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How To Maintain Heart Health With Herbs And Supplements

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In the effort to lower our risk for heart disease, herbs and supplements may be very helpful. Mary Bolster, Editor-in-Chief of Natural Health Magazine, has specific suggestions, beginning with: check with your doctor first.

STACEY: I’m Stacey Tisdale for howdini. A number of herbal and nutritional supplements are being touted as safeguards against heart disease. It’s the number one killer of American men and women. But are these pills really effective and are they safe? Let’s get some answers from Mary Bolster, editor in chief of Natural Health magazine. Mary, thank you for joining us.

MARY: Thank you Stacey, it’s nice to be here.

STACEY: So this is such an interesting topic. The number one question: are these for everyone?

MARY: Yes they are, definitely. A lot of experts out there feel that if you have heart problems already you should definitely be taking supplements. It’s never to early to start taking supplements and it can also help reverse heart damage.

STACEY: But what if you feel like I am eating a balanced diet. Do I still need to take supplements?

MARY: Well, we think so. Um, you know if you’ve got a heart healthy diet that’s great, but supplements are only going to help. And if, as I said, if you already have heart damage people believe, experts believe that you can help reduce and reverse that heart damage with supplements.

STACEY: What are the best supplements to be taking for a healthy heart?

MARY: Oh well we did a little research at Natural Health and these are some of the ones we came up with. For best overall coverage it’s a fish oil supplement and you want to look for one that has both EPA and DHA in it.

STACEY: And you say when it comes to lowering cholesterol: psyllium.

MARY: Yeah there’s two. There’s psyllium which is a soluble fiber, and you can find that in drinkable form like in Metamucil, um, or Serutan. You want to do that, you want to drink that with a lot of water though because that can sort of bulk up your stool. So that’s one thing for lowering cholesterol. Another thing is called plant stanols or sterols, and these are found also in supplement form, but they’re now being incorporated into foods like sandwich spreads, salad dressings and low-fat yogurt. So you can look for, you can read the labels for those foods and see if they have those in them.

STACEY: And carnitine.

MARY: Yeah, carnitine is an amino acid and you can find that in liquid or powder form as a supplement.

STACEY: And what about the good old-fashioned multi-vitamin? Are they doing us any good?

MARY: Yes, yes indeed. They definitely do and you should just, you know, take that everyday. That’s definitely very good for your heart, yes.

STACEY: We should talk to our doctor before taking any supplements. Are there some medicines out there that you know don’t mix with supplements?

MARY: Yes, definitely: birth control pills, antidepressants, and blood thinning medications. Those all can be problematic when you’re taking herbs or supplements. So absolutely check with your doctor first before you start any kind of supplement or herbal regime.

STACEY: Great advice Mary Bolster, editor in chief of Natural Health magazine. Thank you for joining us.

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