Cardio-Plus is a nutritional supplement manufactured by Standard Process. Available since 1956, it consists of a mixture of enzymes and extracts purported to increase cardiovascular health in numerous ways, including improved coronary artery flow and supporting the higher oxygen demands of the body during exercise. In addition to significant amounts of various B-vitamins, Cardio-Plus includes bovine heart potentiated magnesium, or PMG, choline, cow and sheep spleen, pig brain and stomach, and coenzyme Q10.
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Be advised that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has not investigated the benefits claimed by the manufacturer.
Availability and Dosing
Cardio-Plus is sold in the form of 650 mg capsules, with 330 capsules per bottle. In November 2013, a bottle of 330 capsules retailed for about $44. The maker advises users to consume two capsules with every meal, or about six per day. Therefore, a steady user would incur a cost of about $24 a month as of 2013.
Pyridoxine and the Heart
A day's worth of Cardio-Plus contains 75 percent of the U.S. Recommended Daily Allowance of vitamin B-6, also known as pyridoxine. According to the National Institutes of Health, this vitamin participates in a host of functions in the human body, among them red-blood-cell synthesis, immune responses, and blood-glucose regulation. While B-6 deficiency is associated with increased levels of homocysteine, a substance that may damage blood vessels and interfere with platelet function, as of 2011 there was no evidence to suggest that B-6 supplementation lowers the risk of heart disease.
Bovine Heart PMG
This extract from the heart tissue of cows contains a specially formulated type of magnesium, a metal that is considered a dietary trace element. Magnesium is important for the normal function of the heart, muscles, and kidneys, contributes to the formation of teeth and bones, activates enzymes, contributes to energy production, and helps to regulate serum levels of other nutrients. Deficiencies in magnesium are rare in the United States, but when present, may contribute to cardiac arrythmias. There is no evidence to suggest that supplementation in any form in non-deficient persons confers demonstrated cardiovascular benefits.
This substance, also known as ubiquinone or simply as coenzyme Q, is vital in the production of energy within the mitochondria of cells. In a slightly modified form, it is a powerful antioxidant that protects cell membrane proteins from oxidative damage secondary to normal metabolic processes. As Roland Stocker, Ph.D. of the University of New South Wales explains, one facet of this function may be reducing the appearance and severity of atherosclerosis, or the hardening of the arteries that is a major contributor to cardiovascular disease. So it is possible, though not demonstrated, that the coenzyme Q10 in Cardio-Plus may have a protective effect on the heart.