With the wide range of health supplements claiming to benefit heart health, you may be confused with selecting a suitable product for yourself.

Let's take a closer look at the list of common heart health supplements:

  • Fish Oils
  • Garlic
  • Flaxseed Oil
  • Red Yeast Rice
  • Vitamin E

Omega-3 Health Supplements: Did You Know?

Omega-3 may interact with blood thinners, e.g. aspirin, warfarin to cause excessive bleeding. If you are taking any medications, discuss with your pharmacist before starting omega-3 health supplements.

Health Supplement #1: Fish Oils

Omega-3 fatty acids benefit the heart of healthy people and those at high risk of, or who have cardiovascular disease. The link between omega-3 fatty acids and cardiovascular risk reduction is still being studied, but research has shown that omega-3 fatty acids

  • ​decrease risk of arrhythmias, which can lead to sudden cardiac death
  • decrease triglyceride levels
  • decrease growth rate of atherosclerotic plaque (which can block blood vessels)
  • lower blood pressure (slightly)

However, more studies are needed to confirm and further define the health benefits of omega-3 fatty acid supplements for preventing a first or subsequent cardiovascular event.

The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends eating fish (particularly fatty fish) at least two times a week. Fish is a good source of protein and does not have the high saturated fat that fatty meat products do. Fatty fish like mackerel, lake trout, herring, sardines, tuna and salmon are high in two kinds of omega-3 fatty acids: eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).

Health Supplement #2: Garlic

Garlic appears to hold promise in reducing parameters associated with cardiovascular disease. They may lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of blood clots blocking blood vessels. More in-depth and appropriate studies are required.

Health Supplement #3: Flaxseed Oil

Alpha-linolenic acid (LNA) can become omega-3 fatty acid in the body. The AHA recommends tofu and other forms of soybeans, canola, walnut and flaxseed and their oils. More studies are needed to determine the relationship between alpha-linolenic acid and heart disease.

Health Supplement #4: Red Yeast Rice

Since the 1970s, human studies have reported that red yeast rice lowers cholesterol (total cholesterol, LDL and triglycerides). It contains several compounds collectively known as monacolins, known to inhibit cholesterol synthesis. If you have been diagnosed with high cholesterol and prescribed medication for it, you should not substitute the medication for red yeast rice.

Health Supplement #5: Vitamin E

Scientific evidence does not suggest that consuming antioxidant vitamins (A, C and E) eliminates the need to reduce blood pressure, lower blood cholesterol or stop smoking cigarettes.

Hence, antioxidant supplements are not recommended. Instead, antioxidant food sources, especially plant-derived foods such as fruits, vegetables, wholegrain foods and vegetable oils are recommended.

Talk to your pharmacist/doctor before taking any health supplements to reduce the risk of drug interactions.

Remember that health supplements are NOT meant to substitute your prescribed drug treatment, good nutrition plans and regular exercise regime.

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