Natural Treatment Options for Atrial Fibrillation

The following post is a guest post courtesy of New Life Outlook:

Natural Remedies for Treating Atrial Fibrillation

Atrial fibrillation (AFib) is a condition that makes your heart beat in an irregular and rapid pattern. In the United States, available research estimates that between 2.7 and 6.1 million people suffer from this ailment.

Recent research shows that treating diseases connected to lifestyles like diabetes, elevated cholesterol levels, high blood pressure, and obesity can reduce your risk of AFib.

If you have AFib, taking care of your body with a holistic approach and learning to understand your triggers can give you the best opportunity to manage your condition. Some natural ways of controlling your AFib that you can consider include: lifestyle changes, supplements, alternative therapies, and stress management.

Lifestyle Changes

Lifestyle changes with the most impact for AFib sufferers fall into two categories: nutrition and exercise. Studies prove that following a healthy eating plan and getting the right type and amount of physical activity can reduce other conditions linked to AFib.

Nutrition

Starting and maintaining a heart-healthy eating pattern is strongly encouraged if you have AFib.

Smart dietary choices include eating the right serving sizes of lean proteins such as fish, lean meats, nuts, and low-fat dairy products. Eating a variety of fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables, along with whole grains, helps your body get the nutrients it needs to build muscle, lose body fat, and reach and maintain a healthy weight.

If you take a vitamin K inhibiting anticoagulation medication for your AFib, visit with your physician to find out if you need to follow any dietary restrictions. Foods with high levels of vitamin K include:

·       Broccoli

·       Brussels sprouts

·       Chives

·       Cabbage

·       Collard greens

·       Kale

·       Kiwi

·       Chickpeas

·       Lentils

·       Lettuce

·       Mustard greens

·       Okra

·       Olive Oil

·       Spinach

·       Green tea

if you take a non-vitamin K anticoagulant medication, you can continue to eat these foods.

You will also want to avoid foods with inflammatory properties, such as:

·       Saturated fat

·       Refined carbohydrates

·       Aspartame

·       Foods with high levels of sodium

·       Casein

·       Gluten

·       Trans fats

·       MSG

·       Alcohol

Don’t consume foods with stimulants like caffeinated beverages and chocolate. Studies performed over the last ten years on the effects of caffeine and atrial fibrillation risk show conflicting results because of the methods and variables used.

Other products containing stimulants that you want to avoid are cigarettes and over-the-counter medications like weight loss supplements.

Exercise

Exercise is essential for total cardiovascular health, especially for people who suffer from AFib. Regular physical activity helps condition your heart, so it doesn’t have to work as hard to perform its normal daily functions.

A program of aerobic exercise, strength training, and flexibility movements will help improve your overall fitness level. Consult with a certified exercise professional who has experience in working with individuals with various heart conditions to design a routine that is the most beneficial for you.

Regardless of the type of exercise, make sure that you don’t over-exert yourself so that your heart rate stays at a high level for too long.

Work with your physician and your exercise professional to determine an exercise heart rate range that is safe for you.

Supplements

Supplements are an option to think about if you’re eating healthy and are still short on the right nutrient levels, or if you have conditions that deplete certain elements. Some popular choices to consider are:

·       Co-enzyme Q10. In a recent Chinese study, people who took coenzyme Q 10 for one year had fewer AFib episodes during that time. Coenzyme Q 10 thins your blood, so it's not an option if you take an anticoagulant.

·       Phytosterols come from plants and resemble cholesterol but compete with it, so your body doesn’t absorb as much from the foods you eat. Phytosterols occur in nuts, legumes, whole grains, vegetables, fruits, orange juice, specific brands of margarine, and come in pill form as well.

·       Psyllium is a type of fiber taken in supplement form that lowers both bad and total cholesterol, which helps with other health issues that contribute to AFib.

·       Magnesium helps keep your heart rate stay regular. When you lack magnesium, it can result in an irregular heartbeat. Some studies show that magnesium is also useful for helping to lower blood pressure.

Other supplements that have promise for use with AFib include hawthorn berry, taurine, fish oil, barberry, motherwort, cinchona, and the Chinese herb wenxin keli. More testing needs to happen with these elements before drawing definite conclusions about their benefits.

Alternative Therapies

Alternative therapies are becoming more popular for treating AFib. Some research studies demonstrate positive results in using yoga to treat AFib because of its relaxation properties.

Acupuncture and biofeedback also show potential as effective AFib treatment options. More investigation needs to happen with each of these therapies to determine if they are viable choices for all AFib patients.

Stress Management

High-stress levels are often a contributing factor with AFib. Some research suggests that stress and mental health issues cause AFib to worsen.

There is a complicated relationship between anxiety and depression and AFib. Some studies show that individuals with AF struggle more with anxiety and depression.

Currently, researchers are unsure if people with anxiety or depression are at higher risk for AFib, or if AFib increases the prevalence of anxiety and depression.

Finding coping mechanisms that work for mental health issues can help reduce AF episodes and better manage the disorder. Some proven stress management techniques include relaxation therapy, meditation, developing a positive attitude, engaging in regular physical activity, and building a strong and supportive network of friends and family.

Overview

Using natural remedies for treating AFib and other chronic conditions is gaining traction within mainstream medicine because the options often carry a lower risk than traditional approaches such as medications or surgery. Some alternatives, such as cultural herbal supplements, need more testing and research to verify if they are safe enough to recommend as a standard of care.

If you are considering trying natural remedies to manage your AFib or your AFib symptoms, consult with your physician and other members of your healthcare team to find out if you are a candidate for any of these options.

About NewLifeOutlook

NewLifeOutlook aims to empower people living with chronic mental and physical health

conditions, encouraging them to embrace a positive outlook despite unfortunate

circumstances. Their articles are full of practical advice from people who have firsthand

experience of living with a chronic condition.