A person holding up a vitamin pill with sunlight streaming through it

Vitamin D and Your Heart: Balancing Levels to Prevent Palpitations

It's likely that you’ve never given your heart's rhythm much thought until you get that strange sensation. And all of a sudden, it's your top concern. 

Did you know that vitamin D, or a lack thereof, can significantly affect your heartbeat? A deficiency in vitamin D or an excess can cause palpitations.

Gaining an understanding of heart palpitations is essential to appreciating the possible advantages of vitamin D in alleviating the symptoms.

This article will examine the connection between vitamin D and heart palpitations and explore if this supplement might help reduce these symptoms. If you have ever had palpitations or are interested in learning more about the variables affecting heart health, this article is for you.

What is the function of vitamin D in heart health?

Vitamin D is vital for maintaining your health in numerous ways, including enhancing bone health and your immune system. It also supports the health of your heart and blood vessels. The so-called "sunshine vitamin" strengthens the heart in the following ways:

Stroke prevention

A recent Italian study examined the impact of various food kinds, vitamins, minerals, and eating habits on an individual's risk of stroke. According to the research, individuals who have low blood levels of vitamin D are more susceptible to stroke

Along with several other benefits, vitamin D may aid by strengthening the lining of blood vessel walls to permit blood to flow freely and lessen the adverse effects of inflammation.

Improves blood vessel health

Using an intriguing method, researchers from Ohio University also investigated the relationship between high blood pressure and vitamin D by looking at blood vessel walls. 

Using minuscule sensors that are a thousand times smaller than a human hair, the researchers injected blood vessel cells with vitamin D3, one type of vitamin D.

Vitamin D3 restored blood vessel damage caused by high blood pressure and cardiac damage caused by vitamin D.

Mitigates cardiovascular risks associated with diabetes

People who have type 2 diabetes are at a significantly elevated risk of getting a heart attack or stroke. A new study indicates that low vitamin D levels increase the risk of getting type 2 diabetes and pre-diabetes. 

Researchers monitored a group of elderly, healthy individuals for 12 years without any indications of diabetes at the start of the trial. After that, they examined the individuals who had gotten diabetes to determine their shared characteristics. 

It was discovered that one of the best indicators of diabetes was the body's level of vitamin D. The most vulnerable group was those with the lowest blood levels of vitamin D.

Blood pressure regulation

High blood pressure is a risk factor for heart attack and strokes. The relationship between hypovitaminosis D and hypertension highlights the role of vitamin D in maintaining blood pressure levels. Therefore, vitamin D supplements can potentially lower the risk of heart attacks and strokes.

You may also like: Discover 11 Incredible Ways Vitamin D Aids Your Body

What are the symptoms of heart palpitations?

Heart palpitations can manifest differently from person to person.  Breathing difficulties, a racing or irregular heartbeat, a fluttering sensation in the chest, and lightheadedness or dizziness are common indications and symptoms.

How are heart palpitations diagnosed?

It is critical to consult your doctor for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan if you frequently experience these symptoms. 

A complete evaluation of your medical history and a physical examination are likely necessary to assess your symptoms and determine the underlying cause of your palpitations.  

A Holter monitor or an electrocardiogram (ECG) may be suggested in certain situations to track the electrical activity of your heart over time.

Other tests are stress tests, heart ultrasounds, or echocardiograms; a Holter monitor that you wear to record the activity of your heart for a day or more; an investigation of electrophysiology; and catheterization of the heart.

An electrophysiologist may need to examine you. This medical practitioner is an expert in abnormal heart rhythms.

It is important to remember that outside variables, such as physical activity, specific foods or drinks, and even temperature fluctuations, can also impact heart palpitations. 

It will be easier for your healthcare professional to diagnose and treat your palpitations if you record your symptoms and possible triggers.

What are the causes of heart palpitations?

The heart rate may be higher than usual for a variety of causes. Among them are:

  • Anxiety and stress
  • Consumption of coffee
  • Alcohol
  • Certain drugs
  • Additional stimulant substances, such as certain narcotics used recreationally
  • An overactive thyroid gland
  • Pregnancy
  • Smoking
  • High temperature
  • Elevated blood pressure

A very uncommon cause of sinus tachycardia is a significant underlying cardiac problem. The underlying cause of the rapid heartbeat will determine the course of treatment.

Can low vitamin D lead to heart palpitations?

There is a connection between heart palpitations and vitamin D deficiency. Low vitamin D status can cause poor heart muscle contraction. The body's overall muscle strength and contractility have been linked to vitamin D levels. 

Why would the muscles in the heart be any different? Studies have demonstrated that the heart expresses the vitamin D receptors (VDR) gene

This implies that vitamin D directly and significantly affects the cells that make up the heart.

Vitamin D also controls the activity of the heart muscles and helps your body absorb calcium. 

But how, you ask?

Calcium and vitamin D go hand in hand. They typically collaborate to complete the task. 

Increasing the body's calcium absorption from the gut is one of vitamin D's functions. More precisely, it has been documented that vitamin D controls every stage of the intestine's transcellular calcium transport mechanism. 

It causes the development of calcium-binding protein, which binds calcium to protect it as it travels throughout the cell; membrane calcium channels, which allow calcium from the gut to enter the cell; and calcium extrusion, which removes calcium when it is no longer needed.

After entering the bloodstream, calcium helps with blood vessel dilatation, muscle contraction, neuron transmission, and blood vessel contraction. An erratic heartbeat can result from hypocalcemia or low calcium levels, which can be due to low vitamin D levels. 

Life-threatening cardiac events can result from severe hypocalcemia. Therefore, vitamin D can indirectly affect heart rate through its effect on calcium. 

Your body's absorption of calcium is influenced by vitamin D, and calcium itself aids in the production of electrical impulses and heartbeat-regulating muscle contractions.

Can vitamin D stop heart palpitations?

According to research, vitamin D does stop palpitations. As mentioned above, low vitamin D may contribute to irregular heartbeats. You can lessen certain worries regarding palpitations by supplementing with vitamin D.

A Danish study titled the Danish Osteoporosis Prevention Study reveals that women may be more vulnerable to heart attacks and strokes if they have low vitamin D levels. 

Researchers discovered that 788 women with vitamin D deficiencies had greater coronary artery disease risk factors than 1,225 women with adequate vitamin D levels, based on an analysis of 16 years' worth of data on over 2,000 healthy, postmenopausal white women aged 45 to 58. 

Females with low vitamin D levels had lower HDL (good) cholesterol, higher fasting glucose, higher triglyceride levels, and a higher body mass index. 

In contrast to 38% of the women with normal vitamin D levels, 47% of those with vitamin D deficiency were smokers, according to the study. 

During the study period, 15 percent of the women with a vitamin D deficit died or experienced a heart attack or stroke, compared to 10.2 percent of the women without this deficiency. Insufficient vitamin D in healthy women significantly raises their risk of cardiovascular problems.

Does excessive intake of vitamin D lead to heart palpitations?

When taken in excess, vitamin D can trigger palpitations in the heart. Elevated vitamin D levels can cause increased calcium absorption and hypercalcemia, characterized by abnormally high blood calcium levels.

Hypervitaminosis D, or dangerous vitamin D levels, is uncommon, but it appears to have become more common in recent years. 

Although fortified meals may also be at fault, research indicates that errors in supplement prescription and administration are the primary cause.

Physicians and pharmacists may make mistakes regarding vitamin D supplements during prescription. 

Also, they may not monitor this medication as carefully as they should, which could result in hazardous blood vitamin D levels over time.

In other instances, the patients buy over-the-counter (OTC) or online supplements and administer them themselves. 

Since some supplements may contain far higher quantities of vitamin D than what is stated on the label, this might be potentially fatal.

Studies demonstrate that hypercalcemia can cause ventricular fibrillation, a common kind of palpitation, and drastically disrupt regular cardiac muscle movements.    

Being a fat-soluble vitamin, vitamin D can increase and raise the risk of renal illness and hypercalcemia in the body. Routine blood tests can guide your ideal vitamin D intake, which can help assess your vitamin D level. 

In fact, an extra dose of vitamin D was found to be associated with a higher risk of atrial fibrillation, characterized by an irregular and frequently fast heartbeat, according to a March 2018 analysis published in the Circulation journal.

The toxicity can result from daily doses of 60,000 international units of vitamin D taken over several months, according to the Mayo Clinic. 

However, the researchers in the Circulation paper pointed out that further research is necessary to define the safe maximum limit for vitamin D.

It's crucial to remember that dietary vitamin D supplementation seldom results in vitamin D toxicity and that sun exposure does not raise vitamin D levels too high.

How to treat heart palpitations

Vitamin capsules in a bowl on a white surface

You can stop or lessen heart palpitations with home remedies or lifestyle modifications. However, those who experience severe or regular symptoms could require medical attention.

Here are ways you can manage heart palpitations:

Use relaxation techniques

Stress can intensify or cause heart palpitations. This is true because excitement and anxiety can both raise adrenaline levels.

Relaxing can help you manage your stress. Among the best are meditation, yoga, and tai chi.

Try sitting with your legs crossed. Breathe in slowly through your mouth and out through your nose. Continue until you achieve tranquility.

Additionally, you should concentrate on unwinding at all times of the day, not just when your heart races or palpitates. Pause and take five deep breaths every hour to two hours to help you stay calm and relaxed.

Eventually, keeping your stress level down will help you decrease your heart rate and avoid episodes of rapid heartbeat.

Stimulate the vagus nerve

One of the numerous jobs the vagus nerve performs is keeping your heart and brain connected. The vagus nerve is stimulated by vagal maneuvers, which may aid in controlling a rapid heartbeat. The vagus nerve can be stimulated at home, but only with a doctor's permission.

The following are some methods for stimulating the nerve:

  • Apply a cold towel or ice pack to your face for 20 to 30 seconds, shower, or squirt cold water. The cold water's "shock" aids in nerve stimulation.
  • Cough, gag, or chant the word "om."
  • Hold your breath or bear down as though you were having a bowel movement.

You should carry out these exercises while lying on your back. You can learn how to do it from your doctor.

Stay hydrated

Heart palpitations may result from dehydration's ability to change blood pressure and electrolyte imbalances.

Dehydration can cause your blood to thicken because it contains water. The thicker your blood, the harder it is for your heart to pump blood through your veins. 

That may quicken your heartbeat and cause palpitations.

Grab a glass of water if you notice an increased heart rate. Drink more water if your urine is dark yellow to avoid palpitations.

Daily water consumption should be six to eight 8-ounce glasses, as recommended by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. 

However, based on factors like age, sex, and pregnancy status, different people will require different amounts of water throughout the day, according to experts.

Restore electrolyte balance

Electrolytes are charged molecules found all over the body and support a variety of bodily processes. They are essential in controlling the heart rate, for example.

Research suggests that low electrolyte levels could be a sign of heart disease and other disorders that can induce palpitations in the heart.

One has to think about consuming a balanced diet high in fruits, vegetables, and nutrients that is well-balanced. This will supply the right electrolytes, like magnesium, calcium, and potassium.

That being said, if a person has any medical conditions—such as kidney disease—that call for a restricted potassium intake, it is best for them to consult with a physician. 

Heart palpitations and arrhythmias can result from excessive potassium intake.

Some people choose to use supplements to get these nutrients. But before taking any Vitamin D supplements, especially if you are already on prescription medication, you should consult your doctor.

Avoid stimulants

Numerous drugs have the potential to increase your risk of having a rapid heartbeat. Removing these items from your routine could help your symptoms subside or possibly go away. Among them are:

  • Foods and beverages with caffeine
  • Tobacco products, cannabis, and excessive alcohol 
  • Consumption of specific cough and cold remedies
  • Medications that decrease appetite
  • Drugs used to treat mental health problems
  • Prescription drugs for high blood pressure
  • Illicit substances, such as cocaine

Your personal triggers are probably exclusive to you. Make a note of anything you eat that might make your heart palpitate. 

Try to stay away from anything you believe might be the source of your symptoms, and observe if they go away. If you believe prescription drugs may be the source of your symptoms, discuss this with your doctor before you stop taking them.

Try extract from hawthorn berries

An essential part of traditional Chinese medicine, hawthorn berry extract has been used to treat high blood pressure and digestive problems. Extracts from hawthorn berries may also be able to lessen palpitations in the heart.

An earlier two-year cohort study divided 952 heart failure study participants into multiple groups. Three groups would receive hawthorn extract therapy: one would receive it exclusively, one would receive it as an add-on, and the final group would receive therapy without hawthorn.

According to the study, individuals who took hawthorn berry extract by itself experienced fewer heart palpitations than those who received no hawthorn at all.

The National Institutes of Health, however, notes that the research about hawthorn's effect is conflicting and that it may accelerate the development of heart disease.

See your doctor before using hawthorn extract because it may interfere with cardiac medicines. Children should not be given hawthorn, and it is not advised to take it when pregnant or nursing.

When selecting herbal remedies, find out where to get hawthorn from because the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate herbs. There can be issues with contamination, incorrect labeling, or quality.

Lower your stress levels

An elevated heart rate is often associated with stress. Therefore, lowering your stress level as much as you can will assist in lowering your heart rate. It can also lessen your chance of hypertension and other health problems brought on by stress.

There are several useful methods for lowering stress. Among these are journaling, attending therapy, trying deep breathing, and engaging in mindfulness exercises.

Engage in regular exercise

Regular exercise promotes mental, emotional, and physical health. The American Heart Association advises people to take 150 minutes of aerobic activity per week. 

Cardiology does not have to be difficult. Actually, taking brisk walks can help you shed weight, decrease your blood pressure, and enhance your cardiovascular health, among other health benefits.

However, some people experience palpitations when they exercise, so it is important to identify and avoid potentially harmful forms of exercise. Anyone intending to start a new fitness program should talk to their physician about their goals.

Make valsalva movements

If your heart is pounding too quickly, you can use a breathing method called the Valsalva maneuver to help bring it back to a normal heart rhythm.

To execute a Valsalva maneuver, follow these steps sequentially:

  • Hold your nose a little.
  • Shut your mouth.
  • Try to release the breath.
  • As though having a bowel movement, bear down.

Spend ten to fifteen seconds executing these steps.

Avoid binge drinking

Drinking alcohol in moderation doesn't always have adverse effects, but studies show that even 1.2 alcohol daily can raise the risk of atrial fibrillation. Palpitations in the heart are only one sign of this illness.

Ensure you have enough vitamin D in your body

Vitamin D deficiency is prevalent, especially in those who don't get enough sun exposure.  The most natural approach to ensuring your body gets adequate vitamin D is to spend time outside (as long as you wear sunscreen!). 

Your doctor could suggest a supplement if your vitamin D levels are low.

Does vitamin D deficiency cause heart disease?

Low vitamin D levels raise the risk of heart disease and the death that results from the illness.

Recent research has connected vitamin D deficiency to several illnesses previously unrelated to it, such as cardiovascular disease (CVD)

There has been documented data indicating a potential link between low levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D and cardiovascular disease (CVD), as well as possible processes behind these disorders.

In addition, clinical atherosclerosis in coronary calcification and cardiovascular events like myocardial infarction, stroke, and congestive heart failure have been linked to vitamin D insufficiency. Numerous clinical studies have consistently shown a separate correlation between vitamin D deficiency and different degenerative CVD symptoms, including vascular calcification.

What are the recommended sources of vitamin D?

Dishes with vitamin d supplements

Here are some sources of vitamin D to consider: 

The sun

Solar radiation exposure on your skin can provide you with vitamin D.

Remember that windows exclude UV rays; therefore, you cannot receive vitamin D through them. 

The sun must come into intimate contact with your skin. Additionally, since your skin regulates the amount of vitamin D your body synthesizes, it is unlikely that you will receive too much vitamin D from the sun.

Foods rich in Vitamin D

Certain foods that are high in vitamin D include the following:

  • Fortified cereal
  • Milk 
  • Mushrooms
  • Sockeye salmon

These foods work best when consumed with a meal or snack that contains fat because vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin (think good fats such as nuts, nut butter, olive oil, avocado, dressing, etc.) 

Vitamin D supplements

Why not try our natural extra strength D3 + K2 dietary supplement

Vitamin D is also available as a supplement. The supplement will determine the exact amount.

There are two main types of vitamin D, D2 and D3. Ergocalciferol, or vitamin D2, is a vitamin D derived from plants, including mushrooms and yeast. Fortified foods utilize this form.

Cholecalciferol, or vitamin D3 like Why Not Natural’s Organic Vitamin D3 With K2 capsules, is a kind of vitamin D derived from animal sources, including fatty fish, egg yolks, liver, and lanolin from sheep's wool. This is the form that your body is currently holding.

Your vitamin D levels will rise when you take both D2 and D3. Nevertheless, some data suggests that vitamin D3 will increase the levels and hold them longer.

The amount of vitamin D in a daily multivitamin might differ significantly. A survey using 67 distinct multivitamins reveals that the vitamin D levels per serving ranged from 0 to 800 IU. Please remember this if you use a multivitamin and a vitamin D supplement.

Additionally, look for the USP verification mark on the supplement to ensure you obtain the most precise potency on the label.

Takeaway: Maintain your heart health with vitamin D 

The cellular activity of heart tissue is intimately linked to vitamin D, which is also essential for preserving the calcium balance that directly controls nerve impulses and heart contractions.       

Elevated levels of vitamin D are connected to an increased risk of irregular heartbeats, while low levels can raise the risk of cardiovascular disease and palpitations.

One quick and simple approach to supporting proper heart function and enhancing your general health is to take vitamin D supplements to maintain appropriate serum vitamin D levels.

At Why Not Natural, we provide a wide range of all-natural supplements, including vitamin D. 

Check out our Organic Vitamin D3 Liquid Drops Enhanced with K2. This is a great option if you want to increase your vitamin D levels. Your body will easily absorb them so that you will obtain all the benefits without hassle.
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