Keep your ticker ticking with these strategies and supplements that most doctors either ignore or don’t know about.
For heart health, everybody knows about the merits of fish oil, exercise, stress avoidance, and not letting electrical appliances fall into your bathwater. But there are several equally important supplements and strategies. Here are five to help keep you alive.
According to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 61% of Americans don’t get enough magnesium. Given that a lot of magnesium is lost through sweat, athletes are even more deficient.
Magnesium plays a role in keeping testosterone levels high, but intake is also inversely related to arterial calcification. Adequate magnesium levels keep calcium dissolved in the blood so that it can’t “turn to rock” in your veins and arteries (or your kidneys, thus helping to prevent kidney stones).
For heart health and general health, consider taking at least 400 mg of a magnesium supplement every day. Fully chelated magnesium is best, as found in Elitepro (on Amazon).
One meta-study looked at over 100 testosterone studies and found low testosterone is associated with abnormal EKG readings (5). Furthermore, men with higher levels were 25% less likely to suffer from sudden cardiac arrest. If you have symptoms of low testosterone (low libido, low energy, difficulty in putting on muscle, etc.), you have several options.
You could, of course, eliminate some or all of the conditions like obesity, stress, or medications that may be robbing you of your testosterone.
You could also use testosterone-boosting supplements. Some, like Alpha Male (on Amazon), work synergistically to increase testosterone by influencing the pituitary and the testicles to increase T.
Other supplements, like Rez-V (on Amazon), inhibit the conversion of testosterone to estrogen, thereby ensuring higher T levels.
Even taking supplemental magnesium can boost T levels significantly, provided you have a deficiency of that mineral. A test-boosting supplement might not elevate T to the point of adding tons of muscle, but it can elevate T so that levels are in the healthful, heart attack and diabetes-thwarting normal range.
Lastly, consult a doctor about possible testosterone replacement. It could change your life. It could also save your life.
New research shows that niacin matches up against statins quite well and without the negative side effects (2).
More importantly, though, it appears that niacin is one of the two known things (the other being a $14,000 a year medicine) that can combat something called lipoprotein(a), an almost ignored lipoprotein that hardly any doctors test for and may triple the risks of having a heart attack at an early age (3).
Whether you want to use niacin depends on a few factors. For instance, if your doc already has you on statins, you might want to ask him about adding niacin to your regimen while brandishing a copy of the paper referenced above.
Now here’s the rub. A lot of people don’t like niacin because it can cause a surge of skin-flushing prostaglandins in sensitive individuals, which can also cause a short-lived prickly feeling all over your body. That’s why many people opt for the ER formula, which lessens or negates the side effects considerably. However, studies suggest that the immediate-release formula might work better in the long run, and if you take it with meals, you shouldn’t have any flushing.
As far as dosage, studies suggest no more than 2,000 mg a day for the extended-release formula (on Amazon) and no more than 3,000 a day for the immediate-release formula. Of course, those recommendations evolved out of studies with heart patients who were also taking statins.
For regular Joes just looking for heart insurance, consider taking one 500mg. immediate-release tablet (on Amazon) with breakfast and another with dinner.
Most heart attacks occur in the morning – Monday morning, to get specific. Part of it has to do with stress, which is where Monday comes in. But there’s more to the morning heart attack than a dread of a job. There are physiological factors at play; some we don’t understand, and some do.
We do understand the role dehydration plays in blood clots, stroke, and heart attacks (4). Most of us don’t drink water during the night because, well, we’re sleeping, or we don’t want to drink much water because we don’t want to have to stagger to the bathroom to pee.
This lack of water turns our blood viscous, like molasses on a cold winter morning, and the heart has to work extra hard to pump that sludge through our veins. To make things worse, the first thing most men reach for in the morning is a cup of coffee or orange juice, and that only increases dehydration and the risk of morning infarction.
Caffeine is, of course, a mild diuretic, while orange juice (as well as other juices or soft drinks) is osmotic and causes fluid to move from the vascular system into the intestines. Either one can leave the heart high and dry.
To help protect yourself against “morning heart attack,” cardiologist Joel K. Kahn recommends keeping a glass of water at your bedside and drinking it before you get out of bed. The water increases the liquid volume of the blood, thus reducing the risk of blood clots and heart attacks. At the very least, drink water with your morning coffee or juice. Don’t let sludge happen.
Researchers at Oxford compiled the results of 10 clinical trials on aspirin’s primary prevention capabilities, which included stats from over 100,000 people (1). The researchers analyzed the data for cardiovascular events.
Low doses of aspirin (75 to 100 mg.) were only effective in preventing cardiovascular events in patients who weighed less than 70 kilos (about 152 pounds). Moreover, the low doses had no effect on 80% of the men and 50% of the women weighing more than 70 kilos. The over-70-kilo group required higher doses to reap any benefits from aspirin.
That means that women (and men) who weigh less than 152 pounds might benefit from the oft-prescribed one baby aspirin a day, albeit divided into two equal 41 mg. doses and not the coated variety.
People who weigh MORE than 70 kilos, and especially those with more lean body mass like lifters, are more likely to reap aspirin’s benefits by taking a single 81 mg. tablet twice a day instead of the generally recommended single tablet once a day.
- Rothwell PM et al. Effects of aspirin on risks of vascular events and cancer according to bodyweight and dose: analysis of individual patient data from Rothwell PM et al. Effects of aspirin on risks of vascular events and cancer according to bodyweight and dose: analysis of individual patient data from randomised trials. Lancet. 2018 Aug 4;392(10145):387-399.
- Superko HR et al. Niacin and heart disease prevention: Engraving its tombstone is a mistake. Clinical Lipidology. 2017;11(6):1309–1317. PubMed.
- O’Connor A. A Heart Risk Factor Even Doctors Know Little About. The New York Times, January 9th, 2018.
- Chan J et al. Other Fluids, and Fatal Coronary Heart Disease: The Adventist Health Study. Am J Epidemiol. 2002 May 1;155(9):827-33. PubMed.
- Oskui PM. Testosterone and the Cardiovascular System: A Comprehensive Review of the Clinical Literature. J Am Heart Assoc. 2013 Dec;2(6):e000272. PubMed.
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