Q. Dear Terry, “My mother-in-law was diagnosed with congestive heart failure several years ago. She’s on several medications that seem to have her condition mostly under control. Is there anything else she could be taking to help prevent her heart issues from getting worse?” – Jerome B., West Palm Beach, FL
A. Dear Jerome, Congestive heart failure (CHF) is a condition that typically affects people as they age. The heart muscle is unable to pump blood as effectively as it should, which can lead to symptoms like shortness of breath, fatigue, weakness, heart rhythm changes, lower extremity swelling, and others. I highly recommend your mother-in-law keep her healthcare practitioner in the loop with any supplementation she is considering. With that being said, I believe there are some natural ingredients that can make a real difference.
Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is a natural substance produced in the body, but levels decrease with age. In fact, people with more severe CHF have been shown to be deficient in CoQ10 levels in the heart. CoQ10 has been shown to improve ejection fraction, cardiac output, and quality of life, without any side effects.
Two forms of supplemental CoQ10 are available, and that may lead to some confusion about which is best. My answer is: they are both good choices. The ubiquinol form is referred to as reduced or bioactive CoQ10. This form of CoQ10 is a good option for people who are older, may have liver issues, or other health conditions. There is also an enhanced absorption CoQ10 (as ubiquinone) using a plant-based starch that can increase CoQ10 absorption by 800%. I recommend 100 mg of ubiquinol or ubiquinone CoQ10 per day.
Another one of my favorite ingredients for supporting the heart and circulation is grape seed extract. The most common cause of CHF is from some type of coronary artery disease. Grape seed extract is perhaps one of the most powerful, natural compounds for the cardiovascular system. This botanical can work in numerous ways to support circulation: reduces high blood pressure, protects the blood vessel walls from free radical damage, and prevents the dangerous oxidation of LDL cholesterol. Grape seed extract has also been shown to decrease the risk of blood clotting, without adverse effects on blood thinning. The grape seed extract I prefer is a French grape seed extract, which is tannin-free and only contains low-molecular weight oligomeric proanthocyanidins (OPCs) that are well absorbed.
Grape seed extract works even better when combined with a few other heart-supportive ingredients. I recommend 30 mg of vitamin B6 (as P-5-P), 300 mg of magnesium (as magnesium bisglycinate chelate), 600 mg of French grape seed extract and pomegranate, and 150 mg of benfotiamine.
Terry . . . Naturally