Any one thought his afib was caused by sudd... - AF Association

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Any one thought his afib was caused by sudden change of diet?


I've been thinking my afib was caused by sudden change to vegan diet. I didn't drink, and wasn't over weight. The only special thing I noticed before my first episode was I sudden changed to a vegan diet 13 days before afib.

Since the diet change, I felt very tired for few days, and also had diarrhea for few days. Then I started to have heavy sweating while I was sleeping at night, that was few days before I had afib also. Then on the 14th day, I woke up at 2am with afib.

Any one had similar experience? The blood test during my first afib showed high Free T4, and though TSH was still within range, but it was doubled than one week before.

I didn't and don't have thyroid problem, and the following blood test after afib didn't show any abnormal Free T4 or TSH.

I asked EP and cardiologist whether sudden change of diet cause my afib, they didn't think so.

18 Replies

Hi li17,

After I had been diagnosed with AF, a long time after, I found food triggered my AF. My symptoms were, burping, intestinal gurgling, massive bloating and diarrhea. The bloating was the worst and the most likely to trigger the AF. The point is there is a nerve in the central nervous system known as the vagal nerve. If in some way your change in diet created an upset with the vagal nerve ......... that'll be enough to do it.

GP's are most likely to be unaware of this and cardiologists either don't know, won't admit it and/or are in denial about it. If you spoke to a gastroenterologist about it they would most likely acknowledge it.

Suggest you find a Nutritionist and discuss it first. If you are in UK go to the BANT website to find one near you.

Finally, suggest you research vagal or vagus nerve including schematic diagrams of where that nerve extends. Known as the 'wandering' nerve - you'll see why. Briefly, the vagal nerve acts like an information superhighway between the brain, the heart and the digestive system and has been said to control the heart and the digestive system.



A resounding no to that one. My EP strongly encourages all of his patients to be on a plant based diet, which differs from vegan in that many things like "vegan donuts" or other vegan junk food is not ok. Avoiding meat and dairy is heart healthy and a plant based diet can reverse heart disease and diabetes. A Fib, by nature, shows up randomly. I would chalk that up to coincidence, and I would still get another thyroid panel in the near future to recheck that. Wishing you well.

I was on the 2 5 fast diet and I think fasting was a trigger for af. I didn'ever have a full af attack just bouts of ectopics.


Lots of people have mentioned dieting prior to AF- this was my experience too and it later was seen that low potassium was present- I think it must be if your electrolyte balance is disturbed

li17 in reply to rosyG

Can restoring electrolyte balance eliminate afib for all?

I started having a much higher potassium level in my diet- and a little time later started a magnesium supplement form my GP ( after telling a cardiologist that I had upped the potassium n diet and he advised magnesium increase to balance it) and I had no AF for 3 year, one episode last March and another at Xmas after a week with chest infection and only able to have soup ( i e probably low potassium again.)

Prior to starting diet change I had episodes between 2 weekly and 2 monthly so three years is significant I think

I think it depends on other health ( and age in my case) factors as to whether you can eliminate episodes but you can reduce them.

li17 in reply to rosyG

Just looked at my blood test with the first afib, it shows calcium, potassium were both normal, but magnesium was 2.6 (normal 1.4 - 2.4). Also, I found Free T4 was a bit higher, it was 1.78 (normal 0.89 - 1.70). But the blood test two week later shows Free T4 was in normal range.

Three years is a great improvement. At least it proves afib is not alway progressive.

rosyG in reply to li17

yes- you mentioned heavy sweating so you could have got de-hydrated but your blood tests seem OK worth keeping an eye in the thyroid as someone has mentioned. Probably only change diet gradually if needed . Make sure you don't have processed food and I think ( controversial!) best to bin alcohol!!

li17 in reply to rosyG

Thinking about being more healthy, I had already stopped drinking alcohol and coffee two months before my first afib. And I started vegan diet thinking it can help to lower my cholesterol...maybe I over did it. Now I just hope by correcting diet I can get rid of afib.

Buffafly in reply to li17

Did you eat Quorn as part of your vegan diet?

li17 in reply to Buffafly

No I didn’t.

Around the time I began to develop palpitations, the doctors did blood tests and found that my Potassium levels were low. Even now, after months on a vegan diet, my Potassium is low. Not sure what to do.

li17 in reply to Asdfvv

I actually think the vegan diet messed up my electrolyte balance.

Asdfvv in reply to li17

But I first started having heart palpitations and chest pains when on a paleo diet.

li17 in reply to Asdfvv

If you can’t get potassium level up, you might have magnesium deficiency. These two go hand in hand, if mag is deficient, potassium won’t go up.

giada in reply to li17

try propel. Lots of potassium in it


My docs say no but... I was one week into a medically supervised liquid diet for wt loss. It was a perfect storm as it was busy christmas season, I was working long hours and only getting 800 calories/ daily. I believe it was a combination of fatigue, starvation and stress. Supposedly my heart is fine except a fib. I am obese. Ironically it has taken me over 2 yr to drop 35 lb but at least the scale is breathing easier!!!

AF is about the electrical system of the heart going out of sync. I can’t see how the Digestive System can affect it.

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