Here’s why you should provide your heart with more support as you age

Here’s why you should provide your heart with more support as you age

Aging brings about a lot of changes inside and outside of your body. Your skin, for instance, becomes thinner and loses fat as well as its elasticity, resulting in wrinkles and sagging skin. [1] Your bones, meanwhile, become weaker due to the loss of bone mass, or bone density. According to experts, this is caused by bone resorption (breakdown) outpacing bone formation, which happens naturally with age. [2]

At the same time, your muscles also lose strength and endurance as you get older. One reason for this is the decline in your testosterone levels, which is a natural part of aging. Testosterone is a hormone that stimulates protein synthesis and muscle growth. On top of this, aging reduces your ability to break down dietary protein into amino acids, which your body needs to build muscle. Because humans naturally lose 3 - 5% of their muscle mass per decade after the age of 30, the reduction in your capacity to grow muscle inevitably results in loss of muscle mass. [3]

Aging also affects your skeletal muscles’ ability to repair themselves. According to a study published in the journal Ageing Research Reviews, muscle repair involves cross-talk between your immune cells and muscles cells. [4] But because aging affects the physiological functions of these cells, the muscles of older adults regenerate at a much slower pace after injury. Studies emphasize the necessity of supplementing with nutrients, such as amino acids, omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D, as well as polyphenols, to support healthy muscle function and recovery.

Aside from your skeletal muscles, there’s another muscle in your body that’s greatly impacted by aging. Although small in size – just about the size of your fist – this all-important muscle is the main organ of your cardiovascular system and is responsible for pumping blood throughout your body. [5] Thanks to your heart’s tireless efforts, every cell, tissue and organ of your body receives a constant supply of oxygen and nutrients, which are vital for sustaining life. But just like your skeletal muscles, your heart needs all the support it can get to continue functioning optimally as you age.

How aging affects your heart

Your heart is the core of your cardiovascular system, which is made up of a network of blood vessels through which blood flows. Your heart’s function is directed by your brain and your nervous system and powered by electrical impulses. In fact, your heart has a built-in electrical system that controls the rate and rhythm of your heartbeat and coordinates the contraction of your heart’s top and bottom chambers. [6]

Both sides of your heart have a top chamber called the atrium and a bottom chamber called the ventricle. After delivering oxygen to your brain and other body parts, blood enters the right side of your heart, which then pumps it to your lungs so it can pick up a fresh supply of oxygen. Oxygen-rich blood then enters the left side of your heart and is pumped back out to your brain and the rest of your body. [7] Because of how vital its function is, keeping your heart healthy should be your top priority.

According to an article published by the National Institute of Aging, people aged 65 and older have a higher likelihood of developing heart issues than younger folks, thanks to the not-so-favorable changes in your heart and blood vessels that occur with age. [8] One of the most common changes is the hardening of your arteries, particularly the aorta. The aorta is the largest artery in your body which carries blood from your heart to your circulatory system. [9]  

Studies have found that aortic stiffness, which can cause high blood pressure, increases markedly with age and is caused by the elastic fibers within the arterial wall fraying due to mechanical stress. [10][11] The stiffening of the aorta is bad news for your health because it restricts the flow of oxygen-rich blood to your vital organs. Another event that could trigger aortic stiffness is the buildup of plaque – deposits of fatty substances, cholesterol and cellular waste – inside the walls of your arteries, which is a consequence of having high blood cholesterol levels. [12]

Because the stiffening of your aorta forces your heart to work harder, it could eventually cause your heart’s left ventricle to become stiffer. According to Dr. Aaron Baggish, associate director of the Cardiovascular Performance Program at Massachusetts General Hospital, the hardening of your heart’s left ventricle, along with aortic stiffness, begins a harmful cardiovascular aging cycle that could lead to heart failure. [13]

Aside from becoming stiffer, your left ventricle could also increase in size as you age. But despite this increase, the amount of blood it can hold actually decreases because the enlargement is caused by the thickening of the wall of your heart’s left ventricle. A heart with an enlarged left ventricle fills more slowly than a heart with a normal-sized one. [14] Left ventricle enlargement is also linked to a heart rhythm problem commonly observed among the elderly.

Rapid, slowed or irregular heartbeat can also be traced to age-related changes in your heart’s electrical system. Like arteries, your heart’s valves, which are the door-like parts that open and close to control blood flow between your heart’s chambers, may also grow thicker and stiffer with age. Once they do, they could limit the flow of blood out of your heart, which isn’t great for the other parts of your body that require a constant supply of oxygen. Stiff valves can also cause fluid to build up in your lungs or lower extremities.

The thickening and stiffening of your heart’s valves may have something to do with lipofuscin, a brownish pigment that’s left over from the breakdown of damaged blood cells. Also called the “aging pigment,” lipofuscin can be found in your heart muscle and smooth muscles. [15] The accumulation of lipofuscin can cause your heart muscle cells to degenerate, resulting in the stiffening of your heart valves. Heart murmurs, which are fairly common among the elderly, are caused by valve stiffness.

According to a study published in the journal Scientific Reports, lipofuscin accumulation is enhanced by oxidative stress, or the imbalance between free radical and antioxidant levels inside the body. [16] Oxidative stress is not only a major instigator of aging but also of serious heart conditions. [17][18] Oxidative stress can also cause extensive damage to the cells that line the walls of your blood vessels, which could lead to the narrowing of your arteries. [19]

The blood vessels located near your heart are home to sensitive nerve endings known as baroreceptors. These sensors are responsible for providing your brain with crucial information regarding blood volume and pressure, which enables blood pressure regulation. [20] But as you age, these baroreceptors become less sensitive, which is why many older adults suffer from a condition that causes their blood pressure to fall when they go from lying or sitting to standing. This drop in blood pressure causes dizziness because there is less blood flow to the brain.

The two best herbs for supporting optimal heart health as you age

Because aging significantly impacts your heart’s performance, supporting your heart function should be one of your top priorities as you age. Adopting a healthy lifestyle, which includes regular exercise, is just one of the many steps you need to take in order to maintain a healthy heart. Eating the right foods also goes a long way toward supporting the healthy functions of your entire cardiovascular system.

But for those who are at that age where you need a little extra boost, you can turn to two time-tested herbs for the additional support your heart needs. Terminalia arjuna, commonly known as arjuna, and Crataegus sp., also known as hawthorn, are two ancient plants that have long been used to support optimal heart health. In fact, arjuna and hawthorn are widely used in Ayurvedic Medicine and Traditional Chinese Medicine, respectively – two of the world’s oldest medical systems. [21][22]

A tree native to parts of India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, arjuna, particularly its bark, enjoyed great popularity among ancient Indian healers because of its many health-supporting properties. Research shows that traditional healers from the Malabar tribe in Kerala, India once used the powdered bark of arjuna as a natural remedy for supporting healthy heart function. [23] Chemical analysis of arjuna bark reveal that it is rich in bioactive components, many of which have outstanding antioxidant properties. These beneficial compounds include: [24]

  • Tannins
  • Cardenolide
  • Triterpenoid saponins (i.e., arjunic acid, arjunolic acid, arjungenin and arjun glycosides)
  • Flavonoids (i.e., arjunone, arjunolone, luteolin)
  • Gallic acid
  • Ellagic acid
  • Oligomeric proanthocyanidins (OPCs)
  • Phytosterols

Hawthorn, on the other hand, is a flowering shrub that belongs to the Rosaceae (rose) family. Different hawthorn species are widely distributed around the world, flourishing in temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere in Asia, Europe, North Africa and North America. The heart benefits of hawthorn are attributed to its nutrient-rich berries, which have been used for hundreds of years to support cardiovascular and kidney health.[25]

According to a study published in the journal Pharmacognosy Review, the use of hawthorn berries as a natural remedy is recorded in the 1983 edition of the British Herbal Pharmacopeia, which at one point was considered the standard text for professional herbalists. It was also mentioned in Tang Ben Cao, the first known official pharmacopeia in the world, which dates back to 659 AD. [26] Chemical analysis of hawthorn berries shows that, like arjuna bark, they owe their heart-supporting properties to powerful antioxidants, such as: [27]

  • Hyperoside
  • Vitexin-2-O-rhamnoside
  • Flavonoids
  • Oligomeric proanthocyanidins (OPCs)
  • Triterpenoids
  • Pectin oligosaccharides
  • Anthocyanins
  • Catechins (i.e., (+)-catechin and (-)-epicatechin)
  • Chlorogenic acid

Thanks to the potent biological activities of these plant compounds, both arjuna bark and hawthorn berries have been found to support healthy cardiovascular function. Here are the different ways these heart-healthy herbs can benefit your heart:*

  • They can protect the heart against oxidative stress – As discussed earlier, oxidative stress is one of the hallmarks of aging. At the same time, it can cause cell or tissue injury that could impair the functions of your heart and blood vessels. Fortunately, you can protect your heart and blood vessels from oxidative stress by increasing your intake of antioxidants, which can combat harmful free radicals. [28] Arjuna bark and hawthorn berries are rich in powerful antioxidants that can help you maintain a healthy cardiovascular system. [29][30]

  • They support healthy blood pressure levels that are already within the normal range - Aside from potent antioxidant properties, the bioactive components of arjuna bark and hawthorn berries have also exhibited biological activities that can support your heart. For instance, a study published in the Journal of the Association of Physicians in India found that supplementing with arjuna bark powder can support healthy blood pressure levels that are already within the normal range. The study furthers notes that arjuna bark benefits the heart without harming the liver or kidneys. [31] Meanwhile, clinical studies have reported a similar benefit of supplementing with hawthorn berries for 12 to 16 weeks. [32]

  • They support healthy blood cholesterol levels that are already within the normal range – In another study published in the Journal of the Association of Physicians in India, researchers reported that supplementing with arjuna bark helped participants maintain healthy blood cholesterol levels that are already within the normal range. The antioxidants in arjuna bark also provided protection against oxidative damage similar to vitamin E. [33] Meanwhile, a study by South Korean researchers showed that in addition to supporting healthy blood cholesterol levels that are already within the normal range, hawthorn berries can also help you maintain healthy levels of antioxidant enzymes. [34]

  • They support healthy blood vessels and blood circulation – As mentioned earlier, aging induces changes that can lead to the narrowing of your blood vessels. But in order to keep your heart healthy and functioning optimally, blood needs to be able to flow through your blood vessels without any hindrance or restriction. Reduced blood flow to the heart not only causes tightness in the chest, it also leads to serious heart problems in the long run. [35] Fortunately, the beneficial properties of arjuna bark and hawthorn berries can help you maintain healthy blood vessels. [36][37]

  • They support healthy heart muscle function – Your heart’s ability to pump blood depends on the performance of your heart muscle. Unfortunately, age-related changes in the structure and function of your heart muscle can reduce your heart’s pumping capacity. [38] More often than not, these changes are closely linked to oxidative stress. You can maintain the normal functions of your heart muscles with the help of antioxidant-rich arjuna bark and hawthorn berries. In fact, studies show that supplementing with these herbs is a great way to support normal heart rhythm. [39][40]

Where to find Organic Arjuna Bark and Organic Hawthorn Berry Supplements

As the main organ of your cardiovascular system, your heart is responsible for pumping life-sustaining blood throughout your body. All of your body parts, from the largest organ to the smallest cell, rely on your heart for their supply of much-needed oxygen and nutrients. This is why maintaining a healthy heart is important for your overall health.

Unfortunately, with age comes unavoidable changes that could alter how your heart functions. This means that as you grow older, your heart will need as much support as you can give. You can conveniently provide what your heart needs by adopting a healthy lifestyle, following a nutritious diet and taking supplements that can support optimal heart health.

To help you keep your heart healthy as you age, the Health Ranger Store is offering Groovy Bee® Cardiovascular Support Herbal Formula. Specially formulated to provide much-needed cardiovascular support, this high-quality herbal supplement offers the combined benefits of organic arjuna bark and organic hawthorn berries, two of the best heart-supporting herbs Mother Nature has to offer.

The organic arjuna bark powder in Groovy Bee® Cardiovascular Support Herbal Formula contains an abundance of potent antioxidants that can protect your heart from oxidative stress and support healthy blood cholesterol and blood pressure levels that are already within the normal range. Similarly, the organic hawthorn berry powder in our premium herbal formula is rich in bioactive components that can support healthy blood vessels as well as the normal function of your heart muscle.  

Groovy Bee® Cardiovascular Support Herbal Formula comes in a convenient capsule form and is non- GMO, non-China and certified Kosher. To enjoy the heart benefits of organic arjuna bark and hawthorn berries, simply take one capsule a day. Like all the products offered by the Health Ranger Store, this premium supplement is also thoroughly lab tested for glyphosate, heavy metals and microbiology.

Maintain optimal cardiovascular function as you age with the help of Organic Arjuna Bark and Organic Hawthorn Berries!

*These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. This product is not intended to treat, cure or diagnose any diseases.