2

votes

Paleo and atrial fibrillation

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created July 11, 2012 at 9:01 PM

I'm in my 3rd week on Paleo. I'm running about 85-90% of pure Paleo. I have eaten no grains, soy, or dairy. I have lost about 100 lbs. pre-Paleo and have about 120 to go. The first week I lost almost 5 lbs. (which for me and at my age is more than I ever lose). Second week I gained 1.25. I figure I'm adjusting so I am cool with that.

My problem is my atrial fibrillation. I have been controlled with medication for several years but since I've gone Paleo I have a lot of episodes and it's starting to impact my daily living abilities. I noticed that the same thing happened when I did Atkins in the past and I had to stop. I asked my cardiologist about it but he said that he wasn't aware of any connection. An NP at the same practice told me that she had heard anecdotal evidence that supported the theory that increased ketone levels may affect AF sufferers. She wasn't sure whether it was the increased ketones or increased proteins.

Has anyone had experience with this issue? I want to forge ahead but this AF is becoming disabling. I can handle introducing some non-gluten grain like millet if I had to, but I don't want to get too off-track. Any words of wisdom would be greatly appreciated.

3c86170af93926dc8b7a03a98ad12bc9

(110)

on July 16, 2012
at 08:15 PM

Thanks for asking, Jamie. I upped my carbs to the 100-150 range and have added more topical magnesium at night. HUGE improvement in the afib. Fasting blood sugar went below 100 for the first time since I started, too. (91). Weight loss isn't happening yet, though. I lost 4.75 lbs. first week, gained 1.25 second week and now gained 1 third week. I think I need to count calories if I am going to lose again (I *do* need to consider this as a weight loss diet as well as a life change). Battling persistent nausea so I'm cutting down on the fat as well. Still experimenting! Thanks for your input.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on July 16, 2012
at 10:09 AM

Hows it going BTW?

1a98a40ba8ffdc5aa28d1324d01c6c9f

(20378)

on July 13, 2012
at 04:50 AM

You need to keep your potasium greater than your sodium.. The more salt you eat the more potassium you would need to consume...

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on July 13, 2012
at 03:14 AM

I think a lower than standard carb intake will help (including moderate carbs 100-150gs), because insulin makes you hungry, but I am not sure if ketosis matters or not for weight loss per se. It may, it may not, perhaps someone else more knowledgable on fitness etc can chime in...

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on July 13, 2012
at 02:16 AM

It is normal for your blood sugar to rise during ketosis because your liver is producing glucose for your brain.

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on July 13, 2012
at 02:13 AM

I would think normal sodium, rather than low sodium would be more helpful. Am I wrong?

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on July 12, 2012
at 07:00 PM

Magnesium is one electrolyte, but you'll probably need to replace them all, sodium, potassium, etc. I think low sodium is the one that screws with electric impulses in the body the most, the heart is the salt water battery for our bodies. My go-to, of a cup of generously salted broth (with Celtic Sea salt) in the morning. I also drink water with pinches of Celtic Sea salt, or high content mineral water throughout the day. If you have juicer or a blender throw some celery, carrot, a little beet, parsley, and apple to taste, juice (might want to strain if using a blender), and drink up.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on July 12, 2012
at 08:31 AM

Well true. A bit of carb, in the form of root veg might help. 100 grams per day of carb, including things like non-starchy veg, nuts and fruit as well is supposed to keep you out of ketosis. Sweet potato, parsnip whatever your preference is. Or electrolyte foods, as I posted below. Or a little of both.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on July 12, 2012
at 08:22 AM

Oh and of course, a decent water intake.

1a98a40ba8ffdc5aa28d1324d01c6c9f

(20378)

on July 12, 2012
at 05:27 AM

Awesome answer Jay!

4781cf8ae1bfcb558dfb056af17bea94

(4359)

on July 12, 2012
at 12:35 AM

By "paleo," it sounds like you mean low-carb. Assuming, so you probably are not getting enough potassium and magnesium. You should eat potatoes and probably should also take a magnesium supplement, at least from time to time.

3c86170af93926dc8b7a03a98ad12bc9

(110)

on July 11, 2012
at 11:14 PM

Do you have a suggestion on how to deal with it? I'm already supplementing with oral and topical magnesium, which does help a bit but not enough to rid me of these episodes.

3c86170af93926dc8b7a03a98ad12bc9

(110)

on July 11, 2012
at 09:53 PM

My oils of choice are olive oil, ghee, and extra virgin coconut oil. I also eat wild salmon, forgot to say. Yes, my worst episodes are in early morning. Because of my diabetes meds, I usually have something to eat close to bed time. It used to be cheese but now I don't eat that. I also meant to mention that the AF causes my blood sugar to skyrocket (because of the adrenaline that accompanies it) so I think that might have something to do with my blood sugar problems. So I'm still sort of stumped and will appreciate any feedback and advice you have to offer.

3c86170af93926dc8b7a03a98ad12bc9

(110)

on July 11, 2012
at 09:49 PM

spinach....Some days I eat steak 3x a day (GF), others chicken or pork. Tonight I'm having balsamic chicken with broccoli. Sometimes for a snack I will eat cashews or almond flour mixed with ghee and maybe a touch of maple syrup. I tried to get macadamias yesterday at the health food store but they didn't have them so I will try to buy them again at another store. I will have fruit 1-2x a day, usually blueberries, blackberries, fresh figs, or rarely a plum, apple, or peach. I keep track of my calories and am eating 1400 a day. I don't have AF problems using other weight loss methods.

3c86170af93926dc8b7a03a98ad12bc9

(110)

on July 11, 2012
at 09:46 PM

hot dogs (Applegate Farms with no nitrites), ghee, occasional dayah "cheese" (though not so much now). I will have one or two fruits. Use almond or coconut flour, occasional honey or maple syrup in recipes. I think I've been pretty faithful, but I am hardly an expert to be sure. My breakfast today was bacon, onion, kale and mushrooms with Vietnamese chili sauce (small amount). Some days I throw eggs in but because of my diabetes I don't always eat them every day. I often skip lunch because I'm not hungry. Dinner last night was Paleo pizza with flax/egg/coconut flour crust, peppers, bacon...

3c86170af93926dc8b7a03a98ad12bc9

(110)

on July 11, 2012
at 09:40 PM

Mindmt, thanks for your feedback. I'm not sure how much "adjustment" I can tolerate. When it happened in Atkins, I went about 3 months (and had multiple ER admissions) before I had to call it quits. I'm 55 now and don't know if I can tolerate it as long. To complicate things, I'm diabetic and my blood sugars have actually RISEN since I've gone Paleo. Like up to 50 points on my fasting. This is all entirely the opposite of what I might have expected. I have not consumed caffeine since 2000 (except for accidental which usually lands me in the hospital). As for my 15%, I also eat bacon...

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5 Answers

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1
1a98a40ba8ffdc5aa28d1324d01c6c9f

(20378)

on July 12, 2012
at 05:32 AM

Magnesium is highly important and potassium. Check out affibers.org for paleo friendly advice. Eating paleo is highly recommended. I avoid chocolate and coconut (personal triggers). Also get 7.5 hours of sleep a night.

The issue is not Paleo but low carb as Jay mentions. Paleo does not need to be low carb. Go over to affibers.org and post and ask for the protocol doc form Jackie. 20 pages of help.

Drink a low-sodium v8 every day. It will really help. Also they have a better magnesium protocol in the 20 page paper.

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on July 13, 2012
at 02:13 AM

I would think normal sodium, rather than low sodium would be more helpful. Am I wrong?

1a98a40ba8ffdc5aa28d1324d01c6c9f

(20378)

on July 13, 2012
at 04:50 AM

You need to keep your potasium greater than your sodium.. The more salt you eat the more potassium you would need to consume...

1
3c86170af93926dc8b7a03a98ad12bc9

on July 12, 2012
at 10:01 PM

What a terrific amount of help you have all offered. I'm SO grateful - especially as I am such a newbie - to have such concrete suggestions. I will admit that I did misunderstand Paleo as low carb - I was doing about 60-80g a day - but I will bring that up to a higher level with Paleo-compatible foods. Will I still be able to lose fat if I go out of ketosis? I think I will need to do that until I can at least better adapt to the changes.

I bought my low-sodium v8 today, am putting spinach in my smoothie in a few minutes (and also berries). I bought some Epsom salts to soak my feet in addition to the supplements I already take (Eric, I am deeply indebted to you for the afibbers link. That 20p protocol is incredibly helpful!). Will have a potato with dinner tonight.

Again, my sincere thanks to you all. I have hope of being able to continue the Paleo way, which is what I truly want to do.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on July 16, 2012
at 10:09 AM

Hows it going BTW?

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on July 13, 2012
at 03:14 AM

I think a lower than standard carb intake will help (including moderate carbs 100-150gs), because insulin makes you hungry, but I am not sure if ketosis matters or not for weight loss per se. It may, it may not, perhaps someone else more knowledgable on fitness etc can chime in...

3c86170af93926dc8b7a03a98ad12bc9

(110)

on July 16, 2012
at 08:15 PM

Thanks for asking, Jamie. I upped my carbs to the 100-150 range and have added more topical magnesium at night. HUGE improvement in the afib. Fasting blood sugar went below 100 for the first time since I started, too. (91). Weight loss isn't happening yet, though. I lost 4.75 lbs. first week, gained 1.25 second week and now gained 1 third week. I think I need to count calories if I am going to lose again (I *do* need to consider this as a weight loss diet as well as a life change). Battling persistent nausea so I'm cutting down on the fat as well. Still experimenting! Thanks for your input.

1
Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on July 12, 2012
at 05:40 AM

If indeed its electrolytes, and thats something I have also been struggling with while in ketosis (had very occasional rapid heart rates, saw doctor etc), heres something useful I found:

low-carb Paleo-ish foods that contain electrolytes:

Calcium - any dairy, spinach, collard greens, turnip greens, brazil nuts

Potassium: Tomatoes, apricot, kiwi and unsweetened cranberry juice (and also lower amount in spinach), tomato juice, almonds, brazil nuts, brocolli, and less so salmon, trout, tuna, cod. (+ bananas if your not avoiding carbs+ high fructose)

Magnesium: any dairy, spinach, almonds, Brazil nuts, hazelnuts, walnuts, cashews

I found that I expected no problems when I salted everything, ate spinach virtuall every meal, plenty of tomatos with meals almost every day, the odd bit of unsweetened cranberry juice, regular berries , pretty much a cup a day (unlisted but they do have some semi decent level of potassium), tuna, aged cheese, pretty much a little every day and occasional brazil nuts (maybe a small handful 2-3 times a week).

When I stopped eating the spinach, unsweetened cranberry juice and brazil nuts, I started to get problems.

So it seems like spinach is an electrolyte powerhouse, and if your in ketosis, low carb, you should probably IMO make an effort to eat some of the above foods + some added salt.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on July 12, 2012
at 08:22 AM

Oh and of course, a decent water intake.

1
6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on July 11, 2012
at 10:42 PM

I'd wager it has to do with the loss of electrolytes that happens in ketosis.

3c86170af93926dc8b7a03a98ad12bc9

(110)

on July 11, 2012
at 11:14 PM

Do you have a suggestion on how to deal with it? I'm already supplementing with oral and topical magnesium, which does help a bit but not enough to rid me of these episodes.

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on July 12, 2012
at 07:00 PM

Magnesium is one electrolyte, but you'll probably need to replace them all, sodium, potassium, etc. I think low sodium is the one that screws with electric impulses in the body the most, the heart is the salt water battery for our bodies. My go-to, of a cup of generously salted broth (with Celtic Sea salt) in the morning. I also drink water with pinches of Celtic Sea salt, or high content mineral water throughout the day. If you have juicer or a blender throw some celery, carrot, a little beet, parsley, and apple to taste, juice (might want to strain if using a blender), and drink up.

1
D07a525f9021f8d72bf6aaa52893c795

(1011)

on July 11, 2012
at 09:22 PM

Yes - I've experienced some palpitations - when first going for 24 hours IF, and come to think of it, years ago when I first tried Atkins. I think it is ketone related, but also that it's an adjustment period. I don't get it these days.

The trick is likely to be: Be truer to the faith - you don't say what your 10 - 15% non-paleo might be... if you consume a lot of caffeine, then reduce that and don't have it after mid-afternoon.

Where you need to be really strict is in the grain department, also no seeds or seed oils, and no sugar that doesn't come in the form of natural fruit. No nuts other than macadamia. I think it may be important to sharply reduce your omega 6 intake, and ensure you get adequate seafood.

If you IF - have your last meal around 6pm - my experience was that palpitations tended to happen at night during IF - most especially if my last meal was breakfast - so plunging into ketosis as I retired.

Hope this helps - I'll check for feedback.

3c86170af93926dc8b7a03a98ad12bc9

(110)

on July 11, 2012
at 09:53 PM

My oils of choice are olive oil, ghee, and extra virgin coconut oil. I also eat wild salmon, forgot to say. Yes, my worst episodes are in early morning. Because of my diabetes meds, I usually have something to eat close to bed time. It used to be cheese but now I don't eat that. I also meant to mention that the AF causes my blood sugar to skyrocket (because of the adrenaline that accompanies it) so I think that might have something to do with my blood sugar problems. So I'm still sort of stumped and will appreciate any feedback and advice you have to offer.

3c86170af93926dc8b7a03a98ad12bc9

(110)

on July 11, 2012
at 09:40 PM

Mindmt, thanks for your feedback. I'm not sure how much "adjustment" I can tolerate. When it happened in Atkins, I went about 3 months (and had multiple ER admissions) before I had to call it quits. I'm 55 now and don't know if I can tolerate it as long. To complicate things, I'm diabetic and my blood sugars have actually RISEN since I've gone Paleo. Like up to 50 points on my fasting. This is all entirely the opposite of what I might have expected. I have not consumed caffeine since 2000 (except for accidental which usually lands me in the hospital). As for my 15%, I also eat bacon...

3c86170af93926dc8b7a03a98ad12bc9

(110)

on July 11, 2012
at 09:49 PM

spinach....Some days I eat steak 3x a day (GF), others chicken or pork. Tonight I'm having balsamic chicken with broccoli. Sometimes for a snack I will eat cashews or almond flour mixed with ghee and maybe a touch of maple syrup. I tried to get macadamias yesterday at the health food store but they didn't have them so I will try to buy them again at another store. I will have fruit 1-2x a day, usually blueberries, blackberries, fresh figs, or rarely a plum, apple, or peach. I keep track of my calories and am eating 1400 a day. I don't have AF problems using other weight loss methods.

3c86170af93926dc8b7a03a98ad12bc9

(110)

on July 11, 2012
at 09:46 PM

hot dogs (Applegate Farms with no nitrites), ghee, occasional dayah "cheese" (though not so much now). I will have one or two fruits. Use almond or coconut flour, occasional honey or maple syrup in recipes. I think I've been pretty faithful, but I am hardly an expert to be sure. My breakfast today was bacon, onion, kale and mushrooms with Vietnamese chili sauce (small amount). Some days I throw eggs in but because of my diabetes I don't always eat them every day. I often skip lunch because I'm not hungry. Dinner last night was Paleo pizza with flax/egg/coconut flour crust, peppers, bacon...

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on July 13, 2012
at 02:16 AM

It is normal for your blood sugar to rise during ketosis because your liver is producing glucose for your brain.

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