London: Researchers have found that a combination of two over-the-counter drugs could help fight heart disease and reduce deaths by half.
The study revealed that not only did the 1.10 pounds-a-day tablets reduce the risk of elderly patients dying, they were also found to help the heart to work more efficiently.
The findings can have major implications for Britain where heart disease affects around 2.6 million people and kills about 94,000 each year.
Over six million people are prescribed powerful drugs like statins to reduce artery-clogging “bad” LDL cholesterol.
This slashed their risk of stroke and heart attack, which is the leading cause of deaths from heart disease.
But a natural mineral, which has already been linked to a host of health benefits, can also be a potent new treatment.
Scientists found that the combination of selenium yeast and the vitamin-like compound coenzyme Q10 significantly reduced cardiovascular deaths in the elderly.
A study of 443 healthy men and women aged 70 to 88 was conducted by the researchers and they found that those given daily supplements of selenium and coenzyme Q10 had more than halved their risk of dying of heart disease and showed improved heart function.
Professor Urban Alehagen, of Linkoping University, Sweden, found that of those given the widely available supplements, 5.9 per cent died of heart disease after five years compared with 12.9 per cent in a placebo group.
People who used supplements were also found to have significantly lower levels of NT-proBNP, a chemical marker that indicates that the heart is working under greater pressure.
The treatment group had been given a 200 microgram branded selenium pill and two 100mg Q10 pills.
The research backs up the previous studies done. One, in Finland, found a 2.9-fold increased risk of heart death in patients who had low selenium.
Other studies have showed low heart levels of coenzyme Q10 in patients with heart muscle disease.
Selenium is a powerful trace mineral found in soil and foods, which has been shown boosting resistance against flu, fight cancer, boosting fertility and helping people live longer.
It is essential in small amounts and is claimed to help people to be mentally sharp in their old age.
It is naturally found in Brazil nuts, bread, fish, kidney, eggs and shellfish.
Coenzyme Q10 is a vitamin-like substance, a powerful antioxidant and moisturiser which works by speeding up cell repair.
“These results will need to be confirmed in larger studies before they can be recommended to patients,” the Daily Express quoted Professor Jeremy Pearson, associate medical director at the British Heart Foundation as saying.
The study will appear in the International Journal of Cardiology.