Purpose of review: A significant number of patients hospitalized with heart failure are malnourished. Depletion of micronutrients, which is known to occur in heart failure for a variety of reasons, may contribute to myocardial abnormalities noted in heart failure. In this review, we focus on nutritional supplementation strategies that might improve myocardial performance and, as a consequence, decrease mortality and morbidity in these patients.
Recent findings: The available data suggest that micronutrient and macronutrient supplementation may play a role in improving the myocardial metabolic abnormalities noted in heart failure. A recent trial of omega-3 fatty acid macronutrient supplementation showed a modest decrease in mortality and hospitalizations when used in patients with New York Heart Association class II–IV heart failure.
Summary: Recommendations for nutritional support in patients with heart failure are difficult to make due to a lack of large randomized trials. Supplementation with omega-3 fatty acids, and micronutrients such as thiamine, coenzyme Q-10 and carnitine has shown promise in several studies. Since the data is not conclusive, large trials are needed to address whether these positive findings are reproducible in a wider subset of patients. In addition, these trials should study the combination of different micronutrients and macronutrients since heart failure patients are rarely deficient in just one micronutrient or macronutrient.