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Heart Health Concerns? CoQ10 and Pine Bark May Help

Here's a sobering statistic... Every year approximately 400,000 people are diagnosed with heart failure in the United States alone. Help may be on the way as a new study shows that a combination of coenzyme Q10 and pine bark may improve blood flow and general heart health in heart failure patients.

While heart failure is not reversible, researchers from the Chieti-Pescara University in Italy have released a published a study in the June 2011 issue of Panminerva Medica suggesting a natural way to manage the symptoms of heart failure: a combination of coenzyme Q10 and an extract from French Maritime pine bark.

The researchers worked with 53 people between the ages of 54 and 68 who had suffered from heart failure. Half the group received a supplement consisting of 350 milligrams of CoenzymeQ10 from Kaneka and 105 milligrams of the branded pine bark extract Pycnogenol while half the group received a placebo.

After 12 weeks, the supplement group showed an approximately 6 point decrease in diastolic blood pressure, from 139.2 to 133.2 mmHg. They also showed a 5 point decrease in systolic blood pressure, from 82.3 to 77.3 mmHg.

In the placebo group, diastolic blood pressure decreased by less than one mmHg, from 140.3 to 139.5 mmHg. The decrease in systolic blood pressure was a little more than 2 mmHg, from 83.4 to 81.2 mmHg.

Diastolic blood pressure is the pressure in blood vessels when the heart is resting. It is represented by the bottom number on a blood pressure reading and anything above 90 mmHg is considered high. Systolic blood pressure, on the other hand, is the pressure in blood vessels when the heart is beating and is represented by the top number in a blood pressure reading. Readings above 140 mmHg are considered high.

The researchers also noted a decrease in pulse rate from 78.4 to 74.2 beats per minute in the supplement group, while the placebo group only decreased from 79.1 to 78.4 beats per minute.

CoQ10 has been linked with numerous health benefits, including but not limited to reducing inflammation, improving blood vessel function, protecting muscles, reducing the risk of gum disease and lowering cholesterol.

Pycnogenol has also been shown to help with allergies, asthma, ringing in the ears, high blood pressure, muscle soreness, pain osteoarthritis, diabetes, attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder, endometriosis, menopausal symptoms, erectile dysfunction, and retinopathy.

Pycnogenol is water soluble, meaning it can be added to the production of many common foods. It is currently included in dietary supplements, cosmetic products, and a variety of foods and drinks. The active ingredients in pycnogenol can also be found in peanut skin, grape seed, and witch hazel bark.

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