Pine bark extract plus CoQ10 shows benefits for heart failure patients

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

Pine bark extract plus CoQ10 shows benefits for heart failure patients
A combination of coenzyme Q10 and an extract from French Maritime Pine bark may improve blood flow and general heart health in heart failure patients, indicates a new study from Italy.

According to findings published in Panminerva Medica​, 12 weeks of daily supplementation with 350 milligrams of CoQ10 (Kaneka) and 105 milligrams of the branded pine bark extract Pycnogenol (Horphag) were associated with a improvements in blood pressure and heart rate, compared to a placebo group.

Furthermore, the combination ingredient – PycnoQ10 – increased the amount of blood pumped by the heart by 22 percent, reported researchers from Chieti-Pescara University, led by Dr Gianni Belcaro.

“Coenzyme Q10 has been extensively researched for its ability to strengthen the heart muscle, specifically in patients with heart failure. Preclinical trials have suggested that Pycnogenol strengthens heart chamber walls and dilates arteries,”​ said Dr Belcaro.

“These preliminary observations suggest that the respective contributions of Coenzyme Q10 and Pycnogenol in PycnoQ10 may significantly improve heart health.”

No cure, just management

According to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, an estimated 400,000 people are diagnosed with heart failure in the US each year.

Heart failure is develops as a result of high blood pressure (hypertension), when with heart chamber walls wear out and heart muscle weaken. The disease can be costly, disabling and potentially deadly and is characterized by the heart’s inability to pump or eject sufficient amounts of blood to the organs.

“Many conditions that lead to heart failure cannot be reversed, but heart failure can often be medically managed with good results,”​ said Dr Belcaro.

“This study shows that a combination of Pycnogenol and CoQ10 offers an effective, natural solution as adjunct for heart health management.”

Success story

In a recent interview with NutraIngredients-USA​, Horphag chief executive Victor Ferrari explained that the retail value of products containing the company’s Pycnogenol ingredient is estimated to top $500m.

“We have multiplied the business by six since 2002 and we’re still seeing double-digit growth,”​ said Ferrari.

However, the firm had only scratched the surface when it came to functional food and drink applications for Pycnogenol, which was water-soluble and heat-stable, making it suitable for a wide range of products from pasteurized dairy products to baked goods, he said.

In addition to the potential in food and beverages, another area of potential growth is in combination products to target specific health condition categories such as joint health (with glucosamine/chondroitin or collagen hydrolysates), or eye health (with Indena’s Mirtoselect bilberry to give us Mirtogenol), or, as in this new study, heart health (with CoQ10).

Study details

The Italian researchers recruited 53 heart failure patients aged between 54 and 68 were randomly assigned to receive either the PycnoQ10 supplement or placebo for 12 weeks.

Results showed that systolic and diastolic blood pressure decreased following the CoQ10-pine bark combination, from 139.2 to 133.2 mmHg and 82.3 to 77.3 mmHg, respectively. Systolic and diastolic blood pressure decreased from 140.3 to 139.5 mmHg and 83.4 to 81.2 mmHg, respectively, in the placebo group.

In addition to increases in the amount of blood pumped by the heart, the researchers also reported improvements in heart rate were also observed in the PycnoQ10 supplement group from 78.4 to 74.2 beats per minute, compared with a decrease from 79.1 to 78.4 in the placebo group.

“The association of Pycnogenol and CoQ10 may offer an important therapeutic option in the management and costs of heart failure, without side effects and with a very good tolerability,”​ stated the researchers.

“These initial observations warrant further investigation of the Pycnogenol CoQ10 combination with a much larger number of heart failure patients including a broader range of clinical pictures,”​ they concluded.

Source: Panminerva Medica
Volume 52, Supplement 1 to No 2, Pages 21-25
“Investigation of Pycnogenol in combination with coenzymeQ10 in heart failure patients (NYHA II/III)”
Authors: G. Belcaro, M.R. Cesarone, M. Dugall, M. Hosoi, E. Ippolito, P. Bavera, M.G. Grossi

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