• Guide to Nutraceuticals for Heart Health

    Posted January 24, 2020: by Bill Sardi

    I have written extensively about non-drug approaches to heart health. I have written about:

    1. Sudden death heart attack.
    2. Statin cholesterol-lowering drugs only prevent non-mortal heart attacks.
    3. The Dr. Lester Morrison chondroitin sulfate remedy for heart health.
    4. Blood clots within coronary arteries and how to dissolve them.
    5. The Drs. Linus Pauling/Matthias Rath vitamin C/lysine remedy for heart disease.
    6. Resveratrol and its amazing ability to prevent damage from heart attacks and to develop collateral circulation around blockages of coronary arteries.
    7. Why resveratrol should replace aspirin to prevent heart attacks.
    8. That calcification of coronary arteries is a better predictor of a future heart attack than cholesterol. The risk of a mortal heart attack over the next 10 years of your life is near zero if the measure of calcium in your coronary arteries is zero.
    9. A blood cholesterol/protein called lipoprotein(a) is a “risk factor in adults that is very high, considerably higher than blood pressure, blood serum cholesterol and C-reactive protein.” The threat posed by lipoprotein(a) is countered by vitamin C.
    10. Both high blood levels of lipoprotein(a) and arterial calcifications are accompanied by elevated iron levels. Blood-letting and/or supplementation with IP6 rice bran extract helps to lower iron storage (ferritin) levels.
    11. There is more evidence that zinc can reduce mortality rates for coronary artery disease than there is for statin cholesterol-lowering drugs.
    12. Garlic (allicin) works better than three classes of heart drugs; removes calcifications.

    For readers searching for non-drug answers to these issues often have difficulty sorting out priorities and may eventually end up with a grab-bag of dietary supplements because cardiologists are not well-versed in their use. Nutraceuticals like coenzyme Q10, magnesium, vitamin C, fish oil, resveratrol, zinc, thiamine/vitamin B1, garlic, chondroitin sulfate, all may be helpful for different types of heart problems. But when and why to use them?

    Here are my suggestions (not prescriptions for any individual as I can’t practice medicine):


    1. First priority: prevent sudden-death heart attacks by supplementing the diet with electrolyte minerals, namely magnesium and potassium. Modern medicine completely overlooks this.
    2. Prevent 1st-event heart attacks by inhibiting blood clots with use of resveratrol, fish oil, garlic, vitamin C, in lieu of aspirin; and/or widen (dilate) blood vessels via activation of nitric oxide with resveratrol, garlic, beet juice, citrulline (works like a nitroglycerin tablet).
    3. Prevent 2nd-event heart attacks, relieve angina and/or repair scarred heart muscle or diseased coronary arteries by taking chondroitin sulfate + vitamin C and resveratrol.
    4. Prevent or dissolve calcifications that stiffen coronary arteries with Vitamin D, vitamin K, magnesium and IP6 rice bran.
    5. In the event of heart failure (common after a heart attack or among diabetics), restore energy to mitochondria in heart muscle cells with use of magnesium, coenzyme Q10, resveratrol, vitamin B1 thiamine as benfotiamine. These remedies should help increase the blood pumping (ejection fraction) of the heart.

    Labeling and advertising of dietary supplements are limited to promote heart health and cannot make statements they prevent, diagnose or treat disease. But there is a tremendous body of data showing nutraceuticals exert the same or superior biological action as Rx drugs. While dietary supplement makers are forbidden from making disease-related claims on their product labels or advertising, structure (heart) and function claims (example: supports healthy blood circulation in coronary arteries) can be made. An independent journalist can say anything without threat of sanction by the FDA.

    It is a travesty that dietary supplements which have the same or superior biological action to prescription drugs cannot make any claims they resolve diseases, even say they prevent deficiency diseases such as scurvy (vitamin C), pellagra (niacin), rickets (vitamin D), or pernicious anemia (vitamin B12).

    There are no prescription drugs that are marketed to restore and repair damaged heart tissue (like vitamin C), activate internal antioxidant defenses prior to a heart attack (like resveratrol), or increase cell energy to heart muscle (like magnesium and coenzyme Q10). Nutraceuticals are not 2nd-line measures for heart health. In fact, many of the nutrients that are beneficial for heart health are essential for life.

    Remarkably, the red wine molecule resveratrol counters narrowed or blocked arteries by creation of alternate collateral circulation around these blockages in what Harvard Medical School calls “do-it-yourself bypass.” You’ve probably never heard about this from any cardiologist. Resveratrol activates internal antioxidants BEFORE a heart attack occurs, minimizing the area of damage of a heart attack. No cardiac drug does this.

    Modern cardiology gives lip service to reduction of lipoprotein(a) levels in the blood circulation, but lipoprotein(a) is not a problem if there is sufficient vitamin C. Most animals internally produce vitamin C via conversion of blood sugar (glucose) in the liver to ascorbate (vitamin C) on a continual basis. Humans have genetically lost the ability to do this. So, lipoprotein(a) takes vitamin C’s place and is a “sticky bandage” that attracts blood platelets to induce blood clots. This is why humans have heart attacks but animals don’t. Blood tests to measure Lp(a) levels in blood circulation are useless. Just take vitamin C to block Lp(a)’s incorporation into the wall of coronary arteries. A published report says “lipoprotein(a) is a risk factor in adults that is very high, considerably higher than blood pressure, blood serum cholesterol and C-reactive protein.” Elevated Lp(a) levels can cause arterial disease (atherosclerosis) without elevated total cholesterol.

    Vitamin C is rapidly excreted and should be taken every 4-6 hours for optimal protection. A novel vitamin C supplement that restores vitamin C levels 24/7 is also now available.

    Also, blood levels of Lp(a) rise with the accumulation of iron in the body. Particularly in adult males it is best to limit red meat which provides highly absorbable iron. High iron levels increase the risk for an severe heart attack by 572%! (High iron levels are also associated with arterial calcification.). IP6 rice bran extract is the best natural molecule to reduce high iron levels and IP6 also eradicates arterial calcifications.

    The top three nutraceuticals to take for heart health would be (1) magnesium; (2) resveratrol; (3) vitamin C. For heart failure the top 4 supplements would be: (1) magnesium; (2) vitamin B1; (3) resveratrol; (4) coenzyme Q10.

    If taking statin drugs, the top three supplements to overcome drug-induced side effects would be (1) vitamin D; (2) coenzyme Q10 and (3) resveratrol.

    Nutraceuticals for Heart Health



    Coenzyme Q10 Ubiquinol preferred over ubiquinone Heart failure 100-500 mg
    Magnesium Not mag oxide; only 4% absorbed Sudden mortal heart attack

    Heart failure

    Needed to make cell energy (ATP)

    200-400 mg
    Potassium FDA limits to 99 mg in supplements* Sudden mortal heart attack 1000-2000 mg
    Omega-3 fish oil EPA & DHA Prevent Blood clots; slows heart rate for repair 600-1200 mg
    Vitamin C/ lysine Ascorbic acid or buffered C (ascorbate) Repair damaged coronary arteries; inhibit incorporation of sticky lipoprotein(a) into arterial wall that creates blood clots 2800 mg/ day/154-lb adult; 4545 mg /day/250-lb adult
    Vitamin B1 Thiamine Benfotiamine, Allithiamine Heart failure; facilitates transport of oxygen to heart tissues. Energizes heart. Addresses autonomic control of heart beat No overdose reported at any dose
    Resveratrol Trans resveratrol
    (Trans resveratrol degrades to cis resveratrol when exposed to light; should be protected from exposure to light, heat, oxygen)
    1. Preconditions heart (activates internal antioxidant enzymes) to prevent/limit damage should heart attack occur
    2. Increases cell energy/ heart failure
    3. Inhibits blood clots in coronary arteries (blood thinner)
    4. Promotes collateral circulation around blocked coronary arteries.
    5. Dilates (widens) blood vessels via nitric oxide gas to improve circulation (like nitroglycerin tablet)
    No more than 350 mg
    IP6 rice bran, Vitamin D, Vitamin K, Magnesium Vitamin D3
    Vitamin K2
    Not mag oxide
    (poorly absorbed)
    Decalcifying agents IP6 rice bran 400-1600 mg
    Vitamin K2 80-120 mcg
    Vitamin D3 2000-8000 IU
    Magnesium 200-400 mg
    IP6 rice bran Both iron chelator and calcification dissolver
    Healthy iron storage (ferritin) level is 20-90
    400-1600 mg
    Chondroitin sulfate   Angina
    Heart failure with scarring (fibrosis) of heart muscle and coronary artery disease
    1500-5000 mg
    Garlic Active ingredient is allicin Thins the blood (prevents blood platelets from becoming sticky); dilates blood vessels via creation of nitric oxide; decalcifies coronary arteries Stomach acid blocks allicin production; alkalinized garlic pills produce allicin
    Zinc Zinc oxide is insoluble & poorly absorbed Low zinc levels = arterial plaque; remedies atrial fibrillation 30 mg/adults


    Cardiology’s sole focus is on statin drug cholesterol reduction which does not prevent mortal heart attacks. Circulating cholesterol is not equivalent to cholesterol plaque which is oxidized cholesterol. Given that statin drugs commonly induce untoward side effects that cause many patients to cease taking them, this often leaves patients with no real measures beyond counterproductive aspirin or problematic blood thinners to prevent 1st or 2nd heart attacks. Furthermore, as many adults experience a heart attack with low cholesterol as high. This becomes very confusing for the patient who often does not have time or energy to get educated about heart health.

    To add to the confusion, 50 million Americans have habitually been taking aspirin to prevent blood clots from forming in coronary arteries which the American Heart Association no longer embraces.


    • Lp(a)- Lipoprotein(a), a form of cholesterol that substitutes for vitamin C within coronary arteries, inducing blood clots and circulatory blockages (strokes, heart attacks).
    • Calcification– hardening and stiffening of tissues by insoluble calcium
    • Electrolyte– A mineral that has the capacity to conduct electricity; controls the current that facilitates heart pumping.
    • Collateral circulation– alternate circulation around a blocked artery.
    • Cardiac Preconditioning– a molecular way of mimicking biological stress signals that in turn activate internal antioxidant defenses to limit damage from a heart attack. The red wine molecule resveratrol is the most widely tested molecule that produces cardiac preconditioning.
    • Blood clots- accumulation of blood platelets that block coronary arteries
    • Heart failure- failure of the heart to pump oxygenated blood due to lack of cellular energy; measured by ejection fraction (% of blood pumped)
    • Fibrosis- scarring of heart muscle tissue

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