The role of B vitamins in the management of heart failure.Nutr Clin Pract 2012; 27(3):363-74NC
Heart failure (HF) is the leading cause of morbidity and mortality in industrialized countries, creating a significant burden on both the healthcare system and quality of life. Research efforts continue to explore new pharmaceutical or surgically based approaches to HF management, but the role of nutrition as an adjunct therapy has been largely ignored. Elderly age, anorexia, malabsorption, premature satiety, and disease severity are among the factors identified as contributing to reduced nutrient intakes in patients with HF. These factors suggest that patients with HF are at increased risk of multiple-nutrient deficiencies, including B vitamins. B vitamins may be of particular therapeutic interest because of their key roles as cofactors in energy-producing pathways. Recently, impaired stores of high-energy compounds have been linked with myocardial dysfunction and prognosis in patients with HF. Therefore, deficiencies of B vitamins might contribute to reduced energy stores and disease progression. This review summarizes the existing literature both with respect to the prevalence of B vitamin deficiency as well as evidence from supplementation trials in patients with HF. The findings suggest that most of the literature in this area has focused on thiamin deficiency in patients with HF, whereas other B vitamins remain largely unstudied. Although few sporadic trials suggest a role for B vitamins in the management of HF, none are conclusive. Therefore, there is a need for larger, more robust trials to assist in defining the B vitamin requirements as well as the impact of supplementation on both morbidity and mortality in patients with HF.