Nutrition is a vital part of good heart health. While much focus is placed on fats in the diet, antioxidants in the diet, vitamins and nutraceuticals can help to improve cardiovascular health. Antioxidants are cardioprotective. Atherosclerotic plaques are formed long before the diagnosis of cardiovascular disease is made. Antioxidant vitamins protect against plaque formation, according to a study published in American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (August, 2002). Antioxidants can also help protect against high blood pressure.

In the American Heart Association Journal, Circulation (November, 2002), the benefit of omega-3 fatty acids in the diet is discussed. Omega-3 fatty acids make the blood less likely to form clots that cause heart attack as well as protect against irregular heartbeats that can cause sudden cardiac death.

In the journal, Cardiovascular Reviews and Reports, (volume 4, number 8, 8/18/03 Role of Nutriceutical Agents in Cardiovascular Diseases: An Update — Part I), a number of natural health strategies are discussed. One thing that helps with the protection of the lining of the arteries and to help relax them is nitric oxide. The amino acid, arginine helps with the production of nitric oxide. The article makes note of a few small studies that show the benefit of L-arginine supplementation improving coronary blood flow, decreasing inflammatory chemicals, and improvement of angina symptoms. It has even shown to be beneficial to patients suffering from congestive heart failure.

Taurine, another essential amino acid, is also mentioned by the article. Taurine is present in the myocardium, and deficiency has been associated with cardiomyopathy. Cases of cardiomyopathy have responded to taurine supplementation, according to the article (Cardiovascular Reviews and Reports, (volume 4, number 8, 8/18/03 Role of Nutriceutical Agents in Cardiovascular Diseases: An Update — Part I). Once again, small clinical studies seem to support the value of taurine.

The article also cited studies supporting the use of coenzyme Q-10. One five-year study, involving 126 patients showed improvement in congestive heart failure patients—without any adverse effects. Another study showed that coenzyme Q-10 supplementation improved blood pressure, reduced left ventricular hypertrophy and improved exercise capacity in heart patients. One group of authors proposed that coenzyme Q-10 supplementation could help increase the amount of time heart transplant patients could wait for a donor heart.

Nutritional support and other aspects of natural health care can be of great value—even when traditional medical treatment must be utilized. Chiropractic and natural health care treat the patient—not the disease. It is always a valuable approach, no matter what the disease process.