FAQs: Can I Prevent Familial A-Fib with Diet? Supplements?
“Both my uncles and my Dad have Atrial Fibrillation. I’m 50 years old and so far I don’t have A-Fib (yet), but I’m worried. How can I avoid developing A-Fib? Can dietary changes help? Or lifestyle changes?”
A-Fib does run in families and is called Familial A-Fib. Research says you have a 40% increased risk of developing A-Fib yourself. And the younger that family member was when they got A-Fib, the more likely you are to develop A-Fib. So, you are correct to be concerned about getting A-Fib.
Note: Most heart health eating plans aim to improve the ‘plumbing’ of the heart, whereas A-Fib is primarily an ‘electrical’ problem.
A Heart Healthy Diet and Lifestyle
While there’s no “Atrial Fibrillation diet” proven to prevent, stop or cure A-Fib, anything that improves your overall heart health might indirectly affect developing A-Fib.
Start with a ‘heart healthy’ diet and healthy lifestyle. There are lots of on-line resources and books about eating healthy for your heart.
• The U.S. National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute recommends the “DASH” eating plan which reduces the risk of developing cardiovascular disease;
• A Mediterranean diet may reduce the risk of atrial fibrillation, according to a article by Case Adams, a board-certified Naturopath;
• A whole-food organic diet is “preferred” for A-Fib patients, states Naturopathic doctor (ND) Dan Carter. But he doesn’t claim that this diet will prevent or cure A-Fib.
A-Fib Causes: Some are Under Your Control
The four main causes or co-morbidities of A-Fib are sleep apnea, obesity, hypertension and diabetes. If you have any of these conditions, it’s important to get them under control.
Binge drinking has been known to start one’s A-Fib, as well as smoking and excessive stress or anxiety. Avoid these as much as you can. (Also, many patients develop A-Fib post-surgery due to sudden low levels of magnesium.)
Dehydration can contribute to A-Fib. Too much alcohol or caffeine and too little water can alter the fluid levels in your body. Consume an adequate amount of water especially on hot days and when exercising.
Vitamins, Supplements and Herbs
Several vitamins, supplements and herbs have been shown to reduce or eliminate A-Fib symptoms. Magnesium and Potassium deficiencies are prevalent among A-Fib patients, as well as Calcium overload. Read more on our Mineral Deficiencies page.
For a list of 7 other vitamins and supplements known to improve your overall heart health, see my article: ‘Natural’ Supplements for a Healthy Heart’. (I take these myself to help stay A-Fib free after my 1998 catheter ablation which isolated only one of my pulmonary vein, common at the time.)
What This Means to Families of A-Fib Patients
With A-Fib running in your family, you have a 40% increased risk of developing A-Fib yourself. And the younger your uncles and dad were when they got A-Fib, the more likely you are to develop A-Fib.
The younger your uncles and dad were when they got A-Fib, the more likely you are to develop A-Fib.
While there’s no diet to prevent A-Fib, you can get control of co-morbidities such as obesity, sleep apnea, diabetes and high blood pressure. And you can avoid lifestyle choices like binge drinking, smoking, excessive stress and anxiety that increase your odds of A-Fib. (If you have surgery, ask your doctor about Magnesium IV post-op).
Above all, choose a healthy heart lifestyle, exercise, don’t overindulge and eat well.
If you find any errors on this page, email us. Y Last updated: Wednesday, March 16, 2016