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Nutritional Counseling

Foods, Diet & Supplements for Cardiac Health

For people entering The Heart Center of Philadelphia expect the highest knowledge in nutritional counseling.  Each doctor will target dietary information based upon individual patient needs.  At the Heart Center we believe that appropriate nutritional and dietary adherence can help to minimize the need for medications.  We follow the principal “food is medicine.”

Diet

A diet high in fruits and vegetables decreases the risk of cardiovascular disease and death. Evidence suggests that the Mediterranean diet may improve cardiovascular outcomes. There is also evidence that a Mediterranean diet may be more effective than a low-fat diet in bringing about long-term changes to cardiovascular risk factors (e.g., lower cholesterol level and blood pressure). The DASH diet (high in nuts, fish, fruits ,  and vegetables; while low in sweets and red meat has been shown to reduce blood pressure, lower total and low density lipoproteins.  Finally, super low fat diets are recommended for extremely high risk cardiac patients with defined metabolic disorders.

Supplements

While a healthy diet is beneficial, in general the effect of antioxidant supplementation (vitamin E, vitamin C, etc.) or vitamins has not been shown to protection against cardiovascular disease and in some cases may possibly result in harm. Mineral supplements have also not been found to be useful. 

Niacin, a type of vitamin B3, may be an exception with a modest decrease in the risk of cardiovascular events in those at high risk. Niacin products may be used especially in those with specific lipid

Niacin, a type of vitamin B3, may be an exception with a modest decrease in the risk of cardiovascular events in those at high risk. Niacin products may be used especially in those with specific lipid abnormalities such as lipoprotein (a) abnormalities.

Magnesium supplementation can lower high blood pressure in a dose dependent manner. Magnesium therapy is also recommended for patients with ventricular arrhythmia associated with torsade de pointes who present with long QT syndrome as well as for the treatment of patients with digoxin intoxication-induced arrhythmias. 

There is evidence to support omega-3 fatty acid supplementation, especially those patients with low Epa or DHA levels on blood testing.  Fish oil has potentially blood thinning capabilities, anti inflammatory properties, anti arrhythmic affects, and can lower lipids ( most specifically triglycerides) 

Vitamin D is recommended for those with low vitamin D levels.  In fact, there are over 200 genes in the cardiovascular system that vitamin D impacts.

 

Coenzyme Q10 can potentially counter act the negative affects statins have on muscles and muscle aches.  In addition, it has other positive cardiovascular properties as well.  More studies are needed to establish it as a routine supplement for the prevention of heart disease.

Plant stanols/sterols are recommended by the American Heart Association as having benefits in people with lipid disorders.  It can lower cholesterol by as much as 15%.