AF Association
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Frustrated beginner

On the question of would you work this out. I've give up coffee coke(the drink) and alchahol.not sure how this has effected my AF as I'm very new to this. If I had a drink and two days later had an episode ,would that be considered a trigger ?

I am getting a good sense of this mongrel condition through this site but still feel frustrated by the lack of information or concern by the medical profession .

Is the answer that there is no answer ? Is the lack of interest from the medical profession because they don't understand it ?

I would add that I have a host of other conditions and find the medical profession on the whole very good.

30 Replies

My EP told me years ago not to waste time looking for triggers. You have AF period. If you are lucky enough to find something which does make things worse then great. avoid it. Most people would find that say a glass of wine may set them off either right away or within an hour or so. For me cooked cheese,(pizza) was instant. There is a growing group of people who find that changes to lifestyle( no alcohol, bland food, no fun, etc) may help reduce or even eliminate AF but I am not convinced and for sure it will not eliminate the risks of AF (stroke) so if you are one with a chads score then you won't be able to stop anticoagulation.

Sorry but after all these years I am a terrible cynic. I had AF. I had three ablation. I don't have AF now. The path was clear.

On a more serious note I do advise you to read all you can especially the fact sheets on the main AF-A website as knowledge is power. I guess from your comments about the medical profession that you are treated by your GP or at best a hospital cardiologist. If you really want to be treated properly you need to see an electrophysiologist (EP) as these guys are the experts. Many GPs and normal cardiologists only have a passing nod to AF. I would also suggest CAREAF website and download as much as you need to go bang some desks and get people to take you seriously. I was eventually lucky in that a house move and change of GP saw me in front of a doctor who actually knew about AF (her mother had it) but that was after probably ten years of misdiagnosis.

It is a long journey but we all here are with you for support.



Wise words thanks Bob


I know that if I am run down I will AF.

I have found that strenuous exercise (for me strenuous is probably just normal for others) in the morning equals AF in the evening so I have to monitor how much I exercise.

I have cut coffee as I know that has triggered an AF (but tea does not have the same effect on me) , same for alcohol and also not getting enough sleep / being over tired.

What I WISH someone had tiole me early on was about magnesium. I know I seem to rave about it in every post but I found out about this supplement 6 weeks agho and after 3 - 4 years of going into AF sometimes weekly I feel SO much better.

Now if my hearts skips a beat here and there it doesn't bother - before the magnesium I would shudder and wait for the AF to kick in as it ALWAYS would once my heart skipped a beat.

If I could shout it from the rooftops I would. Magnesium is a god damn star when it comes to controlling AF...AND you can not overdose on it. Once your body gets to the level that is right it starts to expel the excess magnesium i.e. your body will tell you when you have hit the sweet spot for the amount you should be taking.

I am of course on other meds but with the magnesium (chelated) the vague sensation that an AF is lurking around the corner has completely disappeared.

Now I am on top of the magnesium it seems like potassium is another one that could definitely so am looking at that next\ plus I am zooming in on my oral health because that plays a significant role in heart health as well.

Whoops just noticed I have been blabbing on - hope I answered your question lol

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Dave, how much magnesium do you take? I've been taking it for almost 3 years and take 900mg daily with an occasional extra 200mg.



From what I understand your once your body is receiving enough it will start to produce soft stools or diarhea. I am taking 5 x 500 mg chelated magnesium but that actually only contains 100 mg of elemental magnesium per tab and am slowly incrasing it till I hit what my body says is enough.


I have missed something here obviously!!!...Dave could you reply or PM me about the merits of I do not know about this.......I am in persistent AF now, so don't get episodes as such (just got a permanent irrregular heartbeat!!) but still want to do my best for my health


Done :)


Dave. Please could you send to me. Thanks.


Hi Dave. I don't really have any knowledge of what supplements are useful. Can you please clarify which are possibly beneficial for PAF. I'm not on any anticoags and just 5mg Busoprolol. Thanks M


H Marilyn. Magnesium is one of the main nutrients the body uses to maintain regular heartbeat. Because of intensive farming techniques in our commercial world much of the magnesium has been leached from farming land over time, meaning our food is not nearly as effective in supplying this important nutrient. I strongly recommend using it as a supplement as apparently around 75% of the population is in some way magnesium deficient and when you consider RDI's are rarely at therapeutic levels it's probably more like 90%! What I like about magnesium is once your body has had enough the remainder is excreted through your bowel. Basically if you start having loose stools or diarrhea you know you have reached what your body needs each day. I am currently taking 500 mg elemental magnesium in chelated tabs which are 500 mg - confusing I guess but its the elemental magnesium that is the important figure. I take 2 in the morning, one during the day when I remember and two at night. I am not at peak yet so will start to increase by another tab and see how it goes.

Interestingly Amiodarone, which I am taking daily as my anti-arrhythmic drug, has a side effect of leaching magnesium from the body! SO basically the pill I take to maintain my heart rhythm is taking out the nutrient I most need to achieve that. Crazy right?

In just 6 weeks I have noticed a HUGE improvement in the number of AF attacks (none so far) and generally feeling less nervous about having palpitations.


Thanks Dave for that information. I'm certainly going to try supplementing with magnesium. Regards Marilyn



Which brand magnesium (chelated) do you use.

I currently take Ultra Muscleze, Biocare Magnesium Taurate and some CoQ10 with fish oil.




HI Mick. Not sure which country you are in so brands may vary but I started using Swisse and then found out I needed to be taking chelated magnesium so I am now taking "Magnesium Chelated 500mg 200 Tablets by Microgenics".

They seem to get a good wrap and I DO feel the benefit:)

That being said I know magnesium baths or magnesium oil is a more efficient way to absorb it - through the skin - but I hate baths and I don't want to spend 20 mins a day oiling myself up so...its the best alternative.


Don't want to hijack this thread but magnesium and potassium have a high beneficial affect on the heart. Supplements would be a good way to increase your levels and going natural is even better but I have to beware of the green leafy veggies since I'm on anticoagulants


Hi Paul - spot on!

Unfortunately for me potassium is contra indicated with beta-adrenergic blockers (I copied that - no way I could remember it! lol) e.g. I am on Metoprolol which falls into these kinds of beta blockers so I can not take potassium as Metoprolol reduces potassium uptake which in turn means in starts to concentrate in the body.

I only found this out this a.m. after getting ready to go and buy some potassium - disappointed but for those who are not taking these meds it maybe OK...

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Not just leafy vegetables but also green salads and green vegetables such as beans (various), peas, sugar snaps. See AFA fact sheet.

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Peter, where do I find the AFA fact sheet?


It is on the main AFA site under publications. There is a wealth of information there. Particular link for Fact Sheets (and there are a number re Warfarin) is



I think it all depends on where your AF comes from, i.e. vagal nerve or other sources such as stress. If vagal nerve you are probably better off seeing a gastroenterologist than a cardiologist. The vagal nerve affects heart and digestive system, and these gastro guys know all about the digestive system and gut. I opted to consult a nutritionist and treat the digestive system and gut through diet. Its a long slow process requiring many analytical skills and mountains of patience, its effectively a work in progress .... but, now, 4 and half years later I can't recall my last AF event. I maintain, in the case of vagal initiated AF, calm the digestive system and the heart will calm itself. Food affects me, drinks not at all.

Of course it helps that I was diagnosed with AF and treatment started within 9 hours of onset. From what I see on here some people are, weeks, months and some even years before diagnosed !

For me the ultimate proof is that I have never returned to a GP or a Cardiologist or ever consulted an EP for AF since the original diagnosis and treatment started in Jan 2010 .... those 9 hours were absolutely critical. Food and diet are a work in progress and so long as I stop or at least minimise bloating ... I'll be fine.

For me, with food, when I have a trigger its bloating and can start (depending on what I ate) in anything from 1 hour to 6 hours after eating.

Good luck,


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Thanks AussieJohn, 'work in progress' sums it up well. I am currently focussing on the gastro and the mind side. As you say it takes a long time as each bit has to be tested on it's own for a while to discern any difference.

Success may not come but I cannot see for the majority with Adrenergenic vagally mediated Lone PAF that there is no effective lifestyle changes and therefore no reason to try.


I spent a lot of time trying to analyse what food and drink triggered an episode but results were very inconsistent and I failed to reach any long lasting conclusions. Having said that, I did give up all alcohol but hopefully this won't be forever.

Stress and exertion used to be definite triggers but are less so now.

I did several things to help fight AF and my situation did improve and continues to do so. This included taking a magnesium supplement. I take 150mg three times a day (450mg in total) in Citrate form (from Natures Best). When I interupted this supply on a recent holiday I had multiple episodes in a few days. This was after going several weeks without experiencing any.

I decided not to take any potassium supplement but I try to eat potassium rich foods including at least two bananas every day.

Someone recommended Taurine and I plan to research this.

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Hi Craggy, isn't it great what magnesium can do.

While it would have been unpleasant for you I am heartened to hear that when you went off the magnesium your AF's returned - it means magnesium really DOES make a major difference to our heart health.


I understood that too much potassium could bring on arrythmias? Is that not true?


I haven't heard that one. I'm getting far fewer AF episodes than I used to.


Potassium can build up in the body and cause problems, especially in the kidneys.


Can I take a potassium and magnesium supplement when also taking warfarin?


From my research - I am not a Dr of course so you should consult yours first - you should definitely NOT be taking magnesium with Warfarin and it seems like potassium is also contra-indicated but again best to do your own research check with your Doc.

I am just on simple old aspirin as my blood thinner so I don't have that problem - unfortunately warfarin IS more effective as a blood thinner so its a double edged sword but I figure if I can stop the AF's then I reduce my stroke risk 10 fold anyways... and my Dr has not suggested I need warfarin.

EDIT I am also taking Metoprolol, beta blocker, and apparently many beta blockers reduce the uptake of potassium in the body which in turn means potassium can accumulate quickly. Basically I should not be using potassium supplements. Apparently anybody taking "Beta-Andregenic Blockers" should not be using this supplement as it can exacerbate AF.

Here is a list of them


Thanks very informative.


Quick Google says 3 bananas good, 12 bananas bad!


Bob , you really are a star and I love your sense of humour.

I was told no tea , coffee , chocolate or alcohol and I've stuck to this.

We have no EP nurse in my area so have to rely on my cardiologist and my GP. ALTHOUGH I LOVE MY GP , no one at my surgery seems to know much about AF. FOR EXAMPLE , I know nothing about the benefits or otherwise of potassium and magnesium. I take Rivoroxaban , which suits me very well but always interested about other things.

A trigger for me seems to be overtired and stress.

Thanks for being there for us all. Bebe.


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