The Magnesium Hypothesis?

I started a thread yesterday about possible causes for AF to try and determine if I could identify with any suggestions. The general consensus appears to be that there are many causes and it may well turn out that one may never know exactly why one contracts the condition.

However, one of the suggestions that peaked my interest was the possible link between AF and magnesium deficiency. I'm not sure whether there is any solid reliable research on this subject but it did get me wondering about my own circumstances.

In January of this year I embarked on a fairly strict calorie controlled diet which I have stuck to religiously for the past six months and as a result have lost just over 5 stones.

Now whilst I was diligent about the amount of calories I was consuming, I have to hold my hands up and admit that I was much less diligent about monitoring the nutritional side of the diet and it is now making me wonder whether I may indeed have a magnesium deficiency as a result. I have also been very neglectful regarding my fluid intake during the diet, most days only drinking a couple of cups of tea in total for the day.

I had no symptoms of AF prior to starting the diet and was generally fit and healthy except for the extra weight I was carrying. I didn't experience any symptoms of AF during the early days of the diet but there are now a few things that in the past few weeks that make me wonder if I was showing some early signs of AF but didn't recognise them as a problem.

I'm not trying to self diagnose here and I know I now need to follow whatever path I need to follow medically to get this under control, but would be interested in anyone's thoughts on the possibility that my circumstances could indicate magnesium deficiency and ergo a possible link to my AF.

36 Replies

  • Hi Arkwight,

    Good question, there seem to be quite a lot of positive views on this forum about

    magnesium and in addition Co-Q10.

    I am also thinking of exploring this avenue, so let's see what replies you get from your post.

    Best Wishes


  • Only drinking a couple of cups of tea in the day? I suspect that drinking much too much caffeinated tea was what caused me to have AF. Try drinking a few cups of hot water in the day - putting a slice of lemon or lime in makes it more interesting.

  • I wasn't suggesting I should have drank more tea necessarily, just used it as an example of how little fluid I have been drinking for the past few months.

    Though I'm not sure fluid intake has anything to do with AF, just thought I'd mention it.

  • I wasn't meaning you should drink more tea - just suggesting that two cups of fluid isn't much.

  • I have taken magnesium for 9 months and it has reduced my AF periods from 2% of my life to 0.02%. It agreeds with me.

  • What kind of magnesium and at what strength Nigel?

  • I take Magnesium Taurate, 125mg, twice a day.

  • Thanks... Was this recommended by your doctor or just something you decided to try?

  • I have told my GP, but no comment.

  • I take Mag Oxide, 400 mg 2X day. Not all Mag supplements are the same and are not absorbed equally either. My cardio doc suggested Mag Oxide. Have blood work done prior to beginning mag regiment. 6 months later do blood work again. Compare the differences.

  • I'm interested in your statistics. I keep a record of each af episode, note the number of hours I have it over a year and work out the percentage of time I m in af. I have noticed the rise in percentage over 6 years, but it isn't much overall. This year, I started magnesium, and hope for a reduction in the number of episodes. The last time I saw my cardiologist, I showed him my computations. He looked surprised, then laughed and said he had never seen anyone do that before. He plainly hasnt met you! Lol

  • I have show my data on AF, which I have recorded over the last 24 months together with my heart rate during a regular two mile walk which I have recorded over the last 15 years!! To the Brompton and my Cardiologist. They also had not seen data before from a patient. We must have different consultants! I think heart problems have bought out the mathematician in me.

  • I started to note my AF episodes and when I went for a pacemaker check I reported that I had counted 7 incidents to which the technician said the read out says 23. Sometimes we don't know when we are in AF especially when sleeping. Sorry to put a damper on your 6 years of record keeping. Barry 123

  • Dehydration can be a major factor in triggering AF. Finvola posted about this recently. Temperatures are forecast to soar over the next few days so it will be important for all of us to increase our fluid intake.

  • Coconut water is good for hydration, and chilled is a very refreshing drink.

  • Sadly,Morrison's version doesn't taste half as good as it did in the Far East.!!

  • Please try potassium rich foods too- mine was below range when AF started and I've been much better since realising this

  • Hi Arkwight,

    I have just done some homework on magnesium. If you Google magnesium NHS,

    (sorry unable to do the link) you will find a list of foods that contain magnesium, normal food like wholemeal bread, rice, meat, fish, nuts, spinach etc.

    I would rather go down the route of increasing my intake of these foods in my humble opinion rather than tablet form.

    Best Wishes


  • I grew up on a small farm in Ireland in 50s/60s. I was amazed to learn that my sister plus husband now give magnesium licks to cattle (they live on the same farm). This was unheard of and has been recommended as land has been depleted of magnesium. Cattle can die almost instantly when they lack magnesium. Makes one wonder how much is really in our food.

    I use the oil.

  • Dehydration is one of a number of AF triggers. EP also told me about many others - alcohol, caffeine, sugar, salt, processed foods, stress, continual on the go (ie rushing around), adrenaline sports and other activities adrenaline related (including work). Certain occupations are succeptable eg fighter pilots, certain foods, too much food, etc. some are just susceptible. very often can not be pinpointed and actually irrelevant once you have AF unless you have paroxysmal AF in which case identifying triggers helps.

  • Magnesium has changed my life.

    Since January (when I started taking 1000mg daily spread over the day) my AF has gone from weekly very long episodes to two 10 minute bursts in February and an hour long episode two days ago. I attribute this one to dehydration, lack of sleep and high stress - I was extremely unwell with a gall bladder problem BUT some extra magnesium and my usual meds and it was gone within an hour.

    Whilst I was taking magnesium purely for my AF, my depression of some 30 years has almost completely lifted in this time - magnesium deficicincy has been shown to cause depression. I also had problems with my esophagus spasming and food getting stuck - again spasming muscles are often magnesium deficiency - this has also cleared up.

    I am now on 600mg magnesium citrate taken in 200mg lots during the day. I don't know if splitting it helps but to me it seems logical.

    An even better alternative to citrate - which is highly bioavailable - is magnesium oil. Around 20 sprays onto bare skin provides 400mg and is absorbed directly into the bloodstream. I use it occasionally but my skin is really sensitive so it sometimes can cause a slight rash.

    I have no doubt magnesium has helped me substantially.

    I found out about it when one day in January I suddenly wondered why they would give me a magnesium drip quite often when I went into emergency in AF.

    You should google magnesium and AF - the key to understanding this mineral is realising how crucial it is to our bodies in over 300 very important chemical reactions. Once you see how important it is in our daily lives you can start to understand why a deficiency can be such a problem.

    Why don't we hear more about it? Because big pharma can not patent magnesium so there is no money in it therefore it does not receive the attention it deserves. The billions that big pharma pour into a new product in advertising and marketing is staggering (Pfizer alone spent $1.4 billion last year). Magnesium simply gets drowned in the process.

    It is thought that up to 80% of the population is magnesium deficient

    and that number rises to 90% in AFibbers.

    Modern farming techniques, by using modern fertilisers, actually leach the magnesium OUT of the soil. Our food has less magnesium in it now than it did even just 50 years ago.

    A little something to start you

    @Bigleg is El Supremo Magnesiumo around these parts - if she happens to drop by she is a wealth of magnesium information.

  • Dave, I'm reading 'the magnesium miracle' by Dr Carolyn Dean at the mo and can recommend it. (Think Bigleg quotes Carolyn Dean)

    As for spraying on magnesium oil, it's not for me as it stings my skin too much. I will however spray some on last thing at night if I've had a few ectopics and think I need a top up. Other than that I'm on a daily 950mg of mag citrate. I have only missed 2 days in 3 years.

    3 years ago today(28th June) I had my extremely symptomatic 90 min AF Episode which I'm in no hurry to repeat.

    Incidentally, 28th June 2012 was a very hot day and there's no doubt I was dehydrated as I was feeling very thirsty. If only I hadn't then taken a huge swig of an icy drink which woke my AF monster.


  • Thats funny I got that book about a month ago after Bigleg recommended it - very interesting reading and it really just reinforces what people like us already know - that magnesium is essential to our health and if we are deficient in it our bodies can respond quite dramatically for some of us.

  • My Naturopath/Herbalist has just given me Mg Citrate 150mg/day as my Mg level was down after 9 months on Flecainide despite taking Mg bisglycinate & malate in Nutri Ultra Muscleze.

    I read somewhere to take the Citrate with warm water or room temp??

    Of course my retest may have been on a 'low day' or some other reason but being sceptical of the side effects of drugs I suspect it could be that Flecainide somehow depletes the Mg in your body while doing it's magic on the AF.

  • The Amiodarone I take hinders the uptake (or usage of maybe) of magnesium so it maybe a similar thing with Flecainide?

    Its ridiculous really - the anti-arrhythmic I take hinders the efficient use of the nutrient I need to keep in rhythm so in turn to compensate I need to take more of the nutrient that my medication stops my body using so my body has enough to use ! :)

  • I spray it o to aching muscles in my neck and it relaxes them really quickly. Recommended by my physio. She tells her sports people to use it in the recovery phase. X

  • Re magnesium spray - I used it at night on the soles of my feet on the premise that the skin there is less sensitive & absorbs liquids, however I've had to stop using it, as the skin on my feet is peeling, so I was then concerned as to what effect it would have on the rest of my skin. I thought it would be better than taking tablets (food options are limited as I am on a limited diet due to a leaky gut and colitis) so am probably going to look at tablets now :-(

  • Interesting Liz - the suggestion is actually that you spray it on the parts of your body that see the least sun and are the least "weathered" for want of a better word, as they promote the best absorption.

    The recommendation is to only leave it on for 20 minutes - are you leaving it on all night? Maybe this is the problem..?

    I'd suggest you try again, spraying it on your tummy or legs and wipe it off or shower after 20 minutes and see how it goes :)

  • Thanks Dave - good point. I was leaving it on all night!!!

  • Doses less than 350 mg per day are safe for most adults. When taken in very large amounts, magnesium is POSSIBLY UNSAFE. Large doses might cause too much magnesium to build up in the body, causing serious side effects including an irregular heartbeat, low blood pressure, confusion, slowed breathing, coma, and death. Take care.....

  • Hi Robert was interested in your answer as I am a huge advocate for magnesium and thought I would clear this up. The people who are at risk of having excess magnesium are those people who suffer from kidney disease - this is really the only caveat. The chances of someone overdosing on magnesium are "very, very low".


  • Ok Dave, but I was simply quoting this:

    look under 'side effects'.

  • I don't know why the links don't work bigleg but if one simply googles 'too much magnesium' the text I quoted is shown at the top under the entry for the website.

    If you believe it to be wrong there's nothing I can say but everyone should note that Dave1961's 600 mg daily dosage is almost twice what the website regards as 'possibly unsafe'. I hold no torch for that particular website and of course, it could be wrong and, as you suggest, the warning may only apply to those with dodgy kidneys. And of course we all know our kidney functions are perfect.....don't we?

    We're all adults and must be responsible for decisions we make. But it's important that all readers of this forum are aware that there does seem to be two sides to the magnesium debate and they shouldn't just blindly follow the flock.

    Sorry if I seem to be rocking the 'supplement' boat.


  • Two sites that I found interesting are:

    And there are many other sites on the benefits of magnesium as others have referenced.

    I take TLC 3.0 website

    I am not suggesting that others take this but it may lead to some people researching the contents.

    I do not take medications for AF so supplements that I take are not impacted by medication. Recently I started taking 125 mg of magnesium chelate before going to bed and my slow heartbeat seems more regular. If I have AF, that I know about, it always occurs at night. Lately, the few times that it has happened, I take magnesium orotate and my heart flips into sinus more quickly.

    Listening to our bodies and what it tells us takes some mental readjustment since we have been brainwashed into assuming doctors have the best answer even when the results of their recommendations don 't produce stellar results. The latest research on statins and diabetes is one example.

    Arkwright, since you are new to this AF mess, you may wish to read this article and to search for other articles by this doctor. You will need to login to access this site; but, you will then have access to lots of AF articles on this site that explain some of the latest views.

  • Thank you.... Most interesting

  • Good stuff thanks EngMac!

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