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Pycnogenol, CoQ10 Combo Helps Heart Failure Patients


People who have heart failure may benefit from a combination of Pycnogenol® (pine bark) and coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) along with their standard medical treatment. Individuals in a recent study experienced improvement in exercise capacity as well as other factors after taking Pycnogenol and CoQ10.

Heart function may benefit from natural therapies

Pycnogenol, a brand name for the extract from the bark of the French maritime pine tree, has been shown in numerous studies to benefit the heart, including improvements in endothelial function and blood flow. A recent study in Hypertension, for example, reported that Pycnogenol’s antioxidative properties may reduce oxidative stress, which plays a key role in endothelial dysfunction.

In the Pycnogenol/CoQ10 study, which was conducted at Chieti-Pescara University in Italy, researchers evaluated the effect of Pycnogenol and CoQ10 along with medical treatment, compared with placebo, in 53 patients (ages 54 to 68 years) with stable New York Heart Association (NYHA) class II or III heart failure. Heart failure is a condition in which the heart is unable to pump enough blood throughout the body.

At entry into the 12-week, single-blinded, placebo-controlled observational study, all the patients were taking medications, with more than 75 percent using three or more drugs for heart failure. All had an ejection fraction less than 40 percent of original capacity, determined by high-resolution ultrasound.

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The patients were divided into two groups: one received the combination capsules (15 mg Pycnogenol, 50 mg CoQ10) and the other received placebo capsules. Factors evaluated included exercise capacity (measured by walking on a treadmill), ejection fraction, and swelling in the legs.

Overall, heart ejection fraction increased by 22.4 percent in the treatment group and by 4 percent in controls. Treated patients demonstrated a 3.3-fold increase in walking distance, while the controls had only a marginal improvement. Swelling of the legs decreased significantly in the treated patients but only slightly in controls. Nine of the 32 patients who took the combo capsules and 3 of the 21 who took placebo improved NYHA class.

Signs and symptoms of heart failure (also known as congestive heart failure) include swelling (edema) in the legs, fatigue, breathlessness, and rapid heart beat (tachycardia). The NYHA classification for heart failure is based on the relationship between symptoms and the amount of effort necessary to provoke them.

This study indicates that Pycnogenol and CoQ10 may provide significant benefits for people who have stable heart failure when taken along with standard medical therapy. Pycnogenol and CoQ10 improves heart function, as well as lowers blood pressure and heart rate, benefits that could help many of the estimated 5 million Americans who have heart failure.

Belcaro G et al. Panminerva Medica 2010 June; 52( 2 Suppl 1): 21-25
Rezzani R et al. Hypertension 2010 Jun; 55(6): 1373-80



This study is a tiny single blind study of very short duration. There might be some value to it if it was not financed by the manufacturer--in which case the results would be biased and untrustworthy. I have a question for you Deborah. When you say an average increase of 22%, that means 22% added on to their current ejection fraction. So if someone had a heart ejection fraction of 25%, it could, for some patients, result in a 47% heart ejection fraction--once treatment was completed. Is that correct?
Kevin: I do not know if the study was financed by the manufacturer. That certainly is a factor everyone should consider when evaluating the results of any study. As for your question about the 22% increase. I am not a physician. I think it means a 22% increase of their current ejection fraction. Thus someone with a 25% ejection fraction (your example) who experienced a 22% increase would have a post-treatment EF of 30.5% (22% of 25 = 5.5, which is added to 25). A normal left ventricular EF is 55 or higher.
I was admitted to the ER and found out I had a ejection fraction of 15% a little over a year ago , this was found with an Echo ! I was in the hospital 5 days & were not aware I even had a heart problem? I was frantic once I was told how severe this was & made an appointment with UAB Birmingham AL. heart failure clinic. I finally had a pacemaker/defibb implanted , stopped smoking & went online to see what research was out there for heart failure? I am taking CoQ10 , Pycnogenol , & my prescribed meds to reduce the load on my heart ! I just returned Monday 9th 2016 & Drs. did another Echo & came back with the news I am at normal heart function of 56% ! Drs. were amazed and ask told me to continue everything I was taking !
I'm very happy and excited about your results. I had a heart attack the 27th of February, A 'Widow-Maker'. I completely changed my lifestyle, diet and surroundings. Just had an echo after 3 months and said all of my blood and lipids were great but my ejection fraction was at 35%. I just started daily CoQ10 , Pycnogenol, L-Carnitine , Omega-3 Fish and Krill Oil supplement, and Cayenne Pepper Tea, plus my regular meds. How soon did you start noticing improvement? I walk 2-3 miles a day, lift weights, non smoker and eat mostly fish, fresh fruits and veggies every day with no processed foods or fast food.
I noticed an improvement with my ability to function more physically without being exhausted within a 6-month time frame! My wife noticed me becoming more active around the house and I started gaining a little weight which for me was hard as I am 6'2 and 145lbs ! I couldn't confirm any data until I went back to the Dr. and another echo was done ! My BC/BS will only allow 1 echo per year unless it is an emergency ! I now weigh 160 and feel totally different & better physically than I ever have ! I am 59 and will turn 60 in a month ! Good luck !