About Gundry MD Heart Defense
Using a precise, powerful blend of cocoa flavanols and anti-aging nutrients, Gundry MD Heart Defense is a dietary supplement that promises to protect your cardiovascular system, support heart health and longevity, and optimize your weight.
Specifically, the website reports the supplement works to dilate blood vessels and improve circulation, leading to healthy blood vessels and a strong heart. We’re told this could also result in boosted energy, physical stamina, and mental clarity, along with effective appetite control for weight management.
To experience these benefits, Gundry MD indicates you'll need to mix one scoop of Heart Defense with six to eights ounces of water (hot or cold; your choice) and drink, with or without a meal. If continued daily, the site advertises that most users report a noticeable increase in energy within an hour of use, with decreased appetite and cravings for unhealthy foods within the first two weeks.
Despite all these benefits, the company claims that the supplement is 100 percent safe with no known side effects, and that the formula is tested for content and purity at an independent, third-party facility.
Is cocoa really this good for your health? Even then, is Gundry MD’s Heart Defense formula the best way of achieving these benefits? Does it provide a high level of value?
You need answers to important questions like these before handing over your hard-earned money. Give us a few minutes, and we'll help you find some answers, starting with the basics.
What’s the Link Between Flavanols & Heart Health?
According to the Cleveland Clinic, the cocoa beans used to create chocolate contain high levels of a plant nutrient classification known as flavonoids.
In their natural environment, they report that flavonoids help protect plants from environmental toxins, as well as help to repair damage. And when humans consume these nutrients, they similarly act as antioxidants; i.e., they can help “protect the body from damage caused by harmful molecules called free radicals.”
These free radicals can also cause an increase in the formation of low-density lipoprotein (LDL), or "bad" cholesterol, on artery walls, which could eventually lead to heart disease.
Thus, as frequently promoted on the Heart Defense website, the National Institute of Health’s PubMed reflects hundreds of studies linking cocoa flavanols with improved cardiovascular health. According to Dr. Miguel Alonso-Alonso, a neuroscientist at Harvard-affiliated Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, 200mg of cocoa flavanols are recommended, along with a balanced diet.
However, he also emphasizes that “flavanols are often destroyed in the production of chocolate,” so highly processed foods like candy bars often don’t have a lot of flavanols remaining; at least in relation to their sugar and fat content.
For this reason, the Cleveland Clinic article emphasizes that you should “enjoy moderate portions of chocolate (e.g., 1 ounce) a few times per week, and don't forget to eat other flavonoid-rich foods like apples, red wine, tea, onions, and cranberries.”
What about the Heart Defense supplement? Does it represent a better way of obtaining heart-healthy cocoa flavanols, without the sugar or calories?
Taking a Closer Look at Heart Defense’s Ingredients
Per the supplement facts label listed on their website, Gundry MD Heart Defense contains the following ingredients:
- Vitamin D3 (Cholecalciferol) 200IU
- Calcium 9mg
- Iron 2mg
- Sodium 68mg
- Cocoa (Theobroma cacao) 2.5g
- Flaxseed (Linum usitatissimum)(seed)(BevGrad) 1g
- NeuroFactor Whole Coffee Fruit Extract 100mg
- Inulin (from Chicory (Chichorium intybus)(root) Extract (Frutafit)) 10mg
According to resources like the Natural Medicines Database, WebMD, and Examine.com, vitamin D3, calcium, iron, and sodium are all important vitamins and minerals for optimum health. However, they also indicate that unless you’re deficient, supplementation won’t provide meaningful benefits for otherwise healthy individuals.
We contacted customer service and learned that while each dose of Heart Defense contains 2.5g of cocoa, it only contains 100mg of flavanols.
These sites also report that 40-50 grams of flaxseed daily could help reduce LDL cholesterol, although the supplement in question only delivers 1g per dose.
The NIH’s PubMed references 30 clinical studies looking at some aspect of whole coffee fruit, although none made a direct correlation between its consumption and improved cardiovascular health.
The manufacturer of the proprietary NeuroFactor whole coffee fruit ingredient advertises that it’s been clinically researched to “deliver support for naturally declining neuroprotein levels in humans.” However, they don’t provide any of this evidence for third-party review.
Next, 10-14g of inulin daily is reported to help lower triglyceride levels by up to 19 percent after eight weeks of treatment.
Finally, while Gundry MD’s Heart Defense might not contain all the same ingredient dosages found in supporting clinical trials or professional recommendations, it only contains 35 calories, 1g of fat, and 68mg of sodium (the recommended limit is 1,500-2,300mg per day), so it certainly seems to represent a healthier way of ingesting flavanols than via processed chocolate.
Will Gundry MD Heart Defense Cause Any Side Effects?
According to the Natural Medicines Database and WebMD, these ingredients, when taken in the dosages above, likely won’t cause any side effects. And if they do, it likely won’t be worse than mild digestive upset (no specific circumstances noted).
However, they indicate that inulin could have a moderate interaction with diabetes and anticoagulant medications. This is why it’s always a smart idea to speak with a healthcare professional before taking any new dietary supplement, Heart Defense or otherwise.
How Much Does Gundry MD Heart Defense Cost?
Gundry MD has priced Heart Defense as follows:
- 1 Jar: $49.95 (8.99oz, 30-day supply)
- 3 Jars: $134.85 ($44.95 per jar)
- 6 Jars: $259.70 ($43.28 per jar)
All orders come with free shipping and a 90-day money back guarantee, less S&H. In order to request one, customer support can be reached at (800) 852-0477.
What Can We Learn From Heart Defense & Gundry MD Online Customer Reviews?
The only site we encountered any online feedback for the Heart Defense supplement at the time of our research was on Amazon, where one customer gave it a five-star rating due to their experience with increased energy, without jitters.
However, Gundry MD has been in business since 2016 and has released many popular supplements and skincare products in that time, including Vital Reds, Primal Plants, Dark Spot Diminisher, and Correct + Calm Redness Relief Cream.
And among well over 1,000 HighYa readers, their products have nearly a five-star overall average rating, with common compliments citing effective results, despite sometimes-higher prices than the competition.
From a company perspective, Gundry MD held an A rating with the Better Business Bureau, based on nine customer reviews (56 percent of which were negative) and 24 closed complaints, as of 10/17/17. When details were available, most of these appeared to revolve around customer service issues.
However, it’s important to point out that a company representative responded in each instance with a resolution.
How to Choose a Chocolate Flavonoid Supplement
Searching online marketplaces like Google Shopping and Amazon.com, we found dozens of chocolate flavonoid supplements competing with Heart Defense; some of which were also powdered, while others came in capsule or chewable form.
Price-wise, some could be purchased for as little as $3, while others exceeded $70. So, at $50 for a single-order option, Heart Defense certainly seems to be on the upper end of the price spectrum. How can you decide if it’s right for you?
While we didn’t test Heart Defense ourselves to provide any firsthand feedback, according to ConsumerLab’s testing (note: membership required for full study access), many cocoa supplements are “contaminated with cadmium at several times established limits,” so be sure to thoroughly research this aspect, or even contact any manufacturers you’re considering to learn more.
They also emphasize that most companies don’t list their flavanol content (as we learned with Heart Defense), although customer support should be able to provide this information. If not, you might want to consider a competitor.
Finally, they note that you should make sure the cocoa powder hasn’t been dutched, or alkali processed, which could reduce flavanol content by anywhere between 60 and 90 percent. Again, this isn’t typically something advertised by companies, so you might need to contact them directly when researching.
How does all of this add up?
Our Final Thoughts About Gundry MD Heart Defense
The bottom line is that organizations like the Natural Medicines Database, the National Institutes of Health’s PubMed, Harvard Health, and the Cleveland Clinic report that ingesting 100-200mg of cocoa flavanols per day could provide a variety of antioxidant and cardiovascular benefits, if consumed on a regular basis.
However, outside of verifying cadmium and flavanol levels, as well as ensuring the powder hasn't been dutched, none of these sites reported that customers would obtain meaningfully better results by paying a higher price.
Note: We contacted customer support, who advised that Heart Defense isn’t tested for cadmium, and (even after speaking with a supervisor) they didn’t have any information as to whether or not the cocoa powder is dutched.
With this said, Gundry MD’s products come with highly positive online customer ratings—including here on HighYa, and the company stands behind them with a 90-day refund policy, which should be more than enough time to decide if Heart Defense is right for you. Just remember that if you’re not satisfied, you’ll have to pay a few bucks to return the supplement to the manufacturer.