Heart arrhythmia occurs when something interferes with the normal electrical activity within the cellular membrane of the cardiac tissue and muscle. Dr. Avni Sali recently wrote about the roles of nutrients in the treatment of arrhythmia, which is more commonly referred to as irregular heartbeat.
Here’s a look at what the doctor recommends.
Potassium and magnesium are essential electrolyte minerals that are involved in the electrical impulses of specialized cardiac cells called myocytes.
Low levels of potassium and magnesium in the diet and in the bloodstream are sometimes associated with irregular heartbeat. Magnesium supplementation is beneficial in “most” arrhythmias according to Dr Sali.
It depends on the type of irregular heartbeat the patient is experiencing. For example, tachycardia is faster than normal heartbeat usually described as palpitations. In one study, increasing daily potassium and mineral intake by 50% over the daily recommended intake decreased the tachycardia in some, but not all patients after three weeks.
The doctor suggests that a study of longer duration might have shown better results, because it takes several weeks to increase blood magnesium levels in humans once supplementation begins. In other words, magnesium and potassium supplements may help reduce heart arrhythmia after several weeks of use.
The supplements may be particularly beneficial for people taking diuretics (fluid reducers), because those medications deplete the body’s potassium and magnesium levels. Many cardiac patients take diuretics for therapeutic benefits, such as lower blood pressure.
Dr Sali also mentions coenzyme Q10, L-carnitine and selenium, as well as herbal medicines in the article, but the main body of the article focuses on the benefits of omega-3 fish oils. He quotes the results of numerous studies that show fish oil supplementation can reduce heart arrhythmia and provide other benefits.
People who eat fish regularly are known to have a lower incidence of cardiovascular disease and death from sudden cardiac arrest or stroke. Eating fish on a regular basis is not possible for all people, although the benefits of a healthier diet cannot be overestimated.
Not all fish are sources of the beneficial omega-3 fatty acids. Salmon and tuna are the best known sources. Tilapia and other types of white fish are not good sources.
Salmon can be expensive, especially if you choose wild caught instead of farmed. The wild caught is supposed to be healthier and higher in nutritional value than the farmed variety.
Tuna is prone to be contaminated with mercury. So, fish oil supplements are often the best choice for people with heart arrhythmia and for anyone who wants to reduce their risk of developing cardiovascular disease.
The supplements cost less. The better ones are distilled to remove impurities and the amount of omega-3 fatty acids provided by the supplement can be measured accurately. One can only estimate the amount of omega-3s and other nutrients in a single piece of fish.
There are many other health benefits associated with regular fish oil use. Improving cardiovascular health and reducing heart arrhythmia are two of the most important, since heart disease is still one of our biggest killers.