Angina pectoris occurs when heart tissue needs more blood than it is getting. L-carnitine and coenzyme Q10 have important roles in energy utilization inside our cells, and supplementation with these nutrients (under medical supervision) might improve exercise tolerance and reduce signs of ischemia in patients with stable angina.
Angina pectoris is the medical term for chest pain or discomfort that occurs when blood supply is insufficient to meet the needs of the heart muscle. It generally results from narrowing of the arteries that supply blood to the heart due to coronary heart disease. Angina pectoris occurs when the heart must work harder, such as during physical exertion or emotional stress.
See below for specific information about nutrients and dietary factors relevant to Angina pectoris.
Ischemia - inadequate blood supply to an organ or part of the body
Stable angina - another term for angina pectoris
Test tube (in vitro) experiment - a research experiment performed in a test tube, culture dish, or other artificial environment outside of a living organism; in vitro is a Latin phrase meaning in glass
Animal experiment - a research experiment performed in a laboratory animal; many different animal species are studied in the laboratory, including terrestrial (land), aquatic (water), and microscopic animals
Observational study - a human research study in which no experimental intervention or treatment is applied, and participants are simply observed over time
Randomized controlled trial - a human research study in which participants are assigned by chance alone to receive either an experimental agent (the treatment group) or a placebo (the control group)
Placebo - a chemically inactive substance
What it does
L-carnitine is a compound that can be made inside the body and obtained from food and dietary supplements. It is considered a conditionally essential nutrient because in some situations, the body’s demand for L-carnitine exceeds its capacity to make it.
L-carnitine helps the body convert fat into useable energy.
Supplemental L-carnitine and propionyl-L-carnitine, administered in conjunction with standard pharmacological therapy, may improve cardiac and skeletal muscle function during ischemia.
Propionyl-L-carnitine in particular may benefit ischemic tissue by replenishing intermediates of energy metabolism or by increasing blood vessel dilation (widening).
What we know
The addition of oral L-carnitine or propionyl-L-carnitine to pharmacologic therapy for chronic stable angina has been found to modestly improve exercise tolerance and decrease signs of ischemia during exercise testing in studies with a small number of angina patients.
For references and more information, see the section on angina pectoris in the L-carnitine article.
What it does
Coenzyme Q10 is a compound that can be made in the body and obtained from dietary sources.
Coenzyme Q10 helps the body convert food into useable energy and functions as an antioxidant in cell membranes.
Coenzyme Q10 may delay or reduce symptoms of angina by enabling heart tissue to reach higher levels of ATP (cellular energy) production and by protecting against oxidative stress.
What we know
Coenzyme Q10 supplementation in conjunction with standard medical therapy has been shown to improve exercise tolerance and reduce symptoms of ischemia in patients with chronic, stable angina.
However, the majority of studies demonstrate no effect of coenzyme Q10 on symptom frequency or the need for nitroglycerin.
Antioxidant - a compound that prevents or repairs the damage caused by reactive oxygen species
Reactive oxygen species (ROS) - highly unstable oxygen-containing compounds that react easily with nearby cellular structures, potentially causing damage
Oxidative stress - a situation in which the production of reactive oxygen species exceeds the ability of an organism to eliminate or neutralize them
For references and more information, see the section on angina pectoris in the Coenzyme Q10 article.