According to the World Health Organization (WHO), heart disease is the number one cause of death globally and more people die annually from cardiovascular diseases than from any other cause (1). The Heart & Stroke Foundation identifies heart disease and stroke as the number one cause of premature death in women, and states that most Canadian women have at least one risk factor for cardiovascular disease (2). Reducing behavioural risk factors such as smoking, inactivity, stress, and an unhealthy diet are essential steps to supporting cardiovascular health. Women with other risk factors such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol also benefit from early detection and management.
CardioSense® offers a natural way to maintain cardiovascular health. Each vegetarian capsule contains a blend of seven proven botanical extracts used in herbal medicine to help support healthy cholesterol levels, glucose metabolism, immunity, and resistance to stress. This formula also provides antioxidants that help protect against free radicals and help reduce symptoms of chronic venous insufficiency (CVI).
Berberine has been used in Ayurvedic and traditional Chinese medicine for over 2,500 years. Its effects on glucose and lipid metabolism have been well documented, showing improved insulin secretion and sensitivity in type II diabetics as well as cholesterol lowering effects and nitric oxide inducing properties (3). Many randomized control trials have also demonstrated the herb’s beneficial effects on reducing cardiovascular risk factors. One meta-analysis showed that berberine produced a significant reduction in total cholesterol, triglycerides, and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels, with a remarkable increase in high-density lipoprotein (HDL) (4).
Inflammation also plays a critical role in the development of atherosclerosis and heart disease. 5-LOX (5-lipoxygenase), a pro-inflammatory enzyme in the body, supports the synthesis of leukotrienes (lipid mediators that induce inflammation). This, in turn, contributes to atherosclerosis in several ways – most notably by promoting arterial plaque formation, vascular permeability, and LDL oxidation. Boswellic acids – the active component of the herb boswellia – directly inhibit 5-LOX, thereby providing anti-inflammatory properties (5).
Chamomile is used in herbal medicine to help relieve inflammatory conditions of the gastrointestinal tract and is commonly known for its calming effects. Chamomile’s anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties are thought to be a factor in supporting cardiovascular health (6).
Grape seed extract (GSE) provides a source of antioxidants and can be used for vascular and cardiovascular protection. It helps relieve symptoms related to non-complicated chronic venous insufficiency (CVI) and has been shown to support healthy blood pressure. A meta-analysis of nine randomized controlled trials showed GSE significantly lowered systolic blood pressure and heart rate (7).
Another commonly used herb for supporting heart health is hawthorn. It contains a high polyphenol content, particularly proanthocyanidins, which provide antioxidant activity and may play a role in reducing inflammation and supporting cardiovascular health (8).
Reishi mushroom has been consumed for over 2,000 years in Asia for its broad medicinal properties and is becoming increasingly popular in Western countries as a complementary medicine for cardiovascular health and stress reduction. Reishi is commonly used in herbal medicine to help increase energy and resistance to stress through its adaptogenic properties.
Nitric oxide helps blood vessels to relax and dilate, which can lower blood pressure. Beetroot extract provides a source of dietary nitrate, used in the body as nitric oxide, which has been shown to reduce blood pressure and increase vasodilation (9). Several human studies have demonstrated the antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and vascular-protective effects offered by beetroot and its constituents Supplementation has been reported to reduce blood pressure and inflammation and decrease oxidative stress, making it one nutritional approach to managing cardiovascular health (10).