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Magnesium Supplement for Irregular Heart Rhythm

A young man with an irregular heart rhythm reversed it with magnesium taurate supplements. What a relief he felt!

Do you have an irregular heart rhythm? Even premature ventricular contractions (PVCs) that are not believed to be dangerous can be disconcerting. A person is justified in becoming alarmed over more serious rhythm disruptions. Some readers have found, after years of suffering, that a magnesium supplement can help.

Could Magnesium Help Control Atrial Fibrillation?

Q. A few years ago, I began experiencing a heart arrhythmia called A-fib. The cardiologist prescribed 40 mg of sotalol twice daily and also recommended an ablation. He explained that the A-fib would probably get worse with time.

To me, this seemed like other muscle twitches that I had sometimes experienced. I treated those previous muscle problems with oral magnesium, but I’d often experienced diarrhea.

Then I read that magnesium taurate or glycinate would be less likely to cause diarrhea. I took a supplement together with the beta blocker drug sotalol. My A-fib disappeared.

After a few months, I slowly cut back on the sotalol, finally eliminating it completely. Instead, I have been taking magnesium glycinate four times a day with no A-fib for years. My cardiologist says I am an outlier, so this may not work for everyone.

A. Atrial fibrillation requires medical supervision. There is some evidence that magnesium may help control this irregular heart rhythm (Nutrients, July 10, 2018).  A more recent review, however, supports your cardiologist’s opinion that many people won’t benefit (PLoS One, Oct. 26, 2023).

You are not the only one to have a good response, however. We heard about one reader’s adult son.

What to Do About Irregular Heart Rhythm?

Q. My son started having heart palpitations at age 19. The doctors could find no cause for it. He lived with this constant scary feeling that he could die at any moment.

He went into A-fib [atrial fibrillation] twice over the years but was brought out of it. By the time he was forty, he was exhausted from all this. Even the Mayo Clinic found no physical reason for his irregular heart rhythm.

His doctor suggested he try magnesium. My son took supplemental magnesium and was disappointed that it made no difference.

Different Types of Magnesium:

When I looked it up online, I found there are many different types of magnesium. The doctor didn’t tell us that! We found that magnesium taurate is supposed to help heart palpitations. His life changed overnight!

He is now 48 and living a more peaceful life. He recently admitted to me that he even considered suicide – it was such a horrible way to live.

Why Magnesium Is Important:

A. Magnesium is essential for all cells. It is especially important for both muscles and heart health. If levels of this mineral drop too low, people are at higher risk for atrial fibrillation, an irregular heart rhythm. When doctors correct magnesium deficiency, they may also reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease in addition to irregular heart rhythms (Antioxidants, Sep. 23, 2020).

There are indeed many formulations of magnesium. Some, such as magnesium maleate and glycinate, are easier on the digestive tract. People  absorb magnesium taurate quickly and completely (Biological Trace Element Research, Jan. 2019). People with poor kidney function should avoid magnesium supplements, however. They can strain overburdened or underperforming kidneys.

Magnesium Eased Another Arrhythmia:

Q. I used to take verapamil for occasional supraventricular tachycardia. Four years ago I switched to magnesium, alternating 250 mg one day, 500 mg the next.

No more irregular heart rhythm. In addition, I sleep better and have no more constipation. Since I have no prescription insurance, I have saved myself a lot of money!

A. In one study, women who took less than half the RDA for magnesium (which is 320 mg/day) had significantly more supraventricular beats (American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, March 2002) on that regimen. Moreover, magnesium can also combat constipation (Nutrients, Feb. 2021). However, the warning about low kidney function applies in this case as well.

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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies..
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  • Lutsey PL et al, "A pilot randomized trial of oral magnesium supplementation on supraventricular arrhythmias." Nutrients, July 10, 2018. DOI: 10.3390/nu10070884
  • Curran J et al, "Magnesium prophylaxis of new-onset atrial fibrillation: A systematic review and meta-analysis." PLoS One, Oct. 26, 2023. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0292974
  • Liu M & Dudley SC, Jr, "Magnesium, oxidative stress, inflammation, and cardiovascular disease." Antioxidants, Sep. 23, 2020. DOI: 10.3390/antiox9100907
  • Uysal N et al, "Timeline (Bioavailability) of Magnesium Compounds in Hours: Which Magnesium Compound Works Best?" Biological Trace Element Research, Jan. 2019. DOI: 10.1007/s12011-018-1351-9
  • Mori H et al, "Magnesium oxide in constipation." Nutrients, Feb. 2021. doi: 10.3390/nu13020421
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