7 Steps To Stop Heart Palpitations (And Improve Digestion)

Roosh

Cardinal
Orthodox
Originally posted on RooshV.com

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I’ve suffered heart palpitations since my early twenties. I had a complete heart checkup done twice, once in my mid-20s by an American cardiologist and once in my mid-30s by a Polish cardiologist, and was given a clean bill of health both times. Only now in my early 40s have I come to understand the condition and—through trial and error—discovered natural remedies that make it only a trivial problem in my life.

Palpitations are a common heart phenomenon that affects your heart’s rhythm. For me, it presents as a missing beat followed by two quick beats (a heavy beat and then a normal one). If I were to be monitoring my pulse when it happens, I would be expecting a heartbeat but there is none. Did my heart stop? Is this the end? The left ventricle of my heart becomes completely filled with blood, and so a delayed thump finally arrives, a hard beat to eject the overflow of blood in the ventricle, and then immediately a second normal beat. This pattern is disconcerting because I can feel it while sitting, standing, or lying (but not walking), and until I educated myself that it’s not life-threatening, I feared that I would die. My absolute worst episode was going a couple of hours with a big thump every other beat.

I researched my condition and conducted some experiments to find out what was going on. It turns out that my heart palpitations stem from two main causes: magnesium deficiency and improper digestion. Once I fixed those two problems, the palpitations became practically non-existent unless I lift weights (I’ll share why later). Here are seven things I did to mostly eliminate this problem.

1. Take magnesium supplements​


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Fruits, vegetables, and animal meats have far fewer nutrients than in the past because our soils are depleted and farm animals are fed a diet of GMO soy. In some cases, we’re essentially eating cardboard filler slathered with toxic seed oils and wondering why we have all sorts of health problems. Magnesium is an essential ingredient to promote proper electrical activity of the heart, and if you lack magnesium, you will have palpitations. Potassium is also important and I suspect calcium as well.

The supplement that has worked best for me is the Naturelo Bone Health mix, which is interesting since it’s not promoted for heart health. The label advises taking four pills a day, a dose you can start with. I usually take two a day at lunch when I’m not exercising and four on the days I exercise. The reason weight lifting exacerbates my palpitations, I believe, is because the strain stimulates the vagus nerve, which innervates your heart and digestive system. If this nerve is irritated, it can manifest in heart issues.

I also discovered that magnesium allows me to sleep more soundly, so before going to bed, I take another dose of magnesium. The best formulation I’ve found is Marine Based Magnesium. You may only need this supplement alone instead of the more expensive Bone Health formulation.

2. Eat smaller meals, chew food properly, and eat slow​


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It turns out that my palpitations were linked to heartburn-like digestive problems. When my digestion was poor, my palpitations acted up. This gastro-cardiac link was noticed a century ago and labeled Roemheld syndrome, but since pharmaceutical companies couldn’t make money off it, they never explored the link. I can affirm that this link is very real. Let me share an example.

If I eat a full meal then crouch over, thereby squeezing my full stomach against my heart (and perhaps the vagus nerve), I can immediately induce palpitations. Then when I stand up, the palpitations stop. If I lean back over, it starts again. The digestive link became obvious to me on weekend dinners when I usually stuffed myself: my palpitations were awful. They were a direct consequence of gluttony, of eating more food than my body needed.

So what does chewing have to do with it? When you don’t chew your food, your stomach has to work harder to break down the larger chunks of ingested food, which means producing more acid and letting that acid churn in your stomach for a longer time. This extra work, I believe, induces palpitations. For most of my life, I was a bad chewer. I had to recently teach myself to chew food until there was nothing left to chew, and then swallow.

Another problem I had was that I ate too fast because it was more pleasurable, but that leads to palpitations. Not only do I now eat slower, which is easier when you chew food properly, but I also count 120 seconds between items on my plate to slow myself down even further. What ends up happening is that I start to feel full while still eating, not after eating like in the past, and I eat much less, sometimes half as much, and yet feel satisfied enough not to eat further. The result is that my palpitations are noticeably reduced.

3. Take 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in a quarter cup of water before every meal​


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While I didn’t have the classic heartburn symptom of chest pain, I knew something was going on because I was so burpy and gassy after meals, and I also felt bloated for too long (not helped by overeating). Heartburn is caused when your stomach produces more acid than it can contain, to the point that it starts to rise into the esophagus. The doctors say to eat less acid, but your stomach is a vat of acid much stronger than the tomato sauce or orange juice they tell you to avoid.

I suspect that when you start your meal with an acidic liquid, you signal to the stomach not to overproduce acid. It’s as if the stomach is saying to itself, “Hey look, we already got some acidic vinegar in here—we don’t have to produce so much of our own acid that it starts to creep into the esophagus, especially since he’s properly chewing the food into mulch.” Another possibility is that the acid from the vinegar digests food on its own, thereby lessening the overall digestion time, which is especially important if you eat raw vegetables (salads), which is the hardest food for your non-bovine stomach to digest.

Before eating a meal, I gulp down one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar (ACV) in about a quarter cup of water, and then eat. That improved my digestion and also causes less unprocessed food to end up in my large intestine, which anaerobic bacteria pounce on to produce gas. I’m far less gassy than I was before.

When I’m eating at other people’s homes and don’t take ACV before eating, digestion feels rougher and more palpitations occur. ACV is purported to have a lot of health benefits. My opinion is that they all stem from better digestion where you’re actually absorbing the already low nutrients in your food and not causing digestive distress.

Another helper for digestion is kefir. After ACV, I sometimes drink a quarter cup of kefir. These two in combination make digestion a breeze. A substitute for ACV is a peeled orange. Eat the orange first, since it’s acidic, and then eat your meal.

4. Walk for at least 30 minutes after eating​


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There is not much space in your torso. If you look at an anatomical diagram, everything is squished together. It’s more squished when you’re sitting, and squishiest yet if you’re sitting after eating. If you choose to sit after eating a large meal, I promise you that your body hates you. You’re scrunching your organs, even your heart, and you give your stomach little room for the acid to work on the food you just ate. The result is that your stomach has to hold onto the food for longer, and be forced to secrete more acid while doing so, and your vagus nerve will be more irritated, and your heart will act out.

I walk for about 45-60 minutes after eating each day (I eat two main meals a day). After that time, I don’t feel pressure in my stomach. There is no bloating, burping, discomfort, and most importantly, rarely any palpitations. I also don’t get the usual post-meal fatigue. Now I understand why during my trips to the Mediterranean, especially in Italy, I saw so many old people walking at night: they were allowing digestion to take place!

If you’re an Orthodox Christian, there’s another benefit to the walks: you can pray. I take my prayer rope along and say the Jesus Prayer for much of my walk. Better digestion, no heart problems, and communion with God—what a lovely habit that walking after eating has become for me.

If you can’t walk after eating then at least stand for thirty minutes (perhaps by doing the dishes or cleaning). It is also a good idea in general to correct any slouch you may have while standing, because slouching squishes your organs. Another tip is not to lay down for at least two hours after eating so that acid does not easily creep into the esophagus.

5. Don’t drink any liquids during meals and for 60-90 minutes after​


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Let’s say you eat a big meal. Your stomach is churning the food with acid, and then you decide to drink a big glass of water or have a pint of beer. Where does that liquid go? Into the stomach with the food and acid. What happens to the stomach’s contents? The acid is diluted! So now you have a big bag of food, diluted acid, and water, and your stomach puts acidic production into overdrive while trying to get rid of the water, which is a slow process because there’s so much food. Drop by drop, the water eventually leaves the stomach. In the meanwhile, the stomach produces more acid and keeps on churning, prolonging digestion.

For small meals, I wait an hour after I finish eating before drinking anything, even if I’m thirsty. For big meals I wait at least ninety minutes. I want to give my stomach a chance to digest the food, and then when it’s empty, I can drink. Understand that your stomach does not absorb water, only your small and large intestines, so if your stomach is already full of food, you’re causing it to work harder by ruining its acidity with neutral pH beverages. I also don’t drink during meals unless it’s a small sip of water to take a supplement.

I know it’s customary for people to drink with their meals, but they will have to pay the price with more laborious digestion. If I’m thirsty before eating, I’ll drink a glass of water and wait a couple of minutes for that water to drain from my stomach. Then I’ll drink my ACV and begin eating.

6. No caffeine… ever​


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From my personal experience, I can firmly claim that caffeine is toxic to the heart. It disturbs my heart’s electrical activity, directly causes palpitations, and also induces tachycardia (rapid heartbeat), not to mention the jitters. Caffeine is a powerful stimulant and an unhealthy enabler of poor sleep habits.

The only caffeine in my diet is from rare treats of dark chocolate. I’ve become so sensitive to caffeine that if I take only ten grams of dark chocolate before bed (two small pieces), I will be wired and unable to sleep. A dark chocolate brownie is like a cup of coffee to me. I can only have it around lunch, not dinner.

7. Take cold showers​


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I debated whether to put this on the list because I’m not absolutely sure it’s effective, but I suspect that hot showers were making my heart palpitations worse, perhaps by stimulating the vagus nerve in some way. You can experiment with this.

Conclusion

It’s possible that your heart palpitations are due to a structural heart problem that needs medical care, but if you try all the items on this list and are getting relief, chances are there’s nothing wrong with your heart. Instead, it’s the Western way of life that is causing you harm in the form of bad nutrition and eating habits that are all wrong. I cannot stress that everything I knew about eating a simple meal was wrong. The stereotypical movie scene of someone eating a huge meal and then sitting down on a chair with a big glass of beer is the worst thing you can do to promote healthy digestion that doesn’t aggravate your heart.

Sadly, beyond popping pharmaceutical pills, most Americans will not begin to make a lifestyle change to improve their health, because that will mean less time experiencing pleasure or comfort. For heart palpitations, they’ll take prescription beta-blockers, which does not solve the root cause of the problem, and for heartburn they’ll take Prilosec, which also doesn’t address the root cause. Drugs only mask the symptoms (while adding new ones), keeping your body in a state of unwellness. Even if you don’t have health problems, improving your digestion will allow more nutrients and vitamins to be naturally absorbed, yielding better health that can then be used to serve our God-given mission with more strength and vigor.

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Thomas More

Crow
Protestant
Interesting. I have always felt that plenty of water after a meal helped loosen up the food in my stomach so it could be digested and cleared out more easily. However, I can see the logic that the acid can't do its digestive work if it is diluted, so the body tries to generate more acid to compensate.

I have always been one to drink a lot of fluids while I am eating, be it water, milk, diet coke, or alcoholic beverages. I feel like I need it to wash the food down. However, I will try separating my eating and my drinking.

I only rarely have heart palpitations, but I do have a lot of problems with heartburn, so I'd like to see if this helps.
 

DanielH

Ostrich
Moderator
Orthodox
Thank you for writing this. Ever since doing Orthodox fasts I've had digestive issues. My digestive system was robust enough to mostly handle the cardboard and seed oil diet from before but it wasn't enough to handle high fiber and plant protein, I'll try to remember these tips in the future, especially the apple cider vinegar tip.

Also for people of a Northwestern European ethnicity such as myself, try to up your bread game. Sourdough is the easiest to digest, since it's essentially pre-digested bread, but anything you make is going to be better than stuff you get from the store. Don't trust supermarket sourdough, many (I suspect almost all) brands actually just add vinegar to their recipe to mimic the flavor, which really just ruins the flavor and leaves you with the same fake bread as everything else on the shelf.
 

Prores

Sparrow
Orthodox
I’d like to add to your magnesium recommendation, use a soda stream to make magnesium bicarbonate. You can purchase magnesium bicarbonate here from these guys who are Orthodox. I do not know them, but their product was my first experience with magnesium bicarbonate. Whatever process they use to make theirs is very effective. I slept like a baby after first tying it.

You can easily make it yourself for very cheap, which is what I do now. Look up magnesium bicarbonate on YouTube and you’ll find many tutorials. It is more bio available than regular supplements, which will give you diarrhea at a certain point, inhibiting how much you can take in.
 

inthefade

Kingfisher
Orthodox Inquirer
I love ACV, it also helps keep my sugar cravings down.

I have also been taking cold showers for years now. Quite invigorating in the morning.

Great suggestions!
 

GreatIrishElk

Sparrow
Orthodox Inquirer
I discussed this with my doctor as I have been having similar problems for a while. He told me this is pseudoscience at best and blatant populism / racism and antisemitism at worst, and that he would be upping my prescriptions as well as adding new ones.

I’m kidding, but I am tempted to see what a doctor would say.

A solid article and I will certainly be trying out points 1-5 and 7, with 6 I am already under way.

Also, @Roosh, have you any experience with probiotics?
 

Ah_Tibor

Pelican
Woman
Orthodox
Thank you for writing this. Ever since doing Orthodox fasts I've had digestive issues.

It could be your combination of foods, too. A lot of "fasting" recipes tend to be fairly acidic.

I have the opposite problem; I find it hard to transition back into eating regular food after holidays. When my husband and I were dating there was an Easter when I was crunched up on the floor of his family's church bathroom because everybody is like HERE HAVE A SHOT, HAVE ANOTHER SHOT, EAT THIS KOLBASI, EAT THIS CHEESE at 4AM and I'm like... ugghh hahaha. I find it easier to say no when people offer me food as get older.
 

Roosh

Cardinal
Orthodox
Also, @Roosh, have you any experience with probiotics?
Yes, extensively. My experience is they only offer short-term benefit (around two weeks) and then a reversion to the mean occurs. If you compare the number of bacteria in a probiotic pill to the number in your stomach, it's like a drop in the ocean (even the high concentration formulations). I believe they are best for getting over an acute digestive ailment, but not for daily maintenance.
 

Grow Bag

Pelican
Catholic
ACV is fine, but it's better to add ferments mealtime and make it a thing. I think it's the ideal starter, as it creates the right gastric environment to break down the main meal and they're full of probiotics. Something like a roll-mop or picked herring and some sauerkraut. My ferments are also topped up with ACV when the brine juices don't quite cover the red or white cabbage ferment, so I get it anyways.
 

Zep

Pelican
Other Christian
Great article! Full of useful tips, and I like how you approach the resolution of your symptoms trying out x then y then z, to see what works.

I had to heal my knees ( severe tendonitis) 20 yrs ago after two physiotherapists advice didn't work at all. After 6 months I resigned myself to accept that my knees were always going to ache...I got depressed over this. One day I was doing construction and had to move a massive pile of bricks from one location to another using a wheelbarrow. I did this for 5 hours and noticed my knees felt great, I could walk up stairs without the usual clicking and cracking. What I was doing for 5 hours was essentially " The Farmers Walk". So there's very little bending at the knee. The physiotherapists recommend stuff like lunges ... that's a 90 degree angle, that was way too much for my knees at the time. Now, years later, I can do lunges. But it was the farmers walk that saved me.
 

GreatIrishElk

Sparrow
Orthodox Inquirer
probiotic pill
Interesting, thanks! I wasn’t sure you could get them in pill form but I guess of course you can. I’m currently using a drinkable yoghurt form but the same probably applies. I think you’re spot on with the last point, I had a friend use them to get over IBS.

Trial and error is a man’s best friend in these cases, but grateful to hear your experience.
 

BillMcNeal

Woodpecker
Other Christian
Interesting. I have always felt that plenty of water after a meal helped loosen up the food in my stomach so it could be digested and cleared out more easily. However, I can see the logic that the acid can't do its digestive work if it is diluted, so the body tries to generate more acid to compensate.

I have always been one to drink a lot of fluids while I am eating, be it water, milk, diet coke, or alcoholic beverages. I feel like I need it to wash the food down. However, I will try separating my eating and my drinking.

I only rarely have heart palpitations, but I do have a lot of problems with heartburn, so I'd like to see if this helps.
I noticed the exact opposite, especially at a restaurant. If I eat a large meal AND have a lot of water, I'm miserable the rest of the day/night. But if I eat that same large meal with just a little water and I'm much better.

Granted, I do try to avoid large meals entirely, but eating out almost always means a large meal.
 

Roosh

Cardinal
Orthodox
Thank you for writing this. Ever since doing Orthodox fasts I've had digestive issues. My digestive system was robust enough to mostly handle the cardboard and seed oil diet from before but it wasn't enough to handle high fiber and plant protein, I'll try to remember these tips in the future, especially the apple cider vinegar tip.

Also for people of a Northwestern European ethnicity such as myself, try to up your bread game. Sourdough is the easiest to digest, since it's essentially pre-digested bread, but anything you make is going to be better than stuff you get from the store. Don't trust supermarket sourdough, many (I suspect almost all) brands actually just add vinegar to their recipe to mimic the flavor, which really just ruins the flavor and leaves you with the same fake bread as everything else on the shelf.
I suspect ACV before meals will strongly help your issue of digesting fasting foods.
 

nathan

Robin
Catholic
Yep yep, extremely similar to my experience with both getting them and investigating them (even including that specific youtube channel) as we discussed the other day in that thread.

Hadn't heard the ACV trick yet. I will try that out, although at this point thankfully the palpitations are not much of a bother to me.

Hot showers actually improve mine. I am wondering if the steam relaxes the tension in my torso in my case. Or maybe it is that the nerve gets stimulated by cold air, so upon warm moist air, the nerve becomes less stimulated.

I stay away from caffeine too. There are too many bad effects that it has on the body, including PACs/PVCs. It is one of the few things the mormons get right.

The other thing about walking after eating is that is greatly smooths out the blood sugar impact of a meal. The only other thing I can add from that other thread is the possibility of a food intolerance (different from an allergy), most commonly to one of four types of food: wheat, cow's milk, corn, nightshades.
 

christie2

Woodpecker
Woman
Other Christian
Good work researching some cures for yourself. I could read articles on food and its effects on us all day.

I wanted to share there's more videos on 9gag on the C hinese food oil.
Both videos I've watched(just now and earlier this weekend) were of a lady lifting street sewer covers to scoop out greasy slop that then gets sold to be processed back into cooking oil.
Gross me out both times.
 

Jessie

Robin
Woman
Protestant
I used to follow the Weston Price diet in the Nourishing Traditions cook book, and they said similar things about drinking water while eating. It dilutes stomach acid and it is not ideal.
 

soli.deo.gloria

Woodpecker
Orthodox
Gold Member
Good article @Roosh.

I have the same issues and in addition to what you wrote I have found eating certain foods which are "burpy" can also aggravate the condition because it bloats the stomach with gas and presses on the heart. I'm sure this varies from person to person but examples of this for me would be raw cucumbers and green (bell) peppers. I have to be careful when I eat that stuff and especially if it's before bed as it causes big problems for me.

I’d like to add to your magnesium recommendation, use a soda stream to make magnesium bicarbonate.
SodaStream is an Israeli company with questionable business practices and their facilities are located on land that was stolen from Palestine. I am also not impressed with their products or value for money and I personally choose not to support them. Just FYI.
 
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Mountaineer

 
Banned
Orthodox Catechumen
Gold Member
My experience with heart palpitations has been very different in terms of causes. The cause was mostly psychological which resulted in the tension of the diaphragm, the rest I attributed to bad posture. Since I dealt with these two even coffee is a non issue now. I prefer not to drink it when I'm in hurry or before and after physical work, then it makes the heart nervous but it doesn't affect my sleep. I see that Roosh is very fragile when it comes to sleep. Fortunately I never miss mine.
 
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apmbcn

Chicken
Protestant
Roosh, you should check whether it's legal in the US to have this article up without a disclaimer that you are not a licensed healthcare practicioner and are not giving medical advice. I vaguely remember people getting into legal difficulties with regards to giving medical advice back when I was in my early 20s, though I could be misremembering.
 
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