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Beta-blockers are used for hypertension as well as for a variety of heart conditions.
Drugs that fall into this family include
There is some evidence that beta-blockers (specifically propranolol, metoprolol, and alprenolol) might impair the body's ability to utilize the substance coenzyme Q 10 (CoQ 10).1,2 This is particularly worrisome, because CoQ 10 appears to play a significant role in normal heart function.3 Depletion of CoQ 10 might be responsible for some of the side effects of beta-blockers. In one study, CoQ 10 supplements reduced side effects caused by the beta-blocker propranolol.4 The beta-blocker timolol may interfere with CoQ 10 production to a lesser extent than other beta-blockers.
Beta-blockers have been known to reduce levels of HDL ("good") cholesterol. According to one study, chromium supplementation can offset this adverse effect.5
The herb Coleus forskohlii relaxes blood vessels and might have unpredictable effects on blood pressure if combined with beta-blockers.
1. Kishi H, et al. Bioenergetics in clinical medicine. III. Inhibition of coenzyme Q 10 -enzymes by clinically used anti-hypertensive drugs. Res Commun Chem Pathol Pharmacol. 1975;12:533-540.
2. Kishi T, et al. Bioenergetics in clinical medicine. XV. Inhibition of coenzyme Q 10 -enzymes by clinically used adrenergic blockers of beta receptors. Res Commun Chem Pathol Pharmacol. 1977;17:157-164.
3. Folkers K. Basic chemical research on coenzyme Q 10 and integrated clinical research on therapy of diseases. As cited in: Lenaz G, ed. Coenzyme Q. New York, NY: John Wiley and Sons; 1985.
4. Hamada M, Kazatain Y, Ochi T, et al. Correlation between serum CoQ 10 level and myocardial contractility in hypertensive patients. In: Biomedical and Clinical Aspects of Coenzyme Q, Vol 4. Amsterdam: Elsevier; 1984: 263-270.
5. Roeback JR, et al. Effects of chromium supplementation on serum high-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels in men taking beta-blockers. A randomized, controlled trial. Ann Intern Med. 1991;115:917-924.
Last reviewed December 2015 by EBSCO CAM Review Board Last Updated: 12/15/2015