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Heart health supplements: heart-healthy options to consider

Medically reviewed on August 1, 2022 by Karen Janson, M.D. To give you technically accurate, evidence-based information, content published on the Everlywell blog is reviewed by credentialed professionals with expertise in medical and bioscience fields.


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If you’ve been looking for ways to improve your heart health, you may have been wondering about supplements and vitamins for heart health. Dietary supplements offer potential benefits for your well-being, from strengthening your bones and teeth to helping correct some forms of anemia.

But can dietary supplements keep your heart healthy?

Potentially. It all comes down to how supplements can fortify your body’s supply of key nutrients, and whether these nutrients are necessary for heart health. To choose the best supplements for your heart, you will first want to learn how they might help. Then, you can dive into the most beneficial supplements to support your heart-healthy lifestyle.

How supplements can help with heart health

Dietary supplements are a way to add certain nutrients to your diet when your body can’t produce enough of them, or when you can’t consume enough of them through food alone. Supplements come in many different forms, from pills to gummies and powders, and can contain a variety of ingredients, such as vitamins, minerals, herbs, amino acids, and even enzymes. [1]

But what exactly can certain vitamin supplements do for your heart? Potentially, the safe use of heart health supplements can help to:

  • Lower your cholesterol [2]
  • Improve your blood pressure [3]

It’s important to keep in mind that there may be risks associated with taking heart health supplements without proper medical guidance. Some can interfere with the medications you are taking or affect other aspects of your health. If you’re thinking about adding heart health supplements to your diet, you should first consult with your healthcare provider.

Top heart health supplements

Knowing which supplements are considered the best for your heart can prepare you for that meeting with your healthcare provider. Armed with some information about the nutrients you might need, you’ll be able to ask questions and learn about the dietary supplement options that appeal to you most.

When it comes to a healthy heart, here are the supplements that routinely top the list.

Fiber

If lowering cholesterol levels is your goal, fiber may be the supplement to help you. This is because soluble fiber can help your body get rid of extra cholesterol by trapping it in a gel-like substance in your intestines. The cholesterol is then excreted before it enters the bloodstream.

Fiber is abundant in many foods that contribute to a heart-healthy diet, like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, peas, nuts, and seeds. Incorporating these foods into your daily diet is the best way to up your fiber intake. However, if you can’t consume enough fiber through diet alone, you may benefit from a fiber supplement.

The soluble fiber in beans, oats, and oat bran appears to lower low-density cholesterol, LDL, the “bad” cholesterol. In addition, high fiber diets tend to be more filling, and satisfy a person longer, than low fiber diets. This helps promote a healthy weight. Additional studies indicate a high fiber diet, especially a diet containing healthy cereal, may reduce the risk of dying from cardiovascular disease. [2]

As with all supplements, you will want to adhere to the fiber dosage recommendations of your healthcare provider and the manufacturer. In general, women should consume between 21 and 25 grams of fiber per day and men should consume between 30 and 38 grams per day. [3]

If you choose to increase your daily fiber intake or start a fiber supplement, be sure to drink plenty of water to promote comfortable bowel movements.

Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10)

Coenzyme Q10, also known as CoQ10, is an antioxidant your body naturally produces to help grow and maintain cells. [4] However, as you age, your body becomes less efficient at making CoQ10, which is why the supplemental form of the enzyme is often prescribed.

If you are already dealing with heart health issues, a CoQ10 supplement could potentially pose the following benefits: [4]

  • Lowering blood pressure
  • Improving symptoms of congestive heart failure
  • Easing symptoms of statin-induced myopathy

Although CoQ10 is generally considered to be safe, it can present a few side effects. For that reason, it’s recommended that you only take this supplement under the supervision of your healthcare provider. Possible side effects include:

  • Upper abdominal pain
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Headaches and dizziness
  • Insomnia
  • Fatigue
  • Skin itching or rashes
  • Irritability or agitation

It's best to avoid CoQ10 if you're pregnant or breastfeeding unless otherwise directed by your healthcare provider.

Fish oil

Your body needs a consistent supply of omega-3 fatty acids—a substance it uses to support multiple bodily functions, and one you can’t produce on your own. [5] Dietary sources such as salmon, mackerel, trout, mussels, oysters, and crab, twice a week, have been shown to be beneficial for heart health, and marine sources of omega-3 are best absorbed by the body. Food-based omega-3s are most bioavailable, so should be prioritized as a source of omega-3s over supplementation.

Fish oil supplements are another source of omega-3 fatty acid, and are offered as a liquid, capsule, or pill. Studies have demonstrated a mild lowering of blood pressure in people who use these supplements as well as improving cholesterol overall in some cases. [5]

Folic acid

Vitamin B9, also known as folate, plays an important role in the production of red blood cells. In its natural form, folate can be found in many fruits and vegetables. [8] However, you can also take synthetic folate in supplement form, and this kind is known as folic acid.

Studies suggest a link between folic acid supplementation and heart health among patients with initially low serum folate levels. One study indicated that patients with low serum folate levels were 10% less likely to experience a stroke, and 4% less likely to develop any sort of cardiovascular disease, by supplementing with folic acid. [9] Note that folic acid/folate likely has no benefit for heart health for the general population, which is not deficient in this vitamin.

It’s recommended that most adults consume about 400 micrograms of folate or folic acid per day. [8] As with any supplement, it’s important to monitor your intake, especially if you’re eating a lot of folate-rich foods.

Magnesium

Magnesium is a mineral found in many foods, including nuts, seeds, legumes, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, and is naturally abundant in our bodies. This mineral plays a significant role in a variety of important biological functions, including: [10]

  • Regulation of blood pressure
  • Protein synthesis
  • Bone development
  • Heart rhythm

A review of the research showed that magnesium is a key factor in heart health. Magnesium may have the potential to protect against metabolic syndrome, diabetes, and hypertension, which contribute to heart disease, as well as reduce the risk of coronary heart disease and stroke. [11]

The study also suggests that many of the benefits of magnesium can be gained through supplementation if it is not possible to get it from your diet.

Flaxseed oil

Clinical trials have found that higher blood concentrations of ALA (found in flaxseed and flaxseed oil) are likely cardioprotective and can reduce the risk of adverse events. [12] Note, however, that there are no baseline increases in heart health.

If you’re interested in this supplement, you’ll be happy to know that you have your pick of the shape it takes. Flaxseed supplements come as capsules, powders, and even in liquid form.

Other tips to keep your heart healthy

As you seek ways to keep your heart healthy through supplements, it’s important to keep in mind that maintaining a heart-healthy lifestyle is just as important.

Supplements can be a good way to hedge against issues beyond your immediate control. But it’s the choices you make every day about the foods you eat and the things you do that play a larger role.

Fortunately, there are simple steps you can take to keep this amazing organ in good working order. These include: [13]

  • Eating a heart-healthy diet – For a healthy heart, make sure your diet is rich in foods that promote cardiovascular wellness. Opt for a wide range of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats. Additionally, you should avoid too many trans fats and limit your sugar consumption.
  • Getting plenty of exercise – A sedentary lifestyle makes for an unhealthy heart. Getting plenty of regular exercises poses many benefits to your heart, like lowering your blood pressure. Seek out aerobic exercises like walking, running, cycling, and swimming. Sports like tennis and activities like jumping rope are also excellent options.
  • Quitting smoking – Few things are as detrimental to your heart health as smoking cigarettes. From heart disease to heart attacks and strokes, the list of complications that smoking can cause is long, but the moral of the story is short: don’t do it.

With Everlywell, the future of healthcare starts at home

When it comes to getting all of the vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients you need for a healthy heart and body, the best approach focuses on a proper diet. But when there are gaps that your diet can’t fill, heart health supplements can be a good way to support your system.

Whether you want to check up on your heart with a Heart Health Test or support it with supplements, Everlywell can help.

All the products in our line of nutritional supplements are made with high-quality ingredients to enhance your wellness and help you live healthier every day. From the Everlywell Omega-3 Fish Oil Supplement to boost your heart, brain, and skin health, to the Everlywell Vitamin B12 Supplement to support your energy and metabolism, we’re making it easy to care for yourself at home.

Ready to unlock a healthier tomorrow? Start today with Everlywell.

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References

  1. Dietary Supplements: What You Need to Know. National Institutes of Health. URL. Accessed August 1, 2022.
  2. Dietary fiber: Essential for a healthy diet. Mayo Clinic. URL. Accessed August 1, 2022.
  3. High-Fiber Foods. Mayo Clinic. URL. Accessed August 1, 2022.
  4. Coenzyme Q10. Mayo Clinic. URL. Accessed August 1, 2022.
  5. Fish oil. Mayo Clinic. URL. Accessed August 1, 2022.
  6. Triglycerides: Why Do They Matter? Mayo Clinic. URL. Accessed August 1, 2022.
  7. Effects of Garlic on Cardiovascular Disorders: A Review. Nutrition Journal. URL. Accessed August 1, 2022.
  8. Folate (Folic Acid). Mayo Clinic. URL. Accessed August 1, 2022.
  9. Folic Acid Supplementation and The Risk of Cardiovascular Disease. Journal of the American Heart Association. URL. Accessed August 1, 2022.
  10. Magnesium. National Institutes of Health. URL. Accessed August 1, 2022.
  11. Dietary Magnesium and Cardiovascular Disease. Nutrients. URL. Accessed August 1, 2022.
  12. The Cardiovascular Effects of Flaxseed and its Omega-3 Fatty Acids. The Canadian Journal of Cardiology. URL. Accessed August 1, 2022.
  13. Strategies to prevent heart disease. Mayo Clinic. URL. Accessed August 1, 2022.
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