complex machine. And keeping it healthy may be simpler than you think! It really is about what you eat, which vitamins you include into your routine, and the lifestyle modifications you make that determine the state of your cardiovascular health. Be heart smart and your heart will treat you kindly!
For questions or more information regarding heart health, visit an InVite® retail location near you or give us a call at (800) 632-0541 to speak with a certified healthcare professional.
Widmer, R. J., Flammer, A. J., Lerman, L. O., & Lerman, A. (2014). The Mediterranean diet, its components, and cardiovascular disease. The American journal of medicine, 128(3), 229-38.