Hi Dr. Ferguson,
I am curious about natural ways to heal congestive heart failure. Are there natural remedies?
Answer: Heart Failure is a very serious chronic condition in which the heart fails to pump effectively and efficiently, and provide the body/organs/cells with the blood that is needed to function properly. It is a term that encompasses a variety of causes and contributing factors that disrupt the heart’s ability to pump blood to meet the body’s needs.
The occurrence of heart failure is increasing in the U.S. Approximately 6 million people in 2009 were living with the disorder, while the American Heart Association anticipates the number will increase to more than 8 million by 2030.
There are many factors that contribute to its clinical progression, including hormone imbalance and deficiency, high levels of homocysteine ( a toxic amino acid by product of cellular metabolism), vitamin and mineral deficiencies, and lack of exercise.
Any nutritional supplement to supplement standard heart failure medical treatment should be taken under a doctor’s supervision.
Recent research has found that statin drugs, through their interruption of a specific enzyme (HMG coA reductase) involved in cholesterol and CoQ10 (a potent anti-oxidant) production can increase the risk of developing and worsening heart failure.
In one study, diastolic dysfunction (heart muscle weakness) occurred in 70% of previously normal patients treated with 20 mg a day of Lipitor® for six months.
Heart muscle impairment was reversed with taking 100 mg of CoQ10 three times daily (Statin medications block the biosynthesis of both cholesterol and CoQ10, and these drugs have been shown to worsen heart muscle dysfunction in heart failure patients.
Additional studies have shown that taking CoQ10 supplementation prevents and reverses statin drug induced damage. In fact there is a patent,
A major breakthrough in heart failure research came in 2013 with the presentation of early results of a CoQ10 trial. This groundbreaking ten-year trial showed that CoQ10 supplementation significantly improves survival even for patients with severe Class III or IV heart failure while dramatically reducing incidence of hospitalization.
The heart failure patients who took 100 mg of CoQ10 three times daily were significantly less likely to have a major cardiovascular event and significantly less likely to die from any cause during the study period compared to control subjects.
Clinical research studies have also determined that nutritional deficiencies play a key role in the progression of heart failure. Potassium, zinc, magnesium, calcium and phosphate.
Numerous clinical trials have investigated the use of magnesium in heart failure patients, and have found improvement. Also, other research that specifically evaluated certain nutritional supplements helped to improve heart failure include Vitamin D, Fish Oil, Hawthorn Berries, Carnitine, and Taurine.
Exercise training is now recognized as a valuable addition to other interventions and should be considered for all heart failure patients who are stable enough to participate (Hunt 2009). Experimentally, exercise was shown to slow the progression of heart failure.
American Heart Association guidelines recommend that aerobic activity be performed for at least 30 minutes, 5 or more days per week.
Studies evaluating the effectiveness of exercise intervention in heart failure patients report improvements in skeletal muscle oxygen utilization, increased exercise capacity, muscle strength and endurance, improved diastolic function, reductions in inflammatory chemicals. Most of these benefits were seen when exercising at moderate-high intensity (70-80% of peak heart rate).
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