|Amino Acid / Protein|| L-Carnitine
| ||In a controlled trial, patients with exercise induced angina received L-carnitine at a dose of 2gm per day. After 6 months, compared to controls, they had a significant reduction in the number of premature ventricular contractions at rest and increased tolerance during exercise. Improvements were noticeable after 1 month and became more pronounced with continued treatment. [Drugs Exp Clin Res 17: pp.225-35, 1991]|
| ||Taurine has been found to be particularly concentrated in the heart with its levels exceeding the combined total of all other amino acids. During active stress the levels of taurine go up in the heart. Levels go down after an MI or ischemic attack. In Japan, taurine is used to treat various types of heart disease. Some arrhythmias may require IV administration.|
Fish Oil / Krill
| ||Residents of a nursing home took either a daily two-gram fish oil supplement or soy oil supplements for six months. Those who took the fish oil did not experience any decline in heart rate variability. In contrast, those who took the soy oil experienced only "marginal, nonsignificant" benefits.|
The omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids found in fish oil could, therefore, act as a preventive measure against arrhythmia and sudden death, especially among those exposed to ambient air pollution. [American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine December 15, 2005; 172(12): 1534-1540]
Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis)
| ||Berberine is the principal active ingredient in the herb goldenseal ( Hydrastis Canadensis ). Studies show that the alkaloid berberine is beneficial for ventricular arrhythmias due to lack of oxygen. Evidence also suggests that berberine administration can help prevent the onset of re-entrant ventricular tachyarrhythmias and sudden coronary death after myocardial ischemic damage.|
Olive Leaf Extract
| ||European researchers have reported that olive leaf extract could increase blood flow in the coronary arteries and relieve arrhythmias. There is some testimonial evidence in support of this claim.|
Hawthorn (Crataegus oxycantha)
| ||Hawthorn has been used traditionally for treating arrhythmias, although its use for this purpose has not been studied in humans.|
Remove Wisdom Teeth
| ||Dentists report that the removal of a dead wisdom tooth as well as infected bone in the area has on occasion caused an arrhythmia to disappear.|
Heavy Metal Detoxification / Avoidance
| ||Some doctors have reported arrhythmias improving after mercury amalgam filling removal and systemic treatment with heavy metal chelators. [Alternative Medicine Digest]|
| ||The claim is made by doctors administering EDTA chelation therapy that cardiac arrhythmias frequently disappear when a sufficient number of treatments have been given. This may be due to the magnesium content.|
| ||Atrial fibrillation can be caused by alcohol.|
| ||Preventicular contractions (PVCs) can be caused by caffeine.|
Artificial Sweetener Avoidance
Conventional Drugs / Information
| ||In atrial fibrillation, medications are available to restore and maintain a normal heart rhythm. Additionally, blood thinning agents, such as Coumadin (warfarin), are prescribed to reduce the risk of clots forming or stroke. The results of a study were announced showing that an experimental orally administered anticoagulant, Ximelagatran (Exanta™, Exanta™, AstraZeneca) has been shown to be a highly effective alternative to well-controlled warfarin for stroke prevention in patients with non-valvular Atrial fibrillation, not only resulting in a greater reduction of strokes and systemic embolic events in these individuals, but also caused less bleeding while providing a safer, easier-to-administer agent without the need for monitoring. [Halperin JL., Am Heart J. September 2003;146(3): pp.431-8]|
For PVCs, unless there is structural heart damage, no action may be required. If symptoms are troubling, a mild anxiolytic drugs or beta-adrenergic blockers may be helpful. Long-term treatment of ventricular tachycardia may require the use of oral anti-arrhythmic medications (such as procainamide, amiodarone, or sotalol). Anti-arrhythmic medications, however, may have severe side effects, and their use is currently decreasing in favor of other treatments.
Many types of tachycardias respond well to anti-arrhythmic medications. Although not a cure, they can reduce episodes of tachycardia or slow down the heart when an episode occurs. These medications include:
- Sodium channel blockers:Sodium channel blockers slow the conduction of electrical impulses through the heart. These drugs are used to treat ventricular premature beats, ventricular tachycardia, and ventricular fibrillation and to convert atrial fibrillation to normal rhythm. Side effects include arrhythmias (which can be fatal, particularly in individuals with heart disease), digestive upset, dizziness, light-headedness, tremor, retention of urine, increased intraocular (eye) pressure in individuals with glaucoma, and dry mouth. Examples of sodium channel blockers include disopyramide (Norpace®), flecainide (Tambocor®), lidocaine (Xylocaine®), mexiletine (Mexitil®), moricizine (Ethmozine®), procainamide (Procan®, ProcanSR®), propafenone (Rythmol®), quinidine (Quinidex®), and tocainide (Tonocard®).
- Beta blockers:
Beta blockers slow the heart rate by reducing the speed of the heart's contractions. Beta blockers are used to treat ventricular premature beats, ventricular tachycardia, ventricular fibrillation, and paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia. They are also used to slow the ventricular rate in people with atrial fibrillation or atrial flutter. Individuals who have asthma and diabetes should not take these drugs. Examples of beta blockers include atenolol (Tenormin®), metoprolol (Lopressor®, Toprol®, Toprol XL®), nadolol (Corgard®), and propranolol (Inderal®).
- Potassium channel blockers:
Potassium channel blockers are used to treat ventricular premature beats, ventricular tachycardia, ventricular fibrillation, atrial fibrillation, and atrial flutter. Because amiodarone (Cordarone®) can be toxic, it is used for long-term treatment only in some people who have serious arrhythmias. Bretylium (Bretylol®) is used only for short-term treatment of life-threatening ventricular tachycardias. Side effect of potassium channel blockers include arrhythmias, scarring in the lungs (pulmonary fibrosis), and low blood pressure. Potassium channel blockers include amiodarone (Cordarone®), bretylium (Bretylol®), and sotalol (Betapace®).
- Calcium channel blockers:
Calcium channel blockers slow the conduction of electrical impulses through the atrioventricular node and are used to slow the ventricular rate in individuals who have atrial fibrillation or atrial flutter and to treat paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia. Side effects include constipation, diarrhea, low blood pressure, and swollen feet. Calcium channel blockers include diltiazem (Cardizem®, Cardizem CR®) and verapamil (Calan®, Calan SR®).
Digoxin (Lanoxin®, Digitek®) slows conduction of electrical impulses through the atrioventricular node. Digoxin is used to decrease the ventricular rate in people who have atrial fibrillation or atrial flutter and to treat paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia. The drug is given to infants and children younger than 10 years who have Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome, but older individuals with the syndrome should not take digoxin. Side effects of digoxin include weight loss, nausea, vomiting, and serious arrhythmias; if the dose is too high, xanthopsia (a condition in which objects appear greenish yellow and have a halo around them) may occur. Digoxin was originally isolated from the foxglove plant (Digitalis purpurea).
| ||Cardioversion is a procedure used to treat abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmias). The most commonly treated arrhythmia is atrial fibrillation. An electrical "shock" is delivered to the heart to restore its rhythm to a normal pattern. The electrical energy can be delivered externally, with electrodes placed on the chest or directly to the heart using paddles on the heart during an open chest surgery. Alternately, the energy can be delivered through the electrodes of a permanently implanted device called a cardioverter-defibrillator.|
| ||Ray Sahelian, MD has reported arrhythmias of different types in individuals using as little as 50mg DHEA or 25mg Pregnenolone. [TLDP Feb 1998, p.119]|
Test for Food Allergies
Test Thyroid Function
| ||Atrial fibrillation is 3 times more likely in an elderly person with low TSH. [Family Practice News Mar 15, 1995]|
| ||A magnesium deficiency can produce electrical changes in the heart muscle and thus lead to arrhythmia. Magnesium is commonly given to patients with arrhythmias but is thought to drive potassium into cells, producing lower serum potassium if not enough potassium is available to maintain normal serum levels. When in doubt, it is best to supplement both potassium and magnesium together.|
In 22 postmenopausal women it was found that a low magnesium diet caused a significant increase in both supraventricular and supraventricular plus ventricular beats compared to a diet higher in magnesium. [Am J Clin Nutr, 2002;75: pp.550-554]
TMG (Tri-methyl-glycine) / SAMe
| ||A four-year clinical evaluation of DMG (or TMG) by Mitchell Pries, MD of Palmdale, California has confirmed Soviet findings. In trials involving the administration of DMG at 125mg bid to over 400 cardiovascular patients, Dr. Pries reported major improvements in several areas including arrhythmias. This dose is low, and a more rapid response may be possible at higher doses.|
| ||Research has shown that orally administered CoQl0 can improve functioning of myocardial tissue, strengthening the heart's contractions and making it beat more strongly (positive inotropic effect) and more regularly (anti-arrhythmia effect). CoQ10 also acts as an antioxidant to control free radicals produced during cardiac interventions (including angioplasty, thrombolysis, and surgery).|
Essential Fatty Acids
| ||Omega 3 fatty acids may reduce the incidence of arrhythmias during a heart attack. [Japanese Circulation Journal Dec, 1994;58: pp.903-12] One investigation found that people taking fish oil capsules had a 48% reduction in the number of extra heartbeats, but this remains speculative as a separate study did not find this expected link.|
| ||In cases of supraventricular tachycardia, stimulation of the vagus nerve is a commonly employed technique to help return the heart rate to normal. This can be done in several ways:|
All of these techniques serve to stimulate the vagus nerve which slows the heart rate.
- Perform the Valsalva maneuver (briefly strain or bear down as though having a bowel movement)
- Using one hand, pinch the nose closed with index finger and thumb, while covering your mouth (to provide resistance) and blow out with vigor
- Pressing/massaging one side of the neck on the carotid artery. Only press on one side of the neck at a time, not both at once
- Make yourself gag