Many times, heart palpitations are a sign of nothing serious and can be alleviated by eliminating stimulants like caffeine, avoiding certain medications, improving sleep patterns, and stress management techniques. Many people with palpitations also benefit from nutrient supplements like magnesium, coenzyme Q10, and l-carnitine that support energy production and heart health.
Heart palpitations are sensations of the beating heart that can make you feel like your heart is skipping beats or racing. Sometimes these feelings are harmless and go away when you get enough rest. Other times they can be scary or cause you to worry that you have a serious medical condition. If the palpitations are very severe or accompanied by other symptoms such as sweating, feeling faint or chest pain, talk to your doctor right away.
A B12 deficiency is one of the most common causes of heart palpitations. When you don’t get enough B12, your body cannot produce red blood cells that carry oxygen to your muscles and other organs. This can cause anemia and other symptoms.
Some herbal supplements can also trigger heart palpitations, including valerian, ginseng, hawthorn and ephedra. These herbs contain stimulants, which can increase your heart rate and blood pressure and may also speed up the nervous system.
Another vitamin that can cause heart palpitations is calcium. Too much can promote extra heartbeats (premature atrial complexes and premature ventricular complexes) that can increase your risk of developing an irregular heart rhythm or arrhythmia. Taking supplements with calcium can also be harmful if you have diabetes, as they may cause your blood sugar levels to be too low.
Zinc and vitamin C can also cause heart palpitations, but these are more likely to occur if you’re dehydrated or overdose on the vitamins. Getting too much of these vitamins can cause gastrointestinal problems such as nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.
The heart is a muscular organ that beats to pump oxygen-rich blood throughout the body. Sometimes it beats irregularly, and this can cause the sensation of heart palpitations, which are short fluttering bursts that make your heart feel like it skips or adds a beat. These sensations are usually not serious, but they can be alarming if they happen frequently or when you are taking certain supplements or medications.
Several nutrients, including magnesium, potassium and calcium, can cause heart palpitations. The so-called “sun vitamin” Vitamin D can also contribute to these symptoms if you are deficient and take too much of it, according to a study published in the journal Circulation. This is because too much Vitamin D can lead to toxicity, which can affect your heart rhythm and even cause it to beat faster than normal. For this reason, you should not take more than the Dietary Guidelines for Americans-recommended amounts of 600 international units of Vitamin D daily.
Magnesium and potassium are electrolytes that help regulate your heart rhythm. Deficiencies of these minerals can cause palpitations, and in severe cases of deficiency — called hypokalemia or hyperkalaemia — these symptoms can even be life-threatening, according to the Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS).
You can get enough potassium and magnesium from your diet by eating leafy green vegetables, figs, bananas, raisins, nuts and seeds, legumes, potatoes, oranges, apricots and some fortified breakfast cereals. Vitamin C is also an important nutrient that you can get from foods or from many multivitamins. However, if you’re taking too much of this nutrient, it can lead to nausea and upset stomach, which can also trigger heart palpitations.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
A diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids may help lower the risk of heart palpitations. These fatty acids are transported by albumin to the heart and brain where they are incorporated into membrane phospholipids, which provides their antiarrhythmic benefits. They can also be liberated from these lipids by the enzyme phospholipases in a stressful situation to provide an instant source of energy for the heart, reducing its workload.1
However, omega-3 fatty acids are also known to increase the risk of arrhythmias and clotting in patients with certain conditions, so consuming fish oil supplements should be done cautiously, especially for those with preexisting cardiovascular disease. It is better to get these nutrients from food, like fatty fish, rather than from supplements.
Other dietary factors can cause heart palpitations, including caffeine, tyramine, and certain herbal stimulants such as bitter orange, ephedra, guarana, and mate. If you suspect that any of these factors are causing your palpitations, try eliminating them one by one and note whether or not the symptoms resolve. For example, if you have frequent episodes of heart palpitations after drinking coffee, tea, colas, and “energy” drinks, cut them out for a week and see if your heart palpitations go away.
If your symptoms persist, talk to your doctor about taking a multivitamin with as many of these vitamins and minerals present as possible. It is also a good idea to drink plenty of water, and avoid dehydrating drinks and foods such as caffeinated beverages, chocolate, candy, sodas, and sugary fruit juices.
If you have chronically low levels of electrolytes such as magnesium and potassium, this can also trigger heart palpitations. This can be caused by low blood levels of these nutrients or by a number of health conditions, including kidney disease and diabetes. Talk to your doctor about getting a blood test for these electrolytes and about taking supplements that can raise them, such as magnesium, potassium, calcium, and vitamin D.
In addition to vitamin B12 and omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium has gained popularity as a wellness supplement over the last several years. It’s a mineral that plays a role in maintaining normal heart rhythm and is known for its stress-relieving properties. However, low levels of magnesium may also contribute to heart palpitations. The Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS) notes that magnesium deficiency can increase your risk for ventricular arrhythmias, or extra beats that occur in the bottom chambers of your heart.
When your heart starts pounding or skipping beats, it’s usually a sign of an underlying issue. While occasional heart palpitations are generally harmless, recurrent or sustained ones can indicate a more serious problem like anemia, thyroid issues, anxiety and stress, or certain medications.
Whenever you feel a quivering heartbeat, it’s important to get your doctor involved. They’ll want to assess your blood pressure, weight and diet patterns and take a detailed history of your symptoms. They’ll also need to perform a comprehensive medical evaluation including an electrocardiogram to evaluate your heart rhythm and blood work to measure your electrolytes, kidney function and thyroid hormones.
The first step to treating heart palpitations is ensuring that you’re getting adequate amounts of magnesium, calcium and potassium through your diet. Foods high in magnesium include leafy green vegetables like spinach and kale, bananas, dates, figs and legumes such as beans and peas. You can find calcium in dairy, fish and fortified breakfast cereals. And potassium can be found in dark leafy vegetables, berries, avocados and bananas.
If your heart palpitations don’t subside, your doctor may recommend adding additional supplements to your regimen. These include CoQ10, which facilitates the production of energy for your heart cells; l-carnitine, which helps shuttle fatty acids to your cells; and taurine, an amino acid that’s been shown to help prevent ventricular arrhythmias.
The heart is a muscular organ that rhythmically contracts to bring blood and oxygen to the body’s other organs. Palpitations are sensations of fluttering or quivering, or a feeling that the heart skipped beats or is beating faster or irregularly. These may be a little alarming, but they are usually harmless. Palpitations are often triggered by diet, medications and other health conditions. If you are experiencing frequent heart palpitations, talk with your doctor. He or she can provide more information about the cause and offer treatment options if necessary.
Calcium is a vital nutrient that helps regulate muscle contractions, including the heart. It can be found in many foods, such as figs, spinach and papaya. If you are consuming high amounts of this nutrient, you should talk with your doctor to see what dosage is safe. He or she can also help you determine if the supplements are interfering with any of your prescriptions or other health conditions.
Supplements should never be used as a substitute for a healthy diet. Instead, make sure you are eating a variety of nutritious foods daily and drinking plenty of water to stay hydrated. Avoid any foods or beverages that trigger heart rate symptoms, such as caffeine and alcohol.
A cardiologist can perform tests to diagnose an abnormal heartbeat, called arrhythmia. These may include a EKG and echocardiogram. They can also prescribe medications, such as beta-blockers, to slow the heart rate and blood pressure and a procedure that scars the heart tissue to block abnormal electrical signals. In most cases, though, a cardiologist will recommend dietary and lifestyle changes to reduce the frequency of heart palpitations. These may include avoiding certain foods or supplements that can trigger them, as well as reducing stress and anxiety.