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Vitamins for the Heart - the usual suspects

Some of the most commonly cited vitamins that may reduce your risk of heart disease are the B-complex vitamins.

Vitamins for the heart include vitamins B9 (folic acid), vitamins B6 and B12 are all involved in removing homocysteine from the blood supply. Homocysteine is thought to predict your risk of Cardio Vascular Disease (CVD) and several other chronic conditions, so this has been a topic of much media attention recently.

Vitamin B3 (Niacin) may reduce cholesterol in certain situations and the antioxidant properties of Vitamins E and C have been well documented.

Note the reference to Vitamin C – this will be important later.

However, one question remains to be answered:

Will taking supplements actually decrease your risk of cardio-vascular disease

According to the published research to date – no.

No?

No.

More specifically, both the British Heart Foundation and the American Heart Association “cannot recommend the use of supplements to reduce the risk of CVD”.

The US Preventive Services Task Force also doesn’t recommend taking supplements either.

They all recommend eating a healthy diet full of fruits and vegetables, but the research doesn’t justify taking the supplements.

If you want to see the research articles they have quoted, you can read them here.

The USPSTF (what a name!) did report however, that the longest studies were 5-6 years long, which was “not long enough to determine if longer-term benefits exist”.

One thing to note is that all bar two of the studies that show no improvement due to supplements were done with synthetic, rather than natural vitamins.

This is the research to date.

An alternative theory – Dr. Linus Pauling

The most interesting theory that we found surrounding vitamins for the heart was put forward by a biochemist called Dr. Linus Pauling.

In a 1992 interview Dr. Pauling claimed he could cure CVD.

Before their research, it was generally accepted that CVD was caused by lesions (injured tissue) in the artery walls that were then filled with plaques of cholesterol, eventually blocking the artery.

A Dr. Matthias Rath at Hamburg University discovered that the plaque was not in fact LDL cholesterol but lipoprotein A.

Rath and Pauling then got together and discovered that the artery walls and other areas were constantly being broken down and repaired.

More interestingly, Vitamin C played a key role in this process and, compared to other mammals, we had 30 to 300 times less vitamin C in our bloodstream that other animals that did not experience CVD.

So what was the cure?

Rath and Pauling discovered that a combination of Lysine and Vitamin C, combined with mild exercise could reverse the process and cure the disease, based on individual cases that they encountered.

So why isn’t there any research supporting this?

Despite Pauling being a member of the National Academy of Sciences and two-time winner of the Nobel Prize, the National Institutes of Health twice refused to fund the research and the NAS refused to publish the paper written on the subject.

In short – no one would cough up the money.

Why not?

This is where we move into the realm of speculation.

Currently, over $300 billion is spent annually on drugs for CVD in the United States alone.

The major source of funds for research comes from the drug companies, hopefully to result in patent-protected drugs for sale.

Dr. Pauling and Dr. Rath’s solution is both unpatentable and very low-cost – there isn’t a lot of profit in it for anyone but the patient themselves.

So the research goes unfounded.

If you want to find out more about Dr. Pauling, take a look at his institute’s website.

If you are looking for a vitamin C supplement, then take a look at our recommendation

In short, there isn’t any research to date that can categorically prove that taking supplements will reduce your risk of heart disease.

However, there are some theories and alternatives.

These are the facts as they stand.

What you decide to do with them is up to you

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