Supplements for arrhythmia: types, benefits, side effects

The typical person’s heart beats between 60 and 100 times per minute in a steady rhythm. An arrhythmia is when a heart beats too fast, too slow, or with an atypical rhythm. A doctor may recommend several dietary supplements that may help with this condition.

When a person’s heart does not beat with a typical rhythm and speed, health experts call this an arrhythmia.

An arrhythmia can be either too fast, slow, or irregular.

A heart beating too fast is tachycardia, and when it beats too slow, it is bradycardia.

There are many types of atypical heartbeats, but the most common is a fast pace with an irregular rhythm, which doctors call atrial fibrillation.

There are prescription medications people can use to treat arrhythmias, but an individual may also want to try an over-the-counter (OTC) supplement.

This article will examine supplement options, their benefits, potential side effects, how to take them, and which supplements to avoid.

Vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and herbs are all supplements.

Although it is generally best to try and get most nutrients from the diet, supplements can be a helpful way to increase levels of particular nutrients.

A few nutrients that experts know target heart health may help manage arrhythmia.

Coenzyme Q10 (Co Q10)

The human body makes Co Q10 and processes it to promote cellular growth.

As an antioxidant, this supplement plays a role in protecting the heart muscle and may protect against heart failure.

Co Q10 is a natural substance in meat, poultry, fish, soybean, corn, olive, canola oils, and nuts and seeds.

Magnesium

Magnesium is an important mineral for maintaining balance in the body.

Research suggests low magnesium levels correlate with a variety of heart problems, including arrhythmias.

Magnesium is available in several forms, including:

  • carbonate
  • chloride
  • citrate
  • gluconate
  • hydroxide
  • l-aspartate
  • l-lactate
  • oxide

Magnesium supplementation also reduces the risk of postoperative atrial fibrillation in patients undergoing cardiac surgery.

Wenxin Keli (WXKL)

A less well-known supplement is the traditional Chinese herb Wenxin Keli (WXKL), which comprises five ingredients:

  • nardostachys chinensis batal extract
  • Codonopsis
  • Notoginseng
  • amber
  • Rhizoma Polygonati

Studies have shown WXKL to have a significant effect on several types of arrhythmias and palpitations.

WXKL works on the heart’s electrical conduction system to restore and maintain balance.

Ginger

The herb ginger has a long history of use in traditional Chinese medicine for the protection of the heart.

A 2015 study showed that 100 milligrams per kilogram of body weight of ginger as an oral supplement daily over 15 days significantly lowered the incidence of arrhythmia in rats.

In the same study, intermittent fasting every other day increased the effects of the ginger.

Vitamin C

A meta-analysis of 14 studies that researchers conducted worldwide found that vitamin C may be beneficial in treating arrhythmia, particularly following cardiac surgery.

Nine studies had positive results, with a mean reduction of 44% in arrhythmia occurrence after surgery.

There are several causes of arrhythmia, including stress, medications, electrical conduction issues in the heart, and imbalances in the blood. These imbalances are generally with electrolytes, hormones, or fluids.

In the case of electrolyte imbalances, supplements may help restore proper levels of some nutrients and smoothen heart rhythm.

Consult a doctor before adding any supplement as part of a regular routine.

Some supplements can have adverse effects on prescription or OTC medications, so a person should not combine them.

Supplements do not need to undergo regulation processes and rigorous testing to prove their safety and efficacy.

Therefore, anyone taking them should always read the product packaging and literature closely to see what other ingredients manufacturers have added and the amounts of active ingredients the product contains.

Additionally, people with kidney damage should exercise caution when taking supplements — particularly magnesium — as their decreased kidney function could lead to the buildup of the supplement in the body and cause adverse effects.

A person should always take supplements according to a healthcare professional’s instructions.

If they cannot speak with a doctor, they should follow the manufacturer’s recommendations on the product packaging.

Some recommendations state to take supplements with food to avoid stomach upset.

Importantly, a person should let doctors know about the complete list of supplements they are taking. Some of these products can alter how the body responds to certain medications or anesthesia.

Some supplements may not be suitable for people with arrhythmias, depending on the type of arrhythmia.

Omega-3 fatty acids

Although health experts have long recommended omega-3 fatty acids for heart health, a meta-analysis of seven studies found that taking one gram or more per day may lead to an increased risk of atrial fibrillation.

However, researchers still believe omega-3s can help lower triglyceride levels in the blood. Most medical professionals recommend consuming the substance by eating fish several times each week rather than taking a supplement.

Ephedra

Ephedra reportedly helps treat cough and could promote stamina and weight loss. The supplement is a central nervous system stimulant that raises blood pressure and may contribute to arrhythmia and other cardiac abnormalities. However, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) banned sales of ephedra-containing supplements in the United States due to a wide range of significant health risks.

Creatine

Research is inconclusive on creatine, a popular exercise supplement, on heart health.

While experts believe it causes palpitations, some studies have shown it may benefit people with heart failure.

Arrhythmias occur when there is an imbalance of heart rate or rhythm, and the organ beats too fast, too slow, or irregularly. Health experts call a fast heartbeat tachycardia, while bradycardia refers to a slow heartbeat. The most common irregular heartbeat rhythm is called atrial fibrillation.

Electrical conduction problems, medications, stress or exertion, or blood imbalances can cause arrhythmias. Supplements may help level out imbalances in the blood and restore heart rhythms to expected patterns.

Consult a medical professional before adding supplements to the diet. While most supplements are safe and do not have side effects, a person should not combine some with prescription or OTC medications.

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/supplements-for-arrhythmia-types-benefits-side-effects