A doctor may recommend several dietary supplements, including magnesium, vitamin C, or coenzyme Q10 (Co Q10), to help a person with arrhythmia.


The typical person’s heart beats between 60 and 100 times per minute in a steady rhythm. When the heart does not beat with a typical rhythm and speed, health experts call this an arrhythmia.

There are many types of atypical heartbeats, but the most common is a fast pace with an irregular rhythm, which doctors call atrial fibrillation (AFib). A heart beating too fast is tachycardia, and when it beats too slow, it is bradycardia.

People can use prescription medications to treat arrhythmias, but an individual may also want to try an over-the-counter (OTC) supplement.

This article explains supplement options, their benefits, potential side effects, how to take them, and which ones to avoid.

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Vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and herbs occur in everyday foods, but people may also use them as supplements.

Although it is generally best to try and get most nutrients from the diet, supplements can be a helpful way to increase levels of particular nutrients.

A few nutrients that experts know target heart health and may help manage arrhythmia include the below.

Coenzyme Q10

The human body makes Co Q10 and processes it to promote cell growth.

According to a 2021 review, the highest concentration of this antioxidant is in the heart. Co Q10 supplementation may reduce mortality due to cardiovascular causes and decrease arterial stiffness and hypertension (high blood pressure).

This supplement may play a role in heart failure treatment. Some research suggests it has an antiarrhythmic effect, meaning it could correct a heartbeat that is too fast or irregular. However, further research is necessary to investigate this.

Co Q10 is available as a tablet but is also a natural substance in the following:

  • meat
  • poultry
  • fish
  • soybean
  • corn
  • olive
  • canola oils
  • nuts and seeds

Magnesium

Magnesium is an important mineral for regulating various bodily functions, including those that help establish a regular heart rhythm.

A 2020 retrospective study suggested magnesium, in combination with standard therapy, helped lower fast heart rates in people with AFib.

Some research in a 2022 review suggests magnesium supplementation may help prevent AFib. However, the authors highlight the need for further research.

Magnesium is available in several forms, including:

  • carbonate
  • chloride
  • citrate
  • gluconate
  • hydroxide
  • l-aspartate
  • l-lactate
  • oxide

Wenxin Keli

A less well-known supplement is the traditional Chinese herb Wenxin Keli (WXKL), which comprises five ingredients:

  • nardostachys chinensis batal extract
  • Codonopsis
  • Notoginseng
  • amber
  • Rhizoma Polygonati

According to a 2022 overview of systematic reviews, WXKL may be safe and effective in AFib treatment. However, more research is necessary to strengthen this conclusion.

Ginger

The herb ginger has a long history of use in traditional Chinese medicine.

A 2021 study suggests ginger has various cardioprotective effects, including:

  • antihypertensive effects, which help lower blood pressure
  • antiplatelet effects, which help prevent heart attack and stroke,
  • antihyperlipidemia effects, which reduce the buildup of fats in the blood

A 2016 study suggests that 100 milligrams per kilogram of body weight of ginger as a daily oral supplement over 15 days significantly lowered the incidence of arrhythmia in rats. In the same study, intermittent fasting every other day increased ginger’s effects.

Vitamin C

A 2022 review suggests that vitamin C may be beneficial in treating AFib after heart surgery and may reduce recurrence after cardioversion.

However, vitamin C did not treat AFib in critically ill people with trauma.

There are several triggers of arrhythmia, including:

In the case of electrolyte imbalances, supplements may help restore proper levels of some nutrients and smoothen heart rhythm.

Learn 13 triggers of AFib.

People need to speak with a doctor before adding any supplement to their routine.

Some supplements can have adverse effects on prescription or OTC medications, so a person should not combine them without a doctor’s approval.

Manufacturers must ensure supplements meet minimum quality standards and do not contain impurities. However, supplements do not need to undergo regulation processes and rigorous testing to prove their safety and efficacy.

Therefore, anyone taking them needs to read the product packaging and literature closely to see what other ingredients and amounts of active ingredients manufacturers have included.

Additionally, people with kidney damage need to exercise caution when taking supplements, as their decreased kidney function could lead to the buildup of minerals in the body and cause adverse effects.

A person always needs to take supplements according to a healthcare professional’s instructions.

If they cannot speak with a doctor, they need to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations on the product packaging.

Some recommendations may suggest taking supplements with food to avoid stomach upset.

A person also needs to let doctors know the complete list of supplements they are taking. Some of these products can alter how the body responds to certain medications or anesthesia.

People can speak with a healthcare professional about supplements that they need to avoid if they have arrhythmia.

The following supplements may not be suitable for those with arrhythmias, depending on the type.

Omega-3 fatty acids

Healthcare professionals have long recommended omega-3 fatty acids for heart health. However, a 2021 meta-analysis of seven studies found that taking 1 gram or more daily may lead to an increased risk of AFib.

However, researchers still believe omega-3s can help lower triglyceride levels in the blood.

Healthcare professionals may recommend consuming omega-3 fatty acids by eating fish several times each week rather than taking a supplement.

Learn whether it is better to get nutrients from food or supplements.

Ephedra

Ephedra may help treat coughs, fever, headache, and other conditions.

However, the supplement is a central nervous system stimulant that may contribute to arrhythmia and other cardiac abnormalities.

In 2004, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) banned sales of ephedra-containing supplements in the United States due to a wide range of significant health risks.

Arrhythmias occur when there is an imbalance of heart rate or rhythm, causing the heart to beat too fast, too slow, or irregularly.

Electrical conduction problems, medications, stress or exertion, or blood imbalances can cause arrhythmias. Supplements may help level out blood imbalances and restore heart rhythms to expected patterns.

People need to speak with a healthcare professional before adding supplements to the diet. While most supplements are safe and do not have side effects, a person should not combine some with prescription or OTC medications.