Af and Alcohol free drinks: I had my first... - AF Association

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Af and Alcohol free drinks

bluebird100 profile image

I had my first ablation 7 months ago for my PAF and after 4 months episodes started again so now waiting for my second one. I have always felt alcohol is a trigger but had a big episode after not drinking for a week before. I did though have 3 bottles of alcohol free beer the night before though and I have seen some posts on here that suggested that it is not the alcohol in beer wine etc but rather something else that is involved in the fermentation process that can cause problems so AF ( no pun intended) beer and wine are just as bad. I have stopped drinking them now and given up alcohol completely but wondered what other people thought ?

16 Replies

I can have a couple of glasses of wine now and then but can of diet coke or cup of coffee sets my AF straight away. The alcohol-free beer was my preferred drink last summer and it never gave me any symptoms.

BobD profile image

There is I believe only one make of totally alcohol free beer. These drinks are made in the usual way and then have the alcohol removed in an osmotic process much like desalination. My own experience has been that these so called alcohol free drinks have actually been far worse for my AF and I have felt really ill after even one bottle.

These days whilst still AF free, I can sometimes drink a small glass of white wine before dinner on a nice warm evening but can tell in the first sip if this is a good idea or not. If I didn't have shares in the vineyard I probably wouldn't bother but you can guess how my dividend is paid. Hic!

Hi bluebird,

I drink either an alcohol free beer or a gluten free beer - either Becks Blue or San Miguel gluten free. Almost certainly it'll be the contents of the stuff, either gluten, wheat, oats or something else in the fermentation process. I have found anything without the above and/or with hops in is better.

That said, of the lager beers I can just about tolerate Peroni or Tiger beer.

I can no longer tolerate English pub real ales, either bottled from a supermarket or draught in a pub. However, wines and G&T are no problem.

It’s so individual - I’m totaly fine with 1-2 glasses of red wine, a single malt scotch, a cold beer - in fact a small amount of alcohol actually reduces the chances of AF for me because it slows my heart rate. But I wouldn’t drink to excess, and I can’t have drinks that “go straight to my head” such as champagne.

The joy of permanent AF :( is I never notice the effect of alcohol!

I stopped real beer at new year as a preparation up to an ablation . I have drunk gallons of the low/ non alcohol dstuff since then and had no problems at all. Having said that I never had a real drink and went into AF immediately either so maybe beer is not my trigger.

We are all so different . Alcohol does not trigger my AF. It helps calm me down in the evening , too much is obviously not good. The worst thing for me is instant coffee ! Also completely avoid any Paracetemol " extra". These are really bad , they come in the same colour packet as ordinary ones ,beware!

Bob56 profile image
Bob56 in reply to Luludean

I think the majority of "extra strength" painkillers add caffeine to the other active ingredients to boost the pain killing effect and for me at least cafffeine is a definite AF trigger.

I've never (so far) found any evidence to suggest that alcohol is a trigger for my AF. I've thoroughly enjoyed good beer festivals without any problem. Alcohol was present at the last two of my AF occurrences, but not to excess. I am now starting to think that my AF is due to a combination of high stress and lack of relaxation periods _during_ that stress. i.e. meal breaks, tea breaks, switching off and chatting about other things etc.

BTW, alcohol free beer has _always_ made me feel ill, even before I ever had AF! That gluten free beer does nothing for me either (but I'm not coeliac).

I have to say that alcohol used to be a trigger for my AF therefore I haven't touched it for the past 4-5 years which initially was quite difficult and I did enjoy my glass of chilled white wine! I have also gone on to decaffeinated tea and coffee. Prior to my ablation last year I was still getting AF really badly so obviously stopping the alcohol didn't make a blind bit of difference. However now that I only get occasional episodes of AF I am really reluctant to even try alcohol again. I just wish I could find really tasty non alcoholic drinks that aren't too sweet or fizzy.

I agree that they are far too sweet!

I find it's the cold drink can trigger the vagal nerve and AF. I'm post 3 ablation. AF about once every two weeks, at mo. Alcohol free 2yrs

In a discussion with my GP about my AF and ectopics, he highlighted the histamines present in alcohol as a possible trigger for me. He also explained that low or alcohol free beer could still have histamines so not necessarily any better. There have been a number of studies investigating the links between histamines and various cardiac conditions including AF. I'm not sure there's conclusive evidence either way, but interestingly he also warned me off fish unless it was absolutely fresh as the histamines apparently multiply very quickly in their bodies. As a lover of a nice grilled fish and a glass of white wine, he once again knew how to spoil everything!

I was a keen wine drinker before AF but I found alcohol free wine also triggered arrhythmias and ectopics. The ‘baddie’ is sulphides in the wine itself, apparently and not the alcohol.

Really miss my evening glass or two. ☹️

Worst attack I have had was 2 bottles of alcohol free Peroni lasted a long time as well there must be something in it that is a problem for me .....mind you I have strange triggers - mascarpone cheese for one !

Has your AF returned, despite not drinking alcohol? I have been trying a alcohol free fizz but am now worried that I'm doing wrong

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