How I Got Rid of My Heart Arrythmia by Using a Magnesium and Potassium Supplement
In this article, I talk about my struggle with an irregular heartbeat that I was eventually able to manage using a potassium and magnesium supplement as well as mother wort and hawthorn extracts.
This article is not intended as medical advice. Please consult your physician before starting any kind of treatment.
How It All Started the First Time
One evening, out of the blue, I was sitting in my living room quietly reading one of my favorite books and suddenly I felt my heart thump a bit stronger than usual. This was followed by a brief pause as if it had skipped a beat. I was quite used to these occasional episodes and did not think much of them, since they usually went away on their own, only coming back to pay me a visit every now and then.
The good thing is that these episodes were quite short lived, lasting just for a second or two. However, in the back of my mind, sometimes I wondered what would happen if these occasional episodes lasted for a whole day.
After all, I used to have muscle spasms in my upper eyelid lasting for days. I attributed these to stress or excessive strain on my eyes. I wondered if the same thing could happen to my heart since it was also a muscle. I did not have to wait long for an answer, though I was not really eager to find out . . .
By a weird twist of fate, that thumping followed by the sensation of a skipped heart beat continued throughout the evening that day and had me quite worried. I started questioning myself:
- Am I particularly stressed?
- Did I eat anything with caffeine?
- Am I eating well?
As I questioned myself, I remembered that I had eaten some dark chocolate which contains caffeine, a substance to which I have always been quite sensitive, but to which I had never had any similar consequences. So I started cutting down on chocolate, cocoa and anything with caffeine.
At the same time, I thought I was perhaps a bit stressed from a recent move from one state to another. Yet, I have a history of being quite stoic when it came to moving since I'd done it often. However, I left this as a possibility and tried to get as much sleep as possible and try to relax.
The truth was that t was hard to relax knowing that the most important muscle of my body was beating erratically and that this behavior could be a sign that something in my body was seriously wrong. I did some research and came up with two outcomes: it could be something serious, but it could also be nothing to worry about. This was not very encouraging news, since it didn't really provide me with more information about my specific case.
I spent three days dealing with the issue. I cut back on caffeine and relaxed as much as I could and then one morning I woke up without them. I was incredibly happy. I no longer needed to see my doctor and worry about it. I was a bit cautious the first day, sort of examining my heart every now and then, but each time I was happy to notice that odd heartbeats were gone. This was at the end of summer.
An Unexpected Comeback: A Turn for the Worst
I had gone a whole three months with no skipped heart beats and was living a normal life. Then one day, I was watching a movie and sucking on a coffee-filled candy. As the sugar coating melted, drops of coffee released into my mouth — its flavor was rich and intense.
Later in the midst of the movie came that familiar sensation again, the thumping and the sensation of a skipped heart beat. I anxiously waited for it to go away after a few seconds but it did not. It lasted for hours, days, weeks, and to my terror, months.
I really was not eager to see a doctor. I was afraid something was wrong and was reluctant to have an electrocardiogram done. I kept telling myself, ''If I am still alive, this must not be something major." Yet I still imagined my heart doing this strenuous work and giving up on me one day.
My reasoning was: ''How can a muscle stand so much work? If I overworked my fingers, hands, and arms, would these muscles withstand so much? How can a heart which is also a muscle withstand so much? The erratic heartbeats, after all, were non-stop. I seriously thought they were taking place in my sleep as well.
On the other hand, a reassuring voice was telling me that the heart, after all, is a different muscle. It is built to beat our entire lives. No other muscles do as much, so what is the big deal if it just thumps a little harder each time?
For some reason, the erratic heart beats were especially severe at night. I had yet to understand if this was due to the fact that one hears the heart more laying down, or if it is just so silent that it becomes more evident and easier to concentrate on it? I think it was a combination of the two.
Laying down, I could almost hear my heart beating in my ears. In some positions, by laying my head on my arm I could even feel my pulse, with the all-too-familiar familiar skipped beats. The silence of the room and the lack of distractions made me focus on the heart beat. It was just me: my heartbeat and I. The night must be pain's best friend. In my case, at night I always seemed to feel pain's heavy presence seeping through the walls.
Daytime was much better. At times, I had to question if my heart beats were still erratic. Talking with people, walking my dogs, gardening, and cooking, all kept my mind away. It was when I was sitting still reading, watching TV, or using the computer that my beats came over as if to say ''Knock knock, who's there'?"
Then one night, the beats were so strong, I could not sleep. It was real, it was as if they were keeping me awake. At times, exhausted, I questioned whether it was just a bad dream, but it was not. I was tossing and turning and wide awake. At some moments I was sweating cold, wondering if it was time to go to the emergency room. But just the thought kept my body sort of frozen. I did not even have the courage to express my concern to my husband sleeping heavily besides me. I was scared of my own words, scared of admitting something may have been wrong.
I survived that night, wondering if I really experienced something major or if it was just the fruit of my imagination. Afterwards, I spent the whole day reading and learning as much as I could about these heart beats.
Evaluating Seriousness of Skipped Heart Beats
I really did not learn anything new on several medical websites. According to Health.com,
''A heartbeat that is occasionally irregular usually is not a concern if it does not cause other symptoms, such as dizziness, lightheadedness or shortness of breath''.
The word that worried me here was ''occasionally." This no longer applied to me. My arrhythmias were always there, just like an eerie shadow following you everywhere. I never really felt lightheaded or dizzy, but one thing was for sure, those heartbeats were surely annoying.
The website continued noting how smoking, drinking alcohol or caffeine, taking stimulants such as diet pills or cough and cold medicines, being under stress or in pain, having a fever or other illness, taking certain supplements or even being pregnant could make people prone to palpitations or skipped heart beats.
But none of the above applied to me either. I had stopped enjoying chocolate (something I used to eat on a daily basis). I was no longer in stress, other than dealing with the issue. I was not in pain. I did not have a fever. I did not take herbal supplements. I did not take diet pills. And of course, I knew I was not pregnant, so why in the world did I have those annoying arrhythmias?
I think that any person of sound mind by now should have gone to see a doctor. Not seeing one was my choice, but I strongly recommend that you see one even though a heart murmur may sound like something benign. The heart is something that deserves attention, and even if it turns out to be nothing, the peace of mind is really priceless.
As I was engaging in auto-diagnosing myself, the word ''idiopathic'' crossed my mind. It is a term I had learned working at a veterinary hospital, which popped up now and then when vets could not figure out what was causing an illness. It is an elegant word that simply means: ''We have no idea what is causing this." So yes, I had an ''idiopathic arrhythmia." It sounded somewhat professional indeed.
An interesting Breakthrough . . .
Then one day I stumbled upon a forum. I am not really a fan of forums but somehow a search query result landed me in a forum where people were discussing medical issues. Among the medical issues that people were discussing were skipped heart beats. I was no longer alone!
Just as me, they were bothered by the annoying sensation. Many accepted them as a lifelong companion, and some had had them for years! This really surprised me, but also added a note of sadness. Many confessed their doctors had told them they were benign and that they just had to just live with them. This was a hard pill to swallow. How could I live with this all my life?
Then somewhere, somebody claimed that every time he ate bananas, the heart arrhythmia seemed to lessen. Well why not give it a try? The yellow fruit is cheap. It is available in most stores, and it's tasty too. Other forum members also claimed that bananas appeared to help them out. So I marked bananas down on my grocery list.
I eagerly stopped by my grocery store but was afraid of getting my hopes up. After all, I had tried so much! I stopped eating chocolate, tried sleeping more, drank chamomile tea, exercised more and tried to keep my mind off the heart beats as much as possible. Nothing ever worked, so what made me think bananas would work?
Indeed, they did not. It did indeed seem to lessen the heart beats, but they were still my loyal companions, both night and day. I tried to double the amount, but there were no significant changes. I was about to give up until I saw a product laying by the natural vitamin aisle of my local pharmacy.
A Supplement Leads to Solution
The product did not really look promising, but it did make some sense after all. I believe the substance which made bananas so helpful in heart arrhythmias was potassium. So I decided to try out a magnesium and potassium supplement. I really was not too keen to try things out without consulting a doctor first, but I was desperately seeking a solution.
It did not work the first day, nor the following day, but on the third day the erratic heart beats appeared to have lessened considerably. There were still there but they were sort of ''silenced'' like they were barely there.
After five days, my life resumed as normal. And now I am three months free of odd beats. I do not want to sing victory already, but I am pretty sure the supplement did the trick. I did find proof of this later from other websites.
In one forum, one guy in particular had spent two years trying to understand the cause of his irregular palpitations. He had spent hundreds of dollars on doctors, EKG's, emergency room visits and so forth. And then he claimed that a bottle of supplements costing him less than 5 dollars had made them cease!
According to Life extension,
'' Both magnesium and potassium are intricately involved in the heart’s electrical stability (Cybulski J et al 2004); consequently, maintaining normal functional blood levels and ratios of each is important. Potassium is found in every cell of the body, and magnesium, the second-most-abundant intracellular mineral, is involved in many chemical processes (Swain R et al 1999). Magnesium deficiency may result in irregular heartbeats, muscle weakness, and irritability. Conversely, an excessive amount may cause a very slow heartbeat (bradycardia), dizziness, blurred vision, or breathing difficulty.
Magnesium deficiency is usually due to inadequate dietary intake or depletion. Most present-day diets include inadequate amounts of magnesium, and aging is a risk factor for deficiency. Insufficient magnesium may contribute to the symptoms routinely associated with aging (Durlach J et al 1998). Medications such as diuretics, used to treat chronic diseases, may be responsible for more loss of magnesium. Magnesium deficiency is more likely among older people who are institutionalized (Durlach J et al 1998).
Potassium may also be reduced by medications widely used to treat diseases associated with aging. Some heart medications, such as diuretics used as adjunctive treatment for high blood pressure, may dangerously deplete potassium levels. Besides causing severe muscle weakness and possible arrhythmias, inadequate potassium, which may lead to electrolyte imbalance, may cause mental confusion that may be attributed mistakenly to age or incompetence. The underlying electrolyte imbalance resulting from deficient levels of potassium or magnesium in the serum may also predispose people to arrhythmias (Cybulski J et al 2004).
According to Nicole Cutler, in her article ''Why Bananas Support a Healthy Heart'' published on Mature Sources:
''Potassium is one of the most important nutrients for keeping the heart healthy. This mineral is needed for muscle contraction (which is required for the heart to beat). For 100,000 times each day, potassium helps trigger the heart's squeeze of blood throughout the body. As a food source, bananas have one of the highest potassium contents available. The daily recommended amount of potassium is about 2,300 mg."
So there I I had it — the solution to my annoying heart arrhythmia. Then a few weeks later I also learned how effective mother wort and hawthorn extracts could also be. So now I alternate them. If only I had known this before! However, I am grateful of stumbling upon some forums and studies that provided further proof of these products effectiveness. At times, knowledge really is power.
Disclaimer: The above article should not be used as a substitute for medical advice. If you are experiencing heart arrhythmia, please refer to your personal physician for professional advice. Readers assume full responsibility for their course of action. Always consult with a doctor before taking any supplements. An excess of potassium can be troublesome so blood work is usually recommended by doctors first.