Looking for ways to avoid atrial fibrillation episodes and keep your heart in normal rhythm? What about preventing other heart problems that are linked to AFib, such as a greater chance of stroke or heart failure?
Taking supplements and vitamins could be one part of the plan to boost your heart health. There's no substitute for getting the vitamins and minerals your body needs from foods, like vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. But if you're eating healthy and still short on certain nutrients, some supplements may help.
Talk to your doctor about which ones could be good for you before you start taking anything new, to make sure you don't cause problems with your medication.
But if you take digoxin to help control your heart rate, magnesium supplements may interfere with how it gets absorbed by your body so the medicine won't work as well.
Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10)
It's an antioxidant that your body makes, and your cells won't work properly without it. CoQ10 levels go down as you get older. It may be low in people with heart problems.
In one Chinese study, people with heart failure who took CoQ10 along with their regular meds had fewer episodes of AFib after 12 months. There's also science that suggests taking CoQ10 may help people with heart failure feel better. It may also help lower high blood pressure.
Early research shows the extract of a mixture of five different Chinese herbs may help treat occasional, or paroxysmal, AFib.
But some people in those studies had problems when they took it, so more testing is needed. Definitely check with your doctor before you try this supplement.
The jury is out on whether the omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil supplements are linked to a lower chance of AFib. What we do know is that omega-3s lower the odds of abnormal heartbeats. They may also help cut down levels of fats called triglycerides in your blood and lower blood pressure.
The best way to get omega-3s is to eat at least two servings of fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, or tuna every week. If you have heart disease or high triglycerides, your doctor may suggest you take a fish oil supplement.
Psyllium, a form of fiber in many supplements, can help lower both "bad" LDL cholesterol and your total cholesterol levels. Controlling your cholesterol can help you avoid other health problems related to AFib.
Women should try to get about 25 grams of fiber per day; men should aim for 38 grams.
Because these plant compounds are similar to cholesterol, they compete with it so your body doesn't absorb as much from food.
You can find small amounts of phytosterols in nuts and legumes, whole grains, and vegetables and fruits. They're added to some brands of margarine spreads and orange juice. Or you can get plant sterols and stanols in a supplement.
If you're on the blood thinner warfarin, you probably already know that supplements (and food) with vitamin K may make the medicine not work as well. Check multivitamin labels to make sure you're not taking it accidentally.