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FAQ (Health)

 Dr. George Jacob
Heart Infocenter



Complementary and Alternative Medicine for Cardiomyopathy

Please our section on cardiovascular health to learn all the alternative medicine remedies available for healthy cardiovascular health.

Nutrition and Diet Therapy

Nutrition may play a role in some forms of cardiomyopathy. Niacin deficiency , thiamin deficiency and protein deficiency as well as deficiency in calcium and magnesium are examples of nutritional deficiencies that can cause cardiomyopathy.

Reduce the intake of salt.

Shortages of nutrients such as selenium and vitamin E may make the heart vulnerable to damage.

See Also:

Coenzyme Q10

A growing number of nutrition oriented doctors believe that Coenzyme Q10 supplementation is essential for people with heart failure. According to them, Co Q10 may have allowed several of their patients to live longer, more active lives. It is also useful as a complementary therapy if you are waiting for heart transplant.
Several studies have been conducted that looked at coenzyme Q10's role in cardiovascular disease. The studies showed that coenzyme Q10 has clinical benefits for 70 percent of the patients having congestive heart failure. Coenzyme Q10 is normally concentrated in the heart muscle, and levels drop when the heart begins to fail.

In cardiomyopathy and other kinds of heart failure, supplements of coenzyme Q10 are thought to help the remaining muscle cells do their jobs more efficiently. 
People with low levels of coenzyme Q10 aren't getting enough of the vitamins necessary to convert the amino acid tyrosine to coenzyme Q10.

Recommended Dose:
Take 120 to 360 milligrams of coenzyme Q10 a day, taken in doses of no more than 180 milligrams at a time.

Generally, people who have heart failure begin to see an improvement in symptoms in about four weeks, although some people may take as long as three months. Maximum improvement occurs after six months.

See Also: Benefits of Co Enzyme Q-10 Supplementation in Cardiovascular Health


In 1979, Chinese scientists reported an association between low selenium intake and a condition called Keshan disease, a form of cardiomyopathy that affects primarily children and women of childbearing age.

People in certain parts of China were getting little selenium in their diets because the soil in their region contained almost none. Chinese veterinarians noticed that some animals suffered from the heart condition in this region. Their study led to doctors to make the connection between human cardiomyopathy and selenium. Chinese doctors found that they can prevent cardiomyopathy with selenium supplements.

Selenium deficiency alone doesn't seem to cause cardiomyopathy. Researchers think that cardiomyopathy develops in selenium-deficient people who have been exposed to certain viruses that affect the heart muscle.

Research in United States showed that when laboratory animals were exposed to a virus called Coxsackie, they remained healthy when they had enough selenium. When the virus was exposed to animals that were deficient in Selenium, it caused extensive heart damage.

We do not know how selenium protects the heart muscle from viral damage. Experts suggest that it may be related to the antioxidant properties of selenium. Virus attacks can cause the release of free radicals. This damages the healthy cells in our body. Antioxidants neutralize the effect of the free radicals, preventing their damage.

Some research has shown that to provide optimum antioxidant or immunity-stimulating protection, we need to take selenium supplements of 50 to 200 micrograms a day.

However, supplements of more than 100 micrograms of selenium a day should be taken only under medical supervision, since it can be toxic in large amounts. Stop taking selenium if you develop a persistent garlic odor on your breath and skin, loss of hair, fragile or black fingernails, a metallic taste in your mouth, or dizziness or nausea with no apparent cause. These symptoms mean that you're getting too much.

Sources of selenium include seafood, meats, grains, seeds, garlic and mushrooms.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is another vitamin that is important for cardiomyopathy. 
Animal studies have shown that cardiomyopathy problems are more likely to be worse in the animals that have simultaneous deficiencies of selenium and vitamin E. Either supplementation was found to restore the harmful effect of the deficiency. Furthermore, vitamin E was found to protect the heart against cardiomyopathy caused by magnesium deficiency also.

Vitamin E has antiviral and antioxidant properties. It may help protect the heart against infection and toxins. It may also help prevent the development of atherosclerosis that could make a failing heart even weaker.

Take 400 IU of Vitamin E daily.
Note: If you are taking anticoagulant drugs, do not take vitamin E supplements.


Animal studies have shown that deficiency of magnesium can lead to heart muscle damage and subsequently to heart failure.

The role of magnesium in cardiomyopathy is not proven for humans.

Magnesium is so intimately involved in heart function, however, that getting enough may help a compromised heart work better for a number of reasons.

Magnesium affects heart muscle contraction, and magnesium deficiency can cause abnormal heart rhythms and/or irregular beats. Adequate amounts can help prevent constriction of isolated blood vessels, which can affect the blood supply to the heart muscle.

Apparently, magnesium also offers protection during a heart attack. Magnesium-deficient animals have greater tissue damage after heart attacks than animals getting enough magnesium.

Have your doctor monitor the magnesium level in your blood. If you have magnesium deficiency, you should take supplementation.

Recommended dosage: 400 milligrams/day.

Good sources for magnesium are: nuts, beans, whole grains, and green vegetables.

Note: If you have a kidney problem or heart disease, take magnesium supplements only under medical supervision.

Caution: Cardiomyopathy is a life-threatening condition. If you suspect you or someone you know is suffering from cardiomyopathy, seek medical assistance immediately.

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