For people with heart failure, taking pine bark extract and coenzyme Q-10 in combination with standard medical treatment may help strengthen the heart. That's the finding of a recent study from Panminerva Medica, which involved 53 patients with stable congestive heart failure and mildly to moderately high blood pressure.
In the study, patients took either a placebo or capsules containing Pycnogenol and coenzyme Q-10 every day for 12 weeks. (Pycnogenol is a pine bark extract rich in antioxidants), while coenzyme Q-10 is a vitamin-like substance involved in the production of energy within cells.) By the study's end, members of the Pycnogenol/ coenzyme Q-10 group showed a significantly greater decrease in blood pressure, heart rate, and respiratory rate compared to the placebo group. The Pycnogenol/ coenzyme Q-10 combination also appeared to boost the blood volume ejected with each heartbeat (and, as a result, improve blood supply to organs throughout the body and increase the patients' energy levels).
Pycnogenol may also help enhance heart health in people with diabetes, according to past research.