Paroxismal Afib, diet and lifestyle - AF Association

AF Association
17,306 members20,598 posts

Paroxismal Afib, diet and lifestyle

Greetings from Italy!

I am new to this forum, so I would like to tell my experience of Afib. I am 74, male, decent overall health except hypertension kept down with drugs, a modest oesophageal reflux and paroxysmal Afib.

I have had problems of missed heart beats for the last 20 or 30 years, sometimes with a missed beat every 2 or 3, and this up to 24 hours. Twice I went to ER, they told me it was nothing.

Then I had what looking back seems a true Afib episode during a heavy meal two years ago.

It went back to NSR by itself in 6 hours. At that time I did not know what Afib was, and took no notice of it.

Episodes got more frequent, every couple of weeks. I happened to read a bit about Afib, but still I was unsure whether with me it was simply a question of ectopic beats.

Finally a year and half ago I had an episode that I clearly recognized as Afib and went to ER, where I was cardioverted with Amiodarone.

While in the ER I had a look at my blood analysis, and saw a very low potassium level, but neither did I know if it was important, nor did the doctors tell me about it.

My cardiologist put me on Flecainide 2 x 50 mg daily and 2 x 5 mg Eliquis, but this did not prevent a second Afib episode and a second cardioversion after 6 months. Again, my potassium was very low, about 2.8, with my cardiologist telling me that now I should consider an ablation.

Finally I started to document myself on Afib forums and thought that mine was of the vagal type, since ectopic beats or Afib had always started around meal time or during a stomach acidity episode.

Also I thought that electrolyte levels were an important triggering condition. Based on this assumptions, I tried the following:

·never to apply excessive pressure to my stomach or chest, avoiding sleeping on the left side, or crouching or sitting down with excessive hip flexion for too long, and wearing braces for my trousers rather than a belt

·using a portable urinal during the night rather than getting up, for avoiding uncontrolled changes of posture while half asleep

·not to eat or drink too much at one time, avoiding the feeling of a filled stomach or the urge of burping. I do not have any alcool, coffee or chocolate.

I stop eating at 7:30 pm.

·taking care of the slightest stomach acidity carrying with me antacid tablets

·at meals I take Magnesium and Potassium, checking my blood levels every few months

·I take other supplements that I inferred as useful from the literature: Taurine , Arginine, Carnitine, coenzime Q10. I mix them up in a small mortar and sprinkle my food with it (the taste disappears)

·I carry with me Diazepam tablets in case I feel too anxious.

This discipline is quite bothersome, but I have not had Afib for a year ( and very rare ectopic beats). Plus I have cut my high blood pressure medication in half, and plan to ask my cardiologist to go for "pill in the pocket" for Flecainide (I do not know if it is reasonable for Eliquis).

Of course this schedule seems to work for me and not necessarily for anybody else, but I would be pleased to know if other people are experimenting with their paroxysmal Afib with diet and food supplements.


12 Replies

Works for me as well except I don’t have any Heart drugs other than anticoagulants and can’t take Magnesium, Taurine, Arginine & Carnitine.

Whatever works for you is best for you.

Welcome - good and knowledgeable lot here.

1 like

All sounds very positive but I'm not keen on the idea of PIP for anticoagulants. If you need them take them all the time. An AF related stroke is not something to risk.


Hi Mirtiall

Your list of things to avoid AF are pretty much the same as mine, including having diazepam to hand, although only used very very rarely. I don't take supplements and my potassium is already on the high side, which can cause arrhythmias I believe. Good that you have regular blood tests.

Just looking outside in the dark and wet here in the UK, I wish I was living in Itay at the moment ☀️😀.



A potassium level in the blood of 2.8 is unusually low and commonly doe to diuretics, some of which are used to treat hypertension.

There is a very rare condition called Conn's syndrome, which causes hypertension and low potassium levels.

A low potassium level is associated with AF.

But you did not ask that question and I'm sure your doctors will have checked all this out.


Greetings, all that sounds very good and similar to what I have done to avoid AF for 4 years now, albeit with 200mgs Flec per day.

I would continue Flec for at least another year (you are on a low dose and with Lone PAF it is tried and tested as low risk) and then consider reducing the dose very slowly over say another year plus don't stop reading here and researching generally to fine tune your actions.

Enjoy your Pannetone at Christmas!


I will eat my panettone thinking of you...

1 like

Welcome! I have always been interested in the role of nutrition in health.Much of what you are following seems very sensible and effective,of course peopke do vary I also eat a regular amount of high potassium foods such as beetroot and bananas,in agreement with my doctor,and find my episodes gradually increase if I dont do this,even though I am very careful with my drug regime.

I also find putting extrapressure on my digeston atany time of day causes trouble,and sleeping on left side.I find extra pillows help a lot

I am sure you must not ever stop a regular dose of anticoagulants however,whichever you take,these are volatile drugs thst can be dangerous to stop.Perhaps discuss stopping these gradually,with your health professional?

I am waiting for an ablation proceedure,and hope to reduce my medication if it us sucessful.I have quite frequent,short lived ( 1_2 hour )episodes.

I hope you are enjoying better weather than us,very cold and snowy here in UK!

Stay well

1 like

Do you work any particular amount of exercise into your routine?

1 like

I do postural gym, Tai Chi and try to walk about 5 Km a day


Looks like you have found a nice regimen that works for you. That being said, your lack of recent AFIB may be do to your regimen, due to the light Flec dose you are still on or simply nothing at all. If you decide to go off Flec, monitor closely. Might want to go on a 30 day monitor before going off Flec If you get another episode not long after going off Flec, personally, I’d go back on it and not utilize pill in pocket especially if you have no side effects from the drug. Never heard of pill in the pocket for an anti coagulant.

In any event, Make sure you discuss any changes with your doctor and come up with an agreed upon plan.

1 like

There is a small Univ. of Pennsylvania study


I think anxiety plays a huge part and tiredness. Try mindfulness which helps you get a little mire relaxed liads of apps ir meditations on you tube. Mindfulness in a frantuc world. Best wishes


You may also like...