Did you know that every day, our heart beats 100,000 times a day, and pumps 7,500 litres of blood through 96,000 kms of vessels? They are the powerhouses of our body and when it comes to our health, our heart plays an essential role. Its job includes supplying our tissues with necessary nutrients and oxygen by continuously pumping blood throughout body aka keeping us alive! Unfortunately, there are some chilling statistics about heart disease, stoke, and other heart-related illnesses as they’re becoming more and more prevalent in North America. Coronary heart disease (CHD) and heart attacks are the leading cause of death among adults and has been steadily increasing over the years. CHD is caused by the accumulation of plaque in the arteries, preventing our blood vessels from supplying blood and oxygen to the heart. Although “high cholesterol” is a contributing factor, the type and size of the particle, (two things that are not examined in a typical blood test) are actually what alert us of whether or not we’re at risk. You probably know from blood tests that LDL is our “bad” cholesterol and HDL is our “good” cholesterol, but there are many other factors that GP’s don’t consider, and oftentimes, patients are wrongfully prescribed statins because these very important components are overlooked.

The down side of statins….

Taking a statin (to lower cholesterol) blocks our body’s endogenous cholesterol synthesis. Well documented research shows that blocking that exact process also interferes with our body’s own production of CoQ10 which is an ESSENTIAL part of energy production in our mitochondria (the batteries of our cells). This explains why low energy and fatigue, headaches, body aches and pains are often a side effect of statin-usage, among other symptoms like weight gain, difficulty sleeping, abdominal pain, dizziness and vitamin deficiencies.

The good side of cholesterol…

Cholesterol tends to get a bad rap. but did you know that we actually require cholesterol to synthesize our hormones, Vitamin D and myelin (our nerves insulation)? All of our sex and adrenal hormones are synthesized from cholesterol, which means without it, our hormones can get out of whack and cause a spiral of other issues, including chronic stress from increased cortisol, weight gain, body aches and more. Moreover, saturated fats and cholesterol are what make cell membranes strong and sturdy so they can protect themselves from invasions, so when they’re compromised, we’re more susceptible to toxins and illness.

Protect Your Heart With These Essential Nutrients!

Whether you are currently on a statin to lower cholesterol or not, here are some of the top supplements and nutrients recommend for a healthy heart and to keep cholesterol levels on track. These are especially important to your health if you are on any statin medications in order to avoid the many side effects:

1. Omega-3-Fatty Acids

Omega 3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA) are found in foods like wild caught, fatty fish and flax seeds, are known to reduce inflammation, prevent blood clots and help maintain healthy blood pressure levels. It’s also important to supplement with a high-quality fish oil daily – At TMB, we carry MonoPure 1300EC, which supports cardiovascular & heart health, helps with insulin metabolism and is one of Dr. Bhat’s supplement staples!

2. Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10)

CoQ10 is a natural antioxidant and provides the cells in our body with energy – If you were to look anywhere in the body, our heart muscles actually contain the highest amounts of CoQ10! Just as our hearts are rich in CoQ10, so is the grass-fed beef heart. Unfortunately, many of us do not consume these organ meats and in the parts we do eat do not contain enough. We recommend taking CoQ10 in a supplement form, such as Q-Evail. Anyone on a statin should definitely be taking a CoQ10 supplement!

3. Monounsaturated Fats

These healthy fats can be found in things like avocado, nuts, seeds, and olive oil. Studies show that consuming these foods increases our protective HDL (aka our good cholesterol!) and lowers our LDL levels (bad cholesterol!) which is associated with heart disease. They also act as a source of energy for our cells so our body’s organs, like our heart, can perform their functions!

4. Polyphenols

When you think “polyphenols” think of the word RAINBOW! Colourful foods like blueberries, leafy greens and green tea are loaded with these powerful antioxidants that are known to increase HDL levels, promote anti-inflammatory activity, help maintain healthy blood pressure and offer cardiovascular protection.

5. Resveratrol

You might’ve heard that resveratrol can be found in red wine and dark chocolate, but that doesn’t mean you should go nuts with the vino! Like magnesium and CoQ10, it’s best absorbed in supplement form. Resveratrol is a heart healthy nutrient that is full of antioxidants, reduces inflammation, lowers blood pressure, and also prevents blood clots!

6. Magnesium

We always recommend supplementing with magnesium glycinate, as most people are deficient in this essential mineral. Although it can be found it foods like leafy greens and walnuts, the body can get a much higher therapeutic dosage through a supplement. All of our organs, including our heart, rely on magnesium in order to function, and it’s also commonly prescribed to patients who have heart arrhythmia (aka an irregular heartbeat).

Remember, heart disease and cholesterol issues are PREVENTABLE from a functional standpoint. In Dr. Bhat’s functional medicine program, the OmegaQuant can take a deep dive of your fatty acid profile which can show whether or not your body is in an inflammatory (higher in omega-6) or anti-inflammatory (higher in omega-3) state. Knowing the level of Omega 3’s (healthy fats) present in your body can help us find a strategy to lower cholesterol and prevent cardiovascular disease. There are also several other functional tests we can run to look at CoQ10 and the mitochondria, stress hormones, insulin resistance, liver detox pathways, nutrient deficiencies and gut inflammation, which can all throw off your cholesterol status! Want to learn more? Contact us today!

About The Movement Boutique in Toronto – Pilates, Chiropractic, Functional Medicine

TMB The Movement Boutique Located on Yonge Street in Toronto, The Movement Boutique serves the areas of Summerhill, Rosedale and Yorkdale with Pilates classes and much more. Our philosophy is centred on a holistic, multimodal approach to health, grounded in the latest therapeutic techniques and clinical research. Our approach: Optimal health cannot be attained through a single therapeutic lens; injuries are often the result of a constellation of lifestyle issues, including dysfunctional movement patterns, trauma, nutritional deficiencies or destructive habits of mind.