Brain, heart and stomach influences on each... - AF Association

AF Association

20,748 members25,457 posts

Brain, heart and stomach influences on each other


I am new here and diagnosed with atrial fibrillation AF, which I never feel, and irritable bowel syndrome IBS, which is a frequent cause of distress.

I understand it is a fact that the human brain, heart and stomach are connected via the vagus nerve and can therefore obviously have an effect on each other. Consultants specialise in one of these body parts but, understandably, do not seem to know much about the other two.

Has anyone any evidence, I mean medical evidence, that heart problems for example atrial fibrillation AF are caused by the stomach or the brain? Or has anyone for example cured their AF by curing their stomach problems? Thank you.

I developed stomach problems after a general anaesthetic, this later led to AF but as I am not a medical person I do not know if these happenings are related or not!

11 Replies

Hi ansvar,

Yes I have in a sense. That said, I would never presume to say I have cured AF but by addressing digestive issues, calming the vagal nerve I have had no AF since April 2015.


skyeluca in reply to carneuny

Hi John

Please can you advise how you managed to calm the vagal nerve.

lallym in reply to skyeluca

Look back at John's posts and he gives details of diet etc and how he managed this

In a word - Yes they are and there is plenty of documented, well researched evidence and if you have vagal induced AF the good news is that it can be helped by life style changes. You need to know your triggers and learn about vasvagal maneuvres which can often comvert you to NSR.

Not everyone however, has vagal induced AF. Dr Sanjay Gupta from York Cardiology put up a good video about vagal AF and how it differs. For me the AFib is triggered by Atrial Tachycardia and nearly always comes on after eating and then moving about immediately afterwards. Carbohydrates nearly always trigger an episode so given up eating bread, cereals and potatoes and all wheat & gluten - main triggers of inflammation.

Some people are triggered by rest and AF starts when they are asleep whilst others by exercise. Depends if it is the sympathetic or para-sympathetic tone which is effected.

There are 3 types of AF - Vagal AFib, non-vagal AFib and mixed. I tend to be mixed so sometime it will just start whatever I do and not respond to vasovagal.

There is a book called Heal your Vagal Nerve which has some excellent suggestions on how to improve Vagal tone.

Finvola in reply to CDreamer

Thank you for the book title, CD - great information and advice in it. Amazon for £2.12 to Kindle Cloud reader.

skyeluca in reply to CDreamer

Thank u CDreamer!


Atrial Fibrillation is a reflection of one's overall health. When you are stressed or distressed; when there are digestive issues, poor sleep issues, sedentary lifestyle, obesity, these are all contributors to the development of AF. When I switched to a plant based lifestyle three years ago all of my digestive issues disappeared (GERD and IBS), and my A Fib took a holiday as well. A body out of rhythm leads to a heart out of rhythm.

CDreamer in reply to SRMGrandma

Love the last sentence - A body out of rhythm leads to a heart out of rhythm.

SRMGrandmaVolunteer in reply to CDreamer

You know, I just stumbled upon that sentence from Dr. John Day and it really sums it all up, doesn't it?

I'm curious; what are "rennies"?

Great replies above. Just to say I have vagally mediated Lone AF and have triggered episodes in the past quite rapidly with my brain. I did this both times by visiting places (not the same) where I had had bad episodes before and after a long time of being AF free and when I was not aware of any other contributing factors.

In addition, my digestion has been an issue for some time, which I have finally sorted (fingers crossed it lasts) and again my general mental health is much more positive.

You may also like...