Q: I have heard that more than 700 mg per day of vitamin C promotes hardening of the arteries. I take 1,000 to 2,000 mg per day. Is that OK?
— Caroline U., Tampa, Fla.
A: I never cease to be amazed at the negative assaults on supplements. In fact, the opposite of what you’ve heard is true: Higher intake of vitamin C reduces atherosclerosis and strengthen the walls of blood vessels, and protects against aneurysms and arterial ruptures.
However, it is important that vitamin C be taken along with other antioxidants, otherwise there is a risk of the vitamin C oxidizing and creating a harmful radical. We call this beneficial interaction of antioxidants “the antioxidant network.” It includes natural vitamin E, tocotrienol, flavonoids, melatonin, grape seed extract, and tea catechins — all of which have been shown to powerfully inhibit atherosclerosis.
Q: My husband would like to get off the statins he is taking. Could he transition to something natural, like red yeast rice?
— Betty T., Omaha, Neb.
A: Red yeast rice inhibits the same enzyme inhibited by statin drugs, but is less powerful — therefore, it has fewer side effects.
It is important to take CoQ10 with the red yeast rice extract to prevent heart failure, neurological problems, and muscle damage. Some supplements, such as pomegranate extract and garlic extract, have been shown to reverse atherosclerosis. Keep in mind that inflammation is the cause of atherosclerosis and is also the leading cause of heart attacks by triggering blood clotting.
Most of these supplements are powerful anti-inflammatories, and some, such as the flavonoids, omega-3 oils, and magnesium, reduce the risk of blood clotting.
Vitamin D3 is also important, and magnesium protects arteries. Non-flush niacin (inositol hexaniacinate) has, in my experience, lowered cholesterol levels as well as statins and with greater safety. Consult your doctor before changing any regimen.
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