Keeping the heart healthy

column-Healthy-AnswrQ: A close friend of mine recently had a heart attack; he is only in his mid fifties and in decent health (or so I thought). It’s made me start to worry about my own heart, and I wanted to write to see what kinds of things you would recommend for heart health.

A: That would certainly be a wakeup call! Unfortunately many people don’t think much about heart health until they’ve been diagnosed with a problem. There are many supplements that can make a difference in keeping the heart and cardiovascular system healthy. I would be remiss however, to recommend a supplement without first bringing up healthy lifestyle choices.

Most of the diseases and health problems people struggle with are a result of having a sedentary lifestyle and eating the wrong foods. I don’t mean that to be an accusation, but just a comment on our society. Many people have jobs where they have to sit behind a desk for eight or nine hours and then and eat take-out food every day. With a job like that it can be difficult to find time to exercise because often people are so worn out by the time they get home that 30 minutes of exercise almost sounds like an impossibility.

Exercise, however, can actually help with reducing stress and help with increasing energy levels. If you aren’t able to set aside a half hour block of time each day to exercise, you can still make small lifestyle changes that add up over time to a more active life. Start parking your car farther away when you go to work or the store, or take the stairs rather than waiting for an elevator. At night when watching television, use the three minute commercial break to do some stretches or keep a set of hand weights to exercise with next to the couch. It has been shown in studies time and time again that regular exercise reduces the risk of heart disease, heart attack, and a host of other problems.

The first supplement I would recommend for heart health is Coenzyme Q10 (or CoQ10). To explain how CoQ10 works we need to go down to the cellular level (the human body is an absolute miracle). Each of our cells contains mitochondria, which work as a cell’s power center, giving cells energy to function. CoQ10 works with the mitochondria to help them to function and give them energy. Not surprisingly, the cells that have the most mitochondria in the body are heart cells, which is nature’s way of giving the heart the power necessary to drive the heart’s non-stop pumping. Countless studies have shown CoQ10’s ability to help the heart to function better and prevent heart attacks. There have also been studies documenting CoQ10’s ability to increase heart function in patients with congestive heart failure, as well as helping to prevent heart disease. Our body naturally produces CoQ10, but the amount the body is able to make reduces significantly as we age. Statin drugs like Lipitor have also been shown to decrease the amount of CoQ10 that is produced in the body, so if a person is on cholesterol medication it is even more crucial that they supplement with CoQ10. It’s interesting to note that CoQ10 has been found to help offset the common side effects of statin drugs like muscle pain and weakness.

Another great but little known supplement for heart health is nattokinaise. Nattokinaise is a common supplement in Japan that has been found to have the amazing ability to help break up blood clots. Blood clots are associated with both heart attack and stroke, so nattokinaise can be extremely helpful in preventing both problems. Blood clots form when strands of protein called fibrin accumulate in a blood vessel. In a heart attack, the blood flow to the heart is cut off, stopping its oxygen supply. If blood and oxygen are unable to reach a certain tissue in the body that tissue will eventually die. Strokes happen in a similar way, where a clot blocks blood flow to the brain, often causing permanent damage. Nattokinaise is so important because it helps to break down the fibrin in the blood that causes those damaging clots.

Finally, the last supplement I wanted to mention is vitamin K2. Vitamin K is most well known for helping to ensure proper blood clotting. When you cut your finger, the reason you don’t bleed to death is vitamin K. Recent studies have found some very interesting things about a specific form of vitamin K known as K2. The researchers found that vitamin K2 is able to work in the body to direct calcium to work in the proper places. Calcium is a wonderful thing when it is deposited in the bones. It’s not at all good however, when it’s deposited in the arteries, causing arterial calcification and hardening of the arteries. Vitamin K2 is beneficial for both bone health and the health of the arteries that direct blood to and from the heart, keeping bones strong by making sure they have the calcium they need, and keeping arteries flexible by reducing arterial calcification. Noted cardiologist Dr. Sinatra regularly prescribes vitamin K2 to his heart patients with wonderful results. The one reason not to take vitamin K is if you are taking prescription blood thinners like Coumadin.

Heart health really encompasses so much, and I’ve only listed a few of my favorite supplements for a healthy heart – there are many, many more including fish oil, hawthorne, niacin, and others. The good news is there are many natural products that have a beneficial effect on the heart. It’s much easier to prevent a problem than fix one that has already occurred. Even if you’re a person who is genetically predisposed to heart problems, there are many steps you can take to prevent heart disease and heart attacks. Your health truly is in your hands. Good luck, and be well!

Healthy Answers for Life is a column that seeks to answer health questions and concerns from a natural perspective. To submit a question to be answered in a future column, send an email to [email protected] or mail to Healthy Answers for Life c/o Pass Health Foods at 7228 W. College Drive, Palos Heights, IL 60463

Carolyn Johnson is one of the knowledgeable associates at Pass Health Foods at 7228 W. College Drive. Feel free to stop by the store for more information or advice. www.passhealthfoods.com

This column makes no claims to diagnose, treat, prevent, mitigate, or cure diseases with any advice or products. Any-health related information in this article is for educational purposes only. The ultimate responsibility for your choices and their effect on your health are yours and before applying any therapy or use of herbs, supplements, etc., you should consult your health-care provider. 

Local News

Richards High School Bands Director Jordan Fransler will be running the Chicago Marathon on Sunday, October 9, raising money for Miracle Network Dance Marathon. (Supplied photos)

Richards teacher to tackle the Chicago Marathon

By Kelly White As bands director at Richards High School in Oak Lawn, Jordan Fransler’s days are filled with education and music, but that’s not all. In his free time, the talented teacher likes to put on his running shoes. “Running became one of my favorite hobbies several years ago. It started out as a…

SRP-IMAGE-Logo

Mount Carmel tested in win over Brother Rice

By Steve Millar Correspondent After Mount Carmel beat each of its first five opponents by 24 points or more, senior quarterback Blainey Dowling thinks it is good the Caravan had to fight to the end against an upset-minded Brother Rice team. Dowling ran for the game-winning 15-yard touchdown with 1:58 left to lift Mount Carmel…

In just its second year as a team, St. Laurence's girls golfers won a regional title. Photo courtesy of St. Laurence

Area Sports Roundup: St. Laurence golfers make history

By Jeff Vorva Staff Writer   That didn’t take long. The St. Laurence girls golf program is in only its second year of existence but last weekend celebrated a major accomplishment. Coach Jim Tracy’s troops won the Providence Catholic Class 1A Regional by four strokes, logging a 372 to edge University High (Chicago), which finished…

SXU coach Mike Feminis reacts as the final horn goes off as he earns his 200th career win in a thriller over 18th-ranked Roosevelt. Photo by Jeff Vorva

Pigskin Wrap: St. Xavier tops Roosevelt in thriller, gets Feminis career win No. 200

By Jeff Vorva Staff writer Saint Xavier coach Mike Feminis was gunning for his 200th career victory, but it looked more like he might be tagged with his 78th career loss. After wasting a 14-point halftime lead, the Cougars found themselves down six in the closing minute of the Homecoming game Oct. 1 at Bruce…

CRRNH_Carnevil02_100522

Halloween’s dark side

Carnevil on 64th promises grisly, gory, ghoulish frights By Cosmo Hadac Those passing the home at 5716 W. 64th St. this month may see the grave of Pennywise the Clown or Freddy Krueger dancing to the Monster Mash. What started out as a way to celebrate Halloween during the pandemic’s social distancing mandates has expanded…

Joan Hadac

Don’t take senior center for granted

By Joan Hadac Your correspondent in Clearing and Garfield Ridge (708) 496-0265 • [email protected] I’m back. Thank you, Patti Tyznik, for filling in and giving me a week off. I hope this becomes a regular thing! Nominations are now open for officers to serve on the board of directors of the Southwest Side Senior Service Organization,…

Orland firefighters show how they extinguish a burning building. (Photos by Steve Neuhaus)

Community turns out to salute Orland firefighters at open house

Nearly 500 people attended an open house hosted by the Orland Fire Protection District on Saturday that featured an up-close look at the techniques firefighters use to respond to emergencies. Demonstrations by firefighters included a rope rescue showing how individuals can be rescued from apartment buildings; the dive team demonstrated how they can rescue individuals from…

recycling logo

Palos Township hosts recycling event Saturday

Palos Township and the Cook County Sheriff’s Recycling Program are holding a paper, electronics and drug recycling event on Saturday, October 1, at Township Hall, 10802 S. Roberts Road in Palos Hills. Township residents only are eligible to bring paper for shredding, electronics for recycling and unwanted or expired drugs for proper disposal from 9…

Livia Mitre, 9, of Beverly, was happy to be a part of Lake Katherine's Monarch Celebration.

Butterflies are king at Lake Katherine Monarch Celebration

By Kelly White Kicking off the fall season with a festival dedicated to the beautiful Monarch butterfly was Lake Katherine Nature Center & Botanical Garden. The nature center, located at 7402 Lake Katherine Drive, Palos Heights, held its 29th annual Monarch Celebration, on Saturday, September 24, and Sunday, September 25. Originally called a Monarch Butterfly…

Three aldermen (from left)--Raymond Lopez, Silvana Tabares and Anthony Napolitano—stand alone in City Council last week, as their resolution to hold a hearing on the SAFE-T Act failed to muster any votes other than their own. --Supplied photo

Lopez, Tabares threaten ‘no cash bail’ hearing

Claim law may release ‘violent, repeat offenders’ By Tim Hadac Two Southwest Side aldermen are threatening to defy their City Council colleagues and hold hearings on the impact of the state’s controversial SAFE-T Act on criminal justice. Fifteenth Ward Ald. Raymond Lopez and 23rd Ward Ald. Silvana Tabares joined 41st Ward Ald. Anthony Napolitano last…

Neighbors

DVN JCs Restoration House Ad
Richards High School Bands Director Jordan Fransler will be running the Chicago Marathon on Sunday, October 9, raising money for Miracle Network Dance Marathon. (Supplied photos)

Richards teacher to tackle the Chicago Marathon

By Kelly White As bands director at Richards High School in Oak Lawn, Jordan Fransler’s days are filled with education and music, but that’s not all. In his free time, the talented teacher likes to put on his running shoes. “Running became one of my favorite hobbies several years ago. It started out as a…

SRP-IMAGE-Logo

Mount Carmel tested in win over Brother Rice

By Steve Millar Correspondent After Mount Carmel beat each of its first five opponents by 24 points or more, senior quarterback Blainey Dowling thinks it is good the Caravan had to fight to the end against an upset-minded Brother Rice team. Dowling ran for the game-winning 15-yard touchdown with 1:58 left to lift Mount Carmel…

In just its second year as a team, St. Laurence's girls golfers won a regional title. Photo courtesy of St. Laurence

Area Sports Roundup: St. Laurence golfers make history

By Jeff Vorva Staff Writer   That didn’t take long. The St. Laurence girls golf program is in only its second year of existence but last weekend celebrated a major accomplishment. Coach Jim Tracy’s troops won the Providence Catholic Class 1A Regional by four strokes, logging a 372 to edge University High (Chicago), which finished…

SXU coach Mike Feminis reacts as the final horn goes off as he earns his 200th career win in a thriller over 18th-ranked Roosevelt. Photo by Jeff Vorva

Pigskin Wrap: St. Xavier tops Roosevelt in thriller, gets Feminis career win No. 200

By Jeff Vorva Staff writer Saint Xavier coach Mike Feminis was gunning for his 200th career victory, but it looked more like he might be tagged with his 78th career loss. After wasting a 14-point halftime lead, the Cougars found themselves down six in the closing minute of the Homecoming game Oct. 1 at Bruce…

CRRNH_Carnevil02_100522

Halloween’s dark side

Carnevil on 64th promises grisly, gory, ghoulish frights By Cosmo Hadac Those passing the home at 5716 W. 64th St. this month may see the grave of Pennywise the Clown or Freddy Krueger dancing to the Monster Mash. What started out as a way to celebrate Halloween during the pandemic’s social distancing mandates has expanded…

Joan Hadac

Don’t take senior center for granted

By Joan Hadac Your correspondent in Clearing and Garfield Ridge (708) 496-0265 • [email protected] I’m back. Thank you, Patti Tyznik, for filling in and giving me a week off. I hope this becomes a regular thing! Nominations are now open for officers to serve on the board of directors of the Southwest Side Senior Service Organization,…

Orland firefighters show how they extinguish a burning building. (Photos by Steve Neuhaus)

Community turns out to salute Orland firefighters at open house

Nearly 500 people attended an open house hosted by the Orland Fire Protection District on Saturday that featured an up-close look at the techniques firefighters use to respond to emergencies. Demonstrations by firefighters included a rope rescue showing how individuals can be rescued from apartment buildings; the dive team demonstrated how they can rescue individuals from…

recycling logo

Palos Township hosts recycling event Saturday

Palos Township and the Cook County Sheriff’s Recycling Program are holding a paper, electronics and drug recycling event on Saturday, October 1, at Township Hall, 10802 S. Roberts Road in Palos Hills. Township residents only are eligible to bring paper for shredding, electronics for recycling and unwanted or expired drugs for proper disposal from 9…

Livia Mitre, 9, of Beverly, was happy to be a part of Lake Katherine's Monarch Celebration.

Butterflies are king at Lake Katherine Monarch Celebration

By Kelly White Kicking off the fall season with a festival dedicated to the beautiful Monarch butterfly was Lake Katherine Nature Center & Botanical Garden. The nature center, located at 7402 Lake Katherine Drive, Palos Heights, held its 29th annual Monarch Celebration, on Saturday, September 24, and Sunday, September 25. Originally called a Monarch Butterfly…

Three aldermen (from left)--Raymond Lopez, Silvana Tabares and Anthony Napolitano—stand alone in City Council last week, as their resolution to hold a hearing on the SAFE-T Act failed to muster any votes other than their own. --Supplied photo

Lopez, Tabares threaten ‘no cash bail’ hearing

Claim law may release ‘violent, repeat offenders’ By Tim Hadac Two Southwest Side aldermen are threatening to defy their City Council colleagues and hold hearings on the impact of the state’s controversial SAFE-T Act on criminal justice. Fifteenth Ward Ald. Raymond Lopez and 23rd Ward Ald. Silvana Tabares joined 41st Ward Ald. Anthony Napolitano last…

DVN Damar Kaminski Funeral Home House Ad
Regional Capri Restaurant House Ad