Heart disease is the No. 1 killer in the U.S., and you may be worried about your heart health. Centrum Cardio is a dietary supplement with phytosterols that claims to support heart health. Before you take a dietary supplement for medical reasons, gather as much information as you can, and ask your doctor for advice.
Cholesterol and Heart Disease
Cholesterol levels in your blood come from the food you eat and from cholesterol your body produces. High levels of total or low-density lipoprotein cholesterol in your blood can increase your risk for developing cardiovascular disease, but a high level of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol can reduce your risk. Often, a healthy diet and lifestyle can keep your cholesterol levels within healthy ranges, but consult a doctor if you are concerned about your heart health or cholesterol levels.
People who eat more plant-based products may have a lower risk for heart disease, and this may be partly because of phytochemicals, or plant chemicals. The American Heart Association states that classes of phytochemicals, include phytosterols, or plant sterols, flavonoids and sulfur-containing compounds from onions and garlic. Phytosterols decrease the amount of cholesterol that your body can absorb from food, and examples include stigmasterol, campesterol and sitosterol, which is in some margarine spreads.
Phytosterols and Centrum Cardio
Each dose of two tablets of Centrum Cardio provides 800mg phytosterols, which is the amount that the Linus Pauling Institute Micronutrient Information Center recommends you should have each day to benefit from its cholesterol-lowering effects. When you consume phytosterols, your body absorbs less cholesterol from food and synthesizes more of its own cholesterol in the liver. However, the overall effect is to lower levels of bad LDL cholesterol in your blood.
Other Heart-Healthy Nutrients
Other nutrients in Centrum Cardio beside phytosterols may be necessary for heart health even though they do not directly lower your blood cholesterol levels. When free radicals in your body damage your cells, your risk of heart disease may increase. Vitamins C and E are antioxidants that protect against damage from free radicals, and Centrum Cardio provides 100 percent of the daily value for each. It supplies 3,333 percent of the daily value for vitamin B-12, which is essential for reducing dangerous homocysteine levels in your blood.
Many factors influence your cholesterol levels and heart health. A dietary supplement is not a substitute for a nutritious diet with fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes and monounsaturated and omega-3 fatty acids. Regular physical activity can also improve your cholesterol levels. Some people need medication in addition to lifestyle changes to manage their cholesterol levels. If you have high cholesterol, follow medical advice and do not start a dietary supplement before getting your doctor’s approval.