Natural remedies for strengthening the heart tend to help significantly with symptoms such as arrhythmia and angina, and can also make a big difference in people with congestive heart failure. Three of the most effective are coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), hawthorn berries, and carnitine. The information in this article is taken from Presciption Alternatives (Bottom Lines, pp. 100-101, authored by Earl L. Mindell, RPh with Virginia Hopkins, MA). Note: It is very important to talk to your doctor and get his OK before taking any supplements.
Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10)
CoQ10 has the ability to protect and strengthen the heart and lower blood pressure. CoQ10 is a vital enzyme, a catalyst to the production of energy in our cells. Without it, our cells simply won’t work. It’s chemical name is ubiquinone – it is ubiquitous, or everywhere, where there is life. Its levels in the human body are highest in the heart and liver. When we are ill or stressed, and as we age, our bodies are less able to produce CoQ10.
According to a study done by CoQ10 expert Karl Folkers, published in the International Journal of Vitamin and Nutrition Research, patients with a variety of cardiac disorders consistently demonstrate a blood deficiency of CoQ10. A double-blind Japanese study with 10 patients who had cardiac failure showed that only 30 mg per day of CoQ10 for two to four weeks produced a measurable improvement in symptoms. Many older people whose heart function has degenerated and who try CoQ10 report an almost immediate boost in their energy levels.
People who suffer from angina report that the pain disappears and they can exercise. In a double-blind placebo study using CoQ10 and other drugs traditionally used to treat angina , it was found that CoQ10 was far more effective in reducing or eliminating angina pain than any of the other medications. Other studies have shown that people on heart medications can greatly reduce their dosage of medicine if it is combined with CoQ10.
Statin drugs, which are being taken by millions of people to control high cholesterol — which is thought to be a significant risk factor for heart disease — deplete the body’s stores of CoQ10. In other words, by taking a drug that’s supposed to reduce the risk of heart disease, these millions may actually be increasing it. If you have to take a statin drug such as Zocor or Pravachol, be sure to supplement with CoQ10.
This nutrient is a valuble natural therapy for periodontal disease. Following the dosage instructions below will have the fringe benefit of clearing up inflammed gums. Interestingly, people with chronic periodontal disease have significantly higher risk of heart disease. Some research indicates that this connection has to do with elevated inflammatory levels throughout the body, but it may also have to do with CoQ10 depletion.
The best way to take CoQ10 is in a gel capsule, with the CoQ10 absorbed in soy oil. Oil-based supplements are more bioavailable — and therefore more potent — because CoQ10 is a fat-soluble nutrient. You can take one 30 to 60 mg capsule up to three times a day with meals. If you have serious heart disease, you can double that amount for a few months. Always get your doctor’s OK before using any supplements.
Hawthorn berries have been used as heart tonic for centuries and are widely used in Europe for angina and for lowering blood pressure. They are rich in bioflavonoids, which help strengthen the blood vessels. they are also a vasodilator, which increases the flow of blood and oxygen to the heart, lowers blood pressure and strengthens the heart muscle.
Hawthorne berries work gradually, and you may not notice a difference for a month or so. You can find hawthorn berry extract in capsule or tincture forms. Because the amount vary widely. follow directions for use on the bottle. Some of the tinctures can be very powerful, so it is very important that if you’re already on heart medicine you work with your doctor.
This amino acid is another heart-strengthening nutrient that appears to be especially useful for treating angina and congestive heart failure.
Source: Earl L. MIndell, RPh, PhD with Virginia Hopkins, MA, (Bottom Line’s Prescription Alternatives, pp. 100-101)