Naturally Healthy Living

Focusing on Your Heart Health: Taking Supplements to Improve Circulation

reviewed by phd icon Reviewed by Lisa Blohm, PhD, MSN, RN

The heart is a muscle that is continuously working and is never fully at rest. On average, our hearts beat 2.5 billion times during our lifetime, pumping blood through our vessels. It’s essential to take care of this network through a healthy diet and regular exercise. You may also want to consider taking supplements to improve circulation and to provide additional support. We all know maintaining a healthy diet and an active lifestyle isn’t always easy. We need all the help we can get!

This system, known as the circulatory or cardiovascular system, is made up of the heart, lungs, and blood vessels. It functions like a delivery network taking oxygen and nutrients to the cells throughout the body. It’s worth learning more about how this integral system works with the rest of your body. Knowing how the circulatory system works will help us better understand how to improve blood circulation naturally using heart-healthy supplements.

How does the circulatory system work, and what is its primary role?

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The heart’s job is to keep the blood pumping through the network of veins and arteries in your body. This network is also known as your blood vessels. Your vessels and heart are partners, and your other organs rely on them to work together seamlessly. 

The circulatory system’s cycle starts and ends at the heart. The arteries carry blood to other organs in the body, providing them with the nutrients and oxygen they need to function properly. This blood, depleted of oxygen and nutrients, is transported back to the heart through the veins. The heart then pumps the blood to the lungs, where it deposits carbon dioxide and replenishes oxygen. The blood then returns to the heart, and the entire cycle restarts. 

As you can see, the heart plays a crucial role in keeping the blood pumping through the system and keeping all the other organs functioning. As the blood runs through your blood vessels, it’s vital that it doesn’t run into obstacles along the way. By taking care of your heart and blood vessels, you are helping ensure the blood reaches all your organs. If the blood doesn’t get to the organs, they can’t receive the oxygen and nutrients they need to do their jobs.

There are various ways to promote heart health, including exercising regularly, eating a healthy diet, and taking supplements to improve circulation.

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We all know that exercise is good for our health, but do we understand how it helps our heart specifically?

Exercise helps the heart in several different ways.

Some experts believe that exercise can be as effective as medication for several specific health conditions, including heart disease and strokes. Regular exercise can help reduce blood pressure, control body weight, and reduce bad cholesterol (LDL and total) while increasing good cholesterol (HDL). 

Not only can exercise help keep your body weight in check, but it also reduces overall stress levels. Both of these factors lessen the burden on your heart. Those who are overweight tend to have higher blood pressure and total cholesterol levels. People with more body fat also have more blood to pump, making it more difficult for their hearts to circulate blood throughout their bodies. High levels of stress can put additional strain on your heart

If you are trying to figure out how to improve blood circulation naturally, exercise is a great way. Of course, there are many other health benefits to staying active every day!

Your daily diet can also impact the health of your heart. 

For optimal heart health, people should complement exercise with a balanced daily diet. A diet low in fat (saturated and trans), sodium, and sugars will help your heart and vessels stay healthy. It should include a variety of fruits and vegetables, fiber-rich foods, and whole grains. 

Also, choose healthy protein products whenever possible, and limit your sugar intake. (Think lean steak or a fillet of salmon instead of a Big Mac with a soda.) I

Worried about dairy? Recent studies have shown that natural, full-fat dairy isn’t nearly as bad for our health as previously thought. Keep your dairy intake low and choose natural, organic options whenever possible. Even better, reach for plant-based items — just not the ones packed with sweeteners! Nowadays, there are many options to choose from in your grocery aisles. 

Making the right food choices is essential, but so is portion control because it helps you maintain a healthy weight. Portion control isn’t easy, especially since portion sizes of some foods have increased 100%. For example, twenty years ago, an average size bagel was three inches in diameter. These days, it’s twice the size at six inches and with more than double the calories. 

Besides weight gain, an unhealthy diet can negatively affect your heart in other ways. For example, a diet high in saturated and trans fat can lead to an overabundance of “bad” cholesterol (LDL) in your body. This cholesterol can join with other substances in your blood to form plaque (fatty deposits). This plaque can build up in arteries causing blockages and, over time, potentially coronary artery disease — and reduced blood flow in the heart.

Reduced blood flow through the arteries in our heart is typically due to a build-up of fats. This causes the arteries to become increasingly narrow. Because oxygen-rich blood isn’t flowing through freely, the lack of oxygen in the heart muscle causes chest pain, one of the classic signs of heart disease. It can also be a symptom of a heart attack, but just because there is chest pain, it doesn’t necessarily mean a heart attack is happening. A heart attack occurs when the flow of blood becomes completely or almost completely blocked.  

Over time, you can learn how to improve blood circulation naturally through your diet by including fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grains and reducing high fat, sugary, and processed foods. 

Taking supplements to improve circulation can be the added step you need to help keep your heart functioning properly.

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When starting a conversation about supplements, it’s important to highlight that they cannot replace the positive effects of a healthy diet and regular exercise. Whether someone is recovering from the impact of a heart attack or working diligently to avoid one, supplements can help the process. It can support the healing or healthy maintenance of your circulatory system. Supplements for heart health can keep you on the right track to managing and improving your blood circulation.

Curcumin is an active compound of turmeric and can provide many health benefits, particularly as it relates to blood circulation and the heart.

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You may have heard of turmeric, or maybe you have a bottle of it sitting in your spice cabinet. It is a flowering plant that is part of the ginger family. Popular in Asian cuisine, people use its roots for cooking. Turmeric is also known for its anti-inflammation and antioxidant properties. 

Curcumin can be found in turmeric as a yellow pigment. More than that, it is a polyphenol — a micronutrient found in plants. This organic compound provides the anti-inflammatory properties of turmeric and helps your body increase its production of antioxidants. By isolating curcumin in supplements, they offer a more potent health benefit than turmeric alone. 

Scientists believe curcumin’s health benefits are numerous. Of all natural compounds, curcumin has been the most studied over the last three decades. Studies have verified the strength of its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. 

What are curcumin’s benefits as it relates to circulation and the heart?

Curcumin can have positive effects on blood circulation through the arteries. When you’re stumped about how to improve blood circulation naturally, try to add a supplement with curcumin to your diet. It works to lower “bad” cholesterol levels and prevent arteries from getting blocked with plaque buildup. Narrowed arteries can cause chest pain because the heart is not getting the levels of oxygen and nutrients it needs to function properly. Eventually, if the arteries are completely blocked, you can experience a heart attack. 

High blood pressure or hypertension is another circulatory system issue curcumin can address.

Blood pressure is the amount of force being used to pump blood through your arteries and veins. This force can increase when the arteries become more narrow due to plaque buildup and artery tissue damage. When this force is high, it causes the heart to work harder as it pumps the blood. Curcumin counteracts high blood pressure by helping blood vessels expand and relax. The heart has an important job, and we want to do what we can to help it work efficiently. 

Blood clots, or red blood cell clusters, can also cause artery blockages. High blood pressure and plaque buildup in the arteries, among many other factors, can cause blood clots. Curcumin works to prevent clots from forming.

Curcumin can also reduce damage to the heart caused by high blood pressure or past heart attacks. High blood pressure can result in an enlarged heart. Because the heart is a muscle, the harder it pumps, the larger it can grow. This growth is no different from when we “pump iron” regularly — our arm muscles will increase in size. 

An enlarged heart can increase the risk of heart failure. Studies have found that curcumin is exceptionally beneficial for heart health, but especially due to its ability to help reduce elevated blood pressure — and thus reducing the risk of an enlarged heart. Additional studies have found that curcumin can protect the heart from forming scar tissue, which can prevent it from functioning properly.

But curcumin is doesn’t there. It is a powerful anti-inflammatory supplement. Inflammation is a significant contributor to heart disease. Curcumin reduces systemic inflammation in the body.

As a side note, you may have heard that curcumin has low bioavailability, meaning it is not easily absorbed in the gastrointestinal tract. Therefore, when taking supplements to improve circulation, be sure that it is in a form that will increase absorbability. Studies have shown that Curcumin Rhizome extract (BCM-95) is a bioavailable supplement that is potent and long-lasting. It is the primary ingredient in the following heart-healthy supplement:

Taking Omega-3 fatty acid supplements can also help with circulation and heart health.

Omega-3 fatty acids are an essential fat, meaning the body can’t create them. Our bodies get them from food and supplements. They fuel a host of activities in our body, including brain cell creation, hormone production, and the control of genetic functions. 

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More specifically, omega-3s can decrease the triglyceride level in your blood. Your body uses triglycerides for energy, but too much of it can lead to health issues, including heart disease. High levels of triglycerides lead to the thickening of artery walls, increasing the risks of heart disease, heart attacks, and stroke. Triglycerides are an example of too much of a good thing being bad for you. 

Scientists have also found that omega-3s can reduce the likelihood of arrhythmia – irregular heartbeats. Arrhythmia can lead to blood clots, resulting in a stroke, or it can cause heart failure over time. 

Finally, omega-3s can reduce the plaque buildup in the arteries and lead to a slight reduction in blood pressure.

A study found that the benefits of omega 3s on your blood pressure can be comparable to increasing exercise, reducing alcohol consumption, or cutting down on salt in your diet. However, as we often mention, heart-healthy supplements shouldn’t replace any of these steps towards healthy living. The more healthy changes we make, the better it is for our overall health!

Omega-3s are in foods such as oily fish, including salmon, mackerel, and sardines. They are also in plant-based foods such as flaxseed, walnuts, soybeans, and tofu. Taking omega-3 supplements to improve circulation is beneficial when you have difficulty including this essential fat in your daily diet. 

Many omega-3 supplements contain fish oil. There are bioavailable omega 3 supplements, without fish oil, that your body can easily absorb without causing “fish burps” or upset stomachs. These supplements consist of an extract of omega-3 fatty acids. 

As we age, the importance of taking supplements to improve circulation increases as our bodies begin to lose the ability to produce antioxidants, including CoQ10.

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Also known as ubiquinone, CoQ10 (Coenzyme Q10) is an antioxidant that our bodies naturally produce and is stored in our cells. Because it is related to energy, the highest concentrations are present in the cells of organs such as the heart, brain, kidneys, and liver. These organs require a lot of energy to function properly. Like other antioxidants, CoQ10 can fight free radicals and prevent or reduce the damage they cause. 

Scientists have conducted studies to examine how CoQ10 can be used to treat those with heart disease. Research with coronary artery disease patients showed that CoQ10 could increase “good” cholesterol levels (HDL) while reducing total cholesterol overall. There have also been some findings that indicate that CoQ10 supplements could help with recovery from heart bypass or valve surgeries

Research showed that CoQ10 increased the heart’s ability to operate at capacity among those diagnosed with chronic heart failure. They also benefited from increased blood flow. Heart-healthy supplements with CoQ10 can really help those recovering from heart issues. 

Researchers continue to conduct studies on the effect of CoQ10 on blood pressure. One study found that it has the potential to lower the blood pressure of hypertensive patients. 

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Taking CoQ10 supplements to improve circulation can be particularly important for the older population and those on certain medications. Aging, illnesses, and medication can cause CoQ10 deficiencies. Aging and illness factors are interrelated as the older population suffers from many of the illnesses resulting in low CoQ10. Statins, medications taken by those at risk of cardiovascular disease, help to lower cholesterol. However, they negatively affect the generation and delivery of CoQ10 to the body’s tissues. Taking a heart-healthy supplement like CoQ10 with statins may be beneficial. Work with your doctor to determine dosage. 

Your diet can be a CoQ10 source. Foods that contain CoQ10 include pork, beef, chicken, trout, mackerel, sardines, oranges, strawberries, soybeans, peanuts, pistachios, spinach, cauliflower, broccoli, and canola oil. Organ meats, such as liver, also contain a high concentration of CoQ10 —but may not be the first food choice for many people!

Although there is evidence that your body produces less CoQ10 as you grow older, we don’t know if low levels of CoQ10 cause circulatory system issues or if health issues cause CoQ10 deficiencies. Either way, reinforcing your daily diet with CoQ10 supplements can help protect your heart and blood vessels, and it can also help with recovery from heart-related illnesses.

There are various ways to help you achieve or maintain a healthy circulatory system.

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With a mix of diet, exercise, and heart-healthy supplements, you can feel the positive effects a strong circulatory system can have on your overall health. Taking supplements to improve your circulation is a great step to add to your daily routine. Remember, your heart and blood vessels are getting the oxygen and nutrients to your body’s organs. 

Our Wellness Consultants at The Healthy Place can help you find the supplements that best meet your health needs. We carry a large selection of premium heart-healthy supplements to choose from that can help you improve your circulation and strengthen your overall health. 

Please contact our knowledgeable Wellness Consultants by calling one of our locations or visiting our website to chat or fill out our online form. They are ready to help you on your health journey by answering your supplement questions!

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