Question

Heart Disease

What are natural treatments for congestive heart failure?

A Answers (3)

  • Heart failure treatment should be approached by physicians and patients in an evidenced-based way.  Medications such as beta blockers, ACE inhibitors, aldosterone antagonists, digitalis glycosides, and diuretics have been found to be clinically useful in patients with heart failure.  There are a number of "natural" remedies for heart failure that have been purported over many years.  These should be discussed with a physician that is treating the heart failure to assess their likelihood of improving symptoms or the heart dysfunction itself.  One example of a good natural treatment for congestive heart failure would be avoidance of excessive salt and water intake.  Patients with congestive heart failure may be required to decrease their daily salt intake to 2000 mg (2 g) and perhaps decrease their water intake to less than 64 ounces of water per day.  These targets may vary based on clinical condition. There are small trials that suggest co-enzyme Q10 may have some positive impact in heart failure. Larger, definitive trials are in process with NIH/NHLBI. Omega-3 Fatty Acids also have a role in HF as defined by the GISSI-HF trial.  There is a small improvement in mortality (chance of death) in this study in those taking 1 gram of fish oil daily.
  • Creatine: Creatine is naturally synthesized in the human body from amino acids primarily in the kidney and liver, and transported in the blood for use by muscles. Cardiac creatine levels have been reported as depressed in patients with chronic congestive heart failure. Several studies report that creatine supplementation is associated with improved heart muscle strength, body weight, and endurance in patients with heart failure. However, it is not clear what dose may be safe or effective. Supplementation is also reported to increase creatine in skeletal muscle in these patients, helping to increase strength and endurance. Well-designed studies comparing creatine with drugs used to treat heart failure are needed.

    Avoid if allergic to creatine or with diuretics (like hydrochlorothiazide, furosemide (Lasix®)). Use caution in asthma, diabetes, gout, kidney, liver, or muscle problems, stroke or a history of these conditions. Avoid dehydration. Avoid if pregnant or breastfeeding.

    You should read product labels, and discuss all therapies with a qualified healthcare provider. Natural Standard information does not constitute medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

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  • AJacob Teitelbaum, Integrative Medicine, answered

    Treating the underlying high blood pressure, valve problem, or angina is important. I rarely see heart valve surgery recommended unnecessarily, and cardiologists are very good with this issue. Follow your physician's advice for lowering blood pressure as well.

    Fortunately, natural remedies do an excellent job at improving heart muscle efficiency, and even modest improvements can improve function dramatically. The following recipe should be tried by anyone with heart disease (unless they have associated kidney failure, in which case the magnesium part of the treatment should be monitored by their physician).

    Give these nutrients a six week trial to see the optimal effects. The benefits for heart health are often dramatic!

    Ribose powder looks and tastes like sugar, and is a key to energy production in the body - including the heart. Take 1 scoop (5 gms) 3 times a day for 6 weeks, then twice a day. This nutrient is outstanding for heart disease and is the most important one. You will likely be amazed after 6 weeks on it!

    Take coenzyme Q10 400 mg/day for 6 weeks, then 200 mg/day. This nutrient is especially critical for anyone on cholesterol lowering medications, even if there is no heart problem, as these medications cause coenzyme Q10 deficiency, and this nutrient is critical for energy production.

    Take magnesium 200 mg/day and B complex 50+ mg/day.

    Take acetyl-L-carnitine 500 mg 3 times a day for 6 weeks, then 500 mg/day is enough (and it can often simply be stopped).

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