Supplement

Use

Notes

Calcium
1,000–1,200 mg/day.

May help reduce systolic blood pressure in people with hypertension; may lower cholesterol.

Take supplemental calcium with food to lower risk of kidney stones.

Folate (folic acid)
400 mcg/day.

May provide significant protection against cardiovascular disease by lowering homocysteine levels in the blood.

Take in conjunction with vitamins B6 and B12.

Omega-3 fatty acids (fish oil)
For high triglycerides, 5 grams/day of combined EPA and DHA. For high blood pressure, 3 grams/day of combined EPA and DHA.

Lowers triglyceride levels and blood pressure; helps prevent cardiac arrhythmia.

May thin blood, so use caution if taking warfarin (Coumadin). May affect glycemic levels; if you have diabetes, consult a health care provider before taking.

Vitamin B12
2.4 mcg/day.

May work in conjunction with folate to lower homocysteine levels.

Generally well-tolerated.

Vitamin B6
1.3–1.5 mg/day for women; 1.3–1.7 mg/day for men.

May work in conjunction with folate to lower homocysteine levels.

Elderly people tend to be at risk for vitamin B12 deficiency.

Vitamin E
15 mg/day.

Antioxidant qualities may help protect against heart disease.

Stop high-dose supplementation at least one month before any surgical procedure.

—K.R.

Note: Larger doses may be necessary for disease management and prevention. Check with your health care practitioner for individualized recommendations.

Sources: Jaime S. Ruud, RD, research analyst in the department of nutritional science and dietetics at the University of Nebraska and author of Nutrition and the Female Athlete (CRC, 1996); PDR for Nutritional Supplements (Thomson PDR, 2001).