11. “Regarding Magnesium, can supplementing and restoring Mg to healthy levels reverse my A-Fib? I’m about to schedule a catheter ablation. But if supplementing can cure my A-Fib, why do an ablation? (BTW: I ordered, and love your book!)”
It would probably take you at least six months to build up your magnesium levels to normal or better. You have to start slow 100 mg/day, then gradually build up to 600 or 800. Too much magnesium too soon will give you loose stools and diarrhea and will make you lose electrolytes like magnesium and potassium. (In Europe magnesium is often used as an IV in the emergency room to get people out of an A-Fib attack. But this is rarely done in the US.)
Magnesium Isn’t As Successful As a Catheter Ablation
Unfortunately we can’t guarantee that achieving these normal levels of magnesium will cure your A-Fib once it’s established. We just don’t have enough scientific data to say that. But we do know that a successful catheter ablation can make you A-Fib free.
Of all the 70+ personal A-Fib stories we’ve published on A-Fib.com, we only have one who states she was cured by natural supplements. (She takes much more than just magnesium and started when she first developed A-Fib.)
Personally I take 800 mg/day of magnesium along with all the other supplements mentioned in my book, Beat Your A-Fib, as insurance for not getting A-Fib again. I was cured back in 1998 by a procedure that would be considered primitive today. A ‘focal point’ ablation was done on only one of my pulmonary veins. None of the others were isolated.
But if you have a successful catheter ablation and your PVs are well isolated, you are, in a sense, immunized against developing PV-originating A-Fib again. But A-Fib can develop in other parts of the heart, too, which is why we continue to take magnesium and other supplements to restore and maintain normal nutrition levels.
Magnesium To Make You Heart-Healthy
Getting your magnesium levels back up to normal will likely make you feel better and be more heart healthy. You might become one of the few who are completely “cured” of A-Fib just by taking natural supplements. But with your already established A-Fib, you can’t rely on that happening. Remember, A-Fib is a progressive disease. Waiting another six months while you build up your Mg levels is giving your A-Fib more time to “remodel” and damage your heart.
If you have been in A-Fib for a year or more, it’s probably better to go through with your scheduled ablation.
Magnesium For Six Months For Newly Developed A-Fib?
For people who just developed A-Fib, it may be worth trying natural remedies along with avoiding A-Fib triggers for six months or a year before going for a catheter ablation. But there is a caveat. The longer you stay in A-Fib while trying various natural remedies (or drug therapies), the more your heart changes and remodels itself. In particular, A-Fib produces fibrosis, a scarring and hardening of the heart walls, which is permanent and to date irreversible. (See my 2013 BAFS article, A-Fib Produces Fibrosis) If you don’t see a dramatic reduction in your A-Fib episode frequency, duration and overall burden within six months (or less), then head straight to the most experienced and skilled EP you can find for an ablation.
Combine Ablation With Heart Healthy Nutrients and Life-Style Changes
The trap for those who work hard at improving nutrition and supplements is they feel like a failure if they can’t stop their A-Fib with natural means alone. They keep trying one thing after another for years while avoiding the obvious need for an expert ablation procedure.
But trying natural remedies for A-Fib shouldn’t be an ‘either/or’ decision.
We should use every tool possible to put the ‘A-Fib genie back in the bottle’. The best approach is to combine an expert ablation procedure with permanent dietary improvements (including heart healthy nutrients and supplements) while also addressing any appropriate life-style changes (i.e., for high-blood pressure, sleep apnea, diabetes and obesity).
For someone who has just developed A-Fib, try to get out of A-Fib ASAP. It goes without saying that it’s not healthy and feels terrible to have A-Fib attacks.
Thanks to Daniel Towner for the excellent question and to Shannon Dickson for sharing his ideas.
Last updated: Wednesday, September 2, 2015
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