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Cardiac Arrhythmia (Holistic)

About This Condition

When your heart skips, you may feel dizzy or anxious. Although an irregular heartbeat is often harmless, it should be treated with care. According to research or other evidence, the following self-care steps may be helpful.
  • Cut the caffeine

    Reduce the frequency of some arrhythmias by cutting back on coffee and other caffeinated products

  • Mix in some magnesium

    Under a doctor’s supervision, take daily supplements containing 350 to 400 mg of this essential mineral for fewer episodes

  • Check out potassium

    Ask your doctor if 1,000 mg a day of this essential mineral may help treat your arrhythmia

  • Don’t forget the fish oil

    Take capsules containing 2.4 grams of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids every day to reduce the frequency of irregular heartbeats

  • See a heart-health expert

    Visit a healthcare professional knowledgeable in cardiology to get a thorough evaluation, and for supervision when using natural substances to treat cardiac arrhythmia


About This Condition

Cardiac arrhythmia is a term that denotes a disturbance of the heart rhythm.

Cardiac arrhythmias can range in severity from entirely benign to immediately life-threatening. If arrhythmia is suspected, a doctor should be consulted for confirmation. In addition, the use of natural substances for arrhythmia should always be supervised by a doctor.


Most arrhythmia does not result in symptoms, but people may experience anxiety, lightheadedness, dizziness, fainting, unusual awareness of the heartbeat, and sensations of fluttering or pounding in the chest.

Eating Right

The right diet is the key to managing many diseases and to improving general quality of life. For this condition, scientific research has found benefit in the following healthy eating tips.

Recommendation Why
Cut the caffeine
Drinking too much caffeine has been associated with arrhythmia in some studies, some healthy people are susceptible to as little as one cup of coffee.

Excessive caffeine consumption has been associated with arrhythmia in human studies. Although most people do not experience arrhythmia as a result of caffeine consumption, some healthy people appear to be susceptible to as little as one cup of coffee.

Uncover your allergies
Allergic reactions to foods and environmental chemicals have been reported to trigger certain arrhythmias. Ask your doctor for help identifying these sensitivities.

Allergic reactions to foods and environmental chemicals have been reported to trigger arrhythmias. Consultation with a physician may help to pinpoint these sensitivities.


What Are Star Ratings?
Supplement Why
3 Stars
384 mg daily
Supplementing with magnesium may help reduce the number of arrhythmic episodes.

A double-blind trial investigated the effect of oral magnesium supplementation on arrhythmic episodes in people with congestive heart failure. Those people taking 3.2 grams per day of magnesium chloride (equivalent to 384 mg per day of elemental magnesium) had between 23% and 52% fewer occurrences of specific types of arrhythmia during the six-week study, compared with those taking placebo. Lower serum concentrations of magnesium were found to be associated with a higher incidence of arrhythmia in a large population study. The anti-arrhythmic properties of magnesium appear to be specific. For example, magnesium is clearly able to prevent a drug-induced arrhythmia called torsade de pointes, but it does not appear to prevent atrial fibrillation. A doctor should supervise any use of magnesium for cardiac arrhythmia.

2 Stars
Fish Oil
Do not take, or take only with a doctor's supervision, if there is a history of sustained ventricular tachycardia or ventricular fibrillation
Fish oil has been shown to reduce the frequency of abnormal heartbeats in some trials.

In a double-blind trial, people with a type of arrhythmia known as ventricular premature complexes were supplemented for 16 weeks with either 15 ml (1 tbsp) per day of fish oil or a similar amount of safflower oil as placebo. Patients taking the fish oil had a significantly reduced frequency of abnormal heartbeats compared with those receiving placebo, and 44% of those receiving fish oil experienced at least a 70% reduction in the frequency of abnormal beats. In a separate study, however, men given 20 ml (4 tsp) of cod liver oil per day for six weeks, beginning one week after a heart attack, had the same frequency of irregular heart beats as did men given no supplemental oil. In a double-blind study, people who had a history of certain potentially life-threatening arrhythmias—sustained ventricular tachycardia or ventricular fibrillation—had an increase in the recurrence rate of these arrhythmias when they took fish oil. A similar study found no adverse effect of fish oil supplements in people with these serious arrhythmias. Because of these conflicting findings, people with a history of either of these arrhythmias should consult a doctor before taking fish oil.

2 Stars
1,000 mg daily under medical supervision
In one study, people taking hydrochlorothiazide for high blood pressure saw a significant reduction in arrhythmias when they supplemented with potassium.

Patients taking hydrochlorothiazide for high blood pressure had a significant reduction in arrhythmias when supplemented with 1 gram twice per day of potassium hydrochloride (supplying 1040 mg per day of elemental potassium). Those results were not improved by adding 500 mg twice per day of magnesium hydroxide (supplying 500 mg per day of elemental magnesium) to the potassium. Low serum concentrations of potassium were found to be associated with a higher incidence of arrhythmia in a large population study.

1 Star
Refer to label instructions
Supplementing with copper may reduce the frequency of abnormal heartbeats.

Three cases have been reported in which ventricular premature beats disappeared after supplementation with copper (4 mg per day in the two cases for which amounts were reported). In one of these people, supplementing with zinc made the arrhythmia worse, confirming previous observations that excessive zinc intake may lead to copper deficiency, which in turn may lead to arrhythmia.

1 Star
Refer to label instructions
An active constituent in corydalis, dl-tetrahydropalmatine, may have an anti-arrhythmic effect on the heart.

An active constituent in corydalis, dl-tetrahydropalmatine (dl-THP), may exert an anti-arrhythmic action on the heart. This action was observed in a preliminary trial with 33 patients suffering from a specific type of arrhythmia called supraventricular premature beat or SVPB. Each patient took 300 to 600 mg of dl-THP per day in tablet form, and the dl-THP was found to be significantly more effective than placebo in reducing arrhythmia.

1 Star
Refer to label instructions
Hawthorn has been used traditionally to reduce the frequency of arrhythmias.

An animal study showed that an extract of hawthorn significantly reduced the number of experimentally induced arrhythmias. Although the use of hawthorn for arrhythmia in humans has not been studied scientifically, it traditionally has been used for this purpose.

1 Star
Refer to label instructions
Supplementing with selenium may improve many arrhythmias.

Gross deficiency of dietary selenium may cause many heart problems, including arrhythmia. Based on this finding, one author has theorized that correction of low selenium status may improve many arrhythmias, even in the absence of overt deficiency symptoms. Controlled research is needed to evaluate this possibility.

1 Star
Vitamin D
Refer to label instructions
One case report described relief from a type of arrhythmia after supplementing with vitamin D.

One case of long-standing sick-sinus syndrome (another type of arrhythmia) was reported to resolve upon supplementation with 800 IU per day of vitamin D prescribed for an unrelated condition. However, it was not clear from that report whether the improvement was due to the vitamin D. More research is needed.

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