1

votes

Hack my cardiac arrhythmia

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created March 05, 2012 at 8:04 AM

Firstly let me tell you that I've been thoroughly checked out by a cardiologist, and my ectopic heart beats are apparently benign. She had no recommendations about how I could avoid them.

It's been happening for about 3 years, and I really thought since going Paleo last Feb that I had it sorted. However, over the last few months the frequency of the irregular heart beats is increasing again. Individual ectopics aren't too troublesome, but if I get a run of four or five in a row then I get lightheaded and a bit nauseated. It's painless,and I don't get breathless. I associate the ectopic beats with a kind of tight feeling across my diaphragm area, which makes me think this is more of a mechanical issue, but I'm not at all sure.

My thoughts were that it was a vagal nerve issue, exacerbated by IBS, and that seemed to be borne out by the reduction in symptoms as my IBS resolved. Now that it's back, I can't track this problem to food, or exertion - but I might be missing some kind of pattern.

I eat fairly strict Paleo, to keep control of the IBS. I take magnesium citrate at night (natural calm), a thyroid support supplement with copper, zinc, and selenium.

Has anyone had any success treating this problem? Or have any bright ideas about what I might try to resolve it?

Edited to add that I've asked this just as I'm going to bed in NZ, so please excuse my absence - I'll check back in the morning!

792634a784ec6a636c3137d0903e11b4

(1196)

on March 07, 2012
at 07:12 PM

That's a great site, Eric. Thanks for the link, too.

1a98a40ba8ffdc5aa28d1324d01c6c9f

(20378)

on March 07, 2012
at 08:39 AM

password here: http://www.afibbers.org/toboards.htm

1a98a40ba8ffdc5aa28d1324d01c6c9f

(20378)

on March 07, 2012
at 08:39 AM

http://www.afibbers.org/resources/strategy.pdf

35ba1f50dad25c85ac1aa2599fe5c5cb

(2485)

on March 06, 2012
at 03:40 PM

Don't stress, just get it checked. :-)

1a98a40ba8ffdc5aa28d1324d01c6c9f

(20378)

on March 06, 2012
at 06:23 AM

Great Post Travis! Mag is key! I also do that with the high potasium low sodium and calcium. The mag and potasium keep calcium out of the cells which is key.

1a98a40ba8ffdc5aa28d1324d01c6c9f

(20378)

on March 06, 2012
at 06:19 AM

When it is ventricular (lower chamber of the heart) That gets the docs attention. My doc yawns at mine because it is upper chamber. I am getting a new doc.

1a98a40ba8ffdc5aa28d1324d01c6c9f

(20378)

on March 06, 2012
at 06:16 AM

Stress causes mine. Also unexpected events like cold wind blowing as I go outside.

1a98a40ba8ffdc5aa28d1324d01c6c9f

(20378)

on March 06, 2012
at 06:15 AM

There are a lot of triggers and they difffer for each person.

1a98a40ba8ffdc5aa28d1324d01c6c9f

(20378)

on March 06, 2012
at 05:49 AM

You bet. Load up cron-o-meter with a couple cups of leafy greens and you can get there. Your cells are fighting to keep calcium out which is a lifetime job of the cells. So a bunch of calcium is not great. However you need enouhg if that makes sense. The paper goes into a lot of detail. Magnesium is needed for the potasium ot work. Also get checked for sleep apnea (or ask if you snore at night..) Or are tired during the day. Need to treat it if you have it. Also need to sleep 7.5 hours or more per day...

792634a784ec6a636c3137d0903e11b4

(1196)

on March 06, 2012
at 03:08 AM

Thanks heaps for this. I'm going to increase my magnesium - maybe adding a capsule in the morning to get to a better level and see if that helps.

792634a784ec6a636c3137d0903e11b4

(1196)

on March 05, 2012
at 07:18 PM

Hi Lisa. What's the connection between supplements and tannin?

Ba27b59aa877fad44ddc4c50c9ed905a

(78)

on March 05, 2012
at 06:02 PM

I think it may be related to tanic acid (tannins). I recall reading about a study that found a link, but it was many years ago. I am speaking more from my own experience, and the experience of others who solved the same problem when I suggested this. Also, I know a vitamin store manager who has made the same correlation based in suppliments that are returned bacause of heart palpitation complaints.

792634a784ec6a636c3137d0903e11b4

(1196)

on March 05, 2012
at 05:42 PM

Yep, this could be it. It's late summer here, and I'm back teaching after having a few months focused on writing. These 2 things mean I sleep later, more fitfully, and wake earlier. It's a pattern that I get this problem worse (more badly? Grammar . . . ) at this time of year.

792634a784ec6a636c3137d0903e11b4

(1196)

on March 05, 2012
at 05:39 PM

Do you get them while you're stressed, or later when you're starting to relax?

792634a784ec6a636c3137d0903e11b4

(1196)

on March 05, 2012
at 05:35 PM

It's summer here, so haven't been supplementing via D just yet - will be starting in a couple of weeks. Korion, I had to Introduce carbs (sweet potatoes, fruit etc) or go mad, and they do make me feel much less stressed.

792634a784ec6a636c3137d0903e11b4

(1196)

on March 05, 2012
at 05:33 PM

Quite right - I'm not really invested in theory or epidemiology, but wanted to know what other Paleo folk found since this group are generally eating in a similar way to me, and have similar interests in reducing NADs. Good tip about the triggers, thanks. Looks like I'll be starting another elimination diet!

792634a784ec6a636c3137d0903e11b4

(1196)

on March 05, 2012
at 05:30 PM

Thanks for the cut and paste. My ectopics show up on the holster monitor and any machine they plugged me in to. Surgery isn't indicated for me.

792634a784ec6a636c3137d0903e11b4

(1196)

on March 05, 2012
at 05:28 PM

OMFG, just the advice is stressful! Um, thanks?

D31a2a2d43191b15ca4a1c7ec7d03038

(4134)

on March 05, 2012
at 04:03 PM

Jenny, thanks very much for posting this and for the link to the other thread. I hope you are doing very well. :)

D31a2a2d43191b15ca4a1c7ec7d03038

(4134)

on March 05, 2012
at 04:01 PM

Lisa, no alcohol, green tea, or chocolate for me, either. I also have to limit the black tea, and take magnesium.

518bce04b12cd77741237e1f61075194

(11577)

on March 05, 2012
at 03:45 PM

Caffeine and alcohol are very common triggers for arrhythmia, they're the first things your cardiologist gets you to eliminate when looking for triggers. Lisa was right to mention it.

B0fe7b5a9a197cd293978150cbd9055f

(8938)

on March 05, 2012
at 02:58 PM

As far as I know, Jay, the OP didn't ask for evidence *"Has anyone had any success treating this problem?"* she's merely asking for anything that could help. Anecdotes are probably welcome too.

B0fe7b5a9a197cd293978150cbd9055f

(8938)

on March 05, 2012
at 02:58 PM

As far as I know, Jay, the OP didn't ask for evidence "*Has anyone had any success treating this problem?*" she's merely asking for anything that *could* help. Anecdotes are probably welcome too.

4781cf8ae1bfcb558dfb056af17bea94

(4359)

on March 05, 2012
at 02:58 PM

If you don't already, try supplementing with magnesium. If you're already taking vit D and getting some calcium in your diet, there is no need to supplement with calcium as well.

4781cf8ae1bfcb558dfb056af17bea94

(4359)

on March 05, 2012
at 02:54 PM

no evidence for your claims.

4781cf8ae1bfcb558dfb056af17bea94

(4359)

on March 05, 2012
at 02:53 PM

Don't supplement with potassium unless you KNOW you have low potassium since many people have the opposite problem and will drop dead if they supplement with potassium. Good advice though...

B0fe7b5a9a197cd293978150cbd9055f

(8938)

on March 05, 2012
at 08:49 AM

I beat mine by eating more carbs and eating more salt.

792634a784ec6a636c3137d0903e11b4

(1196)

on March 05, 2012
at 08:40 AM

I will check that paper, thanks. How do you go 1:1 with calcium without supplementing? I can't eat dairy to nuts. I get it mostly at night, sometimes starting late afternoon. I mostly eat home cooked, basic meals so MSG isn't a feature of my diet, although I will check the cupboards to make sure it's not in any of ,y ingredients. Thanks Eric - its really good to hear that you have made progress with this!

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7 Answers

3
Medium avatar

on March 05, 2012
at 07:47 PM

I've had this off and on for years and due to the fact that I got kinda sloppy with my magnesium supplementation, it's come back strongly recently. I think most of the triggers that people observe are only relevant in the context of magnesium deficiency. The problem for me here is that our water has less than 2 ppm magnesium, so the more water I drink, the more urinary magnesium loss I experience. Those of us who have this affliction are probably genetically predisposed toward magnesium excretion for whatever reason.

I have seen some accounts online of people totally eliminating ectopic beats with a chelated copper supplement, but I haven't really seen improvement with copper bisglycinate every day for a couple weeks, so I think mine is purely related to magnesium.

Regarding IBS, there's certainly the potential for that to interfere with absorption of magnesium, however I have seen a bunch of accounts online of people whose IBS was cured with magnesium supplementation, so it may be a chicken or egg kinda thing. The key is to find a form of magnesium that you can tolerate in heavy doses and take a lot of it every day until this improves. For me, the amount of magnesium in citrate form needed for repletion far exceeds bowel tolerance, so I've found that a magnesium glycinate or malate are the better forms, and that capsules are probably better absorbed compared to tablets.

In my experience, a diet high in potassium and low in sodium and calcium (standard diet for most wild humans) makes it much less severe, probably due to reduced magnesium excretion/increased absorption. If someone is borderline magnesium deficient and starts to supplement with vitamin D, I think it actually exacerbates the magnesium deficiency unless concurrent supplementation is undertaken.

It'll likely take a while at a fairly high dose to fully replete your magnesium levels if you have things like your drinking water working against you and it may be necessary to continue supplementing forever to keep it from coming back.

792634a784ec6a636c3137d0903e11b4

(1196)

on March 06, 2012
at 03:08 AM

Thanks heaps for this. I'm going to increase my magnesium - maybe adding a capsule in the morning to get to a better level and see if that helps.

1a98a40ba8ffdc5aa28d1324d01c6c9f

(20378)

on March 06, 2012
at 06:23 AM

Great Post Travis! Mag is key! I also do that with the high potasium low sodium and calcium. The mag and potasium keep calcium out of the cells which is key.

3
518bce04b12cd77741237e1f61075194

(11577)

on March 05, 2012
at 03:43 PM

Okay, I answered a question similar to this with my experiences, sound a little bit different than yours but the issue I had occurs on a continuum from "very occasionally, not much of a problem" to "sometimes, little lightheaded" to "major ordeal, cause fainting/panic/emergency room visit". Those all sound wildly different, but they are all from one, tiny, misfiring nerve, and depending on the frequency and location it could be anything along those lines. Even after getting checked by a cardiologist, my arrhythmia was never recorded until induced in surgery. You essentially cannot eliminate the possibility of it being a little nerve issue without a surgery, and if it is not disturbing events in your life etc then there is no reason to have the surgery. There is a genetic component in some cases- my dad has an arrhythmia (along w/a physical defect), but his doesn't bother him enough to go through with the surgery. Mine, on the other hand, did. Here is my answer from before, copied and pasted (little long, I know!):

"I have had two heart surgeries for an atria-ventricular nodal re-entry tachycardia, and for years mine was a just a random few bursts of arrhythmia, starting at about the age of 3 until I was 17. It usually happened when I was on the couch or resting. When I was 17, it changed- I started getting them every week or so, and a really debilitating can't-breathe-pass-out-emergency-room ones about once a month. But, even when they were happening that frequently, they still didn't show up on any monitors or stress tests. The first time they caught it on a monitor was when it was induced during my first heart surgery. This was after about 20 24-hour monitors and 4 7-day monitors, as well as maybe 12+ trips to emergency, and 24+ trips to clinics. So, needless to say, it is not unusual that you don't see anything on a monitor.

Some typical triggers I was told to look for when they were first investigating (even though they ended up not applying to my tachycardia) was caffeine, exercise, alcohol, blood pressure changes, and lack of sleep. One thing I tried with my cardiologists support, was I had a week-long monitor on and just tried to do every possible trigger during that time I had the monitor on- he called this the "real life stress test", and said it was much more effective at recording irregular rhythms than any one they could perform in the office. I went to live sports events (hello blood pressure rising), went out clubbing (drinking and lack of sleep and physical activity), drank coffee w/booze (two in one!), did sprint-rows on no sleep (tired and vigorous exercise), and just generally had a fun/tiring weekend. My cardiologist said that you won't find a lot of doctors who will tell you to go ahead and do this, but if you can get something on the monitor it could settle things for you in the long run.

My advice would be to talk to your cardiologist again, and see if your doctor might want to monitor what mine called the "real life stress test". If you and/or your doctor are not down, it probably won't change anything to get a second opinion. Just be attentive, track all the occurrences in a calender. If you can notice any common events that happened around the time you got your arrhythmia's (days where you were tired, where you had some wine the night before, etc), that could be helpful if you wish to investigate further. This will also help identify any changes in frequency.

As my cardiologist said to me, so many people have these funny little arrhythmia's, and for the most part they don't mean anything- it's just a little nerve firing, and even though it feels big to us, it can be the heart equivalent of a twitch in your foot. However, if it is disrupting your life (as mine was in a big way), it is a pretty easy fix- usually just one closed heart surgery, where they either freeze or burn the nerve pathway that is causing the disruption."

For more Paleo hacks: http://paleohacks.com/questions/94556/hack-my-occasional-arrhythmia#ixzz1oG2VIHOY

D31a2a2d43191b15ca4a1c7ec7d03038

(4134)

on March 05, 2012
at 04:03 PM

Jenny, thanks very much for posting this and for the link to the other thread. I hope you are doing very well. :)

1a98a40ba8ffdc5aa28d1324d01c6c9f

(20378)

on March 06, 2012
at 06:19 AM

When it is ventricular (lower chamber of the heart) That gets the docs attention. My doc yawns at mine because it is upper chamber. I am getting a new doc.

792634a784ec6a636c3137d0903e11b4

(1196)

on March 05, 2012
at 05:30 PM

Thanks for the cut and paste. My ectopics show up on the holster monitor and any machine they plugged me in to. Surgery isn't indicated for me.

3
Ba27b59aa877fad44ddc4c50c9ed905a

on March 05, 2012
at 02:25 PM

Green tea, red wine and dark chocolate can all cause this. Cut these out of your diet for a few days and see if the symptoms stop. Worked for me! I still occasionally indulge. But now I know to expect the flutters within 24 hours.

Ba27b59aa877fad44ddc4c50c9ed905a

(78)

on March 05, 2012
at 06:02 PM

I think it may be related to tanic acid (tannins). I recall reading about a study that found a link, but it was many years ago. I am speaking more from my own experience, and the experience of others who solved the same problem when I suggested this. Also, I know a vitamin store manager who has made the same correlation based in suppliments that are returned bacause of heart palpitation complaints.

B0fe7b5a9a197cd293978150cbd9055f

(8938)

on March 05, 2012
at 02:58 PM

As far as I know, Jay, the OP didn't ask for evidence "*Has anyone had any success treating this problem?*" she's merely asking for anything that *could* help. Anecdotes are probably welcome too.

B0fe7b5a9a197cd293978150cbd9055f

(8938)

on March 05, 2012
at 02:58 PM

As far as I know, Jay, the OP didn't ask for evidence *"Has anyone had any success treating this problem?"* she's merely asking for anything that could help. Anecdotes are probably welcome too.

D31a2a2d43191b15ca4a1c7ec7d03038

(4134)

on March 05, 2012
at 04:01 PM

Lisa, no alcohol, green tea, or chocolate for me, either. I also have to limit the black tea, and take magnesium.

792634a784ec6a636c3137d0903e11b4

(1196)

on March 05, 2012
at 05:33 PM

Quite right - I'm not really invested in theory or epidemiology, but wanted to know what other Paleo folk found since this group are generally eating in a similar way to me, and have similar interests in reducing NADs. Good tip about the triggers, thanks. Looks like I'll be starting another elimination diet!

518bce04b12cd77741237e1f61075194

(11577)

on March 05, 2012
at 03:45 PM

Caffeine and alcohol are very common triggers for arrhythmia, they're the first things your cardiologist gets you to eliminate when looking for triggers. Lisa was right to mention it.

792634a784ec6a636c3137d0903e11b4

(1196)

on March 05, 2012
at 07:18 PM

Hi Lisa. What's the connection between supplements and tannin?

4781cf8ae1bfcb558dfb056af17bea94

(4359)

on March 05, 2012
at 02:54 PM

no evidence for your claims.

1a98a40ba8ffdc5aa28d1324d01c6c9f

(20378)

on March 06, 2012
at 06:15 AM

There are a lot of triggers and they difffer for each person.

2
F3583667d653163c121640a015ffa93a

(784)

on March 05, 2012
at 01:24 PM

I get the "extra" beats when I am under stress. I may go months without noticing anything at all, get into some stressful weeks (emotional stress, not physical), and they'll be back. Stress resolves, they are gone again. Might not be that way for you, but I thought I'd toss it out there to think about.

792634a784ec6a636c3137d0903e11b4

(1196)

on March 05, 2012
at 05:39 PM

Do you get them while you're stressed, or later when you're starting to relax?

1a98a40ba8ffdc5aa28d1324d01c6c9f

(20378)

on March 06, 2012
at 06:16 AM

Stress causes mine. Also unexpected events like cold wind blowing as I go outside.

2
E3267155f6962f293583fc6a0b98793e

(1085)

on March 05, 2012
at 11:41 AM

My husband has IBS also. The last time I had to rush him to the ER with irregular heart beat. They kept him overnight. The cardiologist discovered that he was low on potassium. He now takes a potassium supplement along with the Natural Calm he was already taking. The potassium supplement has completely stopped the heart rhythm problem. The absorption of minerals seems to be less than desirable when there is IBS. Have you had your mineral levels checked? It might be a good idea.

4781cf8ae1bfcb558dfb056af17bea94

(4359)

on March 05, 2012
at 02:53 PM

Don't supplement with potassium unless you KNOW you have low potassium since many people have the opposite problem and will drop dead if they supplement with potassium. Good advice though...

792634a784ec6a636c3137d0903e11b4

(1196)

on March 05, 2012
at 05:28 PM

OMFG, just the advice is stressful! Um, thanks?

35ba1f50dad25c85ac1aa2599fe5c5cb

(2485)

on March 06, 2012
at 03:40 PM

Don't stress, just get it checked. :-)

2
1a98a40ba8ffdc5aa28d1324d01c6c9f

(20378)

on March 05, 2012
at 08:27 AM

I have mine mostly beat. I have to avoid all chocolate and coconut. Make sure you are getting magnesium. You may need even more. Go 1:1 with calcium (don't overdue the calcium and dont supplement). You also need potasium and low sodium. You may need to avoid all food additives like MSG etc...

Does yours happen during the day or night or both?

Go over to affibers.org and grab a paper called "The Protocol" written by Jackie.

792634a784ec6a636c3137d0903e11b4

(1196)

on March 05, 2012
at 08:40 AM

I will check that paper, thanks. How do you go 1:1 with calcium without supplementing? I can't eat dairy to nuts. I get it mostly at night, sometimes starting late afternoon. I mostly eat home cooked, basic meals so MSG isn't a feature of my diet, although I will check the cupboards to make sure it's not in any of ,y ingredients. Thanks Eric - its really good to hear that you have made progress with this!

1a98a40ba8ffdc5aa28d1324d01c6c9f

(20378)

on March 06, 2012
at 05:49 AM

You bet. Load up cron-o-meter with a couple cups of leafy greens and you can get there. Your cells are fighting to keep calcium out which is a lifetime job of the cells. So a bunch of calcium is not great. However you need enouhg if that makes sense. The paper goes into a lot of detail. Magnesium is needed for the potasium ot work. Also get checked for sleep apnea (or ask if you snore at night..) Or are tired during the day. Need to treat it if you have it. Also need to sleep 7.5 hours or more per day...

1
96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on March 05, 2012
at 04:01 PM

I've had this many times off and on. The one who nailed the problem immediately was my GP--she said I was sleep deprived and told me to throw away my alarm clock. She said if I wasn't well enough rested to wake up without an alarm I was sleep deprived.

That was 30 years ago and getting enough sleep reduced the problem to mild, intermittent flare-ups. Excessive stress can cause a reappearance but since I gave up wheat those are very rare.

792634a784ec6a636c3137d0903e11b4

(1196)

on March 05, 2012
at 05:42 PM

Yep, this could be it. It's late summer here, and I'm back teaching after having a few months focused on writing. These 2 things mean I sleep later, more fitfully, and wake earlier. It's a pattern that I get this problem worse (more badly? Grammar . . . ) at this time of year.

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