Your doctor is still talking. But those words are the last you hear clearly.
Heart failure is a frightening diagnosis. It sounds so final that it can be paralyzing at first. But take a deep breath and keep reading.
Because no matter what you’ve heard, heart failure is NOT an automatic death sentence. Of course, it’s a very serious diagnosis. But in the last decade, we’ve made major advances in our understanding of the disease, and strides in how we treat it.
These days you can manage your heart failure and thrive. Plus if you haven’t received a diagnosis yet, but are battling some red flags, you could avoid ever having to hear those devastating words.
No matter whether it’s managing or preventing the disease, it starts in the same place. Committing to those lifestyle changes your doctor has no doubt already told you about.
They likely include…
- quitting smoking
- exercising at least 30 minutes most days
- tweaking your diet, including lowering junk salts and limiting alcohol
Top supplements for heart failure
But you don’t have to stop there. There are science-backed supplements which could help you gain the upper hand against heart failure too.
Following are five supplements for heart failure to discuss with your doctor.
1. Vitamin D
A revealing five-year study out of the United Kingdom found taking vitamin D supplements is associated with an impressive 34 percent improvement in pumping function. Since heart failure occurs when your heart can’t pump or fill as well as it should experts say vitamin D might be able to help fight the disease.
For best results, with your doctor’s thumbs up take vitamin D3. When sunlight hits your bare skin, your body makes this version. And it’s the type of D that your system processes the best.
But unless advised differently by your doctor, skip the vitamin D and calcium combo formulas. Too much calcium can be bad for folks with heart failure.
Your heart requires magnesium to maintain a steady rhythm. It literally can’t function without this essential mineral. Plus your muscles, including your heart muscle, need magnesium to allow them to relax.
Yet some reports say as many as 80 percent of Americans aren’t getting enough of this critical nutrient. Eat more high-magnesium foods, like spinach, black beans and avocado to raise your levels through your diet. And with your doc’s blessing, you may want to take a high quality magnesium supplement as well.
Coenzyme Q10, or CoQ10 for short, is a powerful antioxidant your body requires for healthy cell function.
Your system makes plenty of its own CoQ10 when you’re young. But production slows down as you age, which could leave you running too low. And certain heart medications as well as diabetes drugs can deplete your levels as well.
Experts say low levels of CoQ10 are related to how severe heart failure is. And research has found supplementing with the antioxidant may be beneficial to folks struggling with the disease.
In one randomized, controlled trial on heart failure patients, taking a COQ10 supplement was associated with fewer hospital stays, a lower risk of heart related death and a lower risk of death for any reason. And a review in Open Heart which looked at all the current research to date confirmed the antioxidant was associated with far fewer major heart events in heart failure patients.
4. L-Carnitine and L-Arginine:
No discussion about supplements for heart failure is complete with L-Carnitine and L-Arginine. These amino acids can work hand-in-hand or separately.
L-carnitine helps transport long-chain fatty acids which protect the heart from oxidative stress. Plus experts say supplementing with the amino acid could help reduce high blood pressure and elevated blood sugars, both of which can contribute to heart failure.
L-arginine plays a critical role in the production of nitric oxide which helps blood flow. And early research published in the journal Circulation found heart failure patients benefited from taking an l-arginine supplement. Folks taking the supplement had measurably better blood flow and significantly improved their walking distances in a timed test.
You already know omega-3s are good for your heart health. But a meta-analysis published in the journal Nutrients found these critical fatty acids may have a role in helping to fight heart failure specifically.
In the review of nine different studies, the researchers found that omega-3s consistently protected study volunteers against the symptoms and effects of heart failure.
Don’t fall for the lie that heart failure is a death sentence. You’ve been given a very serious diagnosis so it’s time to get serious about getting and staying healthy.
Work with your doctor to create a personalized plan that allows you to live your life to the fullest. And talk with him about adding some proven supplements for heart failure to your plan.
She is an advocate of self-education and is passionate about the power of group knowledge sharing, like the kind found right here on HealthierTalk.com. Alice loves to share her views on holistic and natural healing as well as her, sometimes contentious, thoughts on the profit-driven inner workings of traditional medicine.
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