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Natural supplements

Natural supplements

‘Natural’ Supplements for a Healthy Heart

By Steve Ryan, PhD, Updated April 2014 

Vitamins and supplements may improve overall heart health and thereby help A-Fib, but they aren’t generally considered “A-Fib specific” like some medications. Besides monitoring your mineral levels of Magnesium, Calcium and Potassium, you may also want to promote a healthy heart with “natural” supplements.

Caution: Consult with your doctor before adding any supplements to your treatment plan. They may interfere or interact with your prescription medications.

Recommended supplements for heart rhythm problems and to promote a healthy heart: 1 , 2  

• Taurine
• Coenzyme Q10
• L-Carnitine
• Omega-3 Fish Oils
• Ribose (D-Ribose)
• Hawthorne Berry
• BCAA+G

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.

When shopping for supplements: consider using our A-Fib portal link to Amazon.com. Every purchase generates a small commission that we apply to the maintenance of A-Fib.com. Bookmark this link.

Taurine

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

Suggested products: Now Foods Taurine 1000mg, 100-Capsules; Source Naturals Taurine, 1000mg, 240 Capsules.

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 are too much and have heard that that high a level of Taurine can cause palpitations and high blood pressure. But I haven't run across any studies that document this.] 

Coenzyme Q10 (Ubiquinone)

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. This is a more readily absorbed form of CoQ10.

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.

Caution: Be advised that taking statin drugs reduces CoQ10 levels. A CoQ10 deficiency is associated with illness and death in animals. 12

Suggested products:: Jarrow Formulas Ubiquinol QH-Absorb, 100 mg, 120 Softgels;  Source Naturals Ubiquinol CoQh 100 mg, 90 Softgels;

Dosage: 100-300 mg daily in divided doses with meals. 13   

L-Carnitine

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

Suggested products: Glycine Propionyl-L-Carnitine HCl GPLC 840 mg 60 Caps by Swanson Ultra; Vitacost GPLC Glycine Propionyl L-Carnitine HCl-GlycoCarn 1000 mg PLC per serving — 60 Capsules by Vitacost Brand

Dosage: Daily: 750-2000 mg of L-Carnitine Fumerate (250 to 500 mg three to four times a day). 

Omega-3 Fish Oils

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

Recommended products: Nutricology DHA, Softgels, 90-Count; Source Naturals Omega EPA Fish Oil 1000 mg, 100 Softgels;

Dosage: Daily: 2,000-8,000 mg in liquid or tablets, in divided doses 21   

Ribose (D-Ribose)

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.

Suggested products: Now Foods D-Ribose Powder, 8-Ounce; Doctor’s Best Best D-Ribose Featuring Bioenergy Ribose, 250-grams.

Dosage: Daily: 7-10 grams of Ribose powder. Take in divided doses with meals or just before and after exercise.  

Hawthorne Berry

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  

Recommended products: Now Foods Hawthorn Extractract 300 mg, Veg-capsules, 90-Count; Nature’s Way Hawthorn Berries , 510 mg., 180 Veg-capsules

Dosage: 4,500 mg daily in divided doses (three 510 mg capsules three times a day). 

BCAA+G

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’s BCAA+G with L-Glutamine, Muscle Recovery, 1000 grams, 2 lbs.; BodyTech’s BCAA + Glutamine, 13.8oz Powder;

Dosage: Two teaspoons of BCAA+G powder in the morning and evening.  

Our Amazon.com Listmania! List
The Healthy Heart: Minerals & Supplements for A-Fib Patients: To help you get started, we’ve created a shopping list for you on Amazon.com. We list two brands for each supplement discussed that meet our basic criteria. Go to our Listmania list! 

Additional Reading

Dr. Frank Shallenberger in Real Cures newsletter (now editor of Second Opinion) recommends the following protocol for all patients with A-Fib:

1. Vitamin C 1,000 mg 3 times/day
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/day 27

For more information about supplements for Lone A-Fib, you may also want to visit the websiteDr 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.

Caution

Beware of the “natural” products ‘Flemetron’ and ‘Rillical’. They may be scams. See: Gordon’s Herbal Research Center: Scam and Solutions by Nature: Scam.

♦♦♦

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References    (↵ returns to text)
  1. Taurine. Life Extension Vitamins. Last accessed November 5, 2012 http://www.lifeextensionvitamins.com/cadico14thvz.html
  2. Sinatra, Stephen J., “The Sinatra Solution Metabolic Cardiology.” Basic Health Publications, 2008, p. 162.
  3. Burgess, J. The Strategy – What Metabolic Cardiology Means to Afibbers. July 2010, p. 5. http://www.afibbers.org/resources/magnesiumabsorption.pdf
  4. Taurine. Life Extension Vitamins. Last accessed November 5, 2012 http://www.lifeextensionvitamins.com/cadico14thvz.html
  5. Ibid.
  6. Burgess, J. The Strategy – What Metabolic Cardiology Means to Afibbers. July 2010, p. 14. http://www.afibbers.org/resources/magnesiumabsorption.pdf
  7. Burgess, J. FACT (moderator@gordonresearch.com). Atrial Fibrillation responses. A1: http://www.easy-immune-health.com/atrial-fibrillation-cause.html
  8. Eby G, et al. Elimination of cardiac arrhythmias using oral taurine with l-arginine with case histories: Hypothesis for nitric oxide stabilization of the sinus node. Med Hypotheses. 2006;67(5):1200-4. Epub 2006 Jun 23.  PMID: 16797868. Lasted accessed March 2, 2013. URL: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16797868
  9. Coenzyme Q10. Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Last accessed Jan 10, 2012 URL: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coenzyme_Q10
  10. Whitaker, Julian. Health Encyclopedia CD-ROM. p.4.
  11. Sinatra, Stephen J., “The Sinatra Solution Metabolic Cardiology.” Basic Health Publications, 2008, Ch. 4.
  12. Cardiovascular Disease Comprehensive 8 – Therapeutic C. Life Extension Vitamins. Last accessed November 5, 2012 URL: http://www.lifeextensionvitamins.com/cadico8thc.html
  13. Whitaker, Julian. Health Encyclopedia CD-ROM. p.4.
  14. L-Carnitine. Cardiovascular Disease Comprehensive 8 – Therapeutic C. Life Extension Vitamins. Last accessed November 5, 2012 URL: http://www.lifeextensionvitamins.com/cadico8thc.htm
  15. Crayhon, Robert. The Carnitine Miracle. Rowman & Littlefield, 2001
  16. Burgess, J. The Strategy – What Metabolic Cardiology Means to Afibbers. July 2010, p. 17. http://www.afibbers.org/resources/magnesiumabsorption.pdf
  17. Burgess, J. The Strategy – What Metabolic Cardiology Means to Afibbers. July 2010, p. 21. http://www.afibbers.org/resources/magnesiumabsorption.pdf
  18. Omega-6 and Omega-3 Fatty Acids, Cardiovascular Disease Comprehensive 9 – Therapeutic D-E. Last accessed Jan 10, 2013. URL: http://www.lifeextensionvitamins.com/cadico9thde.html
  19. Whitaker, Julian. Health Encyclopedia CD-ROM. p.4.
  20. Burgess, J. The Strategy – What Metabolic Cardiology Means to Afibbers. July 2010, p. 21. http://www.afibbers.org/resources/magnesiumabsorption.pdf
  21. Whitaker, Julian. Health Encyclopedia CD-ROM. p.4.
  22. Burgess, J. The Strategy – What Metabolic Cardiology Means to Afibbers. July 2010, p. 20. http://www.afibbers.org/resources/magnesiumabsorption.pdf
  23. Sinatra, Stephen J., “The Sinatra Solution Metabolic Cardiology.” Basic Health Publications, 2008, p. 162.
  24. Hawthorn Berry. Cardiovascular Disease Comprehensive 11 – Therapeutic H. Last accessed Jan 10, 2013. http://www.lifeextensionvitamins.com/cadico11thh.html
  25. Seven Reasons to Use BCAA Supplements. Invigorate360.com Last accessed Jan 10, 2013 URL: http://www.invigorate360.com/reviews/7-reasons-to-use-bcaa-supplements/
  26. Huang, Y. et al. “Branched-chain amino acid metabolism in heart disease: an epiphenomenon or a real culprit?” Cardiovascular Research, (2011) 90 (2): 220-223. Last accessed Jan 10, 2013 URL: http://cardiovascres.oxfordjournals.org/content/90/2/220.abstract
  27. Shallenberger, Frank. Real Cures. Vol. 12, No. 9. Sept. 2013

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