Atrial fibrillation (A fib) is a common heart rhythm that occurs in people as they age and/or have heart conditions such as coronary disease, valvular heart disease, or cardiomyopathies. Once it develops, it can be a major hassle, as well as a health threat. Hospitalization is often necessary with multiple medications introduced: drugs to slow the heart rate that is typically 150-200 beats per minute and causes breathlessness, lightheadedness, even heart failure; medications to thin the blood to prevent stroke, which can be catastrophic; medications to convert the rhythm back to normal. And, because the imperfect ablation procedure to reduce/eliminate A fib pays electrophysiologists very well, ablation is frequently offered.
There are a number of simple strategies you can follow to prevent having atrial fibrillation and even reduce the frequency and duration of intermittent recurrences. Unfortunately, once the rhythm becomes frequent or persistent, the damage to your heart’s conduction system has been done and the rhythm cannot be suppressed without a procedure such as ablation or to simply live with the rhythm with lifelong need for drugs to control heart rate and blood thinners to prevent stroke.
The key is to therefore undertake these strategies as early in life as possible, as once A fib begins, it becomes harder and harder to suppress, bouts become longer and longer and more frequent, and eventually 24-hours-per-day persistent.
Efforts that reduce A fib potential include:
- Wheat/grain elimination, net carb limitation—just as we do in the Undoctored and Wheat Belly lifestyles that generates frequent reports of reduced A fib recurrences
- Magnesium supplementation—Severe magnesium deficiency is the rule due to the need for water filtration that removes all magnesium, consumption of grains that contain phytates that bind most magnesium in the gastrointestinal tract and make it unavailable for absorption, and the reduced magnesium content of modern produce.
- Omega-3 fatty acids—The dose we use of 3600 mg per day of EPA + DHA likely makes a modest contribution to heart rhythm stabilization (a dose you cannot realistically achieve with krill oil nor linolenic acid)
- Vitamin D—Getting your vitamin D blood level in the desired range of 60-70 ng/ml appears to reduce potential for A fib.
- Oxytocin—The hypothalamic hormone oxytocin that we boost with our Lactobacillus reuteri yogurt provides heart rhythm-stabilizing effects in addition to all its other age-reversing benefits such as smoother skin, accelerated healing, and restoration of youthful strength and muscle.
- Heart rate variability (HRV) biofeedback—Learn and habituate the phenomenon of bringing variation in heart beat with respiration and you can gain considerable control over A fib, as well as blood pressure and other stress responses. While in previous years we used the HeartMath device to generate the measures we track, you can now download the HeartRate+ Coherence smartphone app at no cost or an inexpensive upgrade that provides this fascinating function.
For anyone wanting to take their efforts even further, see the more detailed Undoctored Protocol for Atrial Fibrillation in our membership Undoctored Inner Circle.