Want a Long, Healthy Life? Strengthen Your Heart Muscle

By Michael A. Smith, MD

Congested heart failure (CHF) is a condition where your heart muscle weakens to the point that it struggles to pump blood throughout your body. This failure to efficiently pump blood can lead to symptoms like shortness of breath, chest pain, and even swelling of your legs. It almost goes without saying, but CHF can have a seriously negative impact on your quality of life.

CHF comes in a spectrum of severity, ranging from mild impairment to extremely severe and debilitating. However, even if you have no heart problems whatsoever, strengthening your heart muscle should be a top priority. Below, we’ll look at a few nutritional supplements that can help you do just that.

CoQ10 Can Strengthen Your Heart

Studies have shown that nutrients can help strengthen the heart with fewer side effects than the powerful drugs typically used to treat CHF. CoQ10 is one that certainly stands out.

The goal with nutrients is the same as with traditional drugs: to strengthen heart muscle contractions and improve blood flow throughout the body. In CHF, the heart muscle progressively becomes weaker because it enlarges in a process known as cardiac remodeling.1 This process of muscle remodeling is the primary culprit behind the reduced quality of life people with CHF experience.

By strengthening the muscle contractions of the heart, it may be possible to actually slow cardiac remodeling. In this regard, CoQ10 is a key player. It’s been studied in this capacity since the 1960s and it continues to show promise in helping people with CHF.

The following studies examined CoQ10 in CHF:

  • A meta-analysis of several CoQ10 studies between 1966 and 2005 found an overall improvement in ejection fraction – the percent of blood pumped out of the heart. The authors concluded that CoQ10 is well tolerated, with few side effects.2
  • Researchers reviewing clinical trials involving 1,000 patients with CHF found a significant improvement in exercise tolerance and reduced classification of CHF severity with CoQ10.3
  • A study of 32 patients with the most severe classification of CHF (NYHA Class IV) showed improvement in heart function and reduction in symptoms after taking CoQ10.4
There are two commercially available forms of CoQ10: ubiquinone and ubiquinol. The ubiquinol form is the one that you want, as it’s far better absorbed by your system than ubiquinonei We’re often asked what the optimal CoQ10 dose is. The answer, however, depends on your blood level. Our recommendation is to check your own CoQ10 blood level with a CoQ10 blood test, and from there you’ll be able to find the perfect dose for your own system.

Absorption of Ubiquinol vs. Ubiquinone

Of course, if you need help finding a blood test or interpreting your results, you can always call our health advisors for assistance at 1-800-226-2370.

Enhancing Cardiac Strength & Energy with D-Ribose

D-ribose is a carbohydrate molecule found in every living organism which facilitates the production of cell energy.5 Its connection to heart function was first discovered by the physiologist Heinz-Gerd Zimmer at the University of Munich. He reported that energy-starved heart cells could recover faster if D-ribose was given immediately following a reduction in oxygenated blood flow.

In studies of healthy athletes, supplying fatigued muscle cells with D-ribose quickly restored cell energy to normal levels.6 Restoration of cell energy production was also seen in animal models with damaged heart muscles following D-ribose administration.7

In another study using D-ribose, the researchers showed an improvement in cardiac function and quality of life in patients with CHF. The administration of D-ribose improved the filling of the heart’s major chambers, allowing for an increase in blood flow to the body.

The authors concluded that their study revealed the beneficial effects of D-ribose in patients with coronary artery disease and CHF.8

Is a Strong Heart Important to You?

Whether you’ve been diagnosed with CHF or not, having a strong heart is essential to leading a healthy life. For this reason, proactively supporting your heart muscle with nutrients like CoQ10 and D-ribose is a solid strategy everyone should consider.

Heart disease is our number 1 killer. As such, protecting the function of your heart muscle is crucial to longevity. Want to increase your chances of going the distance? Eat right, exercise, make solid lifestyle choices, and consider supplementing with these proven, heart-supporting nutrients. There’s no better time than now to make heart health a priority.

References

  1. Cardiovasc Pathol. 2005 May-Jun;14(3):109-19.
  2. Ann Pharmacother. 2005 Sep;39(9):1522-6.
  3. Biofactors. 2003;18(1-4):79-89.
  4. Clin Cardiol. 2004 May;27(5):295-9.
  5. Hypotheses. 2004;62(5):819-24.
  6. Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 2004 Jan;286(1):R182-8.
  7. J Mol Cell Cardiol. 1984 Sep;16(9):863-6.
  8. Eur J Heart Fail. 2003 Oct;5(5):615-9.

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