Do I need nutrient supplements to maintain heart health?

You don't have to take nutrient supplements to maintain heart health. Large doses of vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin E, won't protect against high blood pressure or high cholesterol. The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends eating a balanced, nutritious diet that's low in calories, sodium and cholesterol, as well as low in saturated and trans fats.

The AHA does, however, recommend an omega-3 supplement for heart health if you don't eat two servings of fish a week. If you have heart disease, consider taking 1 gram a day, but talk to your doctor first.
In general, a well-balanced diet that limits fats and carbohydrates -- meaning a diet of fruits and vegetables (due to their natural minerals and antioxidants) and lean meats and fish that are high in omega-3 fatty acids -- is important for heart health. Most randomized trials that have looked at specific nutrient supplementation (in excess of what would be obtained from a prudent diet) have found either no benefit or potential harm to heart health.

Continue Learning about Dietary Supplements

Dietary Supplements

Whether you're visiting the drug store, grocery or natural food shop you'll likely find an aisle where there are jars and bottles of things for you to put in your body that are neither foods nor medicines. Ranging from vitamins an...

d minerals to fiber and herbal remedies, these supplements are not regulated in the same way as either food or medicine. Some of them are backed by solid research, others are folk remedies or proprietary cures. If your diet does not include enough of certain vitamins or minerals, a supplement may be a good idea. Natural treatment for conditions like constipation may be effective. But because these substances are unregulated, it is always a good idea to educate yourself about the products and to use common sense when taking them. This is even more true if you are pregnant or taking a medicine that may be affected by supplements.

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.