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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. 

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

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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.”

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"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


Mineral Deficiencies

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 A-Fib.com

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 Amazon.com: Steve Ryan’s A-Fib Survival Kit for the Newly Diagnosed,(Note: Use our Amazon portal link, and your purchases help support A-Fib.com.)

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, A-Fib.com. 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 Amazon.com Lists

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

By a Former A-Fib Patient: My Recommended ProductsAmazon.com link using A-Fib.com 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 A-Fib.com Amazon portal link and your purchases help support A-Fib.com (http://tinyurl.com/Shop-Amazon-for-A-Fib). Learn more at: Use our Portal Link When you Shop at Amazon.com.

Click image to read Steve Ryan's personal experience story. at A-Fib.com

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

Super-Loading: How A-Fib Patients can Correct a Severe Magnesium Deficiency

The mineral Magnesium (Mg) is needed for proper muscle (including the heart), nerve, and enzyme function. A deficiency in Magnesium (along with potassium) can cause palpitations and force the heart into fatal arrhythmias including Atrial Fibrillation.

Magnesium (Mg) is one of the main components of heart cell functioning, but is chronically lacking in most diets. Magnesium deficiencies in general populations range from 65% to 80%, creating a substantial cumulative deficiency over months and years.

A deficiency in magnesium (along with potassium) can force the heart into fatal arrhythmias including Atrial Fibrillation.

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.

In addition, we no longer absorb magnesium by bathing in or drinking natural mineral-rich water that is high in magnesium—instead, we’re drinking and bathing in tap water that’s devoid of magnesium.

So it’s now almost impossible for A-Fib patients to get adequate amounts of Magnesium from a healthy diet.

To correct a severe Magnesium deficiency and restore levels, it’s often necessary to take a Magnesium supplement over several months.

Not All Magnesium Supplements are Created Equal

Magnesium: Element #12 on the Periodic Table

Confused by the various forms of Magnesium supplements? There are so many different types. Sadly, many of the available magnesium supplements aren’t even absorbable by your digestive tract and will not do anything beneficial for your health. And a low-quality magnesium supplement can cause diarrhea.

Fortunately for A-Fib patients, there are many magnesium forms that are absorbed well by your body.

OrAL Magnesium (Tablets)

• Magnesium Glycinate: (such as Doctor’s Best High Absorption Magnesium Glycinate Lysinate 100% Chelated). One of the most commonly used form of magnesium is both highly absorbed, inexpensive, and easy to use. Magnesium glycinate is absorbed in a different part of the gut compared to other magnesium types, so it’s a good option if other supplements give you digestive stress.

• Magnesium Gluconate: Has very good absorption rate; a good alternative if you have had digestive trouble with other types of magnesium supplements.

• Magnesium Threonate: (such as Life Extension Neuro-Mag Magnesium L-Threonate). Magnesium threonate is a newer form of Magnesium supplement that can penetrate the blood-brain barrier with potentially neuroprotective effects against Alzheimer’s disease. Pricier but doesn’t have the laxative effect. Contains very low elemental magnesium per dose which suggests it would not be a good choice for correcting a magnesium deficiency.

Topical/Liquid forms

• Sublingual Angstrom Magnesium: (such as Mother Earth Minerals Angstrom Minerals, Magnesium-8 ozs.A quickly absorbed liquid that’s 99% pure Magnesium, it’s applied under the tongue, then after one minute, swallowed. Angstrom Magnesium has the best magnesium absorption and generally the fewest digestive side effects. It’s especially good for those who are severely magnesium deficient and need a lot of magnesium in order to replenish their levels.

Magnesium chloride bath salts.

• Magnesium Chloride flakes: (such as Ancient Minerals Magnesium Bath Flakes of Pure Chloride). Similar to Epsom salts (Magnesium sulfate), the molecular structure of Magnesium Chloride is different and is much more easily absorbed into the body. Add Magnesium Chloride flakes to a weekly soaking bath or a foot bath. Can be used in conjunction with magnesium tablets.

• Magnesium Oil: (such as Ancient Minerals Magnesium Oil Spray – Magnesium Chloride). Apply Magnesium oil once a day to arms or legs; after 20-30 minutes, wash off. Can be used in conjunction with magnesium tablets.

Inferior Forms of Magnesium

Some oral forms of magnesium (often cheap) offer relatively low bioavailability (the degree and rate at which it enters the body’s circulatory system). These forms of magnesium do not absorb well and tend to offer little benefit beyond laxative or antacid properties.

When super-loading to replenish your Magnesium, it’s best to avoid Magnesium oxide, Magnesium dihydroxide (milk of magnesia), Magnesium sulfate, Magnesium aspartate, and Magnesium carbonate.

In particular, be sure to avoid any supplement containing magnesium stearate, a common but potentially hazardous additive.

Before You Buy: Seek Brand Quality and Consistency

There are many forms and brands of magnesium supplements. Before you buy, be sure to check the label to ensure they only contain the one type of magnesium and no fillers.

Proper levels of Magnesium can improve by 34% your chances of living a long, healthy life!

It’s critically important to purchase from a source that tests every batch to ensure you are getting what is on the label and nothing else, like unwanted toxins, allergens, and heavy metals.

Look for brands of magnesium that are pharmaceutical grade and adhere to Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP), a system for ensuring that products are consistently produced and controlled according to quality standards. This means they are produced in strictly monitored facilities which also send batches of their product to third parties for analysis before selling to consumers (such as Nature Made).

(To learn about independent organizations that test branded supplements, see: Which Brands of Vitamins and Minerals Can I Trust?)

Bottom Line for Super-Loading Magnesium

As an A-Fib patient, you may have a severe Magnesium deficiency. To restore your level, it is often necessary to take a Magnesium supplement over several months. We recommend the following when you are “super-loading Magnesium”.

Magnesium supplements should always be taken daily with a meal or just after eating.

• Oral: Magnesium glycinate is thought to be the best type of oral supplement when correcting a severe magnesium deficiency.

• Sublingual: Angstrom Magnesium is 99% pure Magnesium that’s applied under the tongue. Especially good for those who are severely magnesium deficient.

• Topical: Magnesium oil and Magnesium chloride salts (flakes). These are absorbed directly through the skin and by-pass the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, so they can be used in conjunction with magnesium tablets. If sensitive to bowel problems, they can be used as an alternative to Magnesium tablets.

Keep in Mind: Everyone’s body reacts differently to supplements. Just because a form of Magnesium is best for one person, doesn’t mean it’s the best for YOU.

To learn more about Magnesium, see Cardiovascular Benefits of Magnesium: Insights for Atrial Fibrillation Patients.

References for this article
• Rethinking Magnesium: Why You’re Deficient And Need To Supplement (Quick Fix). Nature Builds Health. Jun 09, 2018. URL: https://www.naturebuildshealth.com/blog/magnesium_deficiency_benefits#6

• Leech, J. What Is The Best Magnesium Supplement in 2018? A Comprehensive Review. DietvsDisease.org. Last updated 2nd January, 2018. URL: https://www.dietvsdisease.org/best-magnesium-supplement/

• Magnesium Chloride: Is It Really the “Master Magnesium Compound”? Dr J. Mercola. Last accessed Jan 28, 2019. URL: https://articles.mercola.com/vitamins-supplements/magnesium-chloride.aspx

• What Is The Best Magnesium Supplement? Dr. David Jockers. Last accessed January 28, 2019. URL: https://drjockers.com/best-magnesium-supplement/

• Magnesium: An Invisible Deficiency That Could Be Harming Your Health. Dr. J. Mercola. January 19, 2015. URL:  https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2015/01/19/magnesium-deficiency.aspx

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 iHealthTube.com. 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.

Updated Article: Treating Mineral Deficiencies in A-Fib Patients

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.

If you haven’t recently read our Mineral Deficiencies page under Treatments, you might want to review it. We’ve updated and added some new content.

The Top Four Minerals/Vitamins

vitamins and minerals for A-Fib patients - A-Fib.com

We cover the four main minerals/vitamins of special concern to patients with Atrial Fibrillation:

Magnesium
Calcium
Potassium
Vitamin D

For each we describe the mineral’s role and function in our body. Then, we cover how to test for deficiency (or overload). We describe the food or natural sources, then the various forms and choices of each supplement and recommended dosages.

You’ll find the topics to discuss with your doctors including recommended tests and alternative choices. All backed up with our usual well researched citations. Go to our Mineral Deficiencies page.

Reliable, Unbiased Information on Vitamins and Minerals

In our search for unbiased information sources about vitamins and mineral supplements, we looked at many, many informational directories.

Three searchable databases rose to the top of our list. See Our Top 3 Sources for Reliable, Unbiased Info on Vitamins and Supplements.

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: http://atlaschiropractichealthcenter.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/Vitamin-K-LE1.pdf

• 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: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17336705

• 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: http://www.bloodjournal.org/content/109/7/2823.full?sso-checked=true

• 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: http://www.ajkd.org/article/S0272-6386(11)01570-8/abstract

• 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. http://jn.nutrition.org/content/134/11/3100.full Last accessed 6/19/2015.

• Vitamin K: How much is too much? Alere/PTINR.com. April 1, 2013. Last accessed Aug. 10, 2015. URL: http://ptinr.com/warfarin-you/dietary-food-beverage/vitamin-k-how-much-too-much

• Mercola, J. 10 Important Facts About Vitamin K That You Need to Know. Mercola.com, March 24, 2004 Last accessed Aug 10, 2015. URL: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2004/03/24/vitamin-k-part-two.aspx

• Mercola, J. New Study Shows Evidence That Vitamin K2 Positively Impacts Inflammation. Mercola.com. October 12, 2013. https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/10/12/vitamin-k2-benefits.aspx

Vitamin K―Protection Against Arterial Calcification & Cardiovascular Disease

Most people get just enough Vitamin K from their diets to maintain adequate blood clotting.

But NOT enough Vitamin K to offer protection against health problems including arterial calcification, cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, various cancers and brain health problems, including dementia.

The name Vitamin K comes from the German word “Koagulationsvitamin” where its role in blood coagulation was first discovered.

Vitamin K is an essential vitamin. It is one of the four fat-soluble vitamins, along with vitamin A, vitamin D, and vitamin E. It’s found in leafy green vegetables, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts.

Vitamin K and Vitamin K supplements come in several forms and can be confusing. To increase your levels of Vitamin K, it’s important to understand the differences.

Vitamin K Can be Classified as Either K1 or K2

Vitamin K1: Found in green vegetables, K1 goes directly to your liver and helps you maintain a healthy blood clotting system; keeps your own blood vessels from calcifying, and helps your bones retain calcium.

Vitamin K2: Bacteria produce this type of Vitamin K; it goes straight to vessel walls, bones and tissues other than your liver. It is present in fermented foods, particularly cheese and the Japanese food natto (the richest source of K2).

Different Forms of Vitamin K2

Making matters even more complex, there are several different forms of Vitamin K2. MK-4 and MK-7 are the two most significant forms of K2 and act very differently in your body.

MK-4 is a synthetic product, very similar to Vitamin K1, and your body is capable of converting K1 into MK4. It has a very short biological half-life of about one hour, making it a poor candidate as a dietary supplement. It remains mostly in your liver where it is useful in synthesizing blood-clotting factors.

MK-7 is a newer agent with more practical applications because it stays in your body longer; its half-life is three days, meaning you have a much better chance of building up a consistent blood level, compared to MK-4 or K1. It slows down cardiovascular aging and osteoporosis, and prevents inflammation by inhibiting pro-inflammatory markers produced by white blood cells.

Food Sources of Vitamin K and MK-7

Photo by Like_The_Grand_Canyon on Flickr licensed CC-BY

MK-7 is extracted from the Japanese fermented soy product called ‘natto’. You get loads of MK-7 from natto. However, natto is generally not appealing to a Westerner’s palate (can’t tolerate its smell and slimy texture).

You can also find Vitamin K2, including MK-7, in other fermented foods including some fermented vegetables.

Certain types of fermented cheeses (Jarlsberg) are high in K2 but others are not. It really depends on the specific bacteria. You can’t assume that any fermented food will be high in K2.

Besides broccoli, Brussels sprouts and leafy green vegetables (kale, mustard greens, collard greens, raw Swiss chard, spinach), other foods high in Vitamin K include beef liver, pork chops and chicken, prunes and Kiwi fruit, soybean and canola oil.

Vitamin K Supplements

Choosing a K2 supplement: When supplementing your Vitamin K food sources, 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.)

Relentless Improvement

Dosage: 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.

My choice: I’m taking Relentless Improvement Vitamin K2 MK4 Plus MK7; Read about it on Amazon.com. David Holzman writes that he uses Whole Foods Vitamin K2 which is less expensive. (Use our portal link to Amazon.com and support A-Fib.com)

(If you have a K2 supplement recommendation, email me.)

Remember!
Always take your Vitamin K supplement with food that contains fat
since it is fat-soluble and won’t be absorbed without it.

Read more about mineral deficiencies and Atrial Fibrillation, see FAQs: Mineral Deficiencies & Supplements for a Healthy Heart

This article is based on Dr. Mercola’s article, New Study Shows Evidence That Vitamin K2 Positively Impacts Inflammation.

Resource for this article
Mercola, J. New Study Shows Evidence That Vitamin K2 Positively Impacts Inflammation. Mercola.com. October 12, 2013. https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/10/12/vitamin-k2-benefits.aspx

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, BeatYourA-Fib.com)

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

Use Every Tool Possible: 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 an expert’s opinion about an ablation procedure.

Of all the 90+ 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.)

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’.

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.

To learn more about combining ‘tools’: go to our Frequently Asked Questions: FAQ Mineral Deficiencies and Supplements and my two articles Natural’ Supplements for a Healthy Heart and Reader With A-Flutter Advises Two Lifestyle Changes.

The Warfarin Myth: A Quiz About Foods and Vitamin K

Taking warfarin to manage your increased risk of clots and A-Fib stroke? Have you been told to avoid foods with vitamin K to prevent excess clotting? To separate the facts from the myths about warfarin and vitamin K, take our 5 question quiz.

A 5 Question Quiz about Warfarin and Vitamin K

1. True or False: Warfarin and vitamin K actually work against each other in your body.
True. Vitamin K helps your blood clot. Warfarin makes your blood clot more slowly. Your INR level is monitored to keep them in balance.

2. True or False: When taking warfarin, you should limit foods with high levels of vitamin K like dark, leafy greens.
False. You don’t need to avoid foods with vitamin K. The key is to consistently maintain your daily level of vitamin K.

Don’t confuse vitamin K with the K on the periodic table for potassium. One’s a vitamin, the other is a mineral.

3. True or False: Vitamin K information is not included on most packaged food nutritional labels.
True. So it’s often hard to determine the amount of vitamin K in your food.

4. True or False: To be safe, it’s better to maintain a low level of vitamin K in your diet.
False. Don’t avoid vitamin K foods. Vitamin K is an important nutrient especially for bone strength, brain function and cardiovascular health.

5. True or False: A vitamin K supplement may actually help stabilize your INR levels.
True. Some experts suggest that a low-dose vitamin K supplement (50-150 mcg/day) may help stabilize fluctuations in INR.

The Facts About Warfarin and Vitamin K

Vitamin K Finder - veggies with border at A-Fib.com

Vitamin K Finder at ptinr.com

Well, how’d you do on the quiz? Did you learn something? So, if you’re on warfarin, you now know the facts from the myths:

• You can eat dark, leafy greens rich with vitamin K
• You need to maintain a consistent intake of vitamin K
• Most nutritional labels won’t help when checking for the amount of vitamin K
• Vitamin K is important for bone strength, brain function and cardiovascular health
• A low-dose vitamin K supplement may help stabilize your INR

Misinformation Surrounding Warfarin

Prolific A-Fib blogger Dr John Mandrola (Dr. John M.), posted about misinformation surrounding warfarin patients and vitamin K. He wrote:

“I am so utterly tired of correcting this mistake….Patients on warfarin can indeed eat green vegetables; they should just eat them consistently. I have vegetarians who do beautifully on warfarin. The problem comes when people vary the weekly dose of vegetables.”

Reclaim the Benefits of Vitamin K

Safety first. When on warfarin, don’t make any changes to your vitamin K intake without first talking to your doctor.

If you and your doctor decide that you can increase your vitamin K intake, the key is to be consistent on a daily schedule. If consumption of vitamin K does affect your INR, your doctor can always adjust the warfarin dosage.

For a practical reference about foods with vitamin K, check out the online ‘Vitamin K Finder’ at the ptinr.com website.

References for this article
PTINR.com website sponsored by Alere. URL: http://www.ptinr.com/cafe-ptinr/vitamin-k-finder

Baker P, et al. Reversal of asymptomatic over-anticoagulation by orally administered vitamin K. Br J Haematol. 2006 May;133(3):331-6. URL: http://www.pubfacts.com/detail/16643436/

Dezee KJ, et al. Treatment of excessive anticoagulation with phytonadione (vitamin K): a meta-analysis. Arch Intern Med. 2006 Feb 27;166(4):391-7. URL: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16505257

Sconce E, Khan T, Mason J, et al. Patients with unstable control have a poorer dietary intake of vitamin K compared to patients with stable control of anticoagulation. Thromb Haemost. 2005 May;93(5):872-5. URL: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15886802

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