A-Fib.com Mission Statement
Amazon review ad - Hope lies within these pages REVISED 225 pix wide by 96 res
 

ABOUT 'BEAT YOUR A-FIB'...


"This book is incredibly complete and easy-to-understand for anybody. I certainly recommend it for patients who want to know more about atrial fibrillation than what they will learn from doctors...."

Pierre Jaïs, M.D. Professor of Cardiology, Haut-Lévêque Hospital, Bordeaux, France

"Dear Steve, I saw a patient this morning with your book [in hand] and highlights throughout. She loves it and finds it very useful to help her in dealing with atrial fibrillation."

Dr. Wilber Su Cavanaugh Heart Center, Phoenix, AZ

"Your book [Beat Your A-Fib] is the quintessential most important guide not only for the individual experiencing atrial fibrillation and his family, but also for primary physicians, and cardiologists."

Jane-Alexandra Krehbiel, nurse, blogger and author "Rational Preparedness: A Primer to Preparedness"



ABOUT A-FIB.COM...


"Steve Ryan's summaries of the Boston A-Fib Symposium are terrific. Steve has the ability to synthesize and communicate accurately in clear and simple terms the essence of complex subjects. This is an exceptional skill and a great service to patients with atrial fibrillation."

Dr. Jeremy Ruskin of Mass. General Hospital and Harvard Medical School

"I love your [A-fib.com] website, Patti and Steve! An excellent resource for anybody seeking credible science on atrial fibrillation plus compelling real-life stories from others living with A-Fib. Congratulations…"

Carolyn Thomas, blogger and heart attack survivor; MyHeartSisters.org

"Steve, your website was so helpful. Thank you! After two ablations I am now A-fib free. You are a great help to a lot of people, keep up the good work."

Terry Traver, former A-Fib patient

"If you want to do some research on AF go to A-Fib.com by Steve Ryan, this site was a big help to me, and helped me be free of AF."

Roy Salmon Patient, A-Fib Free; pacemakerclub.com, Sept. 2013


This website is certified by Health On the Net Foundation. Click to verify.
This site complies with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information: verify here.

Minerals Quad- flat 200 pixMineral Deficiencies

When you have A-Fib, a sensible starting point may be to check for chemical imbalances or deficiencies. A deficiency in minerals like magnesium or potassium can force the heart into fatal arrhythmias.

Minerals, vitamins and herbs have a long and consistently safe track record. Nearly half of the people in the US take supplements every day. A large study published in 2012 found that there were no deaths linked to nutritional supplements in 2010. (Whereas in an average year, there are roughly 200,000 deaths and over 500,000 adverse events reported due to prescription drugs.) 1

Unfortunately a great number of physicians are not well versed in recommending or supervising nutritional support and quite often, will dismiss your inquiries about nutritional supplements. 2 You may need to work with your doctor to determine the benefit of supplements for your A-Fib health. (See the FDA’s attack on cherries as an example of the bias you may encounter.) 3

Remember: the authors of this website are not medical doctors. Consult with your doctor before adding any minerals or supplements to your treatment plan. They may interfere or interact with the medications you are taking. In addition, you may need closer medical supervision while taking minerals and/or supplements.

Mg flatMagnesium

“Anyone in A-Fib is almost certainly magnesium deficient.” 4 Adequate intracellular magnesium is essential to normal tissue and organ function. Low magnesium is associated with cardiac abnormalities, fibrillation, and vascular and muscle spasms, and is seen in cardiac failure.

While Magnesium (Mg) is one of the main components of heart cell functioning, it seems to be chronically lacking in most diets. “Magnesium deficiencies range from 65% to 80% in general populations in the US and globally.” 5 “At least 80% of Americans are deficient in magnesium.” 6

Most US adults ingest only about 270 mg of magnesium a day, well below the modest magnesium RDAs of 420 mg for adult males and 320 mg for adult females. This creates a substantial cumulative deficiency over months and years. 7  Magnesium used to be plentiful in fruits, vegetable and grains, but decades of industrial-scale farming have stripped the soil of minerals like magnesium. One study found that the nutrient content of crops has declined by as much as 40% since the 1950s. “It now is almost impossible to get adequate amounts of magnesium from food.” 8

Common blood tests are poor indicators of your Magnesium level because Magnesium does its work inside the cell (intracellular), not in the blood. Blood “serum” levels of Magnesium are misleading. They remain relatively stable (at about 1%), even when working intracellular magnesium levels are low. (The body “robs” stored Magnesium to maintain the 1% level in your blood. Not good.)

More meaningful is an intracellular test such as Red Blood Cell (RBC) Magnesium analysis. (Another is the EXAtest” (http://www.exatest.com), unfortunately few doctors provide this test.) The RBC test gives the average level of Magnesium in the cells for the past four months. (A normal lower limit is 33.9 mEq/IU191.) Combined with your symptoms, the RBC analysis should indicate if you’re Magnesium deficient.

Even without the tests, if you have A-Fib you can take for granted that you need more Magnesium.

Foods highest in magnesium content are:

Green vegetables (dark leafy greens)
Whole grain cereals (bran breakfast cereal), quinoa
Nuts, seeds (almonds, cashews)
Beans
Seafood (halibut, mackerel)
• Soy
• Brown Rice
• Avocados
• Dairy

WHAT KIND OF MAGNESIUM?

But to insure you’re getting the amount of magnesium you need, it’s often necessary to take magnesium in supplemental form, in addition to foods rich in magnesium. My recommendations of easily absorbed supplemental magnesium are:

Magnesium Glycinate: a chelated amino acid. Look for the label “Albion Minerals.” This is a patented process designed to limit bowel sensitivity. One source is “Doctor’s Best High Absorption Magnesium (200 Mg Elemental)“.
Angstrom Magnesium: such as “Ancient Minerals Ultra Pure Magnesium Oil 8 oz.”

Intravenous (IV) Magnesium Sulfate: This is the fastest way to restore normal heart rhythm. It is a recognized therapy worldwide, but not generally in the U.S. 9 Dr. Julian Whitaker in Newport Beach, CA performs this therapy (www.drwhitaker.com).

SUPPLEMENT DOSAGE

A recommended goal is a minimum 600 mg/day, preferably 800 mg. (For example, 200mg three times a day and 200 mg at bedtime.)

It’s prudent to start off with very low doses of oral magnesium such as 100 mg. (Excess magnesium or magnesium sensitivity can cause loose stools and diarrhea which is counterproductive, because of the loss of electrolytes.) Increase the dosage of magnesium every 4-5 days. It may take as long as six months to replenish your intracellular magnesium levels. 10

Alternatives to Oral Magnesium

If oral magnesium causes bowel sensitivity, an alternative (or an additional source of magnesium) is Magnesium Oil which is applied to the skin and over the heart.

An example is Ancient Minerals Ultra Pure Magnesium Oil which is odorless. (One method is to apply a drop the size of a quarter to the inner arm fold opposite and above the elbow, then wash off in 20 minutes.)

Another alternative treatment is Epsom Salts Baths—soak for 20 minutes in a bath with 2 cups of Epsom Salts (any brand will do). (Epsom Salt Baths can also cause loose stools.) See Personal Experiences: Epsom Salts Cure. You can also make an Epsom Salts spray—one part Epsom Salts to one part water. Place in a spray bottle and mist the chest. Let it dry on the skin.

See Steve’s Shopping Guide for a Healthy Heart for recommended products and brands (see all of Steve’s Shopping Guides on our sister site, BeatYourA-Fib.com)

Back to the Top

Ca flatDanger of Too Much Calcium!

Too much calcium (Ca) can excite the heart cells and induce A-Fib, especially when magnesium is deficient. 11 According to Dr. Andrea Natale, Executive Medical Director, Texas Cardiac Arrhythmia Institute, ‘calcium overload’ is the primary factor in A-Fib remodeling of the heart, i.e., structural changes to the heart, including enlargement of the atria and the development of atrial fibrosis. 12

A-Fib patients may need to stop or lower significantly their calcium supplements and increase magnesium. 13 Aim for a ratio of one part Calcium to two or more parts Magnesium. It’s good to keep track of how much Calcium you are taking in daily, so that you can be sure to take in more Magnesium than Calcium.

K flatPOTASSIUM

Potassium (K+) is often the second key nutrient A-Fibbers may be deficient in. In fact, magnesium depletion can lead to potassium depletion. 14 Low magnesium leads to low tissue potassium, since magnesium is needed for potassium transport into tissue.

Potassium is essential for normal nerve and muscle function and is very important in maintaining normal cardiac function. Potassium helps prevent A-Fib by prolonging the refractory period—the time when the heart is resting between beats. (During this rest period the heart can’t be stimulated to contract, thus leaving the heart in normal sinus rhythm.) When potassium levels are too low, heart cells become unusually excitable, often leading to premature contractions and/or A-Fib. 15

Sources of potassium

Foods rich in Potassium include:

Beans (White Beans)
Dark Leafy Greens (Spinach, Chad, Kale, Collards)
Baked Potatoes, Sweet Potatoes (with skin)
Dried Apricots
Yogurt (plain, skim/non-fat)
Seafood (salmon, pompano, halibut)
Bananas
Avocados

But to insure you’re getting the amount of potassium you need, it’s often necessary to take potassium in supplemental form, in addition to foods rich in potassium. Here’s my potassium recommendations.

SUPPLEMENTS DOSAGE

The recommended dosage is 1600-2400 mg/day. While potassium is available in tablets, the 99 mg maximum FDA dosage makes them impracticable requiring 16+ tablets a day. (Beware: some brands offer 540mg tablets, but the actual dose of Potassium Gluconate is only 90 or 99 mg per tablet.) 

Therefore we recommend the powder form. Our favorite is “Now Foods Potassium Gluconate Pure Powder“. Take a total of 3-4 teaspoons a day in juice and divided between 3 meals (approximately 540 mg per teaspoon). You can also consider Potassium Citrate powder using up to 3 teaspoons a day in juice and also divided between 3 meals (approximately 1g per teaspoon). Either form is acceptable. (FYI: Gluconate is neutral PH and Citrate is alkaline, i.e. easier for an acidy stomach.)

As with magnesium, start off low, one teaspoon/day, and increase the dosage every 4-5 days. The goal is to keep the serum blood potassium level at 4.5 but under 5.0 16 A word of caution—adding too much potassium too soon will make A-Fib worse, not better. 17 Too much potassium in blood plasma makes the cardiac cells depolarized and unexcitable, leading to spontaneous activity in other areas of the heart such as the Pulmonary Vein openings. 18

Back to the Top

Vitamin D3Vitamin D

If you don’t spend much time in the sun or always cover your skin (sunscreen inhibits vitamin D production), you’re probably deficient in Vitamin D. Known as the sunshine vitamin, vitamin D is produced by the body in response to sunlight, and occurs naturally in small amounts in a few foods including some fish, fish liver oils, and egg yolks.

A 2009 study estimated as many as 77 percent of Americans are vitamin D deficient. 19 Excessive Vitamin D is rare and is not caused by excessive exposure to the sun, or foods containing Vitamin D.

Vitamin D deficiency contributes to the development of both A-Fib and Dementia. (See Boston AF 2011: A-Fib and Dementia by Dr. T. Jared Bunch.) Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium. A deficiency in vitamin D can cause an imbalance in Magnesium and Calcium, and contribute to heart palpitations. 20

Testing for Vitamin D deficiency

Ask your doctor for a “25-hydroxy Vitamin D Test” or use an in-home Vitamin D test available from the Vitamin D Council. 21 Vitamin D deficiency is defined as a blood 25(OH)D level below 20 ng/dL. Normal levels are considered to be above 30 ng/dL. 22

SUPPLEMENTS DOSAGE

Vitamin D from sun exposure: 5–30 minutes of sun exposure between 10 AM and 3 PM at least twice a week to the face, arms, legs, or back without sunscreen. 23 Vitamin D is found in supplements (and fortified foods) in two different forms: D2 and D3. Both increase vitamin D in the blood. The RDA for adults is 600IU and 800IU for seniors (mostly from sun exposure). For adults who aren’t getting vitamin D from the sun, the recommended supplement is: 200 IU of vitamin D a day for adults under 50 and 400 IU for adults 50 to 70 years of age. Many doctors are advising their patients to take much higher amounts, such as 1,000 I.U. a day.

Warning: Please be advised that, before taking magnesium and/or potassium, you should check with your doctor and be tested to determine your current levels.

♦♦♦

Last updated: Monday, September 15, 2014

Back to the Top


* A-Fib, Inc. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. A-Fib.com earns a small commission on your purchases when you go to Amazon.com using the links on this site; This revenue helps cover the maintenance costs of A-Fib.com.

References    (↵ returns to text)
  1. Cardiovascular Disease Comprehensive 8 – Therapeutic C. Life Extension Vitamins. Last accessed Jan 6, 2013 URL: http://www.lifeextensionvitamins.com/cadico8thc.html, and No Deaths From Vitamins: America’s Largest Database Confirms Supplement Safety. Orthomolecular Medicine News Service, Press Release, December 28, 2011; Last accessed April 1, 2013. URL: http://orthomolecular.org/resources/omns/v07n16.shtml
  2. Burgess, Jackie. “The Strategy – What Metabolic Cardiology Means to Afibbers,” July 2010, p. 3. http://www.afibbers.org/resources/magnesiumabsorption.pdf
  3. Life Extension magazine reports: “On October 17, 2005, the FDA banned information about cherries’ health benefits from appearing on websites. The FDA sent warning letters to 29 companies that market cherry products. In those letters, the FDA ordered the companies to stop publicizing scientific data about cherries. According to the FDA, when cherry companies disseminate this information, the cherries become unapproved drugs subject to seizure. the FDA warns that “if those involved in cherry trafficking continue to inform customers about these scientific studies, criminal prosecutions will ensue.” Rowen, Robert Jay Second Opinion. Vol.XXIV, No. 6, June 2014. Feng, JH et al Fruit and vegetable consumption and stroke: meta-analysis of cohort studies. Lancet. 2006; 367(9507):320-6.
  4. Knox, Kerri. FACT (moderator@gordonresearch.com). Atrial Fibrillation responses. A2: http://www.easy-immune-health.com/atrial-fibrillation-cause.html
  5. Burgess, Jackie. “The Strategy – What Metabolic Cardiology Means to Afibbers,” July 2010, P.5. http://www.afibbers.org/resources/magnesiumabsorption.pdf
  6. Goodman, Dennis. This Mineral Prevents Headaches, Heart Disease, More. Bottom Line Personal. Volume 35, Number 2, January 15, 2014.
  7. Davis, William. “Is Your Bottled Water Killing You?” Life Extension Magazine, February 2007. http://www.lef.org/magazine/mag2007/feb2007_report_water_02.htm
  8. Goodman ibid.
  9. Whitaker, Julian. Health and Healing, March 2011, Vol.21, No. 3, P. 3.
  10. Burgess, Jackie. FACT (moderator@gordonresearch.com). Atrial Fibrillation responses. A1: http://www.easy-immune-health.com/atrial-fibrillation-cause.html 193 Berkelhammer, C, Baer, RA “A clinical approach to common electrolyte problems:*4. Hypomagnesemia” http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1345822
  11. Burgess, Jackie. FACT (moderator@gordonresearch.com). Atrial Fibrillation responses. A1: http://www.easy-immune-health.com/atrial-fibrillation-cause.html
  12. Natale, Andrea and Jalife, “Atrial Fibrillation: From Bench to Bedside,” Pp. 103-4. http://tinyurl.com/29sclh3
  13. Burgess, Jackie. “The Strategy – What Metabolic Cardiology Means to Afibbers,” July, 2010, p. 12. http://www.afibbers.org/resources/magnesiumabsorption.pdf
  14. Berkelhammer, C, Baer, RA “A clinical approach to common electrolyte problems:*4. Hypomagnesemia” http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1345822
  15. Van Wagoner, David R. J Mol Cell Cardiol 32, 1763-66 (2000) doi: 1006/jmcc.2000. 1224.
  16. Burgess, Jackie. FACT (moderator@gordonresearch.com). Atrial Fibrillation responses. A1: http://www.easy-immune-health.com/atrial-fibrillation-cause.html
  17. ibid.
  18. Van Wagoner, David R. J Mol Cell Cardiol 32, 1763-66 (2000) doi: 1006/jmcc.2000. 1224.
  19. Can Vitamin D Deficiency Cause Heart Palpitations?  Livestrong.com.  Retrieved  October 25, 2012. URL: http://www.livestrong.com/article/508611-can-vitamin-d-deficiency-cause-heart-palpitations/#ixzz25lPz7ame
  20. Vitamin D Deficiency, WebMD.Retrieved  October 25, 2012. URL: http://www.webmd.com/diet/vitamin-d-deficiency
  21. In-home vitamin D test from the Vitamin D Council. Retrieved  October 25, 2012. URL: http://www.vitamindcouncil.org/about-vitamin-d/testing-for-vitamin-d/
  22. Vitamin D Deficiency, WebMD.Retrieved  October 25, 2012. URL: http://www.webmd.com/diet/vitamin-d-deficiency
  23. Dietary Supplement Fact Sheet: Vitamin D, U.S.Office of Dietary Supplements, the National  Institutes of Health. Retrieved  October 25, 2012. URL: http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminD-HealthProfessional/

Search our site

Rate this site

a-fib.com Webutation

Support A-Fib.com

Use OUR link to shop

Amazon button with glow 100 pic 96 res

BOOKMARK THIS LINK!

Every purchase generates a small commission—at no extra cost to you.

Help keep A-Fib.com Ad-free!


 


 
A-Fib Alerts-BYA promo Red ALT Signup Button 200 pix wide by 96 res
View Steve S. Ryan, Ph.D.'s profile on LinkedIn  
 
website security

Home | Help Support A-Fib.com | Print Friendly | Tell Us What You think | Media Room | GuideStar Seal | HON certification | Disclosures | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy