Beetroot Juice Helps Heart Failure Patients: Study

Beetroot Juice Helps Heart Failure Patients: Study

Taking beetroot juice supplements may increase the capacity to exercise in patients with heart failure, according to a study from Indiana University. Exercise capacity is a key factor linked to the quality of life and even survival in these patients.

The study examined the impact of dietary nitrate in the form of beetroot juice supplements in patients with reduced ejection fraction, which is also called diastolic heart failure. In this condition, the heart muscle contracts normally, but ventricles do not relax properly and allow themselves to be filled with blood.

About 5.7 million Americans have heart failure, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The ejection fraction factor of the heart is reduced in about half of them. Patients suffer from labored breathing, have diminished peak oxygen uptake, and they use more energy when exercising than normal.

In the study, researchers found that the beetroot supplement caused significant increases in exercise duration, peak power and peak oxygen uptake while exercising.

“Abnormalities in aerobic exercise responses play a major role in the disability, loss of independence and reduced quality of life that accompany heart failure,” said study researcher Andrew Coggan, an associate professor in the Department of Kinesiology in the School of Physical Education. “Perhaps more importantly, elevations in ventilatory demand and decreases in peak oxygen uptake are highly predictive of mortality in patients with heart failure.”

The study also found the supplement caused no side effects. “In this case, lack of any significant changes is good news.”

The data suggests that dietary supplementation may be a valuable addition to treatment for exercise intolerance among heart failure patients with reduced ejection fraction, Coggan said.

Study results were published in the Journal of Cardiac Failure.

In an Israeli trial, researchers are testing a tiny metal spring implanted into the heart that could revive heart function for those with heart failure. The implant, called CORolla, is surgically placed inside the heart’s left ventricle, either by threading it through blood vessels using an incision in the groin or by an incision in the chest wall.

Once in place, the implant opens and attaches itself inside the left ventricle. It then pushes against the walls of the chamber to help it open and allow to fill with more blood. When the heart contracts, the spring collapses to allow the ventricle to contract, then returns to its original position.

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