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Damaged hearts pump better when fueled with fats
Date:5/4/2011

Contrary to what we've been told, eliminating or severely limiting fats from the diet may not be beneficial to cardiac function in patients suffering from heart failure, a study at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine reports.

Results from biological model studies conducted by assistant professor of physiology and biophysics Margaret Chandler, PhD, and other researchers, demonstrate that a high-fat diet improved overall mechanical function, in other words, the heart's ability to pump, and was accompanied by cardiac insulin resistance.

"Does that mean I can go out and eat my Big Mac after I have a heart attack," Dr. Chandler says "No, but treatments that act to provide sufficient energy to the heart and allow the heart to utilize or to maintain its normal metabolic profile may actually be advantageous."

The research, published in American Journal of Physiology-Heart and Circulatory Physiology, suggests that for a damaged heart, a balanced diet that includes mono- and polyunsaturated fats, and which replaces simple sugars (sucrose and fructose) with complex carbohydrates, may be beneficial.

In a healthy person, the heart uses both fats and carbohydrates to obtain the energy it needs to continue pumping blood 24/7. Ideally, fats are utilized because they yield more energy. However, if a person develops heart failure (or suffers from ischemia a lack of blood supply), the heart seems to prefer using glucose for fuel, because glucose requires less oxygen to produce energy.

While heart disease remains the leading cause of death in the United States, more people are surviving heart attacks that ever before. Survivors though pay a price for this improved survival, living with a damaged heart that usually progresses to heart failure. And unfortunately, medications and procedures have yet to "cure" heart failure, or halt the deterioration of heart function.

Upon initiation of these dietary interv
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Contact: Jessica Studeny
jessica.studeny@case.edu
216-368-4692
Case Western Reserve University
Source:Eurekalert

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