3 Ways B Vitamins Can Protect Your Heart
Heart disease is the #1 killer in the U.S. So it’s important that you take preventative steps to protect your cardiovascular health. There is more than enough proof that B vitamins can play an vital role in keeping your heart healthy. The American Heart Association — with its pharmaceutical industry sponsors — is way behind on this one! We recommend taking a balanced formula containing all eight B vitamins, in these amounts: thiamine (25 mg), riboflavin (25 mg), niacin (25 mg), vitamin B6 (50 mg), folic acid (800 mcg), vitamin B12 (500 mcg), biotin (300 mcg) and pantothenic acid (50 mg).
Here are three important ways B vitamins protect your heart and circulatory system from damage:
1. Folic acid, B12 and B6 lower harmful homocysteine.
Homocysteine is toxic to the endothelial cells that line blood vessels. When these cells are damaged, blood vessels become thick, scarred, inflexible and more likely to get clogged by fatty deposits or blood clots. Getting enough of these three Bs lowers homocysteine and reduces your risk for heart disease and stroke.
2. B vitamins help control stress, which is itself a risk factor for heart disease.
Stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol raise your blood pressure, make your blood clot easier, interfere with sleep, and deplete your body of nutrients like B vitamins and magnesium. Getting enough B vitamins helps to keep stress hormone levels lower and to stabilize important mood-regulating neurotransmitters in the brain, such as serotonin.
3. B vitamins help minimize damage from high blood sugar levels.
B vitamins, including niacin, thiamine and B6, help convert sugar and starches to energy, a process known as carbohydrate metabolism. A shortage of any one of the Bs makes it hard for cells to use energy properly, which raises blood sugar levels. In one study, adding just one B vitamin, thiamine, to a cell culture, reduced sugar-related damage by a whooping 80%!
The Anti-Aging Bottom Line: Heart disease kills over 650,000 each year in the U.S. It’s important to get your homocysteine level checked to make sure that you are doing what it takes to keep it in a healthy range. Incorporate B vitamins into your heart protection strategy to take advantage of their multiple beneficial effects on cardiovascular health.
Article updated on: September 25th, 2012