Update March 24: The Cleveland Clinic has given us permission to host this graphic on A-Fib.com for the viewing and printing by our readers.
Print and keep this illustration handy for the next time you talk with your doctor about the workings of your heart. You can make notes directly on the picture.
Video: You may also want to watch the video, How Your Heart Works and Understanding Arrhythmias, or one of several heart animations from our A-Fib.com Video & Animations Library.
Also see our Free Offers and Downloads page.
“While moderate amounts of alcohol appear protective for the ‘plumbing,’ or blood supply to the heart muscle, the benefits of alcohol do not extend to the electrical parts of the heart, or heartbeat.”
Over time, drinking may actually change the electrical signals, triggering irregular heartbeat (arrhythmias).
Risk per Daily Alcohol Drink
A new study found the risk of atrial fibrillation grew by 8 percent for each daily alcoholic drink. The findings were similar for men and women. The authors looked at previous studies that tracked almost 900,000 people over 12 years.
Fibrosis: The study doesn’t establish a direct cause-and-effect relationship. Nevertheless, “cell damage from habitual drinking may lead to small amounts of fibrous tissue within the heart that causes the irregular, quivering heartbeat”, the study authors said.
Post-catheter ablation: The review found that people who continue to drink are more likely to have ongoing irregular heartbeats even after catheter ablation.
Weekly Alcohol Recommendation
Dr. Pater Kistler recommended that those with irregular heartbeat “should probably drink no more than one alcoholic drink per day with two alcohol-free days a week.”
He added they had no randomized data that tells what a ‘safe’ amount is to consume. The study authors called for more research to determine whether avoiding alcohol completely is required for patients who have irregular heartbeats.
Know Your Triggers
Some Atrial Fibrillation patients have sworn off alcohol altogether. Through trial and error, they’ve found that any amount of alcohol contributes to or triggers their A-Fib episodes.
Dr. Kistler’s research is helpful for the balance of A-Fib patients. It offers some research-based guidelines to minimize the impact of alcohol consumption on their A-Fib.
For additional reading, see my article:“Holiday Heart”: Binging Alcohol, Marijuana & Rich Foods.
‘Tis the season when many people end up in a hospital’s emergency room (ER) for treatment of “Holiday Heart Syndrome”, i.e., Atrial Fibrillation triggered by alcohol binging.
Overindulging in alcohol (six or more drinks) can cause surges in the body’s adrenalin, rises in the levels of free fatty acids, alterations of how sodium moves in and out of the heart cells, and a lowering of the levels of sodium, potassium, and magnesium in the body through diuresis.
Does Alcohol Alone Explain Holiday Heart Syndrome?
Excessive alcohol is not the only culprit. Recreational use of marijuana can compound the risk as well. Other factors include the nicotine effect in smokers (active and passive), large quantiles of rich food, and even cold weather. In addition, fireplace fires and bonfires can release ultra-fine particles in the air from burnt materials and can be bad for the heart.
New Year’s Eve Party Time: Be Aware
As you celebrate, encourage others to avoid heavy alcohol consumption and try to minimize eating large quantities of food at one time. Look for the symptoms of “holiday heart” among your relatives (hereditary A-Fib) and friends. Anyone with any heart symptoms should go to the ER. If they’re lucky, it will be a one time event.
Share the Cheer of the Season
Finally, if you know someone who is depressed, alone, or isolated during the holiday season, reach out and cheer them up. It may be the best thing you do for their heart as well as yours.
This month we focus our efforts on reaching those who may have Atrial Fibrillation and don’t know it. We offer a new infographic to educate the public about this healthcare issue.
Share it! Pin it or Download (click on link to view full size, then ‘Save As’ )
About Atrial Fibrillation: An estimated 30%−50% of those affected with Atrial Fibrillation are unaware they have it—often only learning about their A-Fib during a routine medical exam. Of untreated patients, 35% will suffer a stroke. Half of all A-Fib-related strokes are major and disabling.
Also available (click to enlarge, then Save As):
By Steve S. Ryan, PhD
While not considered “A-Fib specific” like your medications, these minerals and supplements may improve overall heart health and thereby help your Atrial Fibrillation.
Recommendations for Heart Health
For a detailed discussion of these minerals and supplements along with recommended dosages, see our article, ‘Natural’ Supplements for a Healthy Heart. Our seven recommendations are:
For a detailed discussion of these seven nutritional supplements, see our article ‘Natural’ Supplements for a Healthy Heart.
• Coenzyme Q10
• Omega-3 Fish Oils
• Ribose (D-Ribose)
• Hawthorne Berry
Many Sources and My Amazon.com List
These minerals and supplements are available from many reputable retail and online sources. To make shopping easy for you, see my ‘Wish List’ on Amazon.com. (Note: Use any of these Amazon portal links, and your purchases help support A-Fib.com.)
To get you started choosing brands, tablet size and forms of each supplement, we offer you 2 brands that meets our requirements.
Taurine, along with Magnesium and Potassium, have been described as “the essential trio” for treating nutritional deficiencies relating to A-Fib. Taurine protects potassium levels inside the heart, regulates cellular calcium, and improves heart muscle contraction. Suggested products:
Coenzyme’s ability to energize the heart is perhaps its chief attribute; improves heart functions and heart rhythm problems. Coenzyme is a naturally occurring enzyme and plays a key role in producing energy in the mitochondria. “Ubiquinol” is a more readily absorbed form.
L-Carnitine is a vitamin-like nutrient; a derivative of the amino acid lysine which helps to turn fat into energy. Considered by some to be the single most important nutrient in cardiac health. It reduces the incidence of cardiac arrhythmias and premature ventricular contractions (PVCs).
Essential fatty acids like EPA and DHA are considered by some to be natural defibrillators, lessening the incidence of cardiac arrhythmias and A-Fib. Krill Fish Oil 1000 Mg; Essential Fatty Acids (EPA and DHA) make blood platelets less sticky, less likely to form clots (cause of strokes). Some prefer Krill oil to fish oil as it’s exacted from organisms living in pristine deep-water seas.
Ribose increases tolerance to cardiac stress, lowers stress during exercise, and maintains healthy energy levels in heart and muscle. The heart’s ability to maintain energy is limited by one thing—-the availability of Ribose.
Hawthorne Berry reduces tachycardias and palpitations and prevents premature ventricular contractions (PVCs). Hawthorne Berry can energize the heart without prompting arrhythmias. It has a normalizing effect upon the heartbeat. Dosage 300 to 510 Mg
‘Branched Chain Amino Acids’ (BCAA) are critical to the repair and maintenance of strong heart muscle and function. Be sure to get BCCA in combination with L-Glutamine (though challenging to find). We like the powder form. Suggested products:
Note: Mineral supplements may interfere or interact with your prescription medications, so always consult your doctor before adding any supplements to your treatment plan.
Many Physicians are Not Well Versed in Nutritional Support
Don’t expect a lot of support from your doctor. Unfortunately, a great number of doctors are not well versed in recommending or supervising nutritional support. Quite often, they may dismiss your inquiries about nutritional supplements.
You may need to work with (or educate) your doctor to determine the benefit of supplements for your A-Fib health.
Learn about Mineral Deficiencies and Atrial Fibrillation
by Steve S. Ryan, PhD
It’s a bad idea to just live with your Atrial Fibrillation. A-Fib is a progressive disease. It reduces the amount of blood flowing to the rest of your body by about 15%–30% with damaging effects. At the same time, your heart is working progressively harder and harder.
A-Fib is definitely curable. (I was cured of my A-Fib in 1998). If you have A-Fib, no matter how long you’ve had it, you should aim for a complete and permanent cure.
If your doctor is satisfied with just keeping your A-Fib “under control,” I recommend you get a second opinion.
Refer to our Finding the Right Doctor page and related readings. We step you through all you need to know to find the right doctor for you and your treatment goals.
#AtrialFibrillation #afib #Arrhythmia #AtrialTachycardia #Tachycardia
P.S. This week in the U.S., we celebrate the founding of our country with the July 4, 1776 signing of our Declaration of Independence. (BTW: Patti found this photo and writes: “Our family’s Fourth of July picnic celebrations always include a cold slice of watermelon.”)
By Steve Ryan, PhD, Updated July 2016
Besides monitoring your mineral levels of Magnesium, Calcium and Potassium, you may also want to promote a healthy heart with “natural” supplements. These are recommended supplements for heart rhythm problems and to promote a healthy heart:1,2 To make buying easier, see our Wish List at Amazon.com: For A-Fib Patients: 7 Supplements for a Healthy Heart
To make buying easier, see our Wish List at Amazon.com: For A-Fib Patients: 7 Supplements for a Healthy Heart
Because the above supplements occur naturally, they cannot be patented by drug companies and are not pharmaceuticals. Natural remedies are often not submitted to rigorous double-blind studies with large populations such as the FDA requires for medications. That doesn’t mean these remedies aren’t effective for A-Fib, but only that the level of proof of their effectiveness is different.
Caution: Consult with your doctor before adding any supplements to your treatment plan. They may interfere or interact with your prescription medications. Also: Beware of doctors who reject all supplements. Natural supplements normally do not interfere with most medicines.
Taurine along with magnesium and potassium have been described as “the essential trio” for treating nutritional deficiencies relating to A-Fib.3 Taurine is a sulfur-containing amino acid and is the most important and abundant amino acid in the heart. It regulates membrane excitability, scavenges free radicals, protects potassium levels inside the heart, and dampens activity in the sympathetic nervous system.4 Taurine regulates cellular calcium, improves heart muscle contraction, and also prevents the heart from becoming overly irritable, which can lead to heart rhythm problems.5
Caution: Food additives such as monosodium glutamate (MSG) and the artificial sweetener aspartame lower the body’s concentration of taurine.6
Caution: Food additives such as monosodium glutamate (MSG) and the artificial sweetener aspartame lower the body’s concentration of taurine.6
Dosage: Daily: 3,000 mg in divided doses with meals.
(One study by G. Eby recommends 10 to 20 grams of taurine/day combined with 4-6 grams of L-argenine to stop A-Fib. But this is a relatively heavy dosage requiring 10-20 1000 mg pills/day.7,8 [I think the dosages G. Eby recommends may be too much and have heard that such a high level of Taurine can cause palpitations and high blood pressure. But I haven’t run across any studies that document this.]
Coenzyme Q-10 is a naturally occurring enzyme, part of the quinone chemical group, that is found in every cell in the body. It plays a key role in producing energy in the mitochondria. CoQ10’s ability to energize the heart is perhaps its chief attribute. 95% of the body’s energy is generated by CoQ10, which generates energy in the form of ATP.9 CoQ10 improves heart functions and heart rhythm problems.10 The CoQ10 should have “Ubiquinol” on the label rather than “ubiquinone” which your body has to first convert to ubiquinol to get the benefits. Caution: Be advised that taking statin drugs reduces CoQ10 levels. A CoQ10 deficiency is associated with illness and death in animals.12
Caution: Be advised that taking statin drugs reduces CoQ10 levels. A CoQ10 deficiency is associated with illness and death in animals.12
Dr. Sinatra calls Coenzyme Q10 “the spark of life.” In heart cells CoQ10 provides the spark that initiates the energy process.11 It prolongs the action potential and helps maintain sinus rhythm. It’s also a powerful antioxidant.
Gel tabs are better absorbed than powdered tablets.
Dosage: 100-300 mg daily in divided doses with meals.13
L-Carnitine is a vitamin-like nutrient. It’s a derivative of the amino acid lysine which helps to turn fat into energy. It is considered by some to be the single most important nutrient in cardiac health. It reduces the incidence of cardiac arrhythmias and premature ventricular contractions (PVCs).14,15 Dr. Sinatra says Coenzyme Q10 and Carnitine work together, and calls them the “twin pillars of heart health.”16 While CoQ10 ignites the spark that generates ATP, L-Carnitine is the energy shuttle that transports long-chain fatty acids to the heart cells (mitochondria) where they are burned as fuel.
A newer form “propionyl-L-carnitine (PLC)” targets heart tissue specifically.17
Dosage: Daily: 750-2000 mg of L-Carnitine Fumerate (250 to 500 mg three to four times a day).
Fish Oil/Essential Fatty Acids (EPA and DHA are essential nutrients obtained primarily from eating fish or from supplements.) DHA plays a crucial role in brain function, as well as in normal growth and development. Essential fatty acids like EPA and DHA are considered by some to be natural defibrillators, lessening the incidence of cardiac arrhythmias and A-Fib.18 DHA in particular helps stabilize the heart’s electrical activity, reducing risk of fatal arrhythmias and sudden cardiac death.
(In one experiment, Harvard researchers added different toxins to heart cell cultures that caused them to beat erratically. However, when they added omega-3 fatty acids at the same time, arrhythmias were prevented.)”19
Try to find a Fish Oil that includes the supplement Gamma E (d-Alpha Tocopherol) to prevent oxidation of the oil once it reaches the tissue.20 Note: Some prefer Krill oil to fish oil as it’s exacted from organisms living in pristine deep-water seas.
Dosage: Daily: 2,000-8,000 mg in liquid or tablets, in divided doses21
Ribose (D-Ribose) is a five-carbon sugar that is a regulator in the production of ATP. It’s a carbohydrate that is the backbone of genetic materials, and it’s needed in the production of many metabolic compounds. “The heart’s ability to maintain energy is limited by one thing—the availability of ribose.”
Ribose increases tolerance to cardiac stress, improves exercise tolerance and physical function, provides cardiac energy needed to maintain normal heart function, increases cardiac efficiency, lowers stress during exercise, and maintains healthy energy levels in heart and muscle.22,23 When first starting Ribose, start with small doses at first, then increase gradually.
Dosage: Daily: 7-10 grams of Ribose powder. Take in divided doses with meals or just before and after exercise.
Hawthorne Berry Extract is made from the tiny red berries of the Hawthorne Shrub, and has been used in traditional medicine since ancient times. It reduces tachycardias and palpitations and prevents premature ventricular contractions (PVCs). Hawthorne Berry can energize the heart without prompting arrhythmias. It has a normalizing effect upon the heartbeat.24
Dosage: 4,500 mg daily in divided doses (three 510 mg capsules three times a day).
Another possible natural remedy for A-Fib is Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAA) coupled with L-Glutamine. These amino acids (BCAA) are critical to the repair and maintenance of strong muscles. All of your muscles, including your heart, could suffer because of BCAA deficiencies. and your heart is only a muscle after all.25 BCAAs can be obtained only from external food sources. Maintaining proper BCAA levels is critical to heart muscle function.26
Recommended products: MRM BCAA+G, Lemonade, 35.2-Ounce (1000g) Plastic Jar, BodyTech BCAA and Glutamine (13.8 Oz Powder).
Dosage: Two teaspoons of BCAA+G powder in the morning and evening.
1. Vitamin C 1,000 mg 3 times/day For more information about supplements for Lone A-Fib, you may also want to visit the website “Dr Lam and Body. Mind. Nutrition” and read the article, “The Best of Western and Eastern Medicine, The LAF Protocol: 11 Strategies to Prevent/Treat Lone Atrial Fibrillation”. Back to top
2. CoQ10 300 mg/day
3. L-carnitine 3,000 mg/day
4. Magnesium Glycinate 800 mg/day
5. D-ribose 3,000-6,000 mg/day27
Return to Index of Articles: Minerals & Supplements
If you find any errors on this page, email us. Y Last updated: Monday, February 27, 2017
1. Vitamin C 1,000 mg 3 times/day
For more information about supplements for Lone A-Fib, you may also want to visit the website “Dr Lam and Body. Mind. Nutrition” and read the article, “The Best of Western and Eastern Medicine, The LAF Protocol: 11 Strategies to Prevent/Treat Lone Atrial Fibrillation”.
Back to top