An arrhythmia is any change in the regular rhythm of the heart. It is typically due to interference with the electrical pathways of the heart and are responsible for over 400,000 deaths each year. Some arrhythmias are harmless and some are life threatening. Often the first sign of hidden heart disease is sudden death, which is usually caused by arrhythmias.
Omega-3 fats from fish oil may prevent sudden death. The Italian GISSI-Prevenzione was a trial of over eleven thousand participants who either took 1,000 mg of EPA and DHA (fish oil) or a placebo. The group taking fish oil had a 30 percent reduction in cardiovascular mortality and a 45 percent reduction in sudden death. A Harvard study showed that men who had higher blood levels of omge-3 fats had an 80 percent lower risk of sudden death compared with men with low serum levels of omega-3. Omega-3 fats may also help prevent atrial fibrillation.
Magnesium deficiency is associated with arrhythmias including atrial fibrillation and atrial flutter. Atrial fibrillation is the most common sustained arrhythmia. Magnesium strongly impacts heart cell membrane function and is a very important catalyst in many enzymatic reactions in the heart muscle cell (myocyte) and in more than three hundred enzymatic reactions in the body. Magnesium given by intravenously has also been shown to reduce the frequency of ventricular arrhythmias in patients with symptomatic heart failure. Magnesium helps to prevent both benign arrhythmias and serious arrhythmias. Magnesium helps to relax the heart and calm down and stabilize the heart’s electrical system.
Taurine is the second most abundant amino acid in muscle. Foods that contain taurine include meat, poultry, eggs, dairy, and fish. Taurine prevents arrhythmias by limiting calcium overload of the myocardium and helping to prevent hypertrophy of the heart. The heart that is ischemic or lacking adequate oxygen is more prone to arrhythmia. Some researchers believe that arrhythmias due to acute myocardial ischemic may be due to a loss of intracellular taurine. Following either an ischemic event or heart attack, taurine levels drop to as low as one-third of normal levels. Taurine also protects the oxygen-starved, or ischemic, heart from reperfusion-induced arrhythmias.
It is very useful in treating arrhythmias. CoQ10 is found in every cell of the body and helps manufacture energy. It also is believed to stabilize the heart’s electrical system and help prevent arrhythmias. It is especially effective for premature ventricular contractions.
Berberine is the main active ingredient in the herb goldenseal, which has been used for years to treat intestinal infections. It has also been found to be beneficial for ventricular arrhythmias due to ischemia or a lack of oxygen. Berberine may also help prevent sudden death after myocardial ischemic damage. Researchers have studied berberine on patients with ventricular arrhythmias. They found that 62 percent of patients had 50 percent or greater, and 38 percent of patients had 90 percent or greater suppression of premature ventricular contractions. Berberine is typically recommended at a dose of 500 mg, twice a day.
Most all supplements that help congestive heart failure and ischemia will also typically help arrhythmias.