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What you need to know about!


Popular over-the-counter supplements claim numerous benets from preven%on of disease to treatment. Because these compounds are not regulated by the United States Food and Drug Administra%on (FDA), dietary supplement claims should be taken cau4ously. You should always discuss the use or addi4on of any over-the-counter supplements with your doctor.

This handout outlines informa%on on four heart healthy dietary supplements.

Uses: Heart disease; high triglyceride levels Eec4veness: Probable Side Eects: Minor GI Contraindica4ons: Bleeding disorders, diabetes medica%on use, an%coagulants (e.g. warfarin/ Coumadin) Commentary: Although studies have shown possible benet from omega-3 faUy acid consump%on, it is not clear if over-the-counter supplementa%on provide equivalent benet to dietary consump%on (e.g. 2 sh meals/week).


COENZYME Q10 (COQ10) Uses: Sta%n-induced muscle pain Eec4veness: Controversial, but possible Side Eects: Minor GI Contraindica4ons: Diabetes medica%ons, an%coagulants (e.g. warfarin/Coumadin) Commentary: The studies that have been conducted found that ~30% of pa%ents sta%n-induced muscle pain was reduced up to 40-50% with CoQ10. Since the supplement was well-tolerated, the decision to try CoQ10 is leN up to the pa%ent. VITAMIN D

Uses: Cardiovascular benet Eec4veness: Controversial Side Eects: Minor GI Precau4ons: High calcium levels, kidney disease, an%coagulants Commentary: Recent studies have shown that individuals who took calcium supplements (not those that increased their levels from diet alone) had a slightly higher risk of a heart aUack. Although this was demonstrated, more studies are needed to conrm.


Uses: Cardiovascular benet Eec4veness: Controversial Side Eects: Weakness, fa%gue, headache, minor GI Precau4ons: Kidney disease, high calcium levels Commentary: Studies have linked low vitamin D levels with cardiovascular disease and events (e.g. stroke sudden cardiac death). However, research needs to be done to determine the impact of taking a vitamin D supplement to promote cardiovascular health.

Compiled by Amanda Xi, OUWB Medical Student (hUp:// in July 2012

What you need to know about!


This handout outlines the current research on popular claims about heart healthy compounds found in food.



Research says: Resveratrol is a compound found in grape skins and red wine. It has been popularized by the French paradox as a cardioprotec%ve substance. Studies have shown that moderate intake of red wine (8 oz or 2 glasses for women, 12 oz or 3 glasses for men) is associated with reduced risk of death due to heart disease. Opposite eects were seen with the consump%on of large amounts of alcohol. Long-term eects of resveratrol supplementa%on (pills) in humans s%ll need to be conducted. BoYom line: The health benets of red wine are only evident with mild to moderate consump%on. Keep in mind, drinking red wine is not considered a primary cardiovascular disease preven%on method.

Research says: Flavonoids are compounds found in dark chocolate. Studies have shown that consump%on of up to 25g/day of dark chocolate (>80% cocoa content) has the poten%al to reduce blood pressure and cholesterol concentra%on slightly in individuals with metabolic syndrome. Regular consump%on of low amounts (6 g/day) was associated with a lower incidence of heart aUack and stroke. These cardioprotec%ve eects were not found with the consump%on of milk chocolate. BoYom line: Regular consump%on of low to moderate amounts (6g-25g/day) of dark chocolate (>80% cocoa content) may have benecial cardiovascular eects but is not considered a primary cardiovascular disease preven%on method.


Research says: Vitamin E, or alpha-tocopherol is an an%oxidant found naturally in dietary sources such as vegetable oils, nuts, seeds and green leafy vegetables. Epidemiological studies have shown an associa%on between dietary vitamin E intake and decreased cardiovascular risk, spurring increased use of vitamin E supplements. However, several subsequent longer- term studies found that the use of supplements (pills) may be associated with increased mortality and heart failure. BoYom line: High doses of Vitamin E supplementa%on (pills) may not oer addi%onal cardioprotec%ve benet and may instead cause harm.


Research says: Tea avonoids in green tea (specically, catechins) are an%oxidants that may have a benecial eect in preven%ng cardiovascular events (e.g. heart aUack, stroke) and disease when >2 cups/ day are consumed. Because green tea contains a greater percentage of catechins compared to black tea, it is believed that green tea has a more pronounced eect. BoYom line: Regular consump%on of 3 or more cups of green tea may reduce the risk of developing coronary artery disease and the incidence of cardiac events.

Compiled by Amanda Xi, OUWB Medical Student (hUp:// in July 2012

What you need to know about!


Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S. in fact, one in every three deaths is due to cardiovascular disease and stroke. However, this disease is largely one of lifestyle. Gene%c factors do contribute, but lifestyle choices can lead to rapid ini%a%on and progression. A recent review demonstrated that 75%-90% of heart disease incidence can be explained by lifestyle risk factors, either alone or in combina%on. Thus, focusing on modica%on of major cardiovascular disease risk factors such as elevated blood pressure, cigareUe smoking, being overweight/obsese, sedentary lifestyle, and diabetes can save lives (this has been conrmed through numerous research studies).


Research has shown the powerful impact of psychosocial factors such as depression, anxiety, anger and social isola%on on the development of cardiovascular disease. It is becoming more apparent that 10-25% of unexplained heart disease can be aUributed to these psychosocial factors. Thus, iden%fying and allevia%ng these factors through medita%on may not only decrease the incidence of the disease and its ramica%ons, but also promote overall well-being. Medita%on is the process of systema%cally allowing the mind to become s%ll for specic periods of %me each day.



Studies of medita%on have reported these benecial eects: Signicant lowering of blood pressure Fewer symptoms of heart disease Lower rate of progression of heart disease Decreased need for medica%ons


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Compiled by Amanda Xi, OUWB Medical Student (hUp:// in July 2012

What you need to know about!


The Heal Your Heart program is based on the ancient system of yoga - a word derived from the Sanskrit root of yuj, or join. Yoga is not just postures , but the joining of the mind, body and spirit in awareness. It is the ability to bring awareness in every aspect of being human, primarily o the mat. This program includes all eight limbs of yoga, rooted in deep medita%on. Dr. Kavitha Chinnaiyan (Cardiologist) leads the program. She teaches par%cipants the Advanced Yoga Prac%ces deep medita%on method, which harnesses the natural ability of the mind to come to s%llness. Over %me, cul%va%on of this s%llness allows it to seep into every aspect of daily living.


This free program consists of 12 sessions over a 6 month period. It includes a systema%c introduc%on and cul%va%on of yogic methods, beginning with deep medita%on, breathing techniques, yoga postures and nally, the advanced method of serng inten%ons. Par%cipants of the pilot program reported: Improved ability to deal with stress (100%) Improved awareness during daily ac%vi%es (100%) Improved sense of overall well-being (100%) Lowered blood pressure, improved lipid prole over six months For more informa%on, call the Ministrelli Womens Heart Center at 248-898-8794.



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Compiled by Amanda Xi, OUWB Medical Student (hUp:// in July 2012