Heart failure exists when the heart cannot pump enough blood to meet the body’s needs. Congestive heart failure (CHF) develops gradually, as the pumping action of the heart grows weaker. It can be either right-sided or bilateral. When right-sided heart failure occurs, the heart cannot pump enough blood to the lungs to gain oxygen. It causes fluid to build up in the feet, ankles, legs, liver, abdomen and in the veins in the neck. When left-sided heart failure occurs, the heart cannot pump enough oxygen-rich blood to the rest of the body. About 5.7 million Americans have heart failure, resulting in 300,000 deaths per year and 400,000 new cases diagnosed annually (source: NHLBI). Fatigue and shortness of breath are common symptoms.
There are many natural treatments that can improve the condition of those suffering from congestive heart failure. There is a lot of research showing that these patients can benefit from coenzyme Q10. Research appearing in Clinical Investigator (1993;71:S 145-S 149) showed that 54% patients receiving three months of coenzyme Q10 supplementation (between 50 and 150 milligrams per day) had improvements in at least three symptoms of heart failure. Large percentages of patients experienced improvements with 81% having less cyanosis, 76.9% with less edema, 54.% having less shortness of breath, 62% having less arrhythmia and 73% having less vertigo. Also, the severity of symptoms correlate with low coenzyme Q10 levels, according to research that appeared in the International Journal of Tissue Reactions (1990;12(3):155-162).
Carnitine is another supplement that seems to be of value to patients with congestive heart failure. Research that appeared in the American Heart Journal (February, 2000;139(2 Part 3):S120-S123) showed that carnitine supplementation over a period of nearly 34 months improved the survival rate of CHF patients. In the journal Circulation (January 1992;56:86-94) myocardial damage was able to be prevented in hamsters. Supplementation in 12 CHF patients improved exercise tolerance. In research appearing in Acta Cardiology (2007; 62(4): 349-54) showed that supplementing CHF patients with a combination of carnitine and coenzyme Q10 produced favorable results in CHF patients. In the double-blind, placebo controlled study patients receiving coenzyme Q10 and carnitine for a period of 12 weeks had lower levels of chemicals that indicate the presence of inflammation (interleukin-6 and TNF-alpha) and had less fatigue and shortness of breath when compared to controls.