This Supplement Can Raise Your Heart Attack Risk, Experts Say
During the same week the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) said it would not recommend that taking vitamins and supplements can prevent heart disease and cancer, a new study has come out saying one of the most popular supplements out there may be dangerous to a subset of those who are prescribed it. The supplement—Omega-3 fatty acids—is the third most popular in America, according to one recent ConsumerLab survey, with 52% of respondents saying they have taken it in the past year (it was beaten only by magnesium and Vitamin D). Read on to see if you may be in danger—from this and 3 other supplements.
The New Study Found Omega-3 Supplementation May Increase the Risk of Atrial Fibrillation in Certain Patients
Omega-3 fatty acids are often recommended by health professionals, and for good reason: they can lower your blood pressure, inhibit plaque growth in your arteries and reduce the likelihood of a stroke or heart attack. However, for a certain subset of people, Omega-3 fatty acids supplementation may do more harm than good. "Our study suggests that O3FA supplementation is associated with an increased risk of AF in patients with elevated plasma triglyceride and at elevated CV risk." What's AF? They mean atrial fibrillation, which is an irregular or rapid heart rate, which happens when your two upper chambers are overloaded by electric signals. "This proposes that the risk of AF should be considered when prescribing O3FA supplementation in this population," said the researchers. If you have elevated plasma triglycerides, discuss this supplement with your doctor. And keep reading for 3 more supplements to use with caution.
A Separate Report This Week Found This Other Supplement May Be Harmful
As mentioned, the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) said this week they won't recommend that taking vitamins and supplements can prevent heart disease and cancer, and will warn that taking one supplement can actually raise cancer and heart disease risk, according to a draft statement posted on its website. "The evidence shows there is no benefit to taking vitamin E and that beta-carotene can be harmful because it increases the risk of lung cancer in people already at risk, such as those who smoke, and also increases the risk of dying from heart disease or stroke," said John Wong, MD, of Tufts Medical Center, in a statement.
Be Careful Taking Calcium, Too
Calcium helps keep your bones strong and your heart pumping. But to be absorbed properly, calcium must be accompanied by the right amount of Vitamin D. And if it's not? The extra calcium may settle in your arteries instead of helping your bones.
A study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association analyzed 2,700 people who took calcium supplements over 10 years and concluded that excess calcium caused buildup in the aorta and other arteries. Calcium is essential, but it's healthier to get it directly from your diet.
Red Yeast Can Also Be Harmful
Red yeast rice claims to help lower LDL cholesterol levels (the "bad" cholesterol) and prevent heart disease, similar to statins. However, these supplements are associated with a host of potential side effects. "Like statins, red yeast rice can cause exactly the same side effects as statins, and that includes muscle, liver, and kidney problems," says Dr. Marvin M. Lipman, M.D., FACP, FACE from Scarsdale Medical Group. A study published in Pharmacy and Therapeutics analyzed the benefits and risks of red yeast rice. It concluded the supplement is "not recommended for patients with hypercholesterolemia" and "has not been shown to be a safe alternative to statins for patients with hyperlipidemia." If you're concerned about your cholesterol, eat healthy, exercise, and consult your doctor before taking any supplements. And to protect your life and the lives of others, don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.