Moreover, heart disease – the leading cause of death in the United States – currently claims the lives of one out of every four adults. But, you can take steps to protect yourself. Recent research reveals that a pair of nutrients work hand-in-glove to improve heart function, prevent heart attacks and extend survival rate in those who have already suffered them.
Hawthorn extracts helps to prevent a heart attack in many ways
Hawthorne, scientifically known as Crataegus oxyacantha and also called thornapple and whitethorn, is a time-honored herbal remedy that has been used for millennia to treat heart problems. Now, modern research is demonstrating its value as a cardiotonic – a substance that increases heart muscle tone and helps the heart to work normally under stressful conditions.
Hawthorn’s rich store of active flavonoids – polyphenols called oligomeric procyanidins – have strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects that protect the heart and blood vessel tissue from oxidation, coagulation, inflammation and accumulations of dangerous fat.
Researchers have found that hawthorn increases the contractile force of heart muscle, thereby strengthening the heart’s pumping action. Animal studies have shown that hawthorn extracts can increase coronary blood flow by a stunning 70 percent.
Hawthorn also works to prevent heart disease by stimulating the release of beneficial nitric oxide. In addition, hawthorn’s oligomeric procyanidins help to relax and dilate coronary blood vessels, thereby lowering blood pressure and providing increased oxygenation to the heart. There is even evidence that hawthorn can help to lower levels of harmful LDL cholesterol.
And, finally, researchers credit hawthorn with providing protection against irregular heartbeats.
What does the research show?
Given its abundant cardioprotective effects, it is not surprising that some studies have shown that hawthorn can cause a 41 percent reduction in the risk of sudden cardiac death.
A 2003 placebo-controlled randomized trial published in Phytomedicine showed that 8 weeks of treatment with an extract of hawthorn berries was both safe and effective in improving the condition of patients with congestive heart failure. Specifically, hawthorn-treated patients experienced a significant increase in exercise tolerance – with reduced shortness of breath and fatigue.
CoQ10 is a necessity for proper heart function
CoQ10 is a vitamin-like antioxidant substance that allows the conversion of food into energy. After about age 45, the body produces less CoQ10, causing tissues to burn fuel inefficiently. The resulting CoQ10 deficiency causes the heart to weaken, contracting and pumping blood with less efficiency – a phenomenon that many scientists believe is the underlying cause of most heart failure in the United States today.
CoQ10 improves the health of artery linings, relaxing blood vessels and helping to prevent high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke. CoQ10 also helps to avoid ischemia reperfusion injury – damage which occurs after heart attack when oxygen-rich blood rushes back into damaged tissues.
A 2014 study published in European Journal of Heart Failure showed that CoQ10 supplementation dramatically improved survival in heart failure patients, while radically reducing incidences of hospitalization. Participants who received CoQ10 were only half as likely to have a major adverse cardiac event – such as heart attack – as those in the control group.
Researchers noted that CoQ10 supplementation could restore deficient CoQ10 levels in patients with moderate-to-severe heart failure, prolong life, and improve quality of life.
How should I combine hawthorn and CoQ10 for maximum benefit?
Hawthorne and CoQ10, which work in similar ways, enhance each other’s effectiveness, so taking them together can be a wise choice. Natural health experts advise using a hawthorn extract standardized to 5 percent flavonoid content, and many recommend a dosage of 37.5 mg a day.
In studies, 60 mg of CoQ10 twice a day was found to lower systolic blood pressure by up to 17.8 points. Some natural healers advise starting with 30 mg of CoQ10 beginning at age 45, with the dosage doubled to 60 mg per day by age 60.
However, you should discuss hawthorn and CoQ10 supplementation with an experienced healthcare provider, who can help advise you on the proper dosage for you.
Other natural ways of preventing a heart attack include maintaining healthy cholesterol low, avoiding high blood pressure, quitting smoking, staying physically fit and maintaining a healthy body weight. B-complex vitamins and omega-3 fatty acid are also associated with a lower risk of heart disease.
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