Everyone understands the importance of maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle to prevent heart disease.  Unfortunately, most people’s actions don’t reflect this understanding and they take for granted whatever health they do have. According to the Center for Disease Control, 610,000 people die in the United States every year from heart disease, amounting to one in every four deaths (1). Forty-seven percent of Americans have at least one of the three major factors for heart disease; high blood pressure, high cholesterol and a smoking habit (1).

Clearly, people are not doing enough to mitigate heart disease, whether that be exercise, eating well or taking dietary supplements. Of course, none of these are effective without the other, but for many, taking the right dietary supplement is a great place to start in the effort to better one’s health. The heart health category likely contains some of the most well known supplements such as fish oil, CoQ10 and red yeast rice. While these may draw in the consistent buyer, it’s important to expose them to newer products or formulations they may benefit from as well as open up other customers to the importance of heart health supplements. Here is what you need to know to keep up and provide guidance to your customers.

The Heart and Our Diet In 2015, “The Scientific Report of the 2015 U.S. Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee” stated that cholesterol was not a nutrient for concern of overconsumption and that evidence did not demonstrate a significant relationship between dietary cholesterol and serum cholesterol (1). In light of this, when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released their “Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015-2020,” they changed their guidelines which in 2010 recommended people limit their consumption of dietary cholesterol to 300 mg per day (2). Currently, the guidelines no longer recommend limiting cholesterol consumption, though not because they no longer feel it is a danger, but because the intake of dietary cholesterol in the United States is 270 mg per day, below the previous recommended 300 mg. Plus, they already recommend limiting saturated fats to 10% of total fats, and by nature, foods rich in saturated fats are also high in cholesterol.

Clearly, considering that average cholesterol consumption is below the previous recommendation and people are still dying at an exceptional rate from heart disease, a more nuanced approach is required. People all too often consider dieting and health as excluding things from one’s diet, but as the guidelines demonstrate, health is about replacing harmful food with beneficial foods that add necessary nutrients to your body and reinforces health. Among these important nutrients are eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), polyunsaturated omega-3 fatty acids. The guidelines recommend eating 8 ounces of fish per week to achieve average consumption of 250 mg per day. They also recommend that women who are breastfeeding eat upwards of 12 ounces of seafood per week.

As Carolyn Dean, MD, ND,  medical advisory board member, Nutritional Magnesium Association, explains on behalf of Natural Vitality, Austin, TX. “The Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion is a government agency that cannot ‘prescribe’ supplements or it would be practicing medicine without a license. Any advice to take supplements for a disease makes that supplement a drug.” An important point to reinforce, dietary supplements can’t treat or cure any disease but consuming the right nutrients is crucial to our health. Therefore, while eating food rich in EPA and DHA is a great way to get the nutrients, consistently eating the right food may be difficult for people, making omega-3 supplements an excellent way to meet the recommended levels of EPA and DHA.

While “FDA does not consider it to be the agency’s function to offer medical advice and, as a result, the FDA seldom suggests supplements except in response to diagnosed deficiencies,” says Dallas Clouatre, PhD, consultant for R&D, Jarrow Formulas, Inc., Los Angeles, CA. “Even so, the FDA does have a category of ‘Qualified Health Claims.’” For omega-3 fatty acids, this statement reads “Supportive but not conclusive research shows that consumption of EPA and DHA omega-3 fatty acids may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease. One serving of [Name of the food] provides [ ] gram of EPA and DHA omega-3 fatty acids” (3).

Also recognizing the value of omega-3s is the general population. “Heart issues have grown over the past few years and are expected to continue to increase,” says Clouatre. “Importantly, the aging U.S. population is more aware today than in the past of health issues. Moreover, the high costs of health insurance and medical treatment have convinced many Americans to consider supplements to help manage heart health.”

Jay Levy, director of sales, Wakunaga of America Co., Ltd., Mission Viejo, CA agrees. “Combined with a healthy lifestyle, a growing number of consumers understand that targeted supplementation can help to support a healthy cardiovascular system,” he says. “Because of this awareness, demand for heart health supplements has grown over the past decade.”

Despite bad press a number of years ago resulting in a major slump in sales, omega-3s have rebounded and are likely one of the most accepted dietary supplements on the market, particularly in relation to heart health. In fact, according to Ellen Schutt, communications director, Global Organization for EPA and DHA Omega-3s (GOED), Salt Lake City, UT, consumer surveys conducted by the organization have demonstrated that compared to Europe, in the United States, more people get their omega-3s from dietary supplement. While they should also be eating food rich in omega-3s, this goes to show that many believe in the omega-3 supplements. For that matter, adds Schutt, “When we asked people why they start taking omega-3s, heart health and general wellness are the top two reasons.” Of the respondents, 46% say heart health and 44% say general wellness.

Consumers are not the only ones to have faith in omega-3 EPA and DHA. “When you ask people what influences their purchase for health wellness products, the top two answers are a doctor’s recommendation and the quality of the product,” says Schutt. “So those two items are higher than price.”

“[We] have seen a growing number of practitioners recommending their fish oil to their patients,” says Denise John, Ph.D., eductaion manager, Nordic Naturals, Watsonville, CA. “We also find that practitioners are becoming very open to learning more about the benefits of omega-3s for heart health and, for those who are already aware, wanting to spread the word and educate others practitioners about their benefits.”

Aker BioMarine Antarctic US, Metuchen, NJ, conducted a physician survey that demonstrated physicians’ willingness to recommend omega-3 supplements. The 14-question survey found that of the 362 respondents, 95% recommended some kind of supplement as part of their practice and 88% were willing to recommend omega-3s, with 35% saying they always recommended them and 53% saying they frequently recommended them (4). Only 2% stated that they never recommended omega-3s.

For that matter, 68% stated that negative omega-3 studies did not change their willingness to recommend them. This, during a time when several negative studies were released. Generally speaking, research still overwhelmingly supports the use of omega-3s, particularly in support of heart health. The most recent study, funded by GOED and published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings, is a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and prospective cohort studies that found a statistically significant risk reduction of coronary heart disease risk among higher-risk populations, including those with elevated triglyceride levels and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels (5). While the overall meta-analysis of coronary heart disease (CHD) risk reduction was not statistically significant, significant results were found in subgroups of higher risk individuals. The prospective cohort studies showed a 18% risk reduction in CHD event in those with higher levels of EPA/DHA, which the study also found to be dose-dependent (5).

The need for omega-3s and elevated risk of heart health from deficiency not only results from the lack of consumption, but also the imbalance of omega-6 fatty acids and omega-3s. “Over the past 30 years or so, Americans have replaced much of their dietary saturated fat with omega-6 fatty acids,” explains Steve Holtby, president and CEO, Soft Gel Technologies, Inc., Commerce, CA. “It is estimated that people are now eating 20 times more omega-6s than omega-3s.  From a biochemical standpoint, this lopsided imbalance in dietary intake of the omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids sets the stage for powerful and chronic proinflammatory reactions. As humans grow older, systemic inflammation can inflict devastating degenerative effects throughout the body.”
“People with low omega-3 levels (~3%) have a 10-fold higher risk for sudden cardiac death compared to people with high omega-3 status (~8%),” explains Becky Wright, marketing and communications director for Aker BioMarine. Unfortunately, according to a global survey published in Progress in Lipid Research, less than 20% of the world’s population consumes more than 250 mg of omega-3 fatty acids (6). “Low and very low blood levels (an Omega-3 Index of 6% or below) were observed in North America, Central and South America, Europe, the Middle East, Southeast Asia, Africa, Australia and China,” Wright elaborates. “In fact, the only areas where people had optimal Omega-3 Index levels (8% or above) were Norway and Japan.”

Another nutrient that is lacking is vitamin E. As Andrea Papas, PhD, MSc, science advisor for A.C. Grace Co., Big Sandy, TX, points out, the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans state, “For a few nutrients (vitamin D, vitamin E, potassium, choline), amounts in the Patterns are marginal or below the RDA or AI standard for many or all age-sex groups” (2). Papas explains, “Vitamin E consists of a family of eight different compounds, four tocopherols and four tocotrienols (designated as alpha, beta, gamma and delta). Our food contains all eight compounds. In many countries, including the United States, the typical diet supplies higher levels of non-alpha tocopherols, especially gamma-tocopherol.” While our diets are high in gamma-tocopherols, he says, vitamin E became synonymous with only alpha-tocopherol and because of this, alpha-tocopherol is now most commonly used in food fortification, supplements and, most important, in the human clinical trials.

However, Papas argues for the importance of incorporating all eight compounds in our diets equitably. In this way, they more effectively support wellness, including heart health in very specific ways. “Emerging research showed that tocopherols and tocotrienols support cardiovascular health especially by reducing oxidative stress and inflammation which are major risks,” he explains. “Gamma-tocopherol is particularly effective in quenching nitrogen radicals which contribute to inflammation. Tocopherols and tocotrienols help prevent oxidation of omega-3 fatty acids both in the digestive system and after absorption. Tocotrienols, and in particular gamma-tocotrienol, suppress the production of 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-coenzyme A reductase (HMG-CoA) which is involved in production of LDL.”

Select Heart Health Offerings

A.C. Grace Company: UNIQUE E Mixed Tocopherols Concentrate (softgels and oil), UNIQUE E Tocotrienols, Aqua E — liquid vitamin E for those with malabsorption issues, IronUp — for children, UNIQUE Omega Krill Oil, UNIQUE Derma — clinical topical, UNIQUE E Natural Moisturizing Cream

Aker BioMarine Antarctic US: Superba Krill, Superba2, Superba Boost

Euromed USA: Proliva

HP Ingredients: Bergamonte

Jarrow Formulas, Inc.: Acetyl-L-Carnitine and Acetyl-L-Carnitine Arginate + Alpha Lipoic Acid, AhiFlower Oil Alpha Lipoic Acid including Sustain and R-Alpha Lipoic Acid, Co-Q10 and QH (ubiquinol), EPA-DHA Balance and EPActive, Glucose Optimizer, Pressure Optimizer, K-Right and MK-7, Krill Oil and PhosphOmega, Nattokinase, PQQ–Pyrroloquinoline quinone, Red Yeast Rice and Red Yeast Rice + Nattokinase, Venous Optimizer, Wild Bitter Melon Extract (Glycostat)

LycoRed Corp: CardioMato

NattoPharma USA, Inc.: MenaQ7

Natural Vitality: Natural Calm, Natural Calm Plus Calcium

Nordic Naturals: Omega LDL, Ultimate Omega 2x, Ultimate Omega+CoQ10, EPA Xtra

NOW Foods:  NOW Beta-Sitosterol Plant Sterols, NOW Cholesterol Pro, NOW Blood Pressure Health, NOW Celery Seed Extract, NOW Pantethine, NOW Vein Supreme, NOW Sytrinol Cholesterol Formula

Soft Gel Technologies, Inc.: Lycopene, CoQsol, CoQsol-CF, Sytrinol, EZ Mega 3

Wakunaga of America Co. Ltd.: Kyolic Formula 100 Cardiovascular, Kyolic Formula 104 Cholesterol, Kyolic Formula 106 Circulation, Kyolic Formula 107 Phytosterols/Cholesterol Support, Kyolic Formula 108 Total Heart Health, Kyolic Formula 109 Blood Pressure Health, Kyolic Formula 110 CoQ10, Kyolic Red Yeast Rice plus CoQ10, Kyolic Omega-3, Kyolic Reserve, Kyolic One Per Day, ModuChol Daily Heart Support

One 2002 research study published in Atherosclerosis, for example, found a dose-dependent response from a tocotrienol-rich fraction (TRF25) of rice bran in lowering serum total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol. “Subjects were initially placed on the American Heart Association Step-1 diet, and then were administered 25, 50, 100, and 200 mg per day of TRF25 while on the restricted diet,” explains Holtby. “The dosage 100 mg per day produced the maximum decreases in serum total cholesterol (20%), LDL-cholesterol (25%), and triglycerides (12%)” (8).

Neil E. Levin, CCN, DANLA, senior nutrition education manager for NOW Foods, Bloomingdale, IL, cites fascinating data that supports vitamin E’s importance. “The World Health Organization’s Monitoring Trends in Cardiovascular Disease Study (WHO/MONICA) reported than low levels of vitamin E predicted a heart attack 62% of the time, while high serum cholesterol predicted only 29% of the time and high blood pressure only 25% of the time” (7). This is important because it demonstrates how crucial a balanced diet is to our health. While Americans will present risk factors such as high cholesterol and blood pressure, resulting in the prescribing of drug to treat these symptoms, how many are tackling their nutrient deficiencies potentially causing these symptoms?

CoQ10, one of the heart health category’s most popular supplement, demonstrates how supplements can necessarily complement prescription drugs. While drugs are an important tool that can be life saving for many people, they can also come with some baggage. Statins, for example, prescribed for reducing cholesterol, inhibit CoQ10 synthesis. The heart has the highest concentration of CoQ10 in the body because it is crucial for the production of biochemical energy within cell mitochondria (9). This energy is required for optimal function of the heart. An important nutrient to begin with, the irony of treating one risk factor of heart health with a prescription drug, only to require taking a dietary supplement to support the function of one’s heart, is potent. “CoQ10, especially in its reduced form as ubiquinol or QH, retains a strong presence in the area of heart health,” says Clouatre. “In part, this no doubt is a result of its role in maintaining and/or increasing the strength of the contractility of the heart.”

Magnesium, an important, yet underrated nutrient for heart health is subject to imbalance in our diets not unlike omega-3s. In this case, the imbalance occurs from an excess of calcium in the diet, from both fortified foods and supplements. According to Dean, the agreed upon ratio of calcium to magnesium is 2:1, while what the average American consumes can be as high as 5:1 (9). Excessive calcium in the system can create calcification in the arteries called atherosclerosis, which is a leading cause of heart attack death. Magnesium is also a cofactor in over 300 enzymatic reactions, plays a particularly important role in heart health as a calcium channel blocker and is a cofactor for the enzyme that breaks down cholesterol. “Imbalances of trace minerals have been implicated in the development of cardiovascular risk factors and acknowledged as such by official Health Canada,” says Levin. “In the Nurse’s Health Study of 88,375 women followed for 26 years, the incidence of sudden cardiac death was 77% lower in those with the highest serum magnesium levels versus the lowest quartile” (10).

Holtby concurs. “Magnesium, in particular, is a key mineral for the nervous system, heart, and overall circulation,” he says. “It is required to support the normal contraction/relaxation of the heart muscle pumping actions. The heart also requires a tremendous amount of energy to work properly — and magnesium is needed in the final step of all energy synthesis (ATP production).”
The more you can differentiate heart health claims, the easier it is to communicate the benefits to consumers.

—Steve Holtby, Soft Gel Technologies, Inc.
Interestingly, magnesium also converts vitamin D, a popular heart health nutrient, into its active form. Low serum magnesium is often associated with low serum vitamin D (11). “Vitamin D continues to be strong in the heart category,” says Clouatre. “Recent data from the Framingham Heart Study indicates that a deficiency in vitamin D intake is associated with increased cardiovascular risk beyond established cardiovascular risk factors, especially among those suffering from hypertension” (12).

Another study cited by Levin followed 74,272 women and 44,592 men free of cardiovascular disease and cancer at baseline and followed up 12 years later. The study reported that men who had an intake of at least 600 IU per day of vitamin D had a 16% reduced risk of cardiovascular disease compared to men whose intake was less than 100 IU per day (13). However, despite its worth as a dietary supplement, the popularity can have the opposite effect if there is no consideration for complementary nutrients. “Doctors have picked up on vitamin D deficiency and are prescribing dangerously high doses of Vitamin D,” explains Dean. “Vitamin D requires magnesium to transform it into its active state, therefore the higher the vitamin D intake the more magnesium is diverted away from more important functions.”

Circulation Another nutrient that helps support circulation, vitamin K2, can also act as a check against excess calcium. More specifically, explains Eric Anderson, senior vice president global sales and marketing, NattoPharma USA, Inc., Metuchen, NJ, “Vitamin K2 has been shown to activate inert Matrix Gla Protein (MGP), which is responsible for inhibiting calcium from depositing in the arteries and blood vessels.” Instead, it diverts calcium to the bones (9).

Research has demonstrated this action. According to a double-blind, randomized trial, researchers used pulse wave velocity (PWV) and ultrasound techniques to collect cardiovascular measurements on a cohort of post-menopausal women participating in a three-year bone study (14).  In the study, researchers randomly assigned 244 healthy post-menopausal women to take a daily dose of vitamin K2 (as MenaQ7) for three years, or placebo. “At the study's conclusion, the Stiffness Index ß in the experimental group with initial high arterial stiffness had decreased significantly compared to the slight increase in the placebo group,” says Anderson. “[Vitamin K2] not only inhibited age-related stiffening of the artery walls, but also made a statistically significant improvement in vascular elasticity.” Menaquinone-7 (MK-7) and Menaquinone-4 (MK-4) are the bioactive forms of vitamin K2, explains Clouatre. “MK-7 is better retained in tissues than MK-4 and can give rise to MK-4,” he says.  “MK-4, in turn, uniquely antagonizes NF-kappaB to help the body manage inflammatory actions.”

Aged Garlic Extract (AGE) has also been shown in research to support healthy circulation. Levy cites one study, published in the International Journal Cardiology, conducted at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, that showed AGE, when paired with vitamin B12, folic acid, vitamin B6, and arginine, can favorably alter the ratio of brown to white adipose (fat) tissue surrounding the heart muscle  (15). “This unique combination of nutrients also helps thwart atherosclerosis by reducing homocysteine levels and slowing the progression of coronary artery calcification (CAC),” explains Levy. Increase in white adipose tissue was associated with CAC while the increase in brown adipose tissue was associated with improved vascular reactivity.

Another study of AGE scheduled for publication in The Journal of Nutrition found “a reduction in the amount of low-attenuation plaque, or ‘soft plaque,’ in the arteries of patients with metabolic syndrome who took AGE” (16). This study involved 55 patients aged 40 to 75 who were diagnosed with metabolic syndrome. After being tested for total coronary plaque volume as well as dense calcium, non-calcified plaque and low-attenuation plaque, subjects were randomly selected to either receive 2,400 mg of AGE or placebo every day. “We have completed four randomized studies, and they have led us to conclude that AGE can help slow the progression of atherosclerosis and reverse the early stages of heart disease,” said the study’s lead researcher.

Bang for the Buck Consumers of dietary supplements understand the importance of reinforcing their diets with these important nutrients. However, they also value convenience and therefore often seek higher doses and combination products that reduce pill fatigue. “While we have cut the number of SKUs for some products, these tend to be at the low end of product strength, and the smaller sizes,” explains Levin. “People tend to want higher strengths and larger sizes. For example, we have recently dropped our 30 count CoQ10 30 mg, but our 400 and 600 mg softgels are strong sellers.” NOW Foods’ Ultra Omega softgel, one of the strongest available without prescription, is also a major seller, says Levin, as well as the higher strength vitamin D formulas.

Throughout the piece, it is clear that a dietary supplement often cannot always efficiently support our health unless it can work synergistically with another. Just as our food diets must be balanced and diverse, so too must our supplement usage. This is why combining important ingredients into a single formula is an efficient as well as cost effective way to help people meet their dietary needs. Clouatre cites one telling study published recently in The Journal of Nutritition that investigated how multivitamin consumption affected long-term and short-term risks of cardiovascular disease (CVD) (17). It investigated 18,530 male physicians aged more than 40 years who were free of CVD and cancer at baseline. Following up 12.2 years later subjects that “self-reported duration of ≥20 years [of multivitamin use] at baseline was associated with lower risk” of CVD (17).

Related to formulas specifically targeting heart health, for example, Clouatre describes a Jarrow Formulas product that combines three forms of vitamin K: MK-7, MK-4 and K1,  in addition to vitamin D3 (K-Right). “This combination provides the immediate unique effects found with MK-4 while at the same time promoting greater tissue retention found with MK-7 thus indirectly supporting the production of MK-4 in the tissues from both MK-7 and K1,” he explains.

Another interesting combination, that focuses on supporting healthy blood pressure levels is a product from A.C. Grace which combines ingredients such as vitamin E, gamma tocopherols and tocotrienols, natural marine fish oil, vitamin D3, CoQ10, lycopene and astaxanthin (Unique Omega E+) that “synergistically help manage healthy inflammation cycles,” says Scott Smith, director marketing and operations for the firm. An example of a cholesterol-specific combination product comes from Nordic Naturals (Omega LDL) which combines some of the most common and popular heart health nutrients including omega-3s, red yeast rice and CoQ10.

Anderson also points out how certain ingredients have the ability to appear in a diverse set of product formats. Using his firm’s vitamin K2 ingredient as an example, he states that “consumers are benefited when they are presented with a wide array of choices. This means different types of beverages, foods and supplements (chewables, gummies, tablets, soft gels, capsules).  Consider how successful one ingredient can be when it can be effectively incorporated into more than one medium.”

You’ll notice that many of these combinations target specific aspects of heart health. “The more you can differentiate heart health claims, the easier it is to communicate the benefits to consumers,” explains Holtby. “‘Supports heart health’ is a broad claim that still is functional in the marketplace, but ‘promotes healthy cholesterol levels’ or ‘supports healthy blood pressure’ are more specific claims that send a powerful message.”

While he speaks from the perspective of a product formulator, this can be valuable for retailers as well. These kind of labels call out to consumers who like to know exactly what they’re getting without having to do too much homework to determine their needs. One potential way for retailers to take advantage of these kinds of products is by also differentiating these products within your heart health aisle. Guide people to the right place, giving them a smaller set of options to choose from, and therefore making their experience more convenient and pleasant.

What’s New? While the heart health category is populated by well known and trusted ingredients, consumers always like to see innovation and are curious about new products. This is particularly true of those that may not be invested in any particular product and willing to try and learn about something novel. One such product is a proprietary olive fruit extract (Proliva) from Euromed USA, Presto, PA, which Guy Woodman, general manager says is standardized to 20% hydroxtyrosol. “Phytochemicals found in olive fruit are inhibitors of LDL oxidation, an important step in the progression of atherosclerosis,” he explains. Phytochemicals such as hydroxtyrosol in Europe are largely obtained from olive oil, but in the United States, where consumption of extra virgin olive oil is not as high, supplementation can be useful.

Recent studies show the ingredient has promise. A small double-blind, placebo-controlled study comparing different doses of the ex tract and placebo found that 500 mg per day had the most prominent improvement in arterial elasticity and a statistically significant reduction of triglyceride levels by 21.64% (18). A different study that investigated a formulation containing the olive fruit extract and red yeast rice showed a decrease in LDL cholesterol by 24% and total cholesterol by 17% (19).

Bergamot is another relatively new ingredient. Bergamot, a citrus fruit rich in polyphenols and native to Southern Italy is anecdotally recognized as providing the people native to that region good health and long lives. Scientifically speaking, studies have found their effects to be similar to statins, in that they support healthy cholesterol. Bradenton, FL-based HP Ingredients’, bergamot extract (Bergamonte), standardized to >38% polyphenolic flavanoids consisting of naringin, neohesperidin, neoeriocitrin, 1% melitidin, and 2% brutieridin, says Annie Eng, CEO of the firm, is allowed by Health Canada to make the following claims: 1. Helps maintain/support healthy (total, LDL-, HDL-,) cholesterol levels. 2. Helps maintain/support cardiovascular health. 3. Provides antioxidants.

One placebo-controlled study of 237 individuals exhibiting either isolated hypercholesterolemia, mixed hyperlipidemia or metabolic syndrome given either a placebo, 500 mg of bergamot or 1,000 mg of bergamot found that the ingredient produced a strong reduction in total cholesterol, LDL, and a significant increase in HDL in most of the subjects, says Eng (20). Another study showed how bergamot, can complement a pharmaceutical. This prospective, open-label, parallel group, placebo-controlled study on 77 patients with elevated serum LDL-C and triglycerides assigned subjects to either receive placebo, rosuvastatin, bergamot or rosuvastatin with bergamot (21). Results showed that while both the rosuvostatin and bergamot reduced total cholesterol and LDL levels compared to placebo, the “addition of [Bergamot] to rosuvastatin significantly enhanced rosuvastatin-induced effect on serum lipemic profile compared to rosuvastatin alone” (21).

A lycopene supplement, extracted from tomatoes (CardioMato) from Orange, NJ-based LycoRed Corp. is a promising new heart supplement that has gained recognition recently. “This product helps manages multiple markers: Oxidized LDL cholesterol, blood pressure, sugar levels and triglycerides all within the normal range,” says Golan Raz, vice president of health & nutrition for the firm. “Also, the fact that this product’s recommended dosage is ‘one a day’ makes compliance easy and friendly.”

One study published in Atheroscleroris, randomly assigned 126 healthy men to receive either placebo, 6 mg lycopene or 15 mg lycopene daily for eight weeks (22). Results showed that subjects taking 15 mg lycopene had the best response, experiencing a significant decrease in systolic blood pressure and oxidative stress markers and improved endothelial function. “Interestingly, the beneficial effect of lycopene supplementation on endothelial function were remarkable in subjects with relatively impaired endothelial cell function at initial level,” stated the researchers (22). WF

  1. “Heart Disease Facts.” https://www.cdc.gov/heartdisease/facts.htm, Accessed 1/3/2017.
2.“Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015-2020: Eight Edition” https://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/guidelines/, Accessed 12/29/2016.
  1. “Summary of Qualified Health Claims Subject to Enforcement Discretion.” http://www.fda.gov/Food/IngredientsPackagingLabeling/LabelingNutrition/ucm073992.htm#cardio, Accessed 1/4/2017
  2. “New Survey Reveals How Healthcare Professionals Really Feel about Dietary Supplements & Omega-3s.” http://superbakrill.com/new-survey-reveals-how-healthcare-professionals-really-feel-about-dietary-supplements-omega-3s/, Accessed 1/5/2017
  3. D.D. Alexander, et al. “A Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials and Prospective Cohort Studies of Eicosapentaenoic and Docosahexaenoic Long-Chain Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Coronary Heart Disease Risk.” Mayo Clinic Proceedings. 92(1): 15-21. 2017.
  4. K.D. Stark, et al. “Global survey of the omega-3 fatty acids, docosahexaenoic acid and eicosapentaenoic acid in the blood stream of healthy adults.” Progress in Lipid Research. 63: 132-152. 2016.
  5. “The world health organization monica project (monitoring trends and determinants in cardiovascular disease): A major international collaboration.” Journal of Clinical Epidemiology. 41(2): 105-114. 1988.
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  7. S. Krawiec. "Change of Heart." https://wholefoodsmagazine.com/supplements/features-supplements/change-heart/.
  8. S.E. Chiuve, et al. “Plasma and dietary magnesium and risk of sudden cardiac death in women” Am J Clin Nutr. 93(2): 253–260. 2011.
  9. A. Rosanoff. " Appendix V: Importance of Balancing Ca with Mg and Dangers of the Rising Ca:Mg Dietary Intake Ratio." http://nutritionalmagnesium.org/images/stories/pdf/AppendixVrevA.pdf.
  10. S. Cheng, et al. “Adiposity, cardiometabolic risk, and vitamin D status: the Framingham Heart Study.” Diabetes. 59(1):242-8. 2010.
  11. Q. Sun, et al.  “Vitamin D intake and risk of cardiovascular disease in US men and women.” Am J Clin Nutr. 94(2): 534–542. 2011.
  12.  M.H. Knapen, et al. “Menaquinone-7 supplementation improves arterial stiffness in healthy postmenopausal women. A double-blind randomised clinical trial.”  Thromb Haemost. 113(5):1135-44. 2015.
  13. N. Ahmadi, et al. “Aged garlic extract with supplement is associated with increase in brown adipose, decrease in white adipose tissue and predict lack of progression in coronary atherosclerosis.” Int J Cardiol. 3;168(3):2310-4. 2013.
  14. “New study shows aged garlic extract can reduce dangerous plaque buildup in arteries.”  https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-01/labr-nss012116.php, Accessed 1/3/2017.
  15. S. Rautiainen, et al. “Multivitamin Use and the Risk of Cardiovascular Disease in Men.” J Nutr. 146(6):1235-40. 2016.
  16. P. Pais, et al. “Impact of a Proprietary Standardized Olive Fruit Extract (SOFE) on Cardio-Ankle Vascular Index, Visual Analog Scale and C-Reactive Protein Assessments in Subjects with Arterial Stiffness Risk.” Drugs R D. 16(4): 355–368. 2016.
  17. V. Verhoeven, et al. “Can red yeast rice and olive extract improve lipid profile and cardiovascular risk in metabolic syndrome?: a double blind, placebo controlled randomized trial.” BMC Complement Altern Med. 15: 52. 2015.
  18. V. Mollace, et al. “Hypolipemic and hypoglycaemic activity of bergamot polyphenols: from animal models to human studies.” Fitoterapia. 82(3):309-16. 2011.
  19. M. Gliozzi,  et al. “Bergamot polyphenolic fraction enhances rosuvastatin-induced effect on LDL-cholesterol, LOX-1 expression and protein kinase B phosphorylation in patients with hyperlipidemia.” Int J Cardiol. 10;170(2):140-5. 2013.
  20. J. Y. Kim,  et al. “Effects of lycopene supplementation on oxidative stress and markers of endothelial function in healthy men.” Atherosclerosis. 215(1): 189–195. 2011.
Published in WholeFoods Magazine February 2017