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.
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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
When you develop A-Fib, you have to think seriously about changing your exercising routine. In general, you want to do whatever you can to stay active and exercise normally. Review these articles to help you determine the right choices for you.
1. Exercising During an Episode: “When I’m having A-Fib symptoms, should I go ahead and exercise as I would normally?
2. Returning to “Normal” Exercise Level: “I love to exercise and I’m having a catheter ablation. Can I return to what’s ‘normal’ exercise for me?“
3. Exercise to Improve Circulation: “Is there any way I can improve my circulation, without having to undergo a Catheter Ablation or Surgery?”
Do Whatever You Can to Stay Active
Having Atrial Fibrillation doesn’t mean you have to stop exercising, but you have to be smart about it. (In some people, light exercise helps get them out of an A-Fib attack. In others, like me when I had A-Fib, exercise makes it worse.) Do whatever you can to stay active even though you have A-Fib.
By Patti J. Ryan
Do you struggle with the daily mix of supplements and prescriptions you take? Some are small, but some are horse-pill size! Some you take in the AM, others you take in the PM.
Trying to find the right pill organizer has been a trial for me. Most often the compartments are too small and hard to open.
I Found the Best Organizer
After years of trial and effort, I’ve FINALLY found a great pill organizer―the EZY Dose AM/PM 7-Day Push Button organizer.
This 7-day organizer has two rows for AM/PM dosages with large letters for the days of the week.
Compartments are extra large―about 1 1/8″ wide by 1 3/8″ deep. That’s large enough for those ‘horse pill’ size tablets. The compartments have rounded bottoms― making it effortless to get the pills out. And the cherry on top? Push button lids―easy open and easy close.
Do you carry your meds with you? The EZY Dose is also compact and portable for carrying in your purse or jacket pocket.
Note: If you take pills four times a day, there’s an EZY Dose for you too: 7-Day XL Medtime Planner
Use our Link to Amazon.com and Support A-Fib.com
For my needs, I bought two 7-Day EZY Dose organizers from Amazon.com, so I’m set for two weeks at fill up time.
Use our Amazon.com portal link: Here’s a link to get two EZY Dose AM/PM 7-Day Push Button organizers and Free Amazon Prime shipping. (Purchases through our portal link helps support A-Fib.com―at no extra cost to you!)
The EZY Dose AM/PM 7-Day organizer is also available from other retail and online sources.
In his personal A-Fib.com story, Tom Lisak wrote that his A-Fib disappeared after taking the supplement combination BCAA+G twice a day.
Personally, I take BCAA+G after running and after working out at the gym. (For recommended products: see ‘BCAA+G’ under ‘Natural’ Supplements for a Healthy Heart.)
Branched Chain Amino Acids coupled with L-Glutamine (BCAA+G) helps builds muscle. Athletes and weight lifters use BCAA+G to improve exercise performance and decrease post-exercise soreness and recovery time.
Our body doesn’t naturally manufacture Branched Chain Amino Acids. They’re essential nutrients that the body obtains from proteins found in food. All of your muscles, including your heart, could suffer if you are BCAA-deficient. Continue reading...
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.
Don’t Just Manage Your A-Fib with Meds. Seek your Cure
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
By Steve S. Ryan, PhD
Many A-Fib patients want to monitor their heart rate when exercising or when performing physically demanding activities, i.e., mowing the lawn, loading equipment, etc. (I wore one when I had A-Fib.) A consumer ‘DIY” monitor or Handheld ECG monitor may meet this need.
My Top 5 Picks for DIY Heart Rate & Handheld ECG Monitors
To get you started, here are my Top 5 Picks. These products are available from many online sources, but to make it easy for you and to read my other recommendations, see my ‘Wish List’ on Amazon.com. (Note: Use our Amazon portal link, and your purchases help support A-Fib.com.)
Used by runners and other athletes, this basic model has a clear, LARGE number display of your heart rate (as number).
The included Polar FT2 chest strap picks up the electrical signals from your heart and transmits to the wrist watch. Simple one-button start. Includes FT2 Getting Started Guide.
Also look at Polar FT1. Polar is my brand of choice, but there are many good brands.
A more advanced Polar model. Water resistant. Many built-in fitness features in addition to displaying your heart rate as a number (not a tracing). The included H1 heart rate sensor chest strap sends a continuous heart rate signal to the wrist watch.
Also look at Polar FT4; in colors.
Bluetooth-compatible heart rate sensor chest strap; Pair it with an app on your iPhone, iPad and Android device (instead of the Polar wrist watch).
For ECG tracings. Attaches to most smartphones and works with tablets. Records and displays an actual medical-grade ECG in just 30 seconds that you can share with your doctor. Shows whether your heart rhythm is normal or if atrial fibrillation is ‘detected’.
For ECG tracings & more. Stand alone unit captures and displays actual ECG and other vitals in less than 20 seconds. Palm-size, slips into your pocket or purse. Wireless, syncs with your Android or iPhone. More than just heart activity, set goals with daily reminders, etc.
Many A-Fib patients also suffer with sleep apnea. An easy way to check is to measure your blood’s oxygen level. A reading of 90% or lower means you should talk to your doctor, you may need a sleep study.
Learn More About DIY Heart Rate Monitors
For more information about these monitors, see my Guide to DIY Heart Rate Monitors & Handheld ECG Monitors (Part I).
To learn how they work, see DIY Heart Rate Monitors: How They Work For A-Fib Patients (Part II).
The harmful chemical compound, BPA, may have been removed from many plastic bottles and food packaging, but “BPA-free” products may not be much safer.
The BPA chemical replacements, BPS and BPF, can also leach into food and beverages and may have the same impact on the human body (heart problems, as well as cancer, infertility and other health issues).
BPA Replacement Linked to Arrhythmias in Female Rats
A study published in the Journal Environmental Health Perspectives (Seltenrich) shows that the chemical compound BPS has nearly identical impacts on the cardiovascular system of rats as those previously reported for BPA. Researchers reported a link between BPS and irregular heartbeat. More research is needed.
What to Do: It Doesn’t Hurt To Be Cautious
To reduce your risk of arrhythmia from BPS/BPF, decrease or eliminate your use of plastic storage containers for food or drink.
Drink from steel or glass containers, not plastic ones.
Don’t microwave your food in plastic containers. The heat from the microwave can separate BPA-like compounds from plastic containers, making them easier to ingest. If you must use plastic containers, avoid the microwave.
Ideally, just store food in ceramic, glass or stainless steel containers in the first place.
To read more, see the April 2015 TIME magazine article by Justin Worland, Why ‘BPA-Free’ May Be Meaningless.
by Steve S. Ryan, PhD, updated September 18, 2016
Few people in the U.S. today are shocked or scandalized that the Drug and Device Industry (DDI) basically bribes doctors and hospitals to prescribe their drugs or use their equipment. It’s so commonly done that we take it for granted.
In the U.S., in general, it isn’t considered unethical or immoral for doctors to accept payments or favors from the Drug and Device Industry (DDI). Nor is it illegal.
But soon U.S. patients will be able to simply type in our doctor’s name in the Open Payments Database and see how much they are being paid by the DDI and what conflicts of interest they have.
Thanks to the Sunshine Act (a provision of the U.S. 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act), the DDI must report when they make a payment to a doctor for meals, promotional speaking or other activities.
Influencing Doctors’ Prescriptions for the Price of a Meal
In a recent JAMA Internal Medicine report (DeJong, C., June 2016), the authors compared meal payments to doctors with the drugs they prescribed to Medicare patients.
Even doctors who accepted only one free meal were more likely to prescribe the brand name drug.
Not surprisingly, they found that physicians who accept free meals from a drug company are more likely to prescribe that company’s brand name drugs rather than cheaper (and usually more proven) generic drugs. This study only focused on physicians who received meals.
Even doctors who accepted only one free meal were more likely to prescribe the brand name drug. Doctors who accepted four or more meals were far more likely to prescribe brand name drugs than doctors who accepted no meals. Furthermore, doctors who accepted more expensive meals prescribed more brand name drugs.
In another related JAMA Internal Medicine report (Yeh, JS, June 2016), researchers found similar evidence that industry payments to physicians are associated with higher rates of prescribing brand-name statins.
Steer Clear of Conflicts of Interest
The publication, Bottom Line Personal, offered words of wisdom on this subject.
“Studies have found that when there is a conflict of interest, it is almost impossible for even well-meaning people to see things objectively.”
Dr. Dan Ariely of Duke University described how, if a doctor must choose between two procedures, they are likely to pick the one that has the better outcome for their bottom line.
“That doesn’t mean the doctor is unethical…it just means he is human. We truly seem to not realize how corrosive conflicts of interest are to honesty and objectivity.”
He advocates that we steer clear of people and organizations with conflicts of interest “because it does not appear to be possible to overcome conflicts of interest.”
Conflicts of Interest: Be Suspicious of Doctors
Doctors are only human. If a drug rep gets them great tickets to a sporting event, for example, of course they will be inclined to favor that rep’s drug. Whenever you visit a health/heart website ask yourself: “Who owns this site?” and “What is their agenda?”
Whenever you visit a health/heart website ask yourself: “Who owns this site?” and “What is their agenda?”
But be suspicious if your doctor tells you:
• to take an expensive new drug
• to just “live with your A-Fib”
• insists that catheter ablation is too dangerous or unproven
• that A-Fib can’t be cured
• that you have to take drugs for the rest of your life
If this happens to you, RUN and get a second opinion (and even a third opinion).
Conflicts of Interest: Be Suspicious of Health/Heart Websites
When I attend talks at most A-Fib conferences, the first slide a presenter shows is often a list of their Conflicts of Interest.
But this is not required of websites! Health/Heart websites are not required to be transparent and reveal their conflicts of interest.
Whenever you visit a health/heart website ask yourself: “Who owns this site?” and “What is their agenda?” (Hint: Check their list of “sponsors” and follow the money!)
Drug Industry Owns or Influences Most Heart/Health Web sites
The drug and device industry owns, operates or influences almost every health/heart related web site on the Internet!
The fact is most health/heart web sites are supported by drug companies who donate most of their funding.
For example, did you know that the drug company Ely Lilly partially owns and operates WebMD, the Heart.org, Medscape.com, eMedicine.com and many other health web sites?
The fact is that most health/heart web sites are supported by drug companies who donate most of their funding. Consider how that may affect the information they put on their web sites―they’re not going to bite the hand that feeds them.
Be Suspicious of A-Fib Info on the Internet
In our crazy world, you can’t afford to trust anything you read on the Internet.
At one time I tried to keep track of all the mis-information found on various A-Fib web sites. When we’d find something wrong, we would write the site. I don’t think we’ve ever received a reply. Finally, we gave up. (See my video: Buyer Beware of Misleading or Inaccurate A-Fib Information.)
Many web sites put out biased or mis-information. Be skeptical. You can tell if someone is trying to pull the wool over your eyes. Truth will out. If you feel uncomfortable or that something is wrong with a site, it probably is. When you find a good site, the truth will jump out at you.
In today’s world, you have to do your own due diligence. You know what makes sense and what doesn’t.
For more, see my article: EP’s Million Dollar Club—Are Payments to Doctors Buying Influence?
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.”)
Startup company, MobilECG has created an electrocardiograph (ECG) business card as a novelty to promote their actual clinical product, a low cost ($150-$250) holter or resting ECG.
|As long as you’re touching both of the business card’s scanner pads, the screen will show a basic but accurate ECG readout.
While it is not a diagnostic device, it is good enough to clearly capture the P, Q, R, S and T waves of the ECG signal.
Want one? You can sign up to get an email if/when it’s available (for about $29).
MobilECG Business Card
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 “ubiquinol” 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: Thursday, August 25, 2016
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”.
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