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Do Beta Blockers Lower Heart Rate?

Millions of Americans reach daily for that small vial of hope, the prescriptive aid known as beta-blockers. Many people turn to these medicinal aids, naively believing they protect their hearts. Indeed, doctors dispense these prescriptions like candy, promising they will help to lower blood pressure, reduce heart palpitations, or even soothe a racing heart.

The answer, in a nutshell, is yes: Beta-blockers lower heart rate. But, as with all medicines, this ability does not come without a price. These medications have their fair share of side effects, some downright dangerous.

Furthermore, while beta-blockers may temporarily relieve the symptoms, the root cause of these heart maladies remains untouched. Like a hidden iceberg lurking beneath calm waters, the obstacle is still there, even if it’s now hidden. A high heart rate is merely a distress signal, and its suppression without treating the underlying condition masks a more serious issue.

So, let’s look deeper at beta-blockers, exploring their true impact on our bodies and investigating safer and more natural alternatives.

Understanding Beta-Blockers

So, how exactly do these beta-blockers go about their business? The mechanics are rather fascinating. The story begins with cell receptors- consider them the welcoming committee for specific chemicals in our bodies. Like a lock welcomes its right key, these receptors bind with certain chemicals, sparking a reaction within the cell. This biological dance forms the foundation of how many medications, beta-blockers included, conduct their operations.

Beta-blockers take center stage with adrenergic receptors, their primary performance area. These receptors, named after adrenaline, are like the body’s natural speed dial, modulating a range of functions when activated by this neurotransmitter. Beta-blockers act as antagonists to these receptors, essentially sticking a broken key in the lock, preventing the activation of the receptors and slowing down cell activity.

These beta receptors are not one-size-fits-all. Much like a team of specialists, each type of beta receptor has its own domain and duties. They come in three flavors:

Beta-1 (B1)

B1 receptors dwell in the heart and kidneys, boosting heart rate, increasing heart pumping force, and releasing a key enzyme called renin.

Beta-2 (B2)

B2 receptors, inhabiting smooth muscle tissue, are more versatile, influencing respiratory function, blood pressure, liver glucose conversion, heart activity, and muscle tremors.

Beta-3 (B3)

B3 receptors, taking up residence in fat cells and the bladder, mediate fat breakdown and bladder relaxation, but can also cause tremors.

Given the wide distribution of these beta receptors, beta-blockers are prescribed for various different health conditions, mostly heart-related, including:

  • Arrhythmias, such as AFib
  • Angina (chest pain)
  • Coronary artery disease
  • Heart failure
  • High blood pressure
  • Tachycardia (high heart rate)
  • Aortic dissection

They are also often used off-label to prevent migraines, treat anxiety, and reduce tremors.

How Do Beta Blockers Lower Heart Rate? 

Beta-blockers work primarily through their interactions with Beta-1 (B1) receptors. These receptors are scattered throughout the heart, and when they spring into action they put the heart into overdrive. They rev up the heart rate and augment the power behind each heartbeat, much like the effect of flooring the gas pedal of a car—increasing both the pace and the force.

However, beta-blockers function like a brake pedal when they enter the scene. These drugs attach themselves to the B1 receptors, blocking them from being activated by adrenaline. Consequently, this hinders the surge in heart rate and reins in the heart’s pumping power. The outcome is a heart that beats with a measured pace and diminished force, lessening the overall burden it bears.

You may be wondering how much beta-blockers actually lower the heart rate. Recent studies show that beta-blockers typically reduce the heart rate by approximately 10-12 beats per minute. However, it’s essential to underscore that this offers mere symptomatic relief. Beta-blockers slow down a racing heart, but they fail to tackle the root issue propelling the increased heart rate in the first place.

Downsides of Beta Blockers

While beta-blockers may slow the heart, their influence pushes beyond desired bounds. The human body counts on a surge of adrenaline, the very hormone these drugs suppress, for key physiological functions. It’s like a turbo boost for the body, igniting energy production, ramping up heart rate and blood pressure, and heightening alertness—all vital for dealing with stress or danger.

However, curbing this natural response with beta-blockers comes with drawbacks. An array of side effects tag along, ranging from daily nuisances to more grave health concerns. These include:

  • Extreme fatigue
  • Diminished sexual desire
  • Digestive upset like nausea, constipation, or diarrhea
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Dizziness
  • Mood problems
  • Anxiety or depression
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Weight gain
  • Increased blood glucose
  • Breathing difficulties, such as bronchospasm

Yet, the more serious downsides lurk in the shadows of their primary action—heart regulation. Beta-blockers can potentially slow the heart rate too much, leading to bradycardia, the medical term for low heart rate. They can also lower blood pressure excessively, resulting in hypotension. In certain scenarios, beta-blockers could even exacerbate heart failure or cause heart block, a serious issue where the heart beats irregularly or stops altogether.

Beta Blocker Alternatives to Lower Heart Rate Naturally

Achieving a naturally healthy heart rate involves addressing the root cause of inflammation causing the issue. These causes can include:

  • Poor diet
  • Dehydration or electrolyte imbalances
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Lack of sunlight exposure
  • Inadequate sleep
  • Excessive stress
  • Body toxins
  • Spinal subluxations
  • Poor dental health
  • Medication side effects

By understanding the triggers of an abnormal heart rate, you can take actionable steps toward a healthier heart. The best way to do this is to follow the NHD tenants of Eat Well, Live Well, Think Well.

Eat Well

Eating well is a journey back to our roots, embodying the dietary habits of our ancestors:

  • Consume organic, nutrient-dense foods like grass-fed beef, pasture-raised poultry and eggs, and wild-caught seafood.
  • Eat nose to nail, which includes consuming organ meats, as tolerated.
  • Focus on whole foods, including nuts and seeds, which are powerhouses of nutrients.
  • Eliminate processed foods, refined sugars, grains, gluten, and GMOs that contribute to inflammation.
  • Avoid foods laden with pesticides and chemicals.

Live Well

Living well is about balance and mindful practices:

  • Get sufficient quality sleep, about 7 to 9 uninterrupted hours each night.
  • Exercise regularly, preferably in natural settings for sun exposure, which provides essential vitamin D.
  • Keep your environment clean and free from environmental toxins and mold mycotoxins.
  • Avoid electrosmog, limiting electronic use, and reducing exposure to WiFi, Bluetooth, and other forms of radiation.
  • Maintain your spinal health with regular chiropractic care.
  • Collaborate with a holistic dentist to address dental health, a vital part of systemic wellness.

Think Well

Mental wellness is crucial in maintaining a healthy heart rate:

  • Cultivate a peaceful mental space and learn to manage stress.
  • Nurture positive relationships and set boundaries against toxic ones.
  • Engage in activities that bring you joy and passion.
  • Practice gratitude and positivity in your everyday life.

Embracing these natural alternatives to beta-blockers can holistically address the underlying causes of heart issues, presenting a comprehensive approach to heart health.

Next Steps

Experiencing a high heart rate can be unnerving, but it’s vital to remember that it’s a signal from your body that can be deciphered and addressed. If you’re struggling with a high heart rate, consider this: the root causes are often similar to those behind high blood pressure. In fact, these two conditions often walk hand-in-hand.

Therefore, we recommend enrolling in our comprehensive high blood pressure course. Not only is it tailored to tackle high blood pressure, but it also targets the underlying issues contributing to your elevated heart rate. This well-structured program includes:

  • A seven-part training course designed to lower blood pressure naturally, focusing on root causes and effective management strategies.
  • Done-for-you meal plans, streamlining your journey towards a healthier diet that supports heart health.
  • Detailed resource lists and learning guides to assist your understanding and progress.
  • Dedicated health coaches, available to provide personalized guidance and support.
  • Bonus sessions and advanced trainings for a deeper dive into heart health and wellness.
  • Lifetime access, ensuring you can revisit and review the materials at your own pace and as needed.

Of course, we understand that a structured program may not be the ideal solution for everyone. Individual needs vary widely, and personalized attention can often yield more significant results. For those who prefer a one-on-one approach, we offer the option to work directly with a dedicated health coach.

Our skilled professionals are ready to provide guidance tailored to help you lower your heart rate without beta blockers. To help gauge if this is the right choice for you, we offer a free 20-minute health consultation. This session is aimed specifically at those looking to lower their heart rate, providing insight into our personalized approach and how it can assist you on your journey to your 100 year heart.

In order to live well, one must eat well.

Get the Natural Heart Doctor approved Diet and discover how to eat for your 100 Year Heart.

Work With Us

Discover how we can help you achieve your 100 Year Heart.

About Dr. Keith Smigiel NP, DC

Dr. Keith Smigiel

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

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

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.

Beyond guideline-directed therapies, Kneller is passionate about optimized personal health. With a deep interest in complimentary alternative medicine (CAM), he strives to reduce the need for pharmaceuticals, invasive procedures, and exposure to harmful radiation. With Natural Heart Doctor, he strives to help each and every client to Live Well, Eat Well, and Think Well to attain their 100-year heart!

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.

As a Spanish speaking student, I was able to volunteer with community clinics around Phoenix and provide free healthcare to low-income families. Due to this combined exposure, I came to find my passion in treating cardiometabolic and digestive disorders that are all too common, yet largely preventable. I took the opportunity to learn the broad spectrum of healthcare so I can ensure that I am able to provide my patients with the best options.

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.

Dr. Wolfson is the founder of Natural Heart Doctor Scottsdale, his heart health practice in Arizona, and Natural Heart Doctor, an online resource center with natural health information. Doctors from across the globe reach out to Dr. Wolfson for training and education in holistic health practices.

He has been named one of America’s Top Functional Medicine Doctors and is a five-time winner of the Natural Choice Awards as a holistic M.D. Dr. Wolfson’s work has been covered by more than 100 media outlets, including NBC, CNN, and the Washington Post. His book “The Paleo Cardiologist: The Natural Way to Heart Health” was an Amazon #1 best-seller.

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.