The Matter of Heart: 7 Incredible Supplements For A Healthy Heart

Balling up your hand and you’ll get a general idea of the size of your heart. Your small fist-size heart is a strong muscle which works harder than you could imagine.

The normal adult resting heart rate is between 60 and 100 beats per minute. This means your heart is beating between 86,000 and 144,000 times a day and pumping about 2,000 gallons of blood each day. That’s a whole lot of work for your heart to function well.

Hectic and stressful lifestyles with unhealthy dietary patterns, lack of exercises, overweight, alcohol consumption and smoking habit are the risk factors of developing heart health issues. According to a research review on cardiovascular disease epidemiology in Asia, cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death in the world and about half of the cases are estimated to occur in Asia.1

Cardiovascular diseases are usually associated with the build-up of fat, cholesterol and other substances in the blood vessels and eventually lead to blood clots. The blockages in the blood vessels caused hardening and narrowing of the arteries and lead to restricting the passage of blood flow to the heart.

Lifestyle modification is the key to keeping your heart strong and healthy. Supplementation is also another option for prevention and reduces risks of developing heart health issues. In this article, we are putting together 9 heart-healthy supplements backed by science, particularly on how these ingredients benefit your heart.


  1. Beta Glucan

Beta-glucans are soluble dietary fibres mainly found in whole-grain cereals, such as barley and oat. Vast research findings have proved the consumption of at least 3g of beta-glucan daily helps to reduce the risks of cardiovascular diseases.2 The beneficial effect of beta-glucan on heart health is associated with reduced total cholesterol levels, LDL cholesterol (aka the ‘bad’ cholesterol), triglycerides and inflammatory status.3,4 There is also study highlighted a balanced diet with a daily supply of barley beta-glucans improved the functioning of the inner lining of blood vessels, thereby lowering the chances of cardiovascular complications.5


  1. Coenzyme Q10

The coenzyme Q10 is commonly named as CoQ10 or ubiquinone. It is found in all systems of organs, with the highest concentration present in the heart tissues. As an organic molecule placed in mitochondria (the powerhouse in the cell), CoQ10 serves several roles including cellular energy production, electron transport and acts as an antioxidant to protect against oxidation.6

Statins, the widely used drugs for lowering cholesterol levels have been linked with several adverse effects, including reduced CoQ10 levels in the blood.7 In a study involving coronary artery disease (CAD) patients supplemented with CoQ10 during statins therapy for 12 weeks proved the beneficial effects of CoQ10 in enhancing the antioxidant enzymes activities and lowering inflammation markers.8 Another 2 years study reported that long-term supplementation with CoQ10 in 420 heart failure patients was generally safe and improved heart failure symptoms as well as reduced heart-related death rate.9

In the market, CoQ10 supplement is available in doses ranging from 30mg to 600mg. Although there is no established minimum or maximum effective dose, most of the reported daily doses for maintaining heart health is around 100 to 400mg.10


  1. Tomato Extract - Lycopene

Lycopene is a red pigment that gives fruits and vegetables such as tomatoes, guava, watermelon and papaya the interesting red colour. As a powerful antioxidant, dietary intake of lycopene confers numerous benefits in fighting against ageing-related health issues, including heart disease.

Oxidative stress impairs the endothelial function due to the deposition of plaques on the inner walls of the arteries and eventually increases the risks of developing coronary artery disease. The ability of lycopene supplementation in reducing oxidative damage and inflammation marker in coronary vascular disease patients has been demonstrated in a 30-day clinical trial.11 The same clinical research has also linked lycopene with the decreased oxidized LDL level and the improvement in endothelial function among the patients.

Apart from that, the intake of tomato extract was also shown to be effective in lowering the blood pressure of moderately hypertensive patients who were treated with antihypertensive drugs.12


  1. Psyllium Husk Fiber

Psyllium is a type of natural soluble fibre derived from the husk of psyllium seed. Soluble fibre possesses the ability to absorb water in the intestine and form a high viscosity gel which consists of bile acid that cannot be absorbed by the small intestine and subsequently lost it to the stool. The liver will react by producing more bile acid to aid digestion and eventually lead to the usage of cholesterol (cholesterol is one of the components in bile) in the blood. The outcome of this process is a drop in total cholesterol and the LDL cholesterol in the blood.13

The efficacy of psyllium husk fibre in reducing cholesterol levels has been documented in several human studies. These studies have shown that incorporating psyllium fibre in the diet or the form of supplementation was able to reduce total serum cholesterol and LDL cholesterol in adults suffering from high cholesterol levels and those who are at high-risk groups such as the overweight and obese individuals as well as menopausal women.14-16


  1. Ginkgo Biloba

Ginkgo biloba is a tree native to China and has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for thousands of years. The active constitutes extracted from ginkgo biloba such as flavonoids, terpene lactones and ginkgolic acids play a key role in increasing blood flow, prevent blood clots and reduce blood lipids through the mechanisms of antioxidation and prevent platelet aggregation.17  

A 2-weeks study found that supplementation of ginkgo biloba improved the blood flow of patients suffering from coronary artery disease by increasing the production of nitric oxide which helps to dilate the blood vessels for blood circulation and lowers blood pressure.18 Ginkgo biloba extract was also found to minimize lipid peroxidation, reduce the formation and size of plaque in high-risk cardiovascular patients.19


  1. Ginseng

Panax ginseng, the traditional medicinal plant is one of the most valuable herbs that has been used for millennia in China, Korea and Japan. Ginseng is known as a potent natural remedy due to the presence of its primary active component, ginsenoside which is believed to contribute in anti-inflammation, antioxidation, anti-ageing and anti-viral properties.20

Both human and animal studies demonstrated the ability of ginseng in reducing total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels.21,22 The improvement in lipid profile was linked with the increased antioxidant enzyme activity in subjects supplemented with ginseng. Besides, the anti-inflammatory effect of ginsenoside was also shown to play a role in the prevention of atherosclerosis by reducing the plaque formation in blood vessels, thereby improving the endothelial function.23,24


  1. Cordyceps

Cordyceps is a well-known Traditional Chinese Medicine, commonly named as “winter-worm summer-grass” by Chinese. It is a fungus inhabits on the surface of insects pupae in winters and forms the fruiting body in the summers.25 Cordycepin is one of the most vital bioactive components in cordyceps. It has been known for various therapeutic potentials such as reducing lipid levels.

Promising results of cordycepin on lowering cholesterol levels were found in 2 animal studies whereby administration of cordycepin was able to reduce total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and triglycerides in testing subjects.26,27 The possible mechanism behind may be due to the ability of cordycepin that activating an enzyme that leads to decline in fatty acids in the body.28




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