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speedster, October 15,  2019  9:10pm EST

Discussion about supplements and/or herbs for heart failure

I would like to see a discussion on this thread about supplements and/or herbs anyone here is taking (alongside with your regular HF medications). I am specifically interested in the following:

CoQ10, Fish Oil, Hawthorn Berry, L-Cartinine, Magnesium, D-ribose, Taurine, Vitamin D.

If you are taking any of these - or any other supplements and/or herbs - please comment about it. Also, did you let your doctor know you are taking a supplement? Did your doctor say it was okay for you to take the supplement and/or herb alongside your HF medications?

In regards to my above list of supplements, I mentioned fish oil, Hawthorn Berry. L-Cartinine, and Magnesium. I have read a lot of really good things about them for people with HF, but at the same time I have read things that have me concerned about them. Here below are my concerns: 

Fish Oil - I have read it can thin the blood too much when taken with a blood thinner ... possibly causing excessive bleeding from minor everday cuts.On the other hand, I have read it is safe with blood thinners if you take a modest amount - such as 1-2 grams daily. It just depends on what you read and believe in regards to the safety of fish oil used with blood thinners.

Hawthorn Berry - Hawthorn is an herb, and on the webmd website it lists several heart medications that can have a major interaction with this herb. Also, after listing specific dosages for someone wanting to try Hawthorn to treat their HF, they (webmd) wrote: "These dosages have been shown to improve heart failure in some people, but they have also been shown to increase the risk of death by being hospitalized due to heart failure". This is a bit scary. Although, I did look at a few other websites about Hawthorn, and they didn't mention that "it also has been shown to increase the risk of death or being hospitialized due to heart failure". But, they DID mention that it can interact with various heart medications (as webmd also mentioned). Maybe it 'increased the risk of death or being hospitialized" due to the interactions of those heart medications? I don't know ... it's just a guess on my part. Still, it would seem every website would mentioned that it had been shown to increase death of people with heart failure taking this herb. But as I said, I didn't see it anywhere else in the few other websites I've look at about Hawthorn Berry. Maybe if I research it a bit further then I will see it, but I don't know.

L-Cartinine - On the Doctor Oz website, he says he at one time recommened L-Cartinine. In his article (written in 2013) he says  the latest research shows it can be converted to a substance in the body called TMA. And TMA is a compound that has been linked to plaque build-up in the arteries and heart disease. Doctor Oz used to recommend L-Cartinine, but as he said in the article... "Now I'm saying DON'T take it!"

Magnesium - This is yet another supplement with contradictions. While it is often said people with heart failure tend to be low in Magnesium and that it is very important to get an adequate amount, I have also seen negative things written about this supplement. Webmd basically recommends to not take more than the RDA recommended amount of this supplement. They said very high doses of magnesium supplements can kill you, though I've seen in other websites that high doses might make you sick & other health complications but vary rarely will it kill you. Also, webmd says magnesium supplements can interact with "diuretics, heart medicines, and antibiotics". And another website says: "If you have Kidney Disease, myasthenia gravis, Atrial Fibrillation, a slow heart rate or a HIGH Magnesium Level- supplementation COULD make your condition worse.  Be safe and talk to your doctor if you have any of the above conditions".

So, of the original supplements I listed at the start of my post, the above 4 are the ones I have the most concern with. I've read quite a bit of really good things about them in regards to helping improve the condition of heart failure, but the concerns I listed above are enough to make me not want to recommend them for people with heart failure. Still, it doesn't mean I am right in my assessment of them, because maybe someone else has read enough about them to have a different view. If so, I would certainly like to know your opinion.

In regards to the other supplements on my orignal list (CoQ10, D-ribose, Taurine, Vitamin D), overall I didn't see anything particulary negative about those supplements -- other than (as with any supplement or drug) don't take crazy amounts of them. However, I did see on at least one website that with the supplement (or vitamin) of Vitamin D that it can interact with Digoxin (Lanoxin), and it can interact with Thiazide diuretics. 

As I wrote earlier in this post, please post here on this thread any supplements you are taking to help with your heart failure and also post whether your doctor said it was okay for you to take the supplement alongside with your HF medications. 

P.S. - I don't know if we are allowed to post links here, so I will instead recommend you do a internet search for an article titled: "Nutritional Causes of Congestive Heart Failure Are Completely Underestimated". It makes you wonder if we should put much more focus onto nutrition instead of only drugs. Yes, drugs are certainly helpful, but we should not ignore the impact nutrition (or lack of) has on heart failure.

7 Replies
  • amoeba
    amoeba, October 17,  2019  3:30am EST

    I've written about NR (Nicotinamide Riboside), sold as Niagen, here before. I was diagnsed with CHF in July 2016 and started taking NR/Niagen a few months later at 150 mg until 2017 when I increaed the dose to 250 mg and then to 300 mg in the morning (for $1.25) when the maker changed the amount of NR in one capsule from 125 mg to 150 mg. 300 mg in the morning is their recommended dose but quite a few take 600 mg a day. NR is a type of vitamin B3 that has been shown to be safe up to 2,000 mg a day and boosts NAD+ in the blood by 50% at 300 mg. (150 mg boosts NAD+ by about 25%.)

    We still have the amount of NAD+ in all of our cells at age 20 that we had at age 10 but at some point that begins to decline  to where by age 50, we are down to 50% and by age 80 less than 20%. Dr. Charles Brenner of the Univesity of Iowa is a leading researcher of NR and NAD+ and says that a failing heart needs more NAD+ and that NR provides this. Mice in heart failre have recovered and NR has hlped prevent mice from going into heart failure as well.

    The University of Washington has completed a small NR/Niagen trial on heart failure patients who have an EF under 35%. They started at 250 mg a day for a week, then 500 mg a day for a week, then 1,000 mg a day for a week and finally the next five weeks at 2,000 mg a day.  Based on when the trial was completed and average publishing time, we should know the reslts next spring but possibly sooner. 

    Some may have been following Dr. David Sinclair at Harvard, who has a new book out on aging and trying to reverse some aspects of that. He focuses on NMN, which is very similar to NR and can also be bought online, and he recently said that he doesn't know yet if one is better han the other for various health concerns. 





  • jerzeycate
    jerzeycate, October 20,  2019  3:46am EST

    Good Morning Amoeba,

    I applaud your efforts to take on heart failure in a total body approach.

    However, it must be said that all supplements, vitamins etc interact with medications a patient may be taking. It can change the way the medication works ot its effectiveness.

    PLEASE discuss any additional vitamins, minerals...supplements in general with your physician. This will help ensure that you are not taking something that may, in some cases interfere with your treatment protocol.

    Thanks again for the information...


  • amoeba
    amoeba, October 22,  2019  4:37am EST

    I disagree that "all supplements, vitamins etc. interact with medications a patient may be taking." Vitamin D3 at 4,000 IU taken daily has been shown to raise an average EF of 120 heart failure patients from 26% to 34% after a year. Vitamin A and vitamin C won't interfere with medication either. I assume everyone is telling doctors what supplements they take as I have. Mine told me NR (Niagen) should be fine, yet I had to explain to him what it is. 

    If the human trials of NR on heart failure patients at the Uniiversity of Washington turns out well, doctors will quickly become much more aware.  

  • jerzeycate
    jerzeycate, October 25,  2019  1:02am EST


    Here is what years of research has shown...

    From the FDA

    "Some dietary supplements may increase the effect of your medication, and other dietary supplements may decrease it."

    "Certain dietary supplements can change absorption, metabolism, or excretion of a medication and therefore affect its potency. “You may be getting either too much or too little of a medication you need,” 

    "Consequently, combining dietary supplements and medications could have dangerous and even life-threatening effects."


    There are many more resources regarding this topic.

    Because all vitamins/supplements interact with and impact medications you are taking it is imperative that you let your doctor know which you are taking. It's also a good idea to read some of the research so that, like amoeba, you know what's happening in this area and can discuss with your doctors if specific vitamins/supplements might help your specific situation.

    It's A Great Day To Be Alive...


  • amoeba
    amoeba, October 26,  2019  3:53pm EST


    This is what you quoted from the FDA: "Some dietary supplements may increase the effect of your medication, and other dietary supplements may decrease it."

    Yet you concluded: "Because all vitamins/supplements interact with and impact medications you are taking..."

    The FDA would not say all supplements interact with medication. I also wrote I assumed people tell doctors what they are aking as my doctor's nurse asks at each check up.



  • jerzeycate
    jerzeycate, October 27,  2019  11:09am EST

    Good Morning Amoeba,

    As I said earlier I applaud the changes you have made and your use of vitamins, minerals and other supplements to improve your heart health.

    My concern, as always, is for the newly diagnosed person who might come across this thread and decide to add them without speaking to their physician.

    As for vitamins, minerals interacting with the medications we take and how they work--it goes back to hgh school chemistry class.  Whenever you ix one chemical with another they impact each other and affect the way in which they work. As you add more it becomes difficult to know how any of them will respond to the mix., This also goes for something like the caffeine that is in coffee,

    Each of us has a unique metabolism that is impacted by multiple factors. We metabolize substances at different rates. Taking supplements together with medications increase the possibility of adverse effects. Many people, especially .lly those desperate to improve their health, will see a post and think ""Wow, it helped him/her I'm going to try that" and add it without seeking the advice of a health care professional. This is not just vitamins and minerals, they will sometimes do this with medications--either adding something or increasing/decreasing the dose of a medication they are taking. The consequences can be quite serious.

    I wish you the best in your ongoing efforts.

    It's A Great Day To Be Alive...


  • amoeba
    amoeba, October 27,  2019  2:19pm EST

    "Whenever you mix one chemical with another they impact each other and affect the way in which they work"

    This just isn't true for many compounds. Mayo clinic has a list of supplements that can affect certain heart medications:  

    "Several popular herbal supplements interact with common heart medications. This list covers only some interactions. It's important to talk to your doctor before taking any herbal supplements if you take prescription medications.

    Coenzyme Q-10

    Taking coenzyme Q-10 can decrease:

    • The effectiveness of warfarin
    • Your blood pressure if you also take a calcium channel blocker, such as diltiazem (Cardizem, Dilacor XR, others)

    More at the link below.

    Eventually, doctors will understand what NR/Niagen, a form of viamin B3, can and cannot do. Last year a small study of 24 healthy non-obese people ages 55 to 79 at the University of Colorado - Boulder revealed that those taking 500 mg of NR/Niagen twice a day for six weeks had a 10 point reduction in systolic blood pressure for those who had pre-hypertension but there was no change for those who had normal blood pressure. The authors wrote: “If this magnitude of systolic blood pressure reduction with NR supplementation is confirmed in a larger clinical trial, such an effect could have broad biomedical implications.” A 25% reduction in the risk of a heart attack. NR also reduced arterial stiffness but not clear to me by how much.


    An article on NR and blood pressure:


    The University of Colorado NR study:


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