Doctors & patients are saying about ''...

" is a great web site for patients, that is unequaled by anything else out there."

Dr. Douglas L. Packer, MD, FHRS, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN

"Jill and I put you and your work in our prayers every night. What you do to help people through this [A-Fib] process is really incredible."

Jill and Steve Douglas, East Troy, WI 

“I really appreciate all the information on your website as it allows me to be a better informed patient and to know what questions to ask my EP. 

Faye Spencer, Boise, ID, April 2017

“I think your site has helped a lot of patients.”

Dr. Hugh G. Calkins, MD  Johns Hopkins,
Baltimore, MD

Doctors & patients are saying about 'Beat Your A-Fib'...

"If I had [your book] 10 years ago, it would have saved me 8 years of hell.”

Roy Salmon, Patient, A-Fib Free,
Adelaide, Australia

"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

"...masterful. You managed to combine an encyclopedic compilation of information with the simplicity of presentation that enhances the delivery of the information to the reader. This is not an easy thing to do, but you have been very, very successful at it."

Ira David Levin, heart patient, 
Rome, Italy

"Within the pages of Beat Your A-Fib, Dr. Steve Ryan, PhD, provides a comprehensive guide for persons seeking to find a cure for their Atrial Fibrillation."

Walter Kerwin, MD, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, CA


Supplements for a healthy heart

Magnesium Works in ERs to Reduce Risk of A-Fib or Return to Normal Sinus Rhythm

In the United Kingdom, it is common practice in critical care (E.R.) to administer serum magnesium to prevent A-Fib or to return patients to normal sinus rhythm.

This isn’t commonly done in the U.S.

UK ER Study: Magnesium Used in the ER to Prevent A-Fib

Research published in 2022 describes a study done of an adult critical care unit/emergency department (casualty) at the University College London Hospital between January 2016 and December 2017.

This single center observational study examined the preferences of critical nurses using Mg in patients who had undergone non-cardiac surgery.

Of 9,114 opportunities to administer intravenous Magnesium (Mg), there were significant variation practices depending on the individual nurses.

But still, intravenous Mg was associated with a 3% decrease in the relative risk of getting A-Fib after non-cardiac surgery.

Austrian ER Study: IV Magnesium Returns Normal Sinus Rhythm

A study from Vienna, Austria, looked at 2,546 episodes of non-permanent A-Fib in the emergency room (ER). Admission of Intravenous Magnesium (145.8 mg) and Potassium (24 mEq) were compared to no administration of either supplement.

Researchers found that Intravenous Magnesium and Potassium was associated with increased odds of returning patients to normal sinus rhythm (19.2% vs 10.4%) (but didn’t affect A-Flutter.)

Editor's CommentsEditor’s Comments

Though the above studies differ, they both show that administering Intravenous Magnesium in the ER is an effective tool in avoiding A-Fib or in returning A-Fib patients to normal sinus rhythm.
Some ERs in the U.S. do use Magnesium to return patients to normal sinus rhythm. (But many doctors still consider Magnesium [and most supplements] as little more than snake oil.)
This research is encouraging and indicates that Magnesium can be a useful tool with critical care patients. More research is needed.
What This Means for A-Fib Patients: If you wind up in the emergency room or urgent care for your Atrial Fibrillation, ask if they intend to administer  an IV of Magnesium. (If not, why?)

For more about Magnesium, see my article, Cardiovascular Benefits of Magnesium: Insights for Atrial Fibrillation Patients.

• Cacioppo, F. et at., Association of Intravenous Potassium and Magnesium Administration With Spontaneous Conversion of Atrial Fibrillation and Atrial Flutter in the Emergency Department. JAMA Network Open. 2022;5(10):e2237234.

• Wilson, M.G. et al. Clinical preference instrumental variable analysis of the effectiveness of magnesium supplementation for atrial fibrillation prophylaxis in critical care. (2022) 12:17433.


Magnesium IV to Stop A-Fib

We have long advocated the benefits of Magnesium for A-Fib. (See Magnesium Long-Life Insights for A-Fib Patients.)

Intravenous Delivery: A recent randomized controlled double-blind study found that Magnesium delivered directly into the bloodstream (Intravenous, i.e., IV) can produce both rate and rhythm control when used for A-Fib patients in the emergency room (ER).

The Good News: This study from the University of Monastir, Tunisia, found Magnesium IV is the fastest way to improve Magnesium levels and is very effective in restoring A-Fib patients to normal sinus rhythm.

The Bad News: In U.S. emergency rooms, Magnesium IV is not a standard treatment for A-Fib patients (though it may be used prior to cardioversion). (Dr. Julian Whitaker in Newport Beach, CA performs this therapy (

One of our Advisory Board members wrote me about his large facility’s experience with Magnesium IVs, “A few years ago we tried and stopped because of futility.”

Bottom Line: So it’s an interesting research study, but don’t look for a Magnesium IV if you end up in the ER with an A-Fib episode.

Resource for this article
Bouida, W. et al. Low-dose Magnesium Sulfate versus High Dose in the Early Management of Rapid Atrial Fibrillation: randomized controlled double-blind study. (LOMAGHI Study). Acad Emerg Medi. 2019;26(2):183-191.

My Top 5 Picks: Steve’s A-Fib Survival Kit for the Newly Diagnosed

By Steve S. Ryan, PhD. This post was originally published July 15, 2016.Steve's A-Fib Survival Kit at

Your first experiences with Atrial Fibrillation have changed your life in a number of ways. As a former A-Fib patient (cured since 1998) I highly recommend these items when first diagnosed with this beast called ‘Atrial Fibrillation’.

My Top 5 Recommendations for the Newly Diagnosed

These are the products I recommend (and use) along with a Bonus: a good medical dictionary. These items are available from many online sources, but I’ve made them easy to order the entire list by making a ‘Wish List’ on Steve Ryan’s A-Fib Survival Kit for the Newly Diagnosed,(Note: Use our Amazon portal link, and your purchases help support

Magnesium Mg Drs Best1. Doctor’s Best High Absorption Magnesium (200 Mg Elemental), 240-Count

Most A-Fib patients are deficient in Magnesium (Mg). While Magnesium (Mg) is one of the main components of heart cell functioning, it seems to be chronically lacking in most diets.

One form of easily absorbed magnesium is Magnesium glycinate, a chelated amino acid. Look for the label ‘Albion Minerals’ designed to limit bowel sensitivity. Dosage: 600-800 mg daily in divided dosages (meals and bedtime). Read more about Magnesium.

Potassium NOW bottle2. Now Foods Potassium Gluconate Pure Powder, 1-pound

Just like magnesium deficiency, A-Fib patients are usually deficient in Potassium as well. We recommend the powder in order to take the recommended dose of 1600-2400 mg per day.

Be cautious of potassium tablets. For example those listed as 540 mg ONLY contain 99 mg of Potassium. Read more about Potassium.

BYA cover3. Beat Your A-Fib: The Essential Guide to Finding Your Cure: Written in everyday language for patients with Atrial Fibrillation

A-Fib can be cured! That’s the theme of this book written by a former A-Fib patient and publisher of the patient education website, Empowers patients to seek their cure. Written in plain language for A-Fib patients and their families.

Polar FT2 Heart Rate Monitor at A-Fib.com4. Polar FT2 Heart Rate Monitor, Black or Blue

Many A-Fib patients want to monitor their heart rate when exercising or doing strenuous tasks (mowing the lawn, moving equipment, etc.) This is a basic DIY model with a clear, LARGE number display of your heart rate (as a number). Requires wearing the included T31 coded transmitter chest strap.

One-button start. Includes a FT2 Getting Started Guide.

Also look at other Polar models: FT1 & RS3000X. I wore a Polar monitor when I had A-Fib, so it’s my brand of choice, but there are many other good brands.

Oximeter image5. Zacurate 500BL Fingertip Pulse Oximeter Blood Oxygen Saturation Monitor 

Many A-Fib patients also suffer with undiagnosed sleep apnea. A finger Oximeter is an easy way to check your oxygen level. A reading of 90% or lower means you should talk to your doctor as you may need a sleep study.

Oxford Med DictionaryBONUS: Concise Medical Dictionary (Oxford Quick Reference)

An excellent medical dictionary, the best I’ve found for patients with Atrial Fibrillation who are conducting research into their best treatment options. Includes occasional illustrations (for fun check p. 276 for the types of fingerprint patterns).

More of My Lists

Besides Steve Ryan’s A-Fib Survival Kit for the Newly Diagnosed, see my other lists for supplements, recommended books and DIY heart rate monitors:

By a Former A-Fib Patient: My Recommended link using account ID afiin-20
For A-Fib Patients: 7 Supplements for a Healthy Heart
For A-Fib Patients: A-Fib Reference Books and Guides
For A-Fib Patients: Recommended Magnesium and Potassium Supplements
Steve’s Top Picks: DIY Heart Rate Monitors for A-Fib Patients

Note: Use the Amazon portal link and your purchases help support ( Learn more at: Use our Portal Link When you Shop at

Click image to read Steve Ryan's personal experience story. at

Click image to read Steve Ryan’s personal experience story.

The Dangers of Magnesium Deficiency, Especially for Patients with Atrial Fibrillation

Magnesium is a mineral involved in many processes in the body including normal muscle contraction (including the heart), nerve signaling and the building of healthy bones. About 350 enzymes are known to depend on magnesium.

Magnesium is needed for proper muscle, nerve, and enzyme function.

At least 80% of Americans are deficient in Magnesium (Mg). Other Western countries today exhibit similar deficiencies.

Most US adults ingest only about 270 mg of magnesium a day, well below the modest magnesium Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of 420 mg for adult males and 320 mg for adult females. (RDA is the minimum amount for a healthy person.)

This creates a substantial cumulative deficiency over months and years.

Magnesium Deficiency and Atrial Fibrillation

A deficiency in magnesium can force the heart into fatal arrhythmias and is central to creating conditions in the heart that cause Atrial Fibrillation.

A-Fib patients, in particular, are often significantly deficient in magnesium. A normal healthy diet rarely meets your need for magnesium.

Therefore, it’s often necessary to take a magnesium supplement over several months to restore levels.

Causes of Today’s Magnesium Deficiency

Why are so many of us deficient in Magnesium?

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’s now almost impossible to get adequate amounts of magnesium from food.

We’re not drinking spring or mineral water that’s high in magnesium—instead, we’re drinking tap water that’s devoid of magnesium. As a result, we ingest even less magnesium. Add to that, we’re no longer bathing in natural water that is high in magnesium. Our skin can absorb magnesium from our bathing water—which is now missing.

Prescription drugs can lower our magnesium levels, as can the stress of our modern lifestyles.

Over the years, this has caused a magnesium deficient population, especially critical for those with Atrial Fibrillation or other heart ailments.

Magnesium Deficiency and How to Restore Your Levels

What’s to do about it? Everyone with A-Fib should understand the role of magnesium in the body and its effects on the heart, and know how to detect if they are magnesium deficient, and how to increase their magnesium levels if they are. Start with these articles:

• Treatments: Mineral Deficiencies
Cardiovascular Benefits of Magnesium: Insights for Atrial Fibrillation Patients.

Then, take a look at this video with Dr. Carolyn Dean, author of The Magnesium Miracle.

VIDEO: The Best Way to Supplement Magnesium with Dr. Carolyn Dean

For those with magnesium deficient diets, getting nutrients through food is not always possible. Dr. Carolyn Dean, author of The Magnesium Miracle, talks about the external use of magnesium oil and Epson salts and the various powder and tablets to supplement magnesium.

She covers the side effects of too much Mg, and how you can tell if you have a Mg deficiency. (3:39 min.) From Go to video.

Reference for this article
• Goodman, Dennis. This Mineral Prevents Headaches, Heart Disease, More. Bottom Line Personal. Volume 35, Number 2, January 15, 2014.

• Galan P. Dietary magnesium intake in French adult population. In: Theophile T, Anastassopoulou J. Magnesium: current status and new developments: theoretical, biological, and medical aspects. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic; 1997.

A-Fib Patients Ask: Which Brands of Vitamins and Minerals Can I Trust?

Supplements, minerals and vitamins are of interest to many A-Fib patients and are often discussed on this website. So, I wasn’t surprised when I received an email from Seila J. with this excellent question about purchasing supplements.

 “I don’t know what brand of vitamins and minerals to take. Is there a type of organization that inspects them and puts it on the label?”

In general, don’t look for much help from the U. S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). In the U.S. the FDA does not regulate natural products or supplements but does require that supplements be produced in a quality manner and ensure that they do not contain contaminants or impurities and are accurately labeled. Supplements are not allowed to be marketed for the purpose of treating, diagnosing, preventing, or curing diseases.

In the European Union, food supplements are regulated as foods. Learn more at the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). In Canada, see the Natural Health Product Regulation. In Australia, see the Therapeutic Goods Regulations 1990.

Independent Organizations Test and Certify Supplement Brands

In the U.S., there are several independent organizations that test branded supplements. Supplement manufacturers pay, on a voluntary basis, to get their supplements tested and certified (many supplement brands don’t participate so don’t carry any of these test lab seals).

The purpose of testing is to verify that the product contains the amount of the ingredient(s) advertised on the label and that it isn’t contaminated with dangerous substances, such as arsenic, bacteria, or lead. (CL) is a leading provider of independent test results and information to help identify the best quality health and nutrition products. CL has tested more than 5,600 products, representing over 850 different brands and nearly every type of popular supplement. Look for specific CL Seals to identify products that have met standards.

CL tests products purchased from retail stores (not products supplied by the manufacturer/distributor). For the full list, see Brands Reviewed and Tested at is probably the most useful site for the average consumer. is probably the most useful site for the average consumer. Though not every product produced by a specific brand has been tested and approved, the following brands are judged reliable and good choices when selecting a supplement. This is a partial list of the brands ConsumerLab has tested and rated:

Doctor’s Best, Dr. Sears, Dr. Whitaker, Garden of Life, iHerb, Integrative Therapeutics, Jarrow Formulas, Julian Whitaker, Life Extension, Metagenics, Natrol, Natural Factors, Nature Made, Now Foods, NutriCology, Nutritional Science, One-A-Day, Optimum Nutrition, Ortho Molecular Products, Perque, Physiologics, Pure Encapsulations, Puritan’s Pride, ReMag, Solaray, Source Naturals, Swanson, Thorne Research, TwinLab, VitaCost, Vitamin Shoppe.

Private brands: ConsumerLab also lists retail companies which sell supplements under their house or private brand including:

Albertsons, Costco, CVS, GNC, Herbalife, Kirkland, Kroger, Rexall, Target, Trader Joe’s, Walgreens, WalMart.

The Value of Membership: There is much free information on the website. But to access the comprehensive testing reports, ConsumerLab offers membership that gives you instant access to comprehensive, unbiased testing reports including quality ratings and CL’s Top Picks. (Testing reports contain information you can’t find anywhere else). Cost: $42/year or $69/2 years. Go to membership page.

Laurie writes that she uses ConsumerLab to check out beforehand any vitamins and supplements she buys. 12/26/20

Other Testing Organizations

US Pharmacopeia (USP) tests and certifies products provided by the manufacturer. They currently have certified only over 100 products which can be found on the USP website. Most products are from NatureMade and Kirkland Signature.

NSF International is an independent, accredited organization that tests and certifies products and writes standards for the food, water and consumer goods industries. Products that earn NSF certification will display “NSF certified” or “NSF listed”.

NSF Certification helps confirm that what’s on the label is in the product and that the product contains no unsafe levels of contaminants such as heavy metals, pesticides and herbicides. Certified For Sports products have also been tested for banned substances, which is particularly important for college and professional athletes.

The NSF search engine can be checked to see if a particular product is NSF certified. (I wasn’t able to find many products with NSF certification.)

Bottom Line About Brands

To select a brand of reliable supplement with the ingredient(s) and amounts as advertised on the label and not contaminated with dangerous substances, your best resource may be the Brands Reviewed and Tested at (Read more at ConsumerLab Brands.)

Bonus: Recommended Sources for Reliable Info on Vitamins and Supplements

The three directories we recommend don’t sell supplements (or anything else). They just offer information on vitamins, herbs, natural products and supplements.

In our review of each database, we’ve included a screen shot and a link to our test search. To read our recommendations, go to: Our Top 3 Sources for Reliable, Unbiased Info on Vitamins and Supplements References

Resource for this article
Worth, Katie. Five Questions to Ask When Considering Health Supplements. Frontline, January 19, 2016.

Are Your Herbal Supplements Interacting With Your Medicines?

Many people take herbal or dietary supplements along with their prescription medicines. But medicines and supplements may interact in harmful ways!

Some supplements can decrease the effects of medicines, while others can increase the effects, as well as cause unwanted side effects.

The medicines affected have a ‘narrow therapeutic index’, which means that if the amount of the drug is even a little too low or too high, it can cause big problems.

Warfarin (Coumadin) is one such medicine. When taken with certain herbal supplements, such as Asian ginseng or St. John’s Wort (and possibly ginger), you may need to be closely monitored.

St. John’s wort, for example, interacts with many types of drugs. In most instances, it speeds up the processes that change the drug into inactive substances, leading to a decrease in drug levels in your body.

Other medicines with a narrow therapeutic index include digoxin (heart), theophylline (asthma), lithium (anti-depressant), acetaminophen (pain killer) and gentamicin (antibiotic).

The herb-drug interaction potential is high for St. John’s Wort, Asian ginseng, Echinacea, ginkgo (high dose) and goldenseal; But low for black cohosh, ginkgo (low dose), garlic and kava supplements.

Free download: Medication Inventory form at

Medication Inventory form

Take an Inventory

If you take any of the described medicines and herbal supplements, use our free Medication Inventory form to make a list of everything you take.

List how often you take them, and the doses you take.

Then ask for a review by your doctor or pharmacist for any harmful interactions. You may find you want to modify your supplement regime.

Do Your Own Research

Learn more about herb-drug interaction potentials at:

Herb-Drug Interactions: What the Science Says. National Institutes of Health/National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health.
About Herbs, Botanicals & Other Products“ at the Memorial Sloan Kettering (MSK) website (one of our favorites).

Resources for this article
• 6 Tips: How Herbs Can Interact With Medicines. U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, National Institutes of Health, Last modified September 16, 2015.

• Davis SA, et al. Use of St. John’s Wort in potentially dangerous combinations. J Altern Complement Med. 2014 Jul;20(7):578-9. doi: 10.1089/acm.2013.0216. Epub 2014 Jun 23. PubMed PMID: 24956073.

• Chua YT, et al. Interaction between warfarin and Chinese herbal medicines. Singapore Medical Journal. 2015;56(1):11-18. doi:10.11622/smedj.2015004.

• Herb-Drug Interactions: What the Science Says. Clinical Guidelines, Scientific Literature, Info for Patients: Herb-Drug Interactions. National Institutes of Health/National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. Last modified June 25, 2018. URL:

• Jou J, Johnson PJ. Non-disclosure of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) use to usual care providers: Findings from the 2012 National Health Interview Survey. JAMA Intern Med. 2016.Apr;176(4):545-6. doi: 10.1001/jamainternmed.2015.8593. PubMed PMID: 26999670.

Click image to go to her Personal A-Fib story.

How Can I Avoid Arterial Calcium Deposits When Taking Coumadin?

Holly Hannula wrote me about being on Coumadin (warfarin) for 12 years because she has a mechanical heart valve. She’s alarmed by a recent scan of her artery walls showing dangerously high calcium deposits, i.e. the amount of hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis).

Holly’s doctors recommended an angiogram (X-ray) and stents to be put in wherever needed and done very soon. She felt that was too drastic, that her quality of life was good and she was active and social. She and her husband declined those procedures.

Her emailed continued:

“The doctors won’t or can’t change me to a different blood thinner. If I have to take Coumadin for the rest of my life, can I reduce the calcification with vitamin K2 (MK-7)?”

Holly’s coronary artery calcium score is 800 which is dangerously high.

A score between 100 and 399 is classified as increased calcification, and any score over 400 signifies extensive calcium deposits. If your score is over 1,000, you have a 20 percent chance of having a serious or fatal cardiac episode within one year of testing.  (See table below for all scores.)

A score over 1,000 equals a 20% chance of a serious or fatal cardiac event within one year.

No wonder Holly is worried!

What are Her Options?

Because she has a mechanical heart valve, Holly doesn’t have a lot of options. Treatment Guidelines by the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association (ACC/AHA) only include warfarin (Vitamin K Antagonist) therapy and perhaps aspirin. None of the newer anticoagulants are included.

One might think that a newer anticoagulant like Eliquis would work as well as Coumadin if one has a mechanical valve. But right now, this isn’t a recommended treatment. (For example, the maker of Eliquis states that it isn’t for patients with artificial heart valves.)

My Best Effort for Holly: In my return email, I promised Holly that I would get in touch with Bristol-Myers Squibb, the maker of Eliquis, to see if it could possibly be used in her case.

Tragic Dangers of Warfarin Not Recognized

It’s tragic that Holly has such extensive calcium deposits due to having to take warfarin (Coumadin) which works by blocking Vitamin K.

Vitamin K is essential for heart and bone health. Without enough K-2, osteocalcin, a protein that binds calcium to bone, doesn’t function. Instead the calcium ends up clogging arteries. See Arterial Calcification From Warfarin: Vitamin K May Reverse it.

What’s equally tragic is how few doctors and their patients are aware of this side effect of taking warfarin (Coumadin).

Vitamin K2 Reverses Arterial Calcification!

But, as Holly has already researched and as I described in my article, Arterial Calcification From Warfarin, high doses of Vitamin K2 MK-7 reversed arterial calcification in recent preliminary studies. (MK-7 means the Vitamin K2 also has a Natto component. Natto[kinase] is a known natural blood thinner.)

But what K2 MK-7 dosage should Holly consider? We don’t have enough human research yet to give a definitive answer, but we do have some indications.

Animal research: In an animal study, rats were initially fed a six-week diet of warfarin to induce calcium buildup in blood vessels. Some rats were then fed high dose Vitamin K1 or K2 (MK-4) for six weeks. They not only had no further arterial calcium accumulation but, more importantly, had a 37% reduction of previously accumulated arterial calcification. After 12 weeks, there was an astounding 53% reduction.

Doses: Note the distinction between mg and mcg. 1 mg = 1000 mcg

Mega dose or RDA? In the above study of rats, the human equivalent of the vitamin K2 dose is in the range of  52,000 mcg (52 mg) to 97,000 mcg (97 mg) per day.

Admittedly, these are high doses compared to the standard daily recommend dosages (90 mcg [0.09 mg] for females and 120 mcg [0.12 mg] for males).

Already approved: In Japan, a 45,000 mcg (45 mg) daily dose of the MK-4 form of vitamin K2 is approved as a drug to treat osteoporosis.

Vitamin K and Dosages

Forms of Vitamin K: Consider a high quality MK-7 form of Vitamin K2. Plus, as they are inexpensive, include vitamin K1 and MK-4 to help inhibit and possibly reverse vascular calcification.

Remember to always take your Vitamin K supplement with fatty foods since it is fat-soluble and won’t be absorbed without it.

to avoid arterial calcification

Although the exact dosage of Vitamin K is yet to be determined, one of the world’s top Vitamin K researchers, Dr. Cees Vermeer recommends between 45 mcg and 185 mcg daily for normally healthy adults. LifeExtension magazine recommends 180 mcg.

To Reverse Arterial calcification

To reverse or reduce calcium plaque, you might consider the ultra high doses of 45-50 mg (45,000 mcg) daily, which is based on the research with rats. But only under your doctor’s supervision!

It’s most important that Holly should NOT make any changes to her treatment plan without consulting with her doctor first.

No Overdosing on Vitamin K

You need not worry about overdosing on K2—people who have been given a thousand-fold increase over the recommended dose over the course of three years have shown no adverse reactions (i.e. no increased clotting tendencies).

Advice for Warfarin Users

If you are taking warfarin, your goal should be to maintain the highest healthy levels of Vitamin K to counteract the effects of warfarin on your arterial and bone health.

If you change from warfarin to a NOAC, your goal should be to restore your arterial and bone health from the effects of warfarin by maintaining the highest healthy levels of Vitamin K.

Additional reading about Vitamin K To learn more about the types of Vitamin K, see our article, Vitamin K―Protection Against Arterial Calcification & Cardiovascular Disease

On a personal note: I’ve had a CT scan which revealed calcium deposits in my heart’s arteries, especially in the “widow maker”, the Left Anterior Descending artery (LAD).
After writing this article, I’ve decided to take 45 mg (45,000 mcg) of Vitamin K2 daily.
Coronary Artery Calcium Score Interpretation
 0No identifiable plaque. Risk of coronary artery disease very low (<5%)
 1-10Mild identifiable plaque. Risk of coronary artery disease low (<10%)
 11-100Definite, at least mild atherosclerotic plaque. Mild or minimal coronary narrowings likely.
 101-400Definite, at least moderate atherosclerotic plaque. Mild coronary artery disease highly likely. Significant narrowings possible
 > 400Extensive atherosclerotic plaque. High likelihood of at least one significant coronary narrowing.

Back to Top

Resources for this article
• Goodman, Denonis. The New Nutrient Fix. Bottom Line/Health. July, 2015, p. 3.

• Faloon, William. Turning To Stone. Life Extension Magazine, July 2015, pp. 7-16. Last accessed Aug 10, 2015. URL:

• Tantisattamo E et al. Increased vascular calcification in patients receiving warfarin. Arterioscler Throm Ib Vasc Biol. 2015 Jan;35(1): 237-42. doi: 10.1161/ATVBAHA.114.304392

• Pilkey, RM, et al. Subclinical vitamin K deficiency in hemodialysis patients. Am J Kidney Dis. 2007 Mar;49(3):432-9. Last accessed Aug 10, 2015. URL:

• Schurgers, LJ, et al. Regression of warfarin induced medial elastocalcinosis by high intake of vitamin K in rats. Blood. 2007 Apr 1;109(7):2823-31. Last accessed Aug 10, 2015. URL:

• Westenfeld, R, et al. Effect of vitamin K2 supplementation on fictional vitamin K deficiency in hemodialysis patients: a randomized trial. Am J Kidney Dis. 2012 Feb;59(2):186-95. Last accessed Aug 10, 2015. URL:

• Geleijnse, JM et al. Dietary Intake of Menaquinone Is Associated with a Reduced Risk of Coronary Heart Disease: The Rotterdam Study. The Journal of Nutrition, November 1, 2004, Vol. 134, no. 11. 3100-3105. Last accessed 6/19/2015.

• Vitamin K: How much is too much? Alere/ April 1, 2013. Last accessed Aug. 10, 2015. URL:

• Mercola, J. 10 Important Facts About Vitamin K That You Need to Know., March 24, 2004 Last accessed Aug 10, 2015. URL:

• Mercola, J. New Study Shows Evidence That Vitamin K2 Positively Impacts Inflammation. October 12, 2013.

For Your A-Fib—Try Magnesium Oil to Raise Your Level

A deficiency in the mineral Magnesium is central to creating conditions in the heart that cause Atrial Fibrillation. Therefore, anyone in A-Fib is almost certainly Magnesium deficient. (See our recent post, Got A-Fib? You’re Almost Certainly Magnesium Deficient.)

Tips for Increasing Absorption of Magnesium

One of the easiest ways to increase your level of Magnesium is by applying topical Magnesium Oil. One benefit is it doesn’t cause loose bowels or diarrhea like oral tablets can. And it’s handy. It comes in a spray bottle.

We ran across this advice on the website of LL’s Magnetic Clay, the company that makes Ancient Minerals Magnesium Oil ($18). To increase absorption of magnesium oil through the skin:

• Increase the area of application
• Increase the amount of time the application is left on the skin (at least 20 min.)
• Increase the frequency of application
• Varying the location of application, with areas such as the scalp and armpits exhibiting higher rates of absorption
• Increasing temperature of the area of application
• Applying to well-hydrated skin

Practical Use of Magnesium Oil

This advice comes from Patti, who prefers Magnesium Oil to oral tablets. She uses it for muscle twitching. When that happens, she starts her nightly application routine. She uses four sprays of Life-Flo Pure Magnesium Oil ($10) on each lower leg and massages it in. This ensures a large area for absorption.

A total of eight sprays is equal to about 100 mg of topical magnesium. You can wipe off in 20 minutes, but she just showers it off in the morning. (She continues this for 6 weeks or more to rebuild her magnesium levels). A 8 oz. bottle lasts 3–6 months.

To read more about the importance of Magnesium to A-Fib patients, go to our pages:

  Mineral Deficiencies
  ‘Natural’ Supplements for a Healthy Heart.
  My Top 5 Picks: When You’re Deficient in Magnesium & Potassium

Got A-Fib? You’re Almost Certainly Magnesium Deficient

Magnesium deficiency is central to creating conditions in the heart that cause Atrial Fibrillation. Therefore, anyone in A-Fib is almost certainly magnesium deficient.

Why? It’s now almost impossible to get adequate amounts of magnesium from our diets.

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.

How to Increase your Magnesium Level

To learn how to supplement your Magnesium go to our pages:

Mineral Deficiencies
Natural’ Supplements for a Healthy Heart.

For recommended products and brands  see Steve’s Shopping Guide for a Healthy Heart (and all of Steve’s Shopping Guides on our sister site,

Reference for this Article
Goodman, Dennis. This Mineral Prevents Headaches, Heart Disease, More. Bottom Line Personal. Volume 35, Number 2, January 15, 2014.

Medicines, Herbs and Supplements: ‘Natural’ Doesn’t Necessarily Mean Safer, or Better

By Patti Ryan, based on an article from the National Institutes of Health

Nature has been good to us. Nature gave us aspirin and morphine, and other medicines derived from plants. The use of plants as medicines has a long history in the treatment of disease, and plants have played an important role in improving our health.

“Natural” vs. “Unnatural”

A lot of people believe that when it comes to medicine, “natural” is better, healthier and safer than “unnatural” or synthetic drugs.

Medicine and supplements: Is “natural” better, healthier and safer?

On the other hand, not all products from nature have been shown to be effective. Some dietary and herbal supplements have failed to show a benefit when scientists have studied them.

For example, several major studies of the herb Echinacea did not find evidence of benefit against the common cold. Studies of ginkgo, including a large study that enrolled more than 3,000 older adults, found that ginkgo supplements don’t help prevent or slow dementia or cognitive decline.

“Natural” Medicines Can Have Side Effects Too

Contrary to what many may think, some “natural” medicines can even have serious safety concerns.

For example, kava, a plant native to the islands of the South Pacific, and often used as a dietary supplement for anxiety, may be associated with severe liver damage.

Ephedra, an evergreen shrub-like plant native to central Asia and Mongolia that has been used for centuries for colds, fever, and other conditions, is associated with heart problems and risk of death. (In fact, the U.S. FDA banned dietary supplements with ephedrine alkaloids.)

Free of chemicals? ... But everything is made of chemicals!

Are “Natural” Medicines Chemical Free?

Some people also believe that “natural” products are safe because they believe these medicines are free of chemicals. For many, the word “chemical” has come to mean toxic or synthetic, something to be avoided.

But everything is made of chemicals. The apple on your kitchen countertop, the ceramic mug in your cupboard, and even the air that you breathe. In fact, you are made up of chemicals, too.

Some chemicals in nature are toxic to us—mercury, snake venom, arsenic, and ricin from castor beans. But other chemicals are good for us and necessary for life—like iron and oxygen (but at high doses are toxic and can even cause death).

When Considering a Herbal or Dietary Supplement

Do your research first!

It’s important to understand that although many herbal or dietary supplements (and some prescription drugs) come from natural sources, “natural” does not always mean that it’s a safer or better option for your health.

And a “chemical” ingredient can be beneficial. An herbal supplement may contain dozens of chemical compounds (but all of its ingredients may not yet be known).

Before you add herbals and supplements to complement your treatment plan, do your research! Strive to make informed decisions about your health.

Our Favorite Resources on Vitamins, Herbs and Supplements

Take charge of your health by being an informed consumer. Find out what the scientific evidence says about the safety of a supplement and whether it works. A good place to start is an unbiased, non-commercial searchable database. Here are our favorites:

1. Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Institute/Integrative Medicine:About Herbs, Botanicals & Other Products
2. Natural Products Professional database
3. The ‘Dietary Supplement Label Database’ and Herbs at a Glance at the U.S. National Institutes of Health.

For a detailed report, see our FAQ: Where can I find reliable, unbiased research and information on specific vitamins and supplements

Don’t Forget: Keep Your Health Care Providers Informed

To use vitamins, herbs and supplements safely, read and follow the label instructions, and recognize that “natural” does not always mean “safe.”

It’s important to tell all your health care providers about all supplements you take. Be sure to update this information every time you visit your doctors’ offices. That way, they can help you avoid harmful interactions.

Resource for this Article
Natural Doesn’t Necessarily Mean Safer, or Better. U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, National Institutes of Health, Last modified October 19, 2017.

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