Cardiovascular disease

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Cardiovascular disease continues to be responsible for more deaths in the United States than any other disease. As physicians, we use medications to lower cholesterol and blood pressure, to control the workload of the heart and to increase blood and oxygen flow.

In some cases, we also use surgical procedures to address life-threatening cardiovascular conditions. But we are often asked by our patients if vitamin and mineral supplements could help in managing their condition or in generally improving their cardiovascular health.

This is a viable question, particularly since supplement labels make some very dramatic claims. While some research shows that supplements may help lower cholesterol or blood pressure, it remains unclear if they can prevent or improve cardiovascular disease. It’s important for patients to understand the science of supplements and to have realistic expectations about how they might impact cardiovascular health.

Popular supplements

There is a wide variety of supplements that claim cardiovascular benefits. Some of the most popular and the ones we are asked about most include:

• Fish oil, garlic — attributed to preventing plaque…

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