People around the world are taking better care of their health by focusing on exercise, eating a healthy diet and regularly attending health screening appointments. People are also turning to nutritional supplements for their perceived anti-aging benefits, to reduce the risk of illnesses, or as an alternative to traditional medication.
The first thing to do before selecting a nutritional supplement is to consult with a doctor or pharmacist. Ensuring your supplement comes from a domestically or internationally reputable company is also crucial as fake products, contaminated with insecticides and other toxins, could place your health at significant risk.
One of the most common results of choosing unsuitable nutritional supplements is arrhythmia.
Arrhythmia refers to the heart beating too quickly or too slowly (our pulse is usually between 60–100 beats per minute) and occurs as a result of a disruption in the heart’s electrical signals or a short circuit affecting one of the heart’s chambers. This can lead to a reduction in the amount of blood being circulated to various organs, and can result in heart failure or stroke in those experiencing atrial fibrillation.
Your heart should beat 60-100 times per minute. During exercise or excitement it may beat a bit faster. However, if you’re suffering from cardiac arrhythmia or abnormal heartbeat, you will experience dizziness and vertigo and may even black out. Cardiac arrhythmia may occur in anyone, male or female, at any age. If it goes unnoticed, it may lead to a risk of paralysis.
Another heart abnormality is atrial fibrillation (AF)—better known as a heart attack. AF is dangerous and it’s hard to rehabilitate the patient back to normal. Internal causes for heart disease include:
External factors include hot temperatures, stress, over-work, lack of rest, alcohol consumption and smoking.
There is a wide range of nutritional supplements available on the market – produced both domestically and abroad – which can have a number of adverse side effects that can contribute to the development of arrhythmia. Consumers must therefore study each product in detail and be sure to understand its potential effects before taking it.
|Potential pharmacologic contaminant||
Potential adverse cardiovascular effects
|Weight loss||Drugs which reduce appetite, such as fenfluramine||Causes thickening of the heart valve and chordae tendineae|
|Drugs which reduce appetite and stimulate metabolism, such as sibutramine||Elevated pulse, high blood pressure, palpitations and chest pain. It has also been determined that sibutramine increases the risk of ischemic heart disease and stroke in patients with coronary artery disease|
Thyroid drugs, such as thyroxine
|Hypothyroidism, arrhythmia, high blood pressure and palpitations|
|Maté or Brazilian tea||Palpitations and elevated pulse (caused by caffeine)|
|Sexual enhancement||Drugs which strengthen erections, such as sildenafil, vardenafil, tadalafil acetildenafil, hydroxyacetildenafil, hydroxyhomosildenafil, and piperidenafil||Hot flashes, confusion, palpitations and a drop in blood pressure|
|Athletic performance enhancement||Synthetic testosterone drugs, including 19‐norandrosterone, methandienone, stanozolol, and testosterone||Myocardial infarction|
It is essential that you carry out a detailed study of the product you are considering in order to analyze its suitability, safety record, and ingredient list, as this will enable you to quickly identify the cause of any irregularity you experience, as well as inform you of what symptoms to be on the lookout for.
Nutritional supplements should not be taken continuously over an extended period. If it is necessary to use supplements regularly be sure to carry out frequent liver function screening, including AST, ALT, BUN and Cr assessments, alongside blood pressure and blood glucose level check-ups. Should any irregular symptoms present themselves while taking supplements, immediately halt consumption and consult your doctor or pharmacist for advice on how to proceed.
Electrocardiography (better known as EKG or ECG) can tell us if our heart is beating normally. An annual check-up is recommended for anyone over the age of 30. ECG is usually included in the check-up package, but please remember that if your heart is beating normally during the procedure, the test may not be able to detect arrhythmia. So if you have any other indications such as fainting, dizziness or vertigo, you should get a blood test, ECG or additional test using the Holter Monitor. The Holter monitor will record your electrocardiograph over a 24-hour period to find any heart abnormality.
Arrhythmia may not always be preventable, but there are a number of ways to reduce the risk of developing the condition including: reducing consumption of coffee and alcohol, relieving stress, not smoking, eating a healthy and balanced diet, getting regular exercise, and attending all doctor appointments and health screenings.
The First Class Honour M.D., Faculty of Medicine, Siriraj Hospital, Mahidol University, 2001.