Cardiovascular Health (General)
Studies strongly suggest that EPA from fish oils can lower various risk factors for
cardiovascular disease (independent of any blood cholesterol-lowering effect). These
effects include an antithrombotic effect, lipid (triglyceride) lowering, reduced blood and
plasma viscosity, and improvements in endothelial dysfunction. Omega 3 fatty acids
have been shown to inhibit the activity of a chemical called thromboxane.
Thromboxane is a potent vasoconstrictor and causes platelets to aggregate (stick
together). It is therefore implicated in the development of blood clots and other
vascular disorders. The favourable influence of omega 3 fatty acids is attributed,
among other things, to the fact that these nutrients have an inhibiting influence on the
biological activity of thromboxane. An American study determined that people who
consume monthly quantities of seafood containing a total of 5.5 grams of long-chain
omega 3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, (corresponding with one meal of fatty fish a
week), have 50% less chance of a primary cardiac arrest than people whose daily menu
does not contain these fatty acids.
Glycine Propionyl L-Carnitine (gPLC)
Approximately 60-70% of the energy made in the heart comes from fatty acids, which
yield more adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the energy molecule, than glucose. Fatty acid
metabolism occurs in the mitochondria in a process called beta-oxidation and is reliant
on carnitine, which shuttles fatty acids across the mitochondrial membrane as well as
ensuring the efficient removal of metabolic by-products.
In a randomised, single-blind, placebo-controlled trial in 30 heart failure patients, oral
administration of 1.5 grams/day of propionyl-L-carnitine for 1 month resulted in
significantly improved measures of exercise tolerance and a slight but significant
decrease in left ventricular size compared to placebo . A larger randomised, double
blind, placebo-controlled trial compared the addition of propionyl-L-carnitine (1.5
grams/day) to the treatment regime of 271 heart failure patients to a placebo in 266
patients for 6 months. Exercise tolerance was significantly improved in those taking
propionyl-L-carnitine compared to placebo, suggesting that propionyl-L-carnitine may
help to improve exercise tolerance in heart failure patients.
Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10)
CoQ10, which is needed for energy production in the heart muscle, is frequently
deficient in those with cardiovascular disease. The energy produced is used by the heart
muscle for the mechanical pumping action which ensures effective circulation of the
blood through the vascular system. CoQ10 is also a powerful antioxidant, which offers
protection of blood lipids and helps reduce the risk of atherosclerosis which would
impede circulation and put further pressure on the heart. CoQ10 has been shown to
regulate blood pressure, relieve angina and strengthen the heart and is often used in
combination with L-carnitine to ensure efficient heart energy production.
Research has shown that vitamin E supplementation reduces the risk of heart disease
by approximately 40% and the rate of heart attacks in those with heart disease by
more than 75%. These benefits appear to be primarily due to the prevention of
damaging factors such as oxidation of cholesterol, arterial injury and excessive blood
clotting. Vitamin E is synergistic with other antioxidants, especially selenium,
suggesting that a daily intake that includes a variety of antioxidants is the best
Trimethylglycine (TMG), Folic Acid, B12 and B6
Research shows that homocysteine, an intermediate metabolite of methionine, increases
the risk of cardiovascular disease by damaging the arteries. In fact, measurement of
homocysteine is thought to be 40 times more predictive of heart disease risk than
cholesterol. The methyl donors TMG, folic acid and B12 facilitate the recycling of
homocysteine back into methionine, while B6 is required for the metabolism of
homocysteine into cystathionine. An adequate intake of these nutrients is therefore
essential in promoting cardiovascular health via their influence on homocysteine levels.
D-Ribose improves oxygen utilisation efficiency in congestive heart failure patients.
This is very important because the efficiency of oxygen utilisation is a strong predictor
of morbidity and mortality in this patient population.
Other studies show that ribose improves diastolic cardiac function, exercise tolerance,
and quality of life in patients with coronary artery disease and congestive heart failure.
Still other studies show that ribose increases the anaerobic energy reserve of healthy
In one study of 20 men (aged 45 to 69 years) with severe coronary artery disease and a
history of angina induced by normal daily activities, 60 grams of ribose (in four doses
of 15 grams each) were tested against placebo. Treated subjects exhibited improvement
in ECG readings and reduced time to onset of moderate angina (during exercise
testing). No improvements were noted in the placebo group.
Numerous studies have demonstrated the cardio-protective properties of the
antioxidants found in pomegranate. In one study published by the American
Journal of cardiologists, 45 patients with ischemic heart disease (in which not
enough blood gets to the heart muscle) were given either 8 ounces pomegranate
juice or placebo over a period of three months. Those who took the pomegranate
juice had significantly less oxygen deficiency to the heart during exercise,
suggesting increased blood flow to the heart. Pomegranate juice has shown the
ability to inhibit the oxidation of LDL cholesterol- a process that contributes to
atherosclerosis. By neutralizing free radicals, the antioxidants within pomegranate
juice may be effective in the prevention of plaque within the arteries. One study
showed a 30 percent reduction in arterial plaque in patients given pomegranate
juice. Additionally, according to some researchers, pomegranate juice may also
reduce plaque that has already built up in blood vessels.
Nitric oxide is a chemical compound that acts as an important signaling molecule
in the body. It signals the smooth muscle fibres to relax, which improves
This action may be especially relevant in preventing conditions such as
hypertension and congestive heart failure (CHF). Research has found that
pomegranate juice may help to preserve the body’s levels of nitric oxide, thereby
maintaining healthy blood vessels and increasing blood flow to the heart.
Much of the research into the effects of red wine has focused on its potential
cardiovascular benefits. Resveratrol appears to prevent platelet aggregation (reduces
excessive blood clotting), an action thought to be linked to the inhibition of
compounds that promote platelet stickiness and vasoconstriction. Resveratrol has also
demonstrated significant inhibition of LDL cholesterol oxidation, a major risk factor in
In studies, Vitamin K2 has been shown to lead to a reduction in coronary heart
disease. In fact one significant study conducted in the Netherlands, followed 4800
healthy men and women for ten years. It found vitamin K2 reduced the risk of
coronary heart disease mortality by 50%. Furthermore, aortic calcification was
reduced by 30-40%. Osteoregulatory proteins are involved in the calcification process
in blood vessels, and one of the strongest inhibitors of these proteins is matrix Gla
protein (MGP), which directly inhibits the formation of calcium crystals. However,
MGP is only effective in the presence of vitamin K2.
Additional research concluded that vitamin K1 did not have these effects as it
immediately gets taken away into the liver. Vitamin K2, however, remains circulating
in the blood, making it available to the vessels.
Cardiovascular Health Summary
Nutrient/Herb Typical intake range
Fish oils1 300 – 1450mg EPA
Glycine Propionyl L-Carnitine (gPLC)2 500 – 2000mg per day
Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10)3 30 – 200mg per day
Vitamin E (with other antioxidant nutrients)4 100 – 400IU per day
B Complex including Folic acid, B6 & B12 Folic 400ug, B6 50mg, B12 500ug
TMG (especially when homocysteine is known to be
1000mg per day
D-Ribose5 3 -10 grams per day
Pomegranate6 900mg per day
Resveratrol 7 100-200mg per day
Vitamin K27 100mcg per day
Nuts and seeds
Vegetarian diets are associated with lower incidence of cardiovascular disease
Achieve ideal body weight
Take regular exercise
1. Do not take in conjunction with anticoagulant medication
2. Concurrent use with prescription medication only under medical supervision.
3. Use under medical supervision if taking Warfarin as CoQ10 reduces the effectiveness of
Warfarin. Concurrent use with heart medication only under medical supervision.
4. Avoid concurrent use of high dose vitamin E supplements with Warfarin and other anticoagulant
medication. May reduce insulin requirement in insulin-dependent diabetes and should therefore
be used under supervision by diabetics.
5. May cause increased uric levels so should be avoided by those with gout. May cause
hypoglycaemia so diabetics should use with caution and under medical supervision. Avoid if
pregnant or breastfeeding.
6. Do not use when pregnant or breastfeeding unless under medical supervision.
7. Do not use if taking anticoagulant medication such as warfarin.