Has anyone who has exercise induced AF used beta alanine pre-exercise and found it suppressed AF?

Everytime I exercise now I get AF and this was confirmed by the cardiac department BRUCE Protocol test when at stage 4 (13.5 METs) my heart rate jumped from 150 to 235 bpm (I'm 67). On the next two gym sessions (one resistance and one cardio) I took a pre-exercise drink of 2.5g beta alanine with about 25g of whey protein and 25g of a commercial carbohydrate containing maltodextrin, dextrose and about 500mg of glycine. Neither 90 minute session produced AF. This may be just coincidence but it might just mean that my forthcoming Dronedarone presciption might not be necessary.

19 Replies

  • Hi John-Boy,

    I can't help but admire your dedication to fitness, I need to start doing something I'm sure and you're giving me hope. I'm squinting in a completely ignorant way at this wonderful list of ingredients, and my brain is saying 'drink Horlicks before you go out and do the garden!'. I may try that just for luck! :D

  • Hi Eatsalottie;

    I love my food - I'm just about to price this week's shopping list - and I'm partial to the odd glass of wine or G and T, so exercise is the antidote. I'm also a bit OCD about health data - the list of ingredients gave that away - so I have spreadsheets of daily heart variability, maximum heart rate and so on; but it least it's better than watching football :-)

  • Wow... I bet you stay at your optimum health though, good for you! :)

  • I'm in this afternoon for my first cardioversion. I rarely have any symptoms apart from when exercising. I do feel my heart "wobbling" when not exercising but it doesn't bother me

    Keep us posted. I've never even heard of beta alanine

  • Good luck with the cardioversion. I'm don't have any symptoms during AF in the gym apart from a minor reduction in power and endurance during standing "hill climbs" on a Spin bike. Beta alanine is a natural amino acid that can reduced perceived effort in 60 - 240 second bursts of explosive exercise (chin ups, kettlebell swings and so forth) and can act as a buffering agent against lactic acid. It lasts for 1.5 to 2 hours after drinking it. I believe that the British Cycling squad use it in training. I've written to my EP for his thoughts on using it. Every gym session would bring on AF peaking at 230 bpm. Yesterday I did the equivilent of a stage 4 Bruce protocol session followed by a 10km row on a Concept 2, then 15 minutes of mostly standing hill climbs on a Spin bike; no AF and the maximum peak was 165 bpm :-)

  • John-Boy, I think the British cycling squad might come to you for advice!! I've been training for years but never with such detailed recording/ monitoring of sessions & diet as you are doing.

    My cardioversion was successful yesterday. I plan to take things easy for a week to allow my new heart beat to settle in.

  • Great news about your successful cardioversion yesterday. Keep the forum updated on your progress. I suspect that most of us on this forum have periods of worry and self-doubt and it's good to know that we're not alone and, to hear the positive side of treatment.

  • Many years ago I spoke to my consultant ref: AF-exercise, he said i don't you or any of my patients doing exercise in a gym and over working their poor hearts to death. Gyms and AF don't go together.

    Ive always followed that advice. To be quite honest I don't know how any one can do Gym work whilst in AF, Dangerous or what!!!

  • Wow John Boy you are fit, that's impressive.

    Schipperke, I am in continuous AF and I try and do 6 hours a week of exercise, must admit don't agree with your consultant, maybe when having an "episode" other than that exercising carefully has to be good for all of us.

    I wear a HR monitor when exercising, it struggles a little but it's OK


  • Exercising with AF will be different depending on your symptoms and general fitness. From 30 to 45 years of age I ran 35 - 50 miles a week, Orienteered and cycled; I always had a high heart rate during exercise. I returned to the gym at 60 after two artroscopies on the same knee and noticed that the downloaded trace from my heart monitor was becoming more erratic and at times 200 bpm+. My GP told me that the heart monitor reading was in error and, it's taken seven years for someone to listen, do blood tests and a cardiac stress test to confirm that I have lone AF. Luckily I don't have any symptoms in the gym and I rely on two (!) heart monitors to tell me that I'm in AF so I can ease off a bit.

  • Hi Ian,

    How much exercise can you/ do you manage? (HR, duration etc.)

  • I play badminton in a mixed abilty group for two hrs 3 times a week. The mix means i can usually get 2 tough games snd then rest with two easier. I wear a HR chest strap and wrist monitor and stop if the rate exceeds 165 usually but its not always accurate. The monitor beeps if I go over and all my group are very accomodating cos they get a bresther as well

  • I haven't been able to do that for decades. Cardiology say there's no reason not to exercise with AF, but the EP said I can't expect to be able to do much. I could do more exercise in 2010, when my AF was completely out of control than I can now that I'm on meds, so I just don't believe that my AF is what's stopping me.

    I'm doing about 4-6 hr/wk at an average HR of about 100, and getting nowhere. When I try exercising at higher HR I just seem to regress instead of improving. Training at higher HRs a few years back seems to be what caused my AF to develop in the first place.

  • Hi John-Boy What is this drink called and is it safe to take when on beta-blockers.I used to cycle 10 miles a day and did fell walking regularly but i,ve always had the idea that the over exercising had something to do with my AF and have not cycled for over a year although i would love to I now just go for long walks so If I got the ok to try it i would do.

  • Hi. It's something I put together from readily available fitness products. The beta alanine and carbohydrate (known as Ultra Carb) are sold on line by Protein Works and, I use Express Whey from Boditronics both as a protein base and flavouring (beta alanine has quite a bitter taste). I can't say whether it's safe with any form of drugs; I've just written to my EP asking whether there is an issue taking it with my forthcoming Dronedarone prescription. I can say beta alanine is found in small quantities in meat. Taking it can produce a short-lived tingling in the lips and possibly in the body.

    There was a study of elite Finnish Orienteers - and other studies since - that raised the possibility that long term aerobic exercise increases the chance of AF; that's what gave me the clue that I had lone AF. Dr. Andreas Wolff of the Atrial Fibrillation Association did a related presentation at the HRC 2010.

  • I forgot to add that Ultra Carb contains maltodextrin and dextrose that have a high glycaemic index so would be unsuitable if you're diabetic.

  • Thanks John-Boy

  • It seems that the reduction in heart rate from beta alanine is a coincidence. Out of four gym sessions, two didn't exceed the maximum heart rate of 211 - (age x 0.64), but the other two both exceeded 220 bpm albeit from harder than usual sessions. I start dronedarone on Friday so it will be interesting to see how that fares with my current gym sessions.

  • I have been diagnosed with PAF., since June 2011. I'm nearly 66 years old and cycle about 50 miles per week. I don't have any symptoms of AF., when exercising. Having said that I only have very short incidence of AF., if it is AF., and not just missed heart beats, which most people have sometimes, I'm led to believe. I have an uncle, who is 86 years old, has had AF from being a teenager, was in the Paras in the Burma conflict in the 50's, I think. He smokes, but that is now having its effects on his health, but at 86, who cares lol! I was put on Adizem 120mg., about 12 months ago. I asked my GP., if I could stop the medication, he wouldn't get involved and refered me to cardiology. I stopped taking Adizem on the 9th of May. I stopped taking it without asking the cardiologist and now only have the same very short incidence of AF., the same as when I was taking medication, if it is AF., that I experience and not just missed heart beats. Oh! my uncle has never been on medication, not even blood thinners and he's not had a bad innings.

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