Cardiomyopathy is a little understood condition in which the muscle tissue of the heart becomes diseased. There are several distinct forms of cardiomyopathy that may or may not be similar in origin. Medical treatment consists mainly of medications that attempt to compensate for the increasing failure of the heart to function properly. A heart transplant may ultimately be necessary.
Cardiomyopathy is certainly not a disease that you should treat yourself! For this reason, we deliberately do not discuss dosage or safety issues in this section, although general guidelines can be found in the articles on these substances.
Preliminary evidence suggests that the naturally occurring substance coenzyme Q 10 (CoQ 10 ) might offer benefit in some forms of cardiomyopathy. 1,2,3
In a 6-year trial, 143 people with moderately severe cardiomyopathy were given CoQ 10 daily in addition to standard medical care. 4 The results showed a significant improvement in cardiac function (technically, ejection fraction) in 84% of the study participants. Most of them improved by several stages on a scale that measures the severity of heart failure (technically, NYHA class). Furthermore, a comparison with individuals on conventional therapy alone appeared to show a reduction in mortality.
This study was an open trial , meaning that participants knew that they were being treated, and such studies are not fully reliable. There have been a few double-blind, placebo-controlled trials of CoQ 10 in cardiomyopathy as well. One such trial followed 80 people with various forms of cardiomyopathy over a period of 3 years. 5 Of those treated with CoQ 10 , 89% improved significantly, but when the treatment was stopped, their heart function deteriorated.
No benefit was seen in another double-blind study, but it was a smaller and shorter trial and enrolled only people who had one particular type of cardiomyopathy (idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy). 6
For more information on coenzyme Q 10 , including dosage and safety issues, see the full coenzyme Q 10 article.
Various herbs and supplements may interact adversely with drugs used to treat Cardiomyopathy. For more information on these potential risks, see the individual drug article in the Drug Interactions section of this database.
2. Langsjoen PH, Vadhanavikit S, Folkers K. Response of patients in classes III and IV of cardiomyopathy to therapy in a blind and crossover trial with coenzyme Q 10 . Proc Natl Acad Sci USA . 1985;82:4240–4244.
5. Langsjoen PH, Vadhanavikit S, Folkers K. Response of patients in classes III and IV of cardiomyopathy to therapy in a blind and crossover trial with coenzyme Q 10 . Proc Natl Acad Sci USA . 1985;82:4240–4244.
Last reviewed August 2013 by EBSCO CAM Review Board
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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