Nutritional Assessment in Heart Failure Patients


John H. Lee, MD, John Ochsner Heart and Vascular Institute, Ochsner Clinical School-The University of Queensland School of Medicine, 1514 Jefferson Highway, New Orleans, LA 70121


Congest Heart Fail. 2011;17:199–203. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

Heart failure (HF) is a growing epidemic worldwide with a particularly large presence in the United States. Nutritional assessment and supplementation is an area that can be studied to potentially improve the outcomes of these chronically ill patients. There have been many studies reporting the effect of various nutrients on HF patients, often with mixed results. Amino acids such as taurine, which is involved in calcium exchange, has been reported to improve heart function. Coenzyme Q10, a key component in the electron transport chain, is vital for energy production. l-carnitine, an amino acid derivative, is responsible for transport of fatty acids into the mitochondria along with modulating glucose metabolism. Thiamine and the other B vitamins, which serve as vital cofactors, can often be deficient in HF patients. Omega-3 fatty acid supplementation has been demonstrated to benefit HF patients potentially through anti-arrhythmic and anti-inflammatory mechanisms. Vitamin D supplementation can potentially benefit HF patients by way of modulating the renin-angiotensin system, smooth muscle proliferation, inflammation, and calcium homeostasis. Although supplementation of all of the above nutrients has the potential to benefit patients with HF, more studies are needed to solidify these recommendations. Congest Heart Fail.