About 20 percent of Americans who take dietary supplements do so to improve their heart health, according to a report by the Council for Responsible Nutrition. But consumers shouldn’t assume that all supplements are beneficial. In fact, some can interact with medications resulting in serious cardiovascular side effects.
Here’s a rundown of nutritional supplements that could should be avoided especially by people with heart disease or at risk of developing the disease:
Calcium – This widely used supplement is promoted for bone health, but a recent Johns Hopkins Medicine study found that calcium supplements may cause plaque buildup in the arteries and damage the heart. Calcium is actually good for the heart when vitamins D and K2 are at optimal levels where they can manage calcium status. But without efficient vitamin D and K2 levels in the body, calcium can wreak havoc, dumping deposits in the arteries.
Licorice root – This herb is touted to help improve prostate health and digestive issues such as ulcers, acid reflux and belly bloat. Some claim it can soothe symptoms of menopause and inflammation as well as nagging coughs. But licorice root can also increase blood pressure and deplete potassium levels – a nasty cocktail for those with heart problems.
Yohimbe – This herb is promoted to help with erectile dysfunction, appetite control, and depression. The effectiveness of the supplement is questionable, but its adverse effects on the heart make it a serious no-no.
Ephedra – This product was banned 2004. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) banned the ingredient because it presented “an unreasonable risk of illness or injury” especially for people with heart disease. However, it can still be found – illicitly – in diet pills sold as dietary supplements.
Arginine – also known as I-Arginine. This amino acid can cause the arteries to dilate and relax. While this is beneficial for those with high blood pressure, angina, or heart failure, in supplement form it can be deadly.
Bitter Orange – This plant is touted to control appetite and help with weight loss. But it can also affect the heart similar to the way excessive caffeine can. Thus, the herb can be dangerous for people with risk factors for heart disease.
St. John’s Wort – this herbal supplement may help ease moderate depression, but it can cause spikes in blood pressure, which can be hazardous to heart health.
Source: Fox News