By Theresa Silveira
Atrial fibrillation (AFib) is an irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia) or quivering that occurs when the upper part of the heart beats faster than the rest of the heart.
AFib is the most common form of arrhythmia. The irregular heartbeat originates in the upper heart chamber (atria) of the heart, and the heart’s electrical system causes a quiver or fibrillation. This quivering disturbs the normal rhythm between the atria and the ventricles (the lower chambers) of the heart, and can impact the heart’s ability to pump blood. This will deprive the body of oxygen and nutrients. (Cardiac Rhythm Center, 2017). The body can feel an often uncomfortable flutter in the heart muscle, or there may not be any symptoms at all. It is sometimes described as feeling like the heart will jump out of the chest. (Ryan, 2005). This condition can lead to blood clots, stroke, heart failure and other heart-related issues. Around 2.7 million Americans are living with AFib. (“What is Atrial Fibrillation (AFib or AF)?” 2016)
Common Signs and Symptoms (Bauman, Ph.D. & Friedlander, TN, 2015)
- Most common: Quivering, fluttering heartbeat
- Rapid and irregular heartbeat
- Fluttering or “thumping” in the chest
- Shortness of breath, anxiety
- Faintness when exercising
- Chest pain or pressure (emergency! Call 911)
Key Nutrients Supporting the Heart with Atrial Fibrillation
A clinical study on Atherosclerosis shows that omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil are associated with reduction of coronary heart disease, including prevention of arrhythmias, (Harris et al., 2007). Recommended amount from food: Four 3 oz servings of cold water fish per week, and add 2 TBS of flaxseeds, chia seeds or walnuts daily. For supplementation: 1,000 mg of fish oil containing both DHA and EPA, and up to 4,000 mg daily if heart disease is present. (Bauman, Ph.D. & Friedlander, NC, 2015).
Food sources of omega-3 fats: wild salmon, sardines, mackerel, flax seeds, chia seeds hemp seeds and walnuts.