Heart Beat: Heart failure tough on B vitamins

Heart Beat

Heart failure tough on B vitamins

Malnutrition is one of the many complications of advanced heart failure. It is the result of physical, chemical, and hormonal changes that dull the appetite and rev up metabolism. In addition, diuretics (water pills) can wash some nutrients out of the body. A survey of 100 Canadians hospitalized for heart failure showed that 27% had a deficiency of vitamin B2 (riboflavin) and 38% were quite low on vitamin B6 (pyridoxine). The findings were published in the August 2009 Journal of the American Dietetic Association. Earlier studies have shown that up to one-third of people with heart failure have below-normal levels of vitamin B1 (thiamine) as well.

These three B vitamins are important for energy production and the formation of red blood cells. Deficiencies could be one cause of the lack of energy and anemia often associated with heart failure.

To continue reading this article, you must log in.

Subscribe to Harvard Health Online for immediate access to health news and information from Harvard Medical School.

  • Research health conditions
  • Check your symptoms
  • Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
  • Find the best treatments and procedures for you
  • Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
Learn more about the many benefits and features of joining Harvard Health Online »

I'd like to receive access to Harvard Health Online for only $4.99 a month.

Sign Me Up

Already a member? Login ».


As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles.

No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.

Free Healthbeat Signup

Get the latest in health news delivered to your inbox!

Sign Up
Harvard Health Publishing Logo

Thanks for visiting. Don't miss your FREE gift.

The Best Diets for Cognitive Fitness, is yours absolutely FREE when you sign up to receive Health Alerts from Harvard Medical School

Sign up to get tips for living a healthy lifestyle, with ways to fight inflammation and improve cognitive health, plus the latest advances in preventative medicine, diet and exercise, pain relief, blood pressure and cholesterol management, and more.

Harvard Health Publishing Logo

Health Alerts from Harvard Medical School

Get helpful tips and guidance for everything from fighting inflammation to finding the best diets for weight loss...from exercises to build a stronger core to advice on treating cataracts. PLUS, the latest news on medical advances and breakthroughs from Harvard Medical School experts.

BONUS! Sign up now and
get a FREE copy of the
Best Diets for Cognitive Fitness

Harvard Health Publishing Logo

Stay on top of latest health news from Harvard Medical School.

Plus, get a FREE copy of the Best Diets for Cognitive Fitness.