AF Association
12,879 members15,714 posts

Lone Atrial fibrillation and digestion

Hi I'm newly diagnosed with pad, but have been having episodes for the last 10 years, it's only recently the diagnosis was made on ECG. 150bpm in a fib for an hour, and felt dreadful. on average I have around 2/3 episodes a year, triggers are the norm for me, over exercise, alcohol(normally day after), over eating, laying on left side, STRESSs the biggie, and also a sudden change of posture which is normally bending down?!?!

One thing however is I'm sure there is a link between digestion/gastric and paf,

Has anyone experienced similar?, praying I can sort it out before it becomes any worse.

13 Replies

I've got AFIB just to clarify my first sentence,lol


Hi Rich. The vagus nerve links brain to heart and stomach so what affects one can affect the other. Probably about half AF sufferers have vagal AF which can be started by food triggers or other digestive problems but the condition is so complex and everybody experiences it differently that there is little common ground. One could list a hundred triggers from different people and maybe only a few would end up as common .

Others may disagree but from my experience and opinion whilst you may be able to find the odd trigger which can be avoided, this is largely a waste of time. Sorry to tell you this but better to be realistic. AF is a progressive condition which will always get worse over time so finding the right medication or having an ablation to improve quality of life is the best way forward long term. In the meantime please do make sure that your stoke risk has been properly assessed and that you are on anticoagulation if the score says so.. There is a stroke risk calculator on the main AF Association website.


1 like

Thanks for the reply Bob,

I have read a little on the vagus nerve and also adrenergic AFIB, it does all make sense, but don't seem to fall into one category, so I agree that it could prove very difficult avoiding triggers as new ones will ultimately keep coming along in Time. However I do believe that if someone can try and avoid the triggers and hence lengthen periods with no episodes of af, the heart is less likely to 'rewire' itself into a more permanent af.

My first episode started when I was 18,after a heavy drinking session!im now 30, have been given bisoprolol as pill in pocket approach, but have only ever taken one as I don't want my body to rely on this.

And that for me is a real trigger. I am currently experimenting with vitamins and in particular magnesium, I also take bio cultures daily to improve digestive health.i will take your advice and do the stroke risk test.

Have you also paf?

Many thanks


Yes I take magnesium chelate and fell it helpful.



Hello rich101, there is most definitely a link with digestion and AF. My diet has definitely improved the length between episodes the severity has also decreased. I feel better overall.

I see nothing wrong with using the two approaches, of diet and ablation and medication. As it turned out the episodes for me were always after meals and eventually I was diagnosed with IBS. I also started vitamins at the beginning after some research, one of which was magnesium, and subsequently put spinach into my diet, along with fish oil capsules.

I am now under a Dietitian, and am glad I chose to go down this path otherwise the IBS would never have been diagnosed.

I have SVT and am also on medication and will be discussing an ablation very soon, as I was not offered any ablation at the onset. For me it was not a waste of time and am currently under the FODMAP diet which is still a work in progress, with the dietitian. I think Bob's advice on stroke assessment is a must.


That's good to hear ultramarine, i will persist with the multivitamin and diet changes, do you see a dietician through through doctors or have u found one yourself?

I had an echo on Thursday, and having 48 hour ECG on 16th June, so hoping to speak to cardiologist soon after to come up with a treatment plan.I seem to be able to go around 5/6 months between episodes and seem to be quite short in comparison to others. So I know I am lucky so far in that respect.

Do you have episodes of svt as well as af ultramarine ?


I have both SVT and AF so a bit of a cocktail, yours seems to be very much more manageable in respect of the length of time between episodes, but most people say it seems to get worse, so no harm in checking out exactly what you ate before episodes, or when anything unusual seems to be going on with your body. It took me a while to convince the medics this was much more serious than just feeling unwell and finally was referred to a Gastroenterologist who diagnosed this condition, my GP then referred me to a Dietitian.

Not all medical people view this as having any sort of connection with AF/SVT, so if you want some treatment along these lines, then you will need to insist that you want a referral either from your GP or Cardiologist. I forgot to mention that I have lost weight since being on this particular diet, and also I am not on any type of blood medication such as Warfarin. Good luck to you rich101


Me too. I now don't have any big meals. Instead I graze all day and have small meals which has helped. Interestingly, I'm now on pills that control my heart rhythm. Whereas previously I would get heart wobbles after eating a full meal, I can now feel my heart beating very strongly but still staying in rhythm. So the link is still there, but the drugs are stopping it going out of sync.



Hi Koll, I thought you were on heart rhythm control previously, I forgot to mention that I am not on any blood thinning drugs (or should I say blood clotting drugs) such as Warfarin. Also the Gastroenterologist gave me the name of an over the counter tablet, called "Mintec" which is basically a peppermint oil capsule, which I take before going out to dinner, (so not all of the time) and have not had one episode yet doing this.


I don't have many digestive problems but I find my digestion sometimes slows right down to the point of sleeping and so now I eat loads and loads of veg. I went out to dinner last week and lovely meal but not many veg and mydigestion went into a big sulk for days after andmy heart was jumpy too.

Of course spinach and all dark green leafy things my big favourite but wafarin has learnt to cope with my addiction.


My digestion is slow too, but I had put that down to the warfarin... I find too much gardening makes my heart wobble, but the weeds won't listen to my pleas! I am planning on keeping a food diet to see if there is any link there, although as Bob says I think the triggers are various.



I agree with you that AF and digestion go hand in hand . I have ibs which I'm sure was caused by bisoprolol also digogoxin does not agree with me so am on dilltizem warfarin and ibersartan also simvastatin. Am taking organic apple cider vinegar and it is helping but after 6 weeks not completely clear of ibs. What do you take rich101?


Hi goldiwonder , sorry for the delay, I take probiotics, magnesium and multi vits, I have been prescribed bisoprolol, but I don't take this on a daily basis....yet.

Part of me is thinking an ablation could be a good idea, as many people have said it'll only get worse, so if they could find the 'dodgy electrical parts', And ablate now?

I can only comment on my own experience but when in af, I am as good as useless, I can't walk or get on with anything, it knocks me for six, so I can't comprehend ever having it permanent or even persistent as I would be no good for anything.

Hope everyone is well


You may also like...