How to Use Nutrition to Fight Heart Disease

by Jackie Wicks

Alcohol: Good If Do, Don’t Start If You Don’t

Here’s some good news, at least if you drink: individuals who regularly and moderately consume alcohol (1 drink/day for women, 2/day for men) have a lower risk for CVD than either those who drink heavily (more than the recommendations above) or don’t drink at all! So if you’re a drinker and are currently at high risk for CVD, the evidence suggests that you don’t need to stop drinking.

On the other hand, if you don’t drink, it’s not recommended that you begin. While light to moderate drinkers have the overall lowest risk of CVD, the reduction in risk is not considered great enough to warrant recommending that those at risk of CVD begin drinking.

Coenzyme Q10 and CVD Risk

Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) has been repeatedly been shown to be decreased by statins, so if you’re currently taking statins, it’s a good idea to take a CoQ10 supplement. If you’re not currently prescribed statins, then evidence is slightly more mixed, but in general favorable towards the role of CoQ10 in reducing risk.

Some research suggests that endothelial function (blood vessel function) can be improved by CoQ10 supplementation. Other studies suggest that having high levels of CoQ10 is protective against CVD, and that further benefits are realized when vitamin B6 levels are also optimal.

The amount needed depends on your circumstances. If you are currently taking statins, your risk of depleted CoQ10 levels are greater, and consequently the amount recommended daily is higher. Most trials on CoQ10 repletion with statin therapy use 300 mg/day. If you are not taking statins, then 100 to 200 mg/day is the commonly used amount. Take your level of physical activity into account. Exercise increases the rate of CoQ10 biosynthesis, and will lower your need, at least as far as reducing CVD risk is concerned.

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