When it comes to heart-health, the objectives are to support your body's natural processes that help promote cardiovascular health.



The first step is to maintain high levels of a wide range of dietary antioxidants.



These help prevent oxidation of cholesterol and remember from last week that trapped oxidised cholesterol that is the problem not the relatively benign cholesterol circulating in our blood.



Cholesterol, like any body lipid (fat) is highly susceptible to oxidation. When LDL is assembled in liver cells, the fat soluble antioxidants vitamin E and CoQ10 are packaged with the LDL. This is to protect the LDL against oxidation which is the first step to formation of plaques. The problem is that most people do not get anywhere enough vitamin E from diets and routinely prescribed statin cholesterol lowering drugs can reduce levels of both critical antioxidants (Colquhoun DM, et al. 2005).

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For heart health, I firstly make sure that diet and supplements cover all the major antioxidant groups but specifically grape seed flavanols are around 200mg, vitamin E at 200-400IU and vitamin C at least 1000mg.



To this I often add other cardio-protective antioxidants including CoQ10, lipoic acid, resveratrol, acai, green tea, bilberry and goji extracts.



With our antioxidants in place we need to ensure optimum levels of B vitamins especially B6, folic acid and B12. Homocysteine is a radical amino acid produced by our metabolism of proteins and if left unchecked can damage and inflame heart arteries.



While there is debate whether homocysteine is a primary or a supporting risk factor we know that homocysteine increases free radical activity in coronary arteries and is highly inflammatory.



The final word is for those taking statin cholesterol lowering drugs.



While these are very effective at lowering cholesterol they can have side effects especially muscle weakness, stiffness and pain. Any person taking statin drugs should be working to a specific heart health plan and on top of a good multi antioxidant/vitamin/mineral and Omega 3 should take 100mg of high grade (ubiquinol) Co Q10 daily.



To conclude, preventing heart disease is a lot more than reducing cholesterol.



It is about identifying the real risk factors and then through diet and appropriate supplements adding the nutrients needed to ensure the risk factors are minimised to greatly increase the chance that your heart arteries will last a lifetime.



John Arts is the founder of Abundant Health Ltd. If you have questions or would like a free health plan contact John on 0800 423559 or email john@johnarts.co.nz. You can join his weekly email newsletter at www.johnarts.co.nz or visit www.abundant.co.nz.