Magnesium heart palpitations

Magnesium Supplementation can help ease Heart Palpitations but

Effects of magnesium in heart palpitations? Mechanisms of action.

Magnesium is an important mineral that has vital functions in our organism. It is mostly intracellular and takes part as a cofactor in many enzymatic reactions.

It is located mostly in bone and soft tissues especially muscles. Bone is the magnesium reservoir with half the amount of total body magnesium so it can correct magnesium acute changes but bone magnesium is not fully bio-available because only one third of skeletal magnesium is exchangeable.

This means that deep concentration changes are not easily corrected. Intra-cellular concentrations range from 5 to 20 m mol/L and mostly this portion is bound to proteins, negatively charged molecules and adenosine tri-phosphate (ATP). Extracellular magnesium is found in serum and red blood cells and it can be bound to protein, onions or be ionized.

This last one is the most bioactive portion. Magnesium stabilizes enzymes and most importantly those who generate ATP which is very important in all body chemistry. Since Magnesium stabilizes enzymes and body cells (including cardiac cell), it's an important electrolyte to stabilize heart arrhythmia (and palpitations). 

Magnesium Mechanisms of action and palpitations.

To understand how magnesium heart palpitations are created we must know the role of magnesium is cardiac diseases that cause palpitations:

Magnesium stabilizes enzymes and most importantly those who generate ATP which is very important in all body chemistry. Since Magnesium stabilizes enzymes and body cells (including cardiac cell), it's an important electrolyte to stabilize heart arrhythmia (and palpitations). 

 Magnesium can be considered as a calcium antagonist. Cardiac cells spend more energy (because of rapid heart beating) in the circumstances of the reduced energy molecules. In this case hypomagnesaemia worsens the situation in a life-threatening manner and magnesium must be administered.

In arrhythmias: hypomagnesaemia gives arrhythmias when is associated with the potassium depletion. Magnesium slows the entrance of calcium in the conduction system of heart and decreases sinus node rate and prolongs the AV conduction time. Intravenous magnesium is considered in all refractory arrhythmias even in the presence of normal magnesium levels, especially if the patient has been receiving diuretics and digoxin.

Magnesium heart palpitations can appear both in hypomagnesaemia and hypermagnesaemia. 

 Hypomagnesaemia gives tremor, agitation, muscle fasciculation, depression, cardiac arrhythmia and hypokalaemia. Early signs may include loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, fatigue and weakness but they can be absent.

As magnesium deficiency worsens the positive effect of Magnesium on stabilizing cardiac cell causing palpitations. Moreover it will be associated with numbness, muscle contractions, abnormal heart beat and coronary spasms might occur. Severe hypomagnesaemia is accompanied by other  electrolyte imbalances such as low levels of calcium and potassium.

 Hypermagnesaemia at higher concentrations leads to neuromuscular dysfunction, respiratory depression, hypotonia, areflexia and coma in severe cases. Cardiac effects include bradycardia by central nervous activation. This is associated with palpitations, abnormal ECG, complete heart block, atrial fibrillation and asystole. Take note that these findings are neither diagnostic nor specific for this condition.

Side effects or other benefits of magnesium supplements.

Magnesium supplements are widely used to treat heart palpitations related to a cardiac cause like angina, arrhythmia, hypertension, congestive heart failure and it may improve insulin resistance.

Benefits of magnesium supplements are many but they must be taken in the correct dose so you need a doctor’s advice how to use them. Magnesium regulates your hearts rhythm by coordinating the nerves and muscles that initiate the heart beats.

Relieves the angina by reducing the arterial spasms. Helps equalize the potassium and sodium levels and dilates the vessels which make it good in treating high blood pressure. Both hypertension and arrhythmia are complications of congestive heart failure and magnesium can help in preventing them.

Magnesium is taken with food (legumes, soya etc.), in the form of oral supplements and only in the emergency room can be administered intravenously (in life-threatening arrhythmias or hypomagnesaemic convulsions). It has been used as an anticonvulsant because of the depressant effect in the synapses.

These supplements increase the performance of sport people and decrease catecholamine release in phaeochromocytoma. In immunology magnesium supplements can be used in allergic rhinitis and asthma. Stimulated immunoglobulins E (that cause allergy) increase the intracellular calcium which can be antagonized by magnesium and ease the symptoms.

Magnesium is thought to have laxative, cytoprotection and anti-acid effects as well. In obstetrics it can be used to treat pre-eclampsia (hypertension, oedema and proteinuria at same time) and eclampsia (when pre-eclampsia is associated with seizures).

Magnesium can be used in neuromuscular block and in ischaemic brain in specific circumstances.

Magnesium supplements may have side effects. Hypomagnesaemia and hypermagnesaemia can cause magnesium heart palpitations as discussed above. Side effects  may include bradyarrhythmia and skin flushing.

People with bradycardia, AV node conduction abnormalities and compromised renal function must not take these supplements. They will take them only when doctor prescribes them.

Magnesium increases the risk of digoxin toxicity and people taking digitalis must not take them.

The PPI drugs (low the stomach acid) when taken for long periods of time  in most cases more than one year) can cause hypomagnesaemia and magnesium heart palpitations symptoms will develop. Such cases need immediate interruption of PPI and magnesium supplements are given.

Symptoms of overdose of magnesium supplements are rare when kidney function is normal.If you notice problems when taking these supplements like vision troubles, fainting, drowsiness, slow heartbeat, trouble breathing etc. stop taking the supplement and go visit your doctor.

Return to Home Page

Are you looking for information about something in particular? Use this handy search box to see if its written about on this site...