Community Shares: Supplements Taken for Heart Failure
Living with heart failure often comes with feeling sluggish and tired. When we are facing that kind of low energy, vitamins and supplements can often give a boost to help us feel better. Certain heart failure medicines can also cause deficiencies, so supplements may also be a way to improve your body’s health and wellness.
To find out more about the types of vitamins and supplements community members are taking and how they are working for them, we reach out to followers of our Facebook page. We asked members to tell us: “What supplements or vitamins do you currently take for your heart failure?”
Nearly 80 people with heart failure responded. Here is what was said.
Studies have shown that a lack of vitamin D is linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, including heart failure. Vitamin D acts as a hormone and helps the body regulate blood sugar levels in the pancreas and blood pressure in the kidneys.1
Keep in mind that D is a fat-soluble vitamin. This means that if you take too much, it gets stored in the fat and can be problematic. However, many Americans do tend to be deficient in D. One reason is that many Americans are overweight – fat absorbs vitamin D, which removes it from circulation. We also spend so much time inside that we do not get enough vitamin D naturally from the sun.
“Along with my prescribed meds, I do take vitamin D.”
“Vitamin D2 once per week and a multivitamin daily.”
“Vitamin D. All you have to do is go out in the daytime, summer or winter, and the sun gives you vitamin D. Go out and walk around the block.”
Many people with heart failure are deficient in B vitamins – namely B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), and B6 (pyridoxine). It is common to take a B complex to give the body additional B vitamins to help with energy production. You can also increase your B vitamin intake by eating nutrient-rich foods like bananas, lentils, garbanzo beans, poultry, and fish.2
“B12, niacin, and cod liver oil.”
Many people in the heart failure community take potassium, mainly because the heart medicine they take leads to lower levels of potassium. However, if someone is taking an angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor, angiotensin receptor blocker (ARB), or aldosterone antagonist, then they may already have high potassium levels. Before taking a potassium supplement, it is a good idea to talk with your doctor to see if this will be helpful to you or not.3
“I take 180 milligrams daily of potassium because I take Metolazone and Bumex, which deplete my potassium levels.”
“Only potassium and aspirin.”
Consult a doctor first
Vitamins and supplements can often make up for the nutritional deficiencies of the modern diet. However, it is wise to check with a doctor to make sure any vitamins you are taking are not interfering with your heart medicines.
“Do not take them just because someone else with the same disease takes them. Have your PCP do a blood panel before you waste money for vitamins you do not need.”
“I think a good part to add to the question is: Why do you take those supplements? Does your body need them, did the doctor request you to, or is it just because you want to?”
“I cannot take vitamins or supplements without my cardiac team’s approval. Along with my prescribed meds, I do take vitamin D.”
Thank you to everyone who shared details about their vitamins and supplements. We are appreciative of all the feedback from the community.
Do you use exercise to help manage your heart failure?