Heart failure is severely disabling, with high morbidity and mortality. Part of the problem is the heart’s constant need for a very large supply of raw materials to produce a great amount of energy. The heart is “rebuilt” from new chemicals every month.
A deficiency of some nutrients is known to cause therapeutic failures, causing patient deaths and readmissions to hospitals. This article summarizes clinical trials treating heart failure with micronutrients. Deficiencies of CoQ-10, l-carnitine, thiamine and other B vitamins, amino acids (including taurine,) and energy transfer cofactors are reported in patients with heart failure. L-carnitine, thiamine and taurine meet the following criteria:
1. An essential metabolic enzyme for energy pathways.
2. Reduced levels have been documented in heart failure.
3. Deficiency can cause cardiac or skeletal muscle disease.
4. Treatment can reverse the symptoms of deficiency.
CoQ-10 carries electrons in metabolic pathways of mitochondria, is an antioxidant and protects LDL-cholesterol from oxidation. Food sources of CoQ-10 are meat, poultry and oils. Tyrosine is used by the body to produce CoQ-10. Average doses are 60 to 300 mg/day.
L-carnitine is an amino acid produced from lysine and methionine. Propionyl-l-carnitine is even more effective in heart muscle cells and increases contractility of rat heart muscle.
Thiamine is obtained from whole grains, legumes and nuts. The body does not produce it. Doses as low as 1.5 mg. help patients with heart failure. Furosimide, a diuretic commonly used in heart failure, can deplete the body load of thiamine. One study gave 200 mg. of thiamine with furosimide and significantly improved failure in the patients. Vitamins B-2 and B-6 are, also, important.
Taurine comes from fish and milk. Taurine can be made from cysteine and methionine by the human body. Taurine doses are up to 1 gm three times a day.
Important to energy metabolism are the following: creatine, vitamin D, magnesium, potassium, zinc and selenium. Multiple nutrient supplements are suggested in heart failure patients.
CONCLUSION: Micronutrient deficiencies complicate the treatment of heart failure. This is especially true for CoQ-10, taurine, thiamine and carnitine. Improvement by replacing these nutrients is “promising,” but, not “conclusive.”
NOTE: Read about the benefits of d-ribose in congestive heart failure.
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