Four Nutrients for Heart Health

Lisa Nelson, RD, LN Health Pro
  • Cardiologist Dr. Stephen Sinatra has labels four nutrients - magnesium, coenzyme Q10, L-carnitine, and D-ribose - ‘the awesome foursome' due to patient results linked to these nutrients.


    These four nutrients are involved in the production of adenosine triphosphate (i.e. cellular energy). Adenosine triphosphate (ATP) is produced in the mitochondria of every cell. An ATP deficiency is linked to numerous health conditions, such as diabetes, Parkinson's, cancer, heart failure, Alzheimer's, and stroke.


    These four nutrients can help boost the body's production of ATP.




    Magnesium is a cofactor involved in the activation of over 300 enzymes in the body, along with facilitating the production of ATP. Functions of magnesium are numerous, including nerve function, blood vessel constriction, wound healing, muscle strength and endurance, normal heart rhythm, increased HDL cholesterol, synthesis and oxidation or fatty acids, and reduced tooth decay risk.

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    Current magnesium recommendations are to consume 400 to 800 milligrams daily. Keep in mind that magnesium oxide is the LEAST easily absorbed form of magnesium.


    Here is a post with more information on magnesium:


    Lower Blood Pressure with Magnesium.

    Coenzyme Q10


    Coenzyme Q10 is a fat-soluble nutrient made by almost all your body tissues. As you age your body's production of coenzyme Q10 decreases. Functions of coenzyme Q10 include vitamin E regeneration, reduced blood pressure, production of ATP, and decreased risk for blood clots.


    Current coenzyme Q10 recommendations are 30 to 360 milligrams per day. Discuss with your physician before supplementing greater than 100 milligrams or if you use blood thinners.


    Here is a post with more information:


    Coenzyme Q10 - Should you be using this supplement?




    Carnitine is produced in your liver, kidneys, and brains using lysine and methionine. Carnitine production is impacted by levels of lysine, methionine, iron, niacin, vitamin B6, and vitamin C. Functions of L-carnitine include energizing the heart, memory enhancement, conversion of fat into energy, decreased LDL cholesterol, transport of fatty acids, reduced triglycerides and increased HDL cholesterol levels.


    Current L-carnitine recommendations are 500 to 4000 milligrams per day.


    Here is a post with more information on L-carnitine:


    Do you need to supplement L-carnitine?




    D-ribose is produced by the heart, skeletal muscle, brain, and nerve tissue, but only at levels great enough to meet their day to day normal needs. When the body becomes stressed or compromised these systems are not able to adequately increase their production of D-ribose to meet demands. Functions of D-ribose include prevention of congestive heart failure, reduced free radical production (i.e. antioxidant), and replenish ATP stores.


    Dr. Stephan Sinatra currently recommends D-ribose be supplemented 5 grams for cardiovascular prevention, 10 to 15 grams for most patients with heart failure, 15 to 30 grams for patients with advanced heart failure.


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    Here is a post with more information on D-ribose:


    D-Ribose - Do you need this supplement?


    Discuss all supplements you take with your physician. There is always potential for drug-nutrient interactions. Also, don't forget that supplements do not compensate for a poor diet and lifestyle. For the greatest results follow a heart healthy diet and use supplements to support your dietary intake.


    Be sure to sign up for the free e-course How to Lower Cholesterol in 8 Simple Steps provided courtesy of Health Central dietitian Lisa Nelson at



Published On: March 23, 2011