Seven Key Nutrients for a Healthier Heart

Published: December 4, 2012

Optimizing Your Health, Part 9: Heart Health

The heart is the hardest working organ in your body — the non-stop pump that constantly moves oxygen and nutrition to every other organ, system and cell. Believe it or not, your heart beats about 100,000 times a day. That's 3.5 million times a year, or 2.5 billion times during an average lifetime!

And if your hardworking heart isn't working right, you're not going to feel at your best. But a superfood and several key nutrients can do your heart a world of good.

To optimize your heart's health, here are the nutritional recommendations I heartily get behind.

1. Ribose

Ribose is a unique nutrient looks and tastes like sugar, and is a key to energy production in the body — including the heart. It works best in powdered form. Use 1 scoop (5 grams) 3 times a day for 6 weeks; after that, take it twice a day. You will be amazed at your level of energy, and the improvement in heart function, after just 6 weeks on ribose!

2. Coenzyme Q10

Coenzyme Q10 is another nutrient critical for energy production. Take 200 to 400 milligrams (mg) a day — starting with 400 mg/day for 6 weeks. After that, take 200 mg/day. It's especially important for anyone on cholesterol-lowering medications.

3. Magnesium, B Vitamins and Zinc

Magnesium increases the strength of your heart muscle and helps keep heart rhythms (the electrical activity of the heart) steady and smooth. I recommend 200 mg/day. (Caution: in those with kidney failure, magnesium and many other nutrients should only be taken under a licensed Holistic Health practitioner's supervision.)

4. Omega-3 Fatty Acids From Fish

Even the conservative American Heart Association recommends omega-3 fatty acids to optimize heart health. Their recommendation: 1 gram (1,000 mg) daily of a mixture of DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid). There are several ways you can get that amount:

  • One tablespoon of fish oil, four times a week.
  • One serving of fatty fish, such as salmon or tuna, four times a week. Supertip: Canned white albacore tuna has three times the amount of fish oil as chunk of light tuna. But skip the fast-food fried fish sandwich. Research shows they worsen omega-3 deficiency!
  • A daily fish oil or Omega 3 supplement.

5. Acetyl L-Carnitine

Acetyl L-Carnitine helps the mitochondria (the tiny energy factories in every cell, including the cells of the heart muscle) make energy. I recommend 1,000 mg twice daily for 6 weeks. After that, take 500 mg daily.

6. Hawthorn

In a recent analysis of 14 rigorous studies involving more than 1,000 people, an extract of the herb hawthorn was effective at improving the strength of the heart muscle and blood flow to the heart. I recommend Hawthorn Phytosome from Enzymatic Therapy. Take 2 tablets, three times daily.

7. Magnesium Orotate

For this special form of magnesium, 6,000 mg a day for 1 month followed by 3,000 mg a day was very effective at helping support optimal heart function.

All of these can be taken in combination for 6 weeks, at which time the benefits will have occurred. Then dosing can be lowered to what is needed to maintain benefits (with the key items to maintain being ribose and coenzyme Q10).

Jacob Teitelbaum, MD

is one of the world's leading integrative medical authorities on fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue. He is the lead author of eight research studies on their effective treatments, and has published numerous health & wellness books, including the bestseller on fibromyalgia From Fatigued to Fantastic! and The Fatigue and Fibromyalgia Solution. Dr. Teitelbaum is one of the most frequently quoted fibromyalgia experts in the world and appears often as a guest on news and talk shows nationwide including Good Morning America, The Dr. Oz Show, Oprah & Friends, CNN, and Fox News Health.

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