Stock Up On Feeling Good

Many heart problems can be caused by deficiencies in vitamins and minerals. Other issues are caused by lifestyle choices and habits. These are the simplest and cheapest things to try and rule out quickly. Even if it's not a 100% solution, a lot of people find reduced frequency or strength of arrhythmia symptoms through supplementation and lifestyle change. The side effects of vitamins, minerals, and lifestyle changes are generally low to non-existent, and again, they are very cost effective when you consider this is your heart!

I personally started with caffeine reduction and mineral supplementation. Caffeine is a direct trigger for my PVCs, and some mineral stores cannot be detected in a blood test since they reside in the bones. Tests depend a lot on what you ate or drank prior as well, including fasting or non-fasting. My diet isn't always perfect with fruits and vegetables either, and could be improved with supplementation. Even if my diet is 90% on point, why not achieve the last 10% with a quick and easy capsule during our busy lives?

Couple things to point out before we move on...

1.   DON'T BUY SUPPLEMENTS FROM AMAZON! They have a ton of fake products, poor supplement storage practices (hot, bright, un-rotated inventory dates), unregulated Chinese patent infringers, and sellers that disappear suddenly. I can only recommend to buy from sellers that I have personally used. I would have no problem vouching for them (check out the About section and review my core values if that's in question).  Because supplements aren’t regulated in certain countries, including the US, I always look for products tested by a regulating third party such as USP, ConsumerLab, or NSF International.

2.   Always consult with your doctor before starting any medical changes and/or experimentation with supplementation or lifestyle changes. I told my doctors about my goal to find the root cause of heart PVCs, by using supplementation, and they helped me out by ensuring no negative interactions with another medication I take. They should do that for you too. 

3.   Don't over do it with any of the supplements or changes below. Just take the recommended doses on the packaging of the products. In fact, start with less and test your tolerance. You can always increase later on. You should take the minimum effective dose for you! Meaning, if 100mg solves your problem, then why take 200mg? Also, keep away from children and women that are pregnant or nursing.

Caffeine:

Coffee - Coffee culture is very serious in the US and increasing globally. That's part of why this coffee section is so long, haha! Downing strong cups of coffee was maybe the hardest routine to break for me when diagnosed with PVCs. I love the flavor and wake-up feeling of coffee in the morning and afternoon, but with 95mg in the average cup of drip coffee, I can't do it. High caffeine is an instant trigger for my heart palpitations, which leads to higher heart rate and dizziness. However, I know I can handle the amount of caffeine in a can of Coke Zero. That's where Half-Caffeine (Half-Caff) coffee comes in. Half of the 95mg comes to ~48mg, right near the amount in Coke Zero.

 

While coffee's caffeine can have an impact on our heartbeats, it also has a bunch of positives you can read about HERE. Like wine, it's probably good for us in moderation due to antioxidants and other compounds. You most likely don't need to give up coffee cold turkey, nor should you miss out on its other valuable attributes.

So what's a good cup of "half-caff" coffee? Well, it should start with high grade arabica beans because they have a better taste and lower caffeine content than what's called Robusta beans. I also seek out rich flavors, quality of the roast & preserving oils, freshness in packaging, value pricing, and of course reduced caffeine. To reduce the caffeine, some think it's best if the Swiss Water Process is used for decaffeination. You can google that process, but there's really no evidence that one method is better than the other. Each method sacrifices something else. Finally, organic and fair-trade are also pluses in a quality coffee, but you will pay a premium for those two certifications. For organic, the actual beans inside the coffee "cherry" only have a couple beetle predators because the outer layer caffeine protects them. The farmers are not going to spend the time and money spraying pesticides like they would on a strawberry. You also only drink the roasted bean inside, the outer shell is discarded making organic pretty low on the requirement list.

 

Folgers and Maxwell House types of coffee certainly sell half caffeine varieties, but they don't check any other boxes off except a low price. Notice, I did not say value, because value is more than just being a cheap price. For example, look at the ingredients list of Folgers and it says only, "100% coffee." What this means is they blend in cheap and rough Robusta beans as filler to the arabica beans. You're buying a lesser product made in huge bulk roasters, which makes quality control more difficult.

 

The varieties below check the boxes and allow me to have 2 mugs per day while keeping my PVCs under control.

 

Coffee Warehouse has a wide range of products to supply your whole household or office from brewing equipment to creamers. They also support military units by shipping free coffee overseas. When I was deployed it was always a nice treat to get coffee shipments and know some companies actually care back home. They even back that up with 10% off using GOVX verification! Coffee Warehouse is not a trendy name, and their website isn't the most modern. But for the best mix of quality and value, you can't go wrong with their All Day Gourmet Half-Caff for less than $1/oz. You can get it in whole bean or ground in a variety of sizes. While most places are selling a 12oz bag for $15 or more, CW sells a premium roast 16oz bag for the same price. If you really love it, then it gets even cheaper the more you buy. 5lbs drops to $0.63 cents/oz, not even including discounts! All Day Gourmet exclusively distributes their coffee with Coffee Warehouse. While the shipping to Florida isn't the cheapest around, it is priority mail so it arrives very fast.

All Day Gourmet Half-Caff  Use Discount Code: "HappyHeart" at checkout to save 10%!

Peet's carries a good line of premium roasts / varieties in half-caffeine. It costs a little bit more, but if you like a darker roast or a particular country origin of bean, then you'll want to check them out here:

Peet's half-caf varieties

Tea - I have tried to drink teas in the past for the EGCGs they say are good for crushing free radicals. However, I have never sustained the tea habit... always going back with coffee. This may be the answer for some of you though, if you can stick with the switch from coffee to teas. Pubmed.gov has a study posted HERE which shows a cup of tea around 14-61mg of caffeine. On average that's more like 40mg with a few minutes of steeping, which is almost identical to half-caffeine coffee.

Yogi is a tea innovator and one of the first to open up our minds beyond Lipton or Bigelow. My wife has a bunch of their varieties and likes them all from Bedtime (caffeine free), to the Green Tea Super Antioxidant which only has 15mg of caffeine. All Star Health carries a whole bunch of Yogi teas and they're ultra affordable. Heck, if you want to save money while reducing PVCs and tachycardia, you'll do that by switching from coffee to tea! Check out the line up of Yogi teas here: Yogi Teas

Tazo is like the golden standard of premium tea these days. They're even featured at Starbucks. Tazo has a great line of tea leaves, herbals, and the coolest part is they print the caffeine level right on the front. There's no guessing the MGs or searching through tiny font on the back. Don't go past 3 stars on the front label and you'll be good. You can find Tazo at any grocery store these days for a few dollars and recommend you pick some up on your next grocery trip.  

Pre-workout - It is highly recommended to stop any pre-workout drinks immediately to reduce your heart arrhythmias. While it won't give you that caffeine jolt, I use a bcaa drink before, during, and after my workouts that I think energizes me while tasting good. It also provides key aminos in the perfect ratio for increased muscle protein synthesis, and some hydration with coconut water powders. It's a healthy alternative to pre-workout and the BCAAs are derived naturally from food sources and not in a lab. 

Clean Machine Clean BCAA Fruit Punch

Electrolytes:

Potassium (K) - Potassium is one of the most important Macrominerals/electrolytes you can focus on. Potassium deficiency could lead to hypokalemia if you had diarrhea, vomiting, or heavy sweating. In severe cases, that leads to irregular heartbeats, because K is so directly involved in muscle contraction (the heart is a giant muscle after all). Don't take it from me, let's read THIS amazing Harvard summary that shows low-potassium diets had a higher risk of dying from a heart attack, and that both men and women have low intake on average. 

 

Note: I do refer to potassium as an electrolyte because if you get a blood test, that's where it's categorized and it interacts with salts. If you are not convinced on the importance of potassium yet, then read THIS and THIS too!

I don't go too crazy with potassium because it is in so many foods and a huge excess amount can lead to toxicity and health problems (mostly just people with kidney issues as you'll urinate out any excess). More and more K is not always better and can actually cause heart palpitations. However, more than I get now is important. You want to target as a baseline 3,400mg for adult men and 2,600mg for adult women. I say baseline because if you exercise and sweat a lot, you will be using and losing potassium along with salts, especially down here in Florida where it's so hot and humid. These are my go-to potassium supplements depending which is on sale:

Twinlab has been a standard go-to brand for decades. This potassium caplet is great because you get two salts of potassium... potassium citrate and potassium aspartate (hitting it from multiple angles). It's also super cost effective and at 99mg, you can control your dose based on your diet that day. You may notice potassium supplements are 99mg because of an FDA limitation requiring to be less than 100mg. With consultation from your doctor, you may be able to take it 2 or 3 times per day for the average person to meet their daily targets.

TwinLab Potassium (99mg) 180 caps

If you want to control your dose better, or prefer to mix it into drinks, shakes, or food then this is the best one. Gluconate is said to be better than others because it's easier on the stomach acidity. Here you get a whole pound for less than $10. You only take 1/2 tsp per serving, so this lasts a long time!

Now Potassium Gluconate Powder 100% Pure 1 lbs

Amino Acids:

Taurine - Ever since THIS publication came out, Taurine could be hailed a wonder compound for reducing or even eliminating PVCs and AFib issues. You probably first saw taurine way back when Red Bull came out, but now all the energy drinks seem to add it. Why? Well, it's low in side effects and it may in fact increase metabolism and the feeling of energy like caffeine does. Unfortunately, the amount they took in that study above was 10 to 20 grams per day along with doses of Arginine. That's a lot of taurine by normal standards, and before you take that much you should really speak with your doctor. Not to mention, a hard tablet for 1 gram is not small, and the discipline to take that more than 4 times a day would be challenging. Powder would be easier in that case.

 

I personally did not notice any side effects with 3 or 4 grams of taurine per day, but I also didn't notice a significant drop in my PVCs. Many reviews of taurine supplementation on WebMD swear by it though. It also makes sense that it would work since taurine regulates calcium, and calcium can be a contributor to PACs/PVCs and arrhythmias in general. According to promising research HERE, HERE, and HERE (dogs got heart failure from low taurine in dog food).... you may be one of the lucky people that benefits from taurine.  Side Note: I'm a strong believer in science and data, but you also have to go with what you feel. So anecdotally, I want to mention when I drink the small 8oz cans of sugar-free red bull with 80mg of caffeine + taurine, it does not give me heart palpitations. The research posted HERE might explain why! Taurine is very promising and I hope to look into this much more. Please share your experience! The two products I recommend are below to get started, again they are very affordable. Read on about arginine to create synergies too.

 

This is an easy to take caplet by Now Foods, a terrific certified GMP supplement producer.

Now Double Strength Taurine (1000mg) 250 vcaps  If that's out of stock, go for the excellent Jarrow brand below.

Jarrow Taurine 1000 100 caps

 

If you want to take a larger dose, then forget about swallowing many caplets all day. The powder will be faster and you can combine it with your other supplement drinks. 1/4 teaspoon will get you 1 gram of taurine.

Nature's Life Taurine Powder Unflavored 335 grams

Arginine - If you didn't read THIS publication above in the taurine section, I'd suggest a quick read. It says arginine combined with taurine yielded a 50% reduction in PVCs for the test group. WebMD has an article HERE stating these awesome benefits, 

"In the body, the amino acid arginine changes into nitric oxide (NO). Nitric oxide is a powerful neurotransmitter that helps blood vessels relax and also improves circulation. Some evidence shows that arginine may help improve blood flow in the arteries of the heart. That may improve symptoms of clogged arterieschest pain or angina, and coronary artery disease. However, there currently is no data on how the long-term use of arginine affects cholesterol or heart health. 

Since arginine may help arteries relax and improve blood flow, it may also help with erectile dysfunction."

 

Arginine is obtained in diet and converts into nitric oxide in our bodies. My workout friends might be familiar with nitric oxide supplements such as NO Explode, which promise to increase vascularity (the "pump") and protein uptake. Arginine does everything from increasing blood flow and healing wounds, to helping create proteins and eliminating waste. It can even lower blood pressure and heart rate. THIS article provides a great overview of its functions and uses. You can get arginine from a lot of foods, but research is so little and new on this amino acid that there isn't a recommended daily amount. The good news is when I took about 4 or 5 grams of arginine per day I didn't notice any side effects, but if you take blood pressure medicine or have diabetes then you could have issues adding too much arginine. A lot of the benefits, medical uses, and also drug interactions are listed HERE. If you've already had a heart attack, talk to your doctor first because a short study in 2006 showed participants of HIGH-DOSE arginine had passed away, but they were already at high heart risk at that point. If you have a healthy heart but experience PACs or PVCs like me, you would be more apt to see the benefits without any problems. Tons of people take arginine every day for workout benefits and erectile issues. More research is needed on the heart aspect, but it's exciting we may have another tool! 

The arginine I use is this trusty one:

Now L-Arginine (1000mg) 120 tabs

If I needed a powder version for any reason, I would take this one but I haven't tried it yet. ALL arginine powders are bitter as a warning and should be mixed with a strong carbohydrate juice like white grape or apple to maximize absorption (and hide the taste).

Now L-Arginine Powder 2.2 lbs

Minerals:

Magnesium (Mg) - Magnesium is critical to control heart rhythms and muscle function (think heart contractions). I can't explain it any better as already written HERE, HEREHERE, and HERE. It's also been determined in a couple studies (HERE & HERE) that a version of elemental magnesium supplementation completely eliminated PVCs / heart palpitations. You cannot get that Mg over the counter and would need to speak to your doctor. The doses they used could certainly cause upset stomach and bowel issues as well.

 

Now that you've read about it, you probably understand how vital it is in our diet as a macronutrient. It's also hard to actually measure because a lot is stored in your bones, which a blood test cannot capture. Now reflect on what you eat in your diet. Are you getting enough spinach, almonds, and grains?

 

The problems I see happen several ways. First, some days we aren't eating perfectly and we will be deficient. There are some days I don't have cups of leafy greens or handfuls of nuts/seeds. It's possible I don't eat properly 2 days a week. That's 29% of the week I'm probably deficient through food alone. Second, if you are dieting for weight loss and restricting some calories, then you can't always fit high calorie nuts, grains, and seeds into your target cals. Third, people allergic to nuts or gluten will be avoiding foods high in magnesium. Fourth reason is if you exercise and sweat a lot. You will be using and losing magnesium, especially down here in Florida where it's so hot and humid. 

 

Men should be getting 400mg PER DAY, and women typically ~300mg / DAY based on the RDA values. What I've found important is to ensure a balance in the types of Mg too. They are not all the same so it's good to get a variety of sources. HERE are 10 different types of Mg and generally how they're used.

 

A final cool benefit of magnesium is improved sleep for some people by fighting inflammation and lowering blood pressure (1)! This is also why magnesium is recommended to be taken in the evening, not in the morning. Some people could feel a calming effect. I have not personally felt that, but it's been reported. 

 

Here is the Magnesium that I use with dinner or an evening snack every day. I just buy the one that's on sale at the time:

This is the simplest, single capsule per day that puts you perfectly at 400mg. It's also a mixture of 3 magnesium sources/types from a fantastic brand. You get a half a year supply for less than $9. How could you not try it out?:

Now Magnesium Caps (400mg) 180 vcaps

If you want to mix it into a drink, shake, or into food, this is the best powder form and you can control the dose. The chelated form is also highly absorbed in the body, meaning you waste less of it and fewer magnesium symptoms:

Doctor's Best High Absorption Magnesium Powder - 100% Chelated 200 grams

Here's a combo pill that covers magnesium, potassium, and taurine together. I have not tried this one yet, but it's on my list of "want to try." Jarrow is a great brand and their research on how these items optimize each other is spot on with science. This product keeps it simpler covering Magnesium, Taurine, Potassium & B6 in one pill, but it's just not as high of a dose per serving that most of us need. This might be your way to go to simplify your pill regimen, start at low dose, or just for a small plus up. Alternatively, you can take 4 tabs per day as they mention after consulting with your healthcare provider. 4 tablets per day would just equal what the recommendation is for taking each item separately. I am also not sure of the pill size, but if you buy this, please let us know your experience so I can post it here. It's so cheap for 200 tablets, I will buy it next after my others run out.

Jarrow Magnesium Optimizer 200 tabs

Daily Multi-Vitamins - The Truth:

 

1. A majority do not make up for what athletes lose through sweat and muscle building. That's just in general, even without heart problems.

2. There are different sources of minerals that can act differently in your system. Not all are equal in absorption rates. It's best to tackle with a variety to ensure all bases are covered (see magnesium). 

Here are some of the best ones that I use-

This is the go-to multivitamin for men, especially if you're active. This has everything a body craves covering all letters A-K, including healthy doses of lycopene and ALA (both good for heart health). Buying this one multivitamin is like buying several supplements in one, making it an awesome value! You get MCT oil, ZMA, Biotin, ginseng, Maca, Green tea extract, saw palmetto, testosterone support, and more! They are also easy to swallow smoothed gel caps split into 3 per serving. This allows you to customize your dosage too, if you only want to take 2 at a time for example.

Now Active Sports Multi 180 soft-gels

A fantastic high-potency women's multi that is just as great as the men's version above, and it provides some women specific nutrients such as soy isoflavones, herbs to support hormonal balance, and PMS symptoms. It's also an incredible value with a 2-3 month supply costing less than $13. I buy this for my wife even though she doesn't have heart issues:

BodyStrong - Strong Woman Multi - High Potency 180 tabs

Bonus addition to the multivitamin:

The ultimate insurance factor for guaranteeing you have no health gaps is to wash down your multivitamin with a glass of Superfood Greens+ drink in the morning. My doctors are happy I take it and they actually asked me for the link to this product. It's USA made and mostly organic ingredients. Hydration is very important for our hearts, especially when you first wake up. You want that blood to be free flowing and pushing nutrients around. Slam a scoop of this down and you also get a boost in fiber, magnesium, potassium, and countless Superfruits, Sea Vegetables, Herbal Extracts, and Probiotics.

Bonus: If you have heart burn that sometimes triggers your heart conditions, or creates a similar feeling, this could possibly help stomach issues due to the probiotics. And that's without having to eat dairy. It's soy and dairy free. For less than $1 per serving, it's a no-brainer item to try for at least the first month in your heart health journey.

Greens Plus Advanced Multi Raw Superfood 9.4 oz

Fish Oil:

Last but definitely not least ....it's 2021, do I really need to tell you how important fish oil is in your diet?! If you're not taking a daily high quality fish oil then you're flat out wrong. There are countless studies that link fish oils to heart and brain health. Lower bad cholesterol, higher good cholesterol. I'll post the studies here in the near future in case you have been living on Mars!  :) 

This is the best oil below, hands down for both men and women. It's 1 easy to swallow softgel per day, and it has ZERO odor or flavor. It provides the recommended 1 gram of oil, which is highly concentrated with 750 mg of EPA + DHA. I take it after dinner on days I don't eat fatty fish (salmon, cod, etc). Do not be fooled by "off the shelf" brands that claim a high oil amount in grams. The oil itself is one factor, but without the EPA and DHA comprising the majority, it's not nearly as effective and you're wasting your money. Compare them... you won't come close to finding a better one at this price point. That's why I don't even have an alternative listed to try.

Now Ultra Omega-3 Fish Oil, 180 soft-gels

Pro tip: Store the bottle in your refrigerator after opening for maximum freshness. 

What did I miss? What works for you? Does anyone have experience with CBD?

Send an email to info@happyheart.health with your feedback and results!

Disclaimer:

Always consult with your doctor before beginning any medical changes and/or experimentation with supplementation. Happy Heart and staff are not doctors and cannot give you medical advice. We do not know your specific issues and medications that could interact negatively with supplements. You assume any risk associated with starting, using, or stopping any products.