Director of the Cleveland Clinic’s Women’s Cardiovascular Center and Medical Director of the Section of Preventive Cardiology and Rehabilitation in the Tomsich Family Department of Cardiovascular Medicine
Specialties: Cardiovascular medicine, internal medicine, interventional cardiology, peripheral vascular disease
Hello, I’m Dr. Leslie Cho, director of the Women’s Cardiovascular Center at Cleveland Clinic. Everyday we get questions from patients about vitamins, so today, I wanted to spend some time with you and talk to you about some of the most common questions we get.
First are antioxidants, such as vitamin C or E. Vitamins C or E have never been shown in large scientific studies to lower your risk of heart attack, stroke, or death. In fact, taking large does of Vitamin E , 400 IU’s may increase your risk of heart failure or death. What about vitamin B6, B12, and Folate? There was a recent study of 3800 patients with heart disease that studied this exact question. They found there was no benefit to taking vitamin B6, B12, or Folate for patients with heart disease.
We also get questions about herbal medications that lower cholesterol such as Cuban Sugar Extract (Policosanol). Cuban Sugar Extract was studied in JAMA recently and they found there was no benefit to taking Cuban Sugar Extract to lower your cholesterol. Now there are medications which are probably good for you such as Omega 3 Fatty Acid or Fish Oil. We advocate eating 2 servings of fish a week. However if you don’t like eating fish, then taking fish oil is a good option. For people who have had a heart attack, taking one fish oil a day reduces their risk of sudden cardiac death. So taking fish oil, or incorporating fish into your diet is a good idea for patients with heart disease. However, fish oil does not lower your bad cholesterol. In very large doses, it can lower you triglyceride level.
Things like garlic, grape seed extract also do not lower your cholesterol.
A natural way to lower your cholesterol is to increase your intake of soluble fiber and incorporate flaxseed into your diet. If you have any questions about vitamins, or want to talk about preventing heart disease, please give us a call at the Cleveland Clinic’s Women’s Cardiovascular Center. Thank you.
For More Information
A portion of this FAQ video is supported by the Alpha Phi 2005 Cardiac Care Award.