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Coronary Artery Disease (CAD) and Angina Treatment: Diet

There are 4 Diet treatments for Coronary Artery Disease (CAD) and Angina.
Written by ColleenO.

There are several ways you can modify your diet to help manage the symptoms of coronary artery disease (CAD) and angina. (For more information on lifestyle changes for CAD and angina, click here.)

  • Build your diet around fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean meats and fish (particularly fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon).
  • Lose excess weight and maintain a healthy weight.
  • Limit alcohol consumption to 1-2 ounces a day. A moderate amount of alcohol may help raise your HDL ("good cholesterol") levels.
  • Limit your intake of saturated fat, trans fats, and cholesterol.
  • If you have diabetes, eat a diet that helps you keep your blood sugar in a healthy range.

In addition to eating a healthy diet, you may benefit from taking some supplements. L-carnitine (carnitine) and magnesium have demonstrated great potential as complementary treatments for angina. The following supplements may also be helpful in treating angina:

  • Preliminary evidence suggests that the amino acids arginine7,14 and glutamine15 might improve exercise tolerance in patients with angina. According to a small, double-blind, placebo-controlled crossover study, use of arginine (700 mg four times daily) may help prevent tolerance to nitrate medications44 (such as nitroglycerin, a vasodilator.)
  • Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is best known as a treatment for congestive heart failure, but it may offer benefits in angina as well.8
  • N-acetyl cysteine (NAC), a derivative of the amino acid cysteine, may be helpful when taken along with the drug nitroglycerin, but severe headaches may develop.10-12
  • Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil may be helpful for treating angina.23

Vitamin E has been found only slightly effective at best for angina, and beta-carotene may actually increase angina.13

Note: Coronary artery disease (CAD) and angina are serious diseases that absolutely require conventional medical evaluation and supervision. No one should self-treat for CAD or angina. However, natural treatments such as dietary modification and supplements may complement standard medical care when monitored by an appropriate healthcare professional. Consult with your physician regarding all dosage and safety issues.

Treatments include:


Effect of Carnitine on Coronary Artery Disease (CAD) and Angina

Carnitine plays a role in the cellular production of energy. Although carnitine does not address the cause of angina, it appears to help the heart produce energy more efficiently, thereby enabling it...

Read more about Coronary Artery Disease (CAD) and Angina and L-Carnitine.

Effect of Magnesium on Coronary Artery Disease (CAD) and Angina

Magnesium has been called "nature's calcium channel blocker" because of its ability to block calcium from entering muscle and heart cells. Calcium-channel blockers work in a similar way, although...

Read more about Coronary Artery Disease (CAD) and Angina and Magnesium.

Effect of Heart-Healthy Diet on Coronary Artery Disease (CAD) and Angina

This diet is believed to have many benefits for the heart, including helping to keep blood pressure, cholesterol, and triglyceride levels in a healthy range.

Read more about Coronary Artery Disease (CAD) and Angina and Heart-Healthy Diet.


  1. Bednarz B, Wolk R, Chamiec T, et al. Effects of oral L-arginine supplementation on exercise-induced QT dispersion and exercise tolerance in stable angina pectoris. Int J Cardiol. 2000;75:205-210.
  2. Kamikawa T, Kobayashi A, Yamashita T, et al. Effects of coenzyme Q 10 on exercise tolerance in chronic stable angina pectoris. Am J Cardiol. 1985;56:247-251.
  3. Ernst E. Chelation therapy for coronary heart disease: An overview of all clinical investigations. Am Heart J. 2000;140:4-5.
  4. Pizzulli L, Hagendorff A, Zirbes M, et al. N-acetylcysteine attenuates nitroglycerin tolerance in patients with angina pectoris and normal left ventricular function. Am J Cardiol. 1997;79:28-33.
  5. Ardissino D, Merlini PA, Savonitto S, et al. Effect of transdermal nitroglycerin or N-acetylcysteine, or both, in the long-term treatment of unstable angina pectoris. J Am Coll Cardiol. 1997;29:941-947.
  6. Iversen H. N-acetylcysteine enhances nitroglycerin-induced headache and cranial arterial responses. Clin Pharmacol Ther. 1992;52:125-33.
  7. Rapola JM, Virtamo J, Haukka JK, et al. Effect of vitamin E and beta-carotene on the incidence of angina pectoris. JAMA. 1996;275:693-698.
  8. Maxwell AJ, Zapien MP, Pearce GL, et al. Randomized trial of a medical food for the dietary management of chronic, stable angina. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2002;39:37-45.
  9. Khogali SE, Pringle SD, Weryk BV, et al. Is glutamine beneficial in ischemic heart disease? Nutrition. 2002;18:123-126.
  10. Parker JO, Parker JD, Caldwell RW, et al. The effect of supplemental L-arginine on tolerance development during continuous transdermal nitroglycerin therapy. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2002;39:1199-1203.

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