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Alternatives for Calcium Channel Blockers

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Most people know that calcium plays a vital role in bone health. But did you know it’s also an essential mineral for the cardiovascular system? Calcium particles enter the muscle with every squeeze of the heart, helping it to beat strongly and evenly. As a result, blood moves smoothly to the rest of the body.

Over the last half-decade, scientists discovered that reducing the amount of calcium that enters the heart works to lower blood pressure and slow the heart rate. As a result, doctors now regularly prescribe calcium-channel blockers to treat cardiac conditions. Unfortunately, these drugs are not without dangerous side effects. 

Thankfully, there are many natural alternatives to calcium-channel blockers, most of which are safer and equally effective. 

What are calcium channel blockers?

Calcium channel blockers (CCBs) are commonly prescribed pharmaceuticals that slow the rate at which calcium passes into the heart muscle and blood vessel walls. 

Calcium enters cells through unique pores on the cells called ion channels. Much like a plug that stops water from going down the drain, calcium channel blockers block these pores, thus reducing the amount of calcium that can enter the heart and vessels. 

With less calcium reaching the cardiovascular system, the heart does not squeeze as firmly, allowing blood vessels to relax and for more oxygenated blood flow to the heart. As a result, calcium channel blockers may do the following:

  • Lower blood pressure
  • Slow the heart rate
  • Reduce chest pain
  • Help to control an irregular heartbeat 

There are two primary types of calcium channel blockers

  • Dihydropyridines

Dihydropyridines act as peripheral vasodilators, causing blood vessels to relax. These CCBs typically end in the suffix “-pine” and are often used to treat high blood pressure. Examples include amlodipine, felodipine, and isradipine.

  • Non-dihydropyridines  

Non-dihydropyridines act like dihydropyridines in relaxing the blood vessels, but they also work on the heart’s conduction system, lowering the heart rate. These types of CCBs are often prescribed for arrhythmias such as AFib. Examples include diltiazem and verapamil. 

Dangers of calcium channel blockers

Although initially effective, calcium channel blockers come with significant dangers. These medications may cause individuals to have a blood pressure or heart rate that is too low, thus resulting in less than ideal distribution of oxygen throughout the body. As a result, people taking CCBs may experience lightheadedness, fatigue, headaches, nausea, and swelling. Moreover, calcium channel blockers often cause significant constipation.  

Even more concerning, literature links the use of calcium channel blockers with an increased risk of heart failure and other dangerous cardiovascular conditions. Studies show that in addition to blocking calcium from the cells, CCBs also obstruct the uptake of vitamin C. Vitamin D deficiencies harm artery walls, contributing to atherosclerosis, heart attacks, and strokes. 

The use of calcium channel blockers has also been associated with the following: 

Four safe alternatives for calcium channel blockers 

In addition to optimizing health through an organic, whole-food-based diet, several supplements can mimic the results of calcium channel blocker use. 

Magnesium

Magnesium is often called nature’s calcium channel blocker for the way in which it naturally blocks calcium from entering cells, thus relaxing blood vessels and lowering blood pressure and heart rate. 

Moreover, magnesium has potent antiarrhythmic effects, helping to ensure a steady, regular heartbeat. Individuals with magnesium deficiency commonly experience tachycardia, heart palpitations, and other cardiovascular abnormalities. 

Unfortunately, most of us are deficient in this essential mineral – even those who consume a healthy, organic diet typically can’t obtain enough magnesium to maintain health. Sadly, modern farming practices have significantly lowered magnesium availability in food.

The vast majority of people need to supplement magnesium to keep levels optimal. There are several forms of magnesium, all of which serve different roles in the body. Magne 5 contains five kinds of magnesium, which, when used in combination, support normal heart rate and rhythm.

Potassium

Much like magnesium, the average American is deficient in potassium. Declining potassium concentration in food sources, over-consumption of high-sodium processed foods, and certain medications have depleted potassium reserves for 9 out of 10 Americans. 

Potassium is vital for maintaining a healthy and consistent heart rate. Not only does it help to keep sodium levels in check, but because of its vagolytic effect, potassium helps to maintain a regular heart rate. When given with magnesium, potassium supplements have been shown to lower dangerously high heart rates

Moreover, multiple studies have shown potassium to lower blood pressure naturally. Potassium works to counteract the effects of sodium. While conventional medicine has led us to believe that high sodium diets cause high blood pressure, a potassium deficiency is more likely the issue. 

Studies show that low potassium levels, also called hypokalemia, may cause calcification and stiffening of the arteries, thus increasing heart rate. A recent New England Journal of Medicine study found that those with the highest potassium levels had a 31 percent lower risk of cardiovascular events than those with the lowest levels. 

Potassium Boost, an exclusive potassium and mineral powder supplement, restores optimal potassium levels in the cells, thus lowering heart rate and supporting healthy cardiovascular function. A high heart rate responds well to the formula’s elemental potassium and magnesium. 

Berberine, curcumin, and other natural herbs

Mother nature holds the healing cure for nearly all ailments. For example, many natural herbs work to lower blood pressure and regulate the heart. 

When it comes to cardiovascular health, berberine is a superstar. Found in plants such as tree turmeric, goldenseal, and European barberry, berberine naturally strengthens the beat of the heart. 

Numerous studies have found that berberine protects against high blood pressure, high cholesterol, insulin resistance, and heart arrhythmias. In addition, researchers have found that berberine prevents tachycardia and other arrhythmias. 

Berberine, or Berbe, helps to maintain the heart rate within the normal range while simultaneously reducing inflammation, controlling blood sugar, and preventing heart disease. 

Curcumin is another excellent herb used in place of calcium channel blockers. Also known as turmeric, this golden spice has been used for centuries to lower blood pressure and improve cardiovascular health. In addition, curcumin has anti-inflammatory properties and has been proven to increase nitric oxide and improve vascular health

Curcu Gold is a highly absorbable form of curcumin that helps deliver turmeric’s anti-inflammatory benefits to the cell. Curcu Gold lowers blood pressure and helps support a healthy heartbeat by supporting healthy endothelial function. 

Lithium

Most people know lithium as a medication that treats chemical imbalances in the brain. However, few people know that lithium is an essential naturally-occurring dietary mineral in grains and vegetables. Lithium naturally occurs in the environment and is present on the periodic table. When used in low doses that mimic those found in food and water, lithium serves a vital role in heart health. 

Unfortunately, most studies involving lithium’s relationship to the heart involve lithium toxicity due to too much lithium. However, in small doses, such as those in Cardio-Lith supplement, lithium slows heart rate, lowers blood pressure, decreases stress, and calms the sympathetic response. 

Next steps

alternative herb medicine. herbal vitamin on white background.

When the body is out of balance, it alerts us by sending signals to indicate that it needs help. For example, high blood pressure or an elevated heart rate is simply the body’s way of sending an SOS. 

While calcium channel blockers may lower blood pressure and settle the heart, at least initially, they fail to address the problem’s underlying cause in the first place. 

If you are currently taking a calcium channel blocker, consider talking with one of our experienced health practitioners to see if natural alternatives are a good choice for you.

Eat well, Live well, Think Well

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Dr. Keith Smigiel is a regenerative medicine physician and pain management specialist. He takes an integrative approach to medicine, focusing on customized solutions tailored to individual needs. Using advanced, non-surgical treatments, Dr. Smigiel stimulates your body’s ability to naturally heal itself.

Dr. Smigiel helps people suffering from conditions such as chronic pain and erectile dysfunction, to hair loss and weight gain. Combining treatments such as PRP Therapy, Ozone, Neural Prolotherapy, and IV Infusions with functional rehabilitation, he helps you look and feel better.

He heals the body, instead of just treating the symptoms!

With his professional qualifications as a certified family nurse practitioner, a doctor of chiropractic, and a fellow of the International Academy of Medical Acupuncture, Dr. Smigiel offers patients comprehensive care from a broad perspective of conventional and alternative medicine. He also has extensive experience in functional rehabilitation and chronic pain management.

Dr. Smigiel is married to Angela and has two children, Sophia and Larz. When he’s not busy helping patients, he enjoys hiking, mountain biking, motocross, and boating.

About Dr. James Kneller, M.D., Ph.D., FHRS

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Dr. James Kneller is one of the nation’s leading heart rhythm specialists. Dr. Kneller is certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) in Clinical Cardiac Electrophysiology, Cardiovascular Disease, and Internal Medicine.

As a Fellow of the Heart Rhythm Society (FHRS) and Certified Cardiac Device Specialist (CCDS), Kneller provides comprehensive patient care, combining best medical practice with invasive procedures using state-of-the-art technologies to treat heart rhythm disorders.

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About Dr. Lauren Lattanza NMD, FACC

Dr. Lattanza Office Visit with Patient

As a Naturopathic Physician, I am trained to treat the whole person and get to the root cause of disease.

I went to Arizona State University where I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in psychology with a depth in physiology and minor in Spanish. After my undergraduate degree I was working on prerequisite classes towards medical school, which is when I came to learn that my values identified best with the principles of naturopathic medicine. I knew that I wanted to help patients identify the causes of disease and be able to offer treatments which would improve their health rather than simply treating symptoms.

I dedicated the next 4 years to the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine in Tempe, Arizona where I attained my Doctorate of Naturopathic Medicine. I served as Class President all 4 years, Board of Trustees – Student Trustee, spoke as the Club President for our branch of Toastmasters, and was voted by my peers and attending physicians to earn the Outstanding Leadership Award for the Class of 2020. Throughout medical school I took it upon myself to work alongside MDs, DOs, chiropractors, and functional medicine practitioners in addition to naturopathic physicians.

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About Dr. Jack Wolfson DO, FACC

Dr. Wolfson Office Visit with Patient

Dr. Jack Wolfson is a board-certified cardiologist, Amazon best-selling author, husband, father, and the nation’s #1 Natural Heart Doctor.

For more than two decades, more than one million people have enjoyed the warmth, compassion, and transformational power of his natural heart health courses and events.

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Dr. Wolfson and his wife Heather have four children and are committed to making the world a better place to live. They provide for those in need (including animals) and support natural health causes through their philanthropic efforts.

Chiropractic

Our chiropractor is an expert at adjustments and holistic chiropractic care and works closely in conjunction with the other health care experts at Natural Heart Doctor.

Call (480) 535-6844 for details and scheduling.

IV Therapy

We use specially formulated natural vitamins and minerals that are injected into a vein to prevent or treat dehydration. Ideal for people in Arizona.

Call (480) 535-6844 for details and scheduling.

Acupuncture

Stimulate your body’s natural healing abilities and promote physical and emotional well-being with acupuncture at Natural Heart Doctor.

Call (480) 535-6844 for details and scheduling.

Health Coaching

Our health coaches use evidence based skillful conversation, clinical interventions, and strategies to engage you actively and safely in health behavior changes.

Call (480) 535-6844 for details and scheduling.

Cardio Tests

We use the most advanced testing in the world to assess heart health and to identify the root cause of your health issues.

Call (480) 535-6844 for details and scheduling.

Office Visits

Schedule an office visit with one of our cardiologists, holistic physicians, chiropractor, or health coaches.

Call (480) 535-6844 for details and scheduling.

Frequently Asked Questions

I’d like to receive an online second opinion from Natural Heart Doctor. What do I do next?

You can initiate a second opinion online through our website at any time. To begin, select the team member you’d like to speak with and open an account.

Click here for cardiologist Dr. Jack Wolfson.

Naturopathic Medical Doctor Dr. Lauren Lattanza. Get details.

Naturopathic Medical Doctor Dr. Tonia Rainier. Get details.

Click here for  Natural Heart Doctor Health Coach.

Alternatively, you can email health@naturalheartdoctor.com. A member of our care team will help guide you through the process of starting a second opinion.

What is the cost of a Natural Heart Doctor Online Second Opinion?

The cost for most second opinions varies by team member. This fee includes information collection, a phone or video consultation, a second opinion from a Natural Heart Doctor specialist and guidance throughout the process from your personal Care Team at Natural Heart Doctor.

Cardiologist Dr. Jack Wolfson’s Second Opinion Fee is $1500.

Holistic Physician’s Dr. Lauren Lattanza’s Second Opinion Fee is $250.

Naturopathic Physician Dr. Tonia Rainier’s Second Opinion Fee is $250.

Note: We apply the Online Second Opinion Call fee as a credit to any future consultations with Natural Heart Doctor, should you choose them.

Will my insurance cover the cost of a Natural Heart Doctor Online Second Opinion?

Most likely, no. Most health plans do not cover online second opinions or consultations. You are responsible for the cost of our second opinion. Natural Heart Doctor cannot file a claim with your insurance carrier, nor can we provide a procedure (CPT) code for this service.

What is the timeline to receive an online second opinion?

We do our best to schedule your second opinion as quickly as possible. Typically, it takes 5 to 7 business days after your information has been collected to receive your phone or video online second opinion.

What information do you need in advance of our call?

Our office will send you a short questionnaire to complete and return. We DO NOT need your complete medical records.

How many questions can I ask the expert during our call?

You may ask a maximum of five questions. This is to ensure that the expert has sufficient time to devote to each question. All questions must be finalized before your online meeting.

What should I expect to receive once my second opinion is complete?

You will receive a summary of our discussion along with our second opinion. The second opinion will be in written form. After you have reviewed the second opinion, a Natural Heart Doctor clinician will follow up with you by phone to address general medical questions about the information provided in the second opinion.

What if I have follow-up questions for the expert after I have reviewed my second opinion?

If you have a clarifying question about an expert’s response to one of the questions in your second opinion, and the Natural Heart Doctor clinician is unable to address it, then you may request a follow up session for an additional fee. 

Is my medical and payment information secure?

Natural Heart Doctor is strongly committed to protecting the privacy and security of all our patients. Our website meets all federal requirements for protecting personal health information under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). All financial transactions are processed by Natural Heart Doctor securely using industry standard payment processing tools.

I would rather visit Natural Heart Doctor for an in-person appointment. What should I do next?

If you would prefer an in-person appointment at Natural Heart Doctor instead of an online second opinion, please call (480) 535-6844 for details and scheduling.

Can I schedule a follow up appointment with the specialist who provided my online second opinion?

Yes, we’re happy to help you on an extended basis. Our clinician can discuss options with you when presenting our second opinion summary.