“Don’t be upset when you get the Atrial Fibrillation diagnosis, there is hope, you got this!” Dr. Wolfson
What is Atrial Fibrillation (AFib)?
AFib is characterized by an irregular heartbeat which can cause poor blood flow and lead to clotting. If left untreated this can give rise to more serious heart problems such as stroke, heart failure and other complications.
During an AFib episode, the heart is not effectively moving blood into the ventricles (the lower chamber) from the atria (upper chamber). AFib can go undiagnosed as people are often asymptomatic. Keep in mind, you are not alone if you have this condition as it is the most commonly diagnosed condition in clinical practice.
Symptoms of AFib
- Shortness of breath
- Fatigue when exercising or walking up the stairs
- Thumping in the chest
- Feelings of something “flipping”
- Flutter in the chest
Treating AFib Naturally
1. The Paleo Diet: The First Step in Resolving AFib (and really any health issue). Address the diet as this lessens the burden on the body, and based on today’s food pyramid, quite a burden it is! A Paleo Diet has been very successful in helping address AFib. Why is this diet so important? Very simply, it lowers inflammation, the driver of disease . When transitioning to a Paleo diet one really has nothing to lose except any unhealthy extra weight and many other nagging symptoms. The great thing about this particular way of eating is the side benefit of better overall health and vibrancy. You can discover in Top Ten Foods for Atrial Fibrillation which foods to include and why they are so important.
2. Lower Inflammation – It is of great importance to lower inflammation through diet and other means. Major cardiovascular risk and other heart complications are linked to even low levels of inflammation which contribute to AFib. Controlling inflammation is the key step in resolving any health issue including atrial fibrillation. As mentioned above, the Paleo diet is a fantastic first step. There are other measures you can take to lower oxidative stress and inflammation in the body. Further testing may need to be done to look at inflammatory markers on a Cardiovascular Panel. If the markers are high, you will need to address the root cause of these higher than normal levels. There are certainly steps you can take to start lowering inflammation today:
- Stress management
- Exercise – (see “The Real Truth About Physical Activity and Heart Disease”)
- Improve sleep quality – manage sleep apnea
- Smoking cessation
PS-150: Phosphatidylserine is a fantastic supplement that can assist with stress and brain support in general.
3. Keep Blood Pressure Under Control – Hypertension is the “writing on the wall” for AFib. High blood pressure increases risk of AFib for men by 50% and for women by 40%. The sooner you can lower your blood pressure, the better, however not with pharmaceuticals such as ACE inhibitors, which can be very dangerous. ACE inhibitors increase risk of death from pneumonia by 300%! Sadly, adults with hypertension spend 3.2 times as much money on healthcare? as those without this condition? Chiropractic is a much better option for treatment as consistent adjustments lower systolic blood pressure by 17 points and diastolic by 10 points.. There are many ways to lower blood pressure naturally; here are just a few:
- Choose organic foods
- Sleep 8-9 hours a night
- Unplug at night – literally switch off wifi router
- Use non-toxic cleaning products
- Relax – meditation, yoga, tai chi, pet your dog/pet
4. Reduce Oxidative Stress – Our bodies produce free radicals. A healthy body counteracts this oxidative stress with antioxidants. Free radicals have an uneven number of electrons which allows them to react with other molecules. This causes a free radical chain reaction which leads to oxidative stress. Fortunately for us, antioxidants help counter this detrimental process.. Oxidative stress can lead to hypertension and other heart conditions. We all produce free radicals but the key is to neutralize them with a healthy, nourished body. We can implement the lifestyle changes listed above to combat oxidative stress as well as incorporate specific antioxidant-rich foods:
Glutathione is another powerful antioxidant, immune nutrient and detoxifier.
5. Remove Toxins – Toxins are in clothes, laundry detergent, furniture, cleaning products, carpets and mattresses just to name a few. Although alcohol and caffeine are not generally considered to be toxins, they can be toxic to the body (and certainly are if not organic) and should be avoided by some people. Toxins undermine bodily functions. They accelerate aging by lowering the body’s ability to combat free radicals. They displace minerals, leading to weaker bones, damage cell membranes, interfere with hormones and impair your ability to detoxify. All of this impacts the entire body including the heart. Purify your air with an Austin Air Purifier and switch your cleaning products to 100% organic.
6. Support Your Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) – The ANS plays an important role in the initiation and continuation of AFib. When you are in a “fight or flight”/sympathetic state your body produces catecholamines. These are released into your blood when you are stressed either physically or emotionally and can cause hypertension and other complications such as AFib and heart failure. We can work to restore balance between our Parasympathetic Nervous System (rest and digest) and our Sympathetic Nervous System (fight or flight) in the following ways:
- Reducing Stress
- Deep Breathing
- Proper nutrition
Also check out “Ten Techniques to Balance Autonomic Function”
7. Restore Nutrient Levels in Cells – Nutrients are essential for organ function. The nutrients we consume and absorb need to match our body’s needs. Effectiveutrient absorption leads to metabolic homeostasis; when this is disrupted so are your organs and their functions. Everything our body does is fueled by nutrients. They are used in the process of building cells, muscles, healing and maintaining life. Without the proper nutrients our cells will not function optimally. There are many factors that impact our absorption of nutrients and knowing which nutrients we are deficient in is an important step in understanding how we are processing the foods we consume. Intracellular and extracellular testing is a helpful tool to determine what you are lacking. This Micronutrient Test will tell you if the supplements you are taking are being absorbed and whether you are utilizing your nutrient intake.
8. Increase Nitric Oxide – Nitric oxide (NO) is produced by every cell in the human body. It is essential to the health of the blood vessels. NO is able to facilitate the flow of blood freely through blood vessels as it dilates them by relaxing the muscles of the blood vessels. Blood pressure will decrease in the presence of sufficient amounts of NO. We naturally produce NO, and we can also ensure proper levels by supplementing with nutrients that help us to manufacture more from nitrates. Nitrates are in beets and leafy greens like arugula and spinach. Heart Beet is a simple way of increasing levels; it is a powder which is super easy to add to water or any smoothie.
Our health is within our control. Atrial fibrillation has numerous root causes. Addressing all of the above is a great start to overcoming this condition. There is always hope and AFib is never permanent until I say it is permanent. Although sometimes further testing needs to be done, one can make great strides through diet and lifestyle changes and with the addition of specific supplements. See the following we have carefully selected for Atrial Fibrillation: