Heart failure is when the heart loses power and is no longer able to deliver blood to the different parts of the body. Typical symptoms are shortness of breath and physical exhaustion. There may also be symptoms like fluid retention, persistent coughing, chest tightness, increased sweating, or cold sensitivity. Chronic heart failure may be caused by different things, and it is a life-threatening condition. However, according to a study that is published in Journal of Clinical Investigation, magnesium supplementation can improve a type of heart failure called diastolic dysfunction. Previous studies have demonstrated that supplements of Q10 can also improve cardiac function in patients with heart failure.
The heart is a hard-working muscle that contracts approximately 100,000 times every day to send around 6,000 liters of blood through the circulatory system. Not surprisingly, the heart needs a lot of energy, and the heart uses around 25% of the energy when we are resting. The energy turnover takes place inside the mitochondria of the heart muscle cells that are like small powerhouses. Because the heart is hard at work around the clock, there are particularly many mitochondria in heart muscle cells.
Millions of people all over the globe are affected by chronic heart failure. The condition normally develops slowly and occurs because the heart no longer has the strength to pump blood through the circulatory system. According to the statistics, around 33 percent of patients die one year after being hospitalized with heart failure for the first time. It is therefore vital to take good care of your heart.
Magnesium supplements work against diastolic heart failure
Scientists from University of Minnesota Medical School have conducted a study of mice and found that magnesium supplementation helps treat diastolic heart failure, which is a condition where one or both ventricles fail to fill properly. What the scientists also observed was that oxidative stress damages the mitochondria in the heart muscle cells, and that can lead to diastolic heart failure. Oxidative stress is when the body gets exposed to an overload of harmful free radicals, which are aggressive molecules that attack cells and mitochondria. Because magnesium is of vital importance to mitochondrial function the scientists decided to see if magnesium supplementation could help the mice. The saw that magnesium eliminated the basic factors involved in causing diastolic heart failure
Magnesium and its effect on blood sugar and circulation
It is a known fact that overweight and type 2 diabetes are risk factors of cardiovascular disease, among other reasons because of insulin resistance and permanently elevated blood sugar. What the researchers observed was that magnesium supplementation improved mitochondrial function and blood sugar status in the test animals.
It is known that patients suffering from diastolic heart failure have impaired quality of life, increased mortality, and the disease is associated with great financial costs. According to Dr. Samuel Dudley, PhD, who headed the study, the research team now has a theory about what causes diastolic heart failure, and what one can do to treat the condition. The next step is human studies, and it is even possible that magnesium supplements can help treat atrial fibrillation.
The new study is published in Journal of Clinical Investigation.
The heart and the mitochondria also need Q10
As described, heart muscle cells contain a myriad of mitochondria that are responsible for the energy turnover, and this process requires the presence of Q10. This compound is a coenzyme that delivers electrons in the so-called electron transport chain to produce ATP (adenosine triphosphate). Q10 is also a powerful antioxidant that protects the mitochondria and the cells against oxidative stress. It is through this mechanism that Q10 protects the heart and the blood vessels against atherosclerosis.
We humans synthesize most of the Q10 that we need, but our endogenous synthesis decreases with age. As a consequence of this, levels of Q10 in the heart muscle also go down, as we grow older. Moreover, heart failure patients have lower concentrations of Q10 in their heart tissue than you find in healthy people, and cholesterol-lowering drugs (statins) also inhibit the body’s own synthesis of the compound, thereby giving increased need for Q10.
Controlled studies of Q10 and heart failure patients
The now deceased Danish physician and heart specialist, Dr. Svend Aage Mortensen, headed the large Q-Symbio study that documents Q10’s effect on chronic heart failure. The study included 420 heart failure patients, all of which received conventional therapy for their condition. In addition, half the patients were given three 100 mg capsules of Q10 as adjuvant therapy, while the other half got matching placebo. After 16 weeks, the scientists observed that levels of a protein named BNP (B-type natriuretic peptide) had dropped in the Q10-treated patients. This protein is produced by the heart if the heart muscle works under stress. Levels of BNP in the placebo group had increased. In other words, Q10 helps de-stress or relax the heart and enables it to pump with less effort.
After two years, there were 43 percent fewer heart-related deaths in the Q10 group compared with the placebo group. Also, there were substantially fewer hospitalizations among the Q10-treated patients.
The Swedish KiSel-10 study, which was carried out on health older men and women, showed that those who were supplemented with 200 mg of Q10 and 200 micrograms of selenium yeast had a 54% lower cardiovascular mortality rate. The participants, who took the two active supplements, also had improved heart muscle function in contrast to those in the placebo group.
The scientists followed up on the study after 10 and 12 years and found that the Q10 and selenium supplements had a long-term effect by offering a continued positive effect on heart function and survival.
The Swedish scientists chose to combine Q10 with selenium because the soil in Scandinavian countries is low in selenium and because selenium improves the effect of Q10.
Several studies have demonstrated Q10’s positive impact on heart failure and elevated blood pressure. It also appears that Q10 supplementation improves cardiac strength and counteracts atherosclerosis.
Man Liu et al. Magnesium supplementation improves diabetic mitochondrial and cardiac diastolic function. JCL Insight. 2019
Mortensen, Svend Aage. Overview on coenzyme Q10 as adjunctive therapy in chronic heart failure. Rationale, design and endpoints on “Q-Symbio” – A multinational trial. Biofactors 18 (2003) IOS Press
Alehagen U, et al. Cardiovascular mortality and N-Terminal-proBNP reduced after combined selenium and coenzyme Q10 supplementation. Int J Cardiol. 2012
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