[PHNUTR-L] Micronutrients boost life quality for elderly with heart
Kathrynne Holden, MS, RD
fivestar at nutritionucanlivewith.com
Fri Dec 16 07:51:40 PST 2005
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Micronutrients boost life quality for elderly with heart failure
12/12/2005- Supplements containing vitamins and other micronutrients can
improve heart function and quality of life in elderly patients with
chronic heart failure, claims a joint British-German study.
“Our study is unique because it is the first to look at patients with
heart failure with a combination of micronutrients. Previous studies
have enrolled elderly individuals who were otherwise fairly well, or
have used one, or rarely, two micronutrients (usually vitamins)
combined,” said lead researcher Dr Klaus Witte, of the Castle Hill
Hospital in Hull, UK.
Heart failure arises when the heart muscle becomes so weak that it can
no longer pump blood around the body, and currently afflicts about 14
million people in Europe. This is forecast to increase to 30 million by
The researchers enrolled 30 elderly patients with stable heart failure
who were randomised to receive micronutrient capsules or a placebo. The
capsules contained a high-dose combination of multivitamins along with
zinc, copper, selenium, calcium, magnesium and coenzyme-Q10.
All minerals were given in doses less than the recommended daily intake
(RDI). The doses of vitamins were in excess of the RDI, but never
greater than the upper safe limit for total daily intake.
After an average 295 days the patients given the micronutrients
displayed a 5 per cent improvement in heart function and a 10 per cent
improvement in quality of life (QoL) scores, report the scientists in
the European Heart Journal (vol 26, no 21, pp 2238-2244).
Heart health was defined by left ventricle pumping ability, while the
QoL score depended on many factors including quality of sleep, daytime
concentration levels, and exercise capacity.
Patients with CHF can have poorer diets for numerous reasons not least
because they are less able to go out and buy food regularly, suggested
“They may also use their antioxidant and other vitamins stores more
rapidly than healthy individuals as the body copes with the heart
failure,” said Witte.
While the exact role of each micronutrient is not known, the researchers
suggested that single nutrient tests might be counter-productive. Dr
Witte told NutraIngredients.com: “One of the problems with single agent
supplements is that they might just expose deficiencies elsewhere in
what is likely a complex series of interactions between micronutrients.”
The Study on Heart failure Awareness and Perception in Europe (SHAPE)
reported that 40 per cent of people with CHF would die within one year
of their first hospitalisation, and 67 per cent of patients would prefer
to improve their QoL than live longer.
The authors acknowledged the limitations of the study, both in the size
of the sample population and the length of time of the follow-up period,
and admitted significant further research is required.
Dr Witte also stressed that micronutrient supplements were unlikely to
benefit healthy people with a healthy diet.
Despite his opinion, often concurred by other scientists, sales of
supplements continue to rise. Multivitamin sales in the UK have grown
about 4 per cent between 2002 and 2004.
Kathrynne Holden, MS, RD < fivestar at nutritionucanlivewith.com >
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