Reader’s Question: I have been taking medications for atrial fibrillation, and nothing seems to be working. Are there some natural alternatives I should be looking at?
Dr. Glenn Rothfeld: Atrial fibrillation, or A-fib, is a type of irregular heartbeat that can increase your chances of suffering a blood clot or stroke.
Unfortunately, a lot of the drugs that are used to treat atrial fibrillation come with a laundry list of side effects, like weight gain, extreme fatigue, trouble breathing, and even chest pains.
And these are the drugs that are supposed to make you feel better!
In terms of natural remedies, there has been some really exciting research over the years about using vitamin C to reduce A-fib episodes.
You see, there’s some strong evidence that A-fib flare-ups can be linked to oxidative stress and inflammation. And that’s what got scientists wondering whether a strong antioxidant like vitamin C could help keep atrial fibrillation in check.
One study looked at patients who had received coronary bypass surgery, as atrial fibrillation is pretty common after this operation. The patients who got vitamin C along with beta blockers were only one-sixth as likely to develop atrial fibrillation symptoms as those who got just the beta blockers.
In another study out of Greece, vitamin C reduced the incidence of atrial fibrillation among post-op patients by about 27 per cent. Patients were taking 500 mg twice a day.
The evidence is pretty good that vitamin C can play some role in the prevention and management of atrial fibrillation, and it’s cheap and safe.
Any time you’re dealing with a heart issue, however, it’s important to loop your doctor into the conversation and let him know you want to give vitamin C a try. I can’t imagine he’ll object.
Want me to answer your question next? Drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org
Wishing you the best of health,
Dr. Glenn S. Rothfeld
Nutrition & Healing
The Importance of Vitamin C in the Incidence of Atrial Fibrillation, ajcc.aacnjournals.org/content/17/3/270.long
The role of ascorbic acid in the prevention of atrial fibrillation after elective on-pump myocardial revascularization surgery: a single-center experience – a pilot study, icvts.oxfordjournals.org/content/12/2/121.full