The Common Vitamin That Can Help Your Heart Beat Better

By Jonathan V. Wright, M.D.

One of the most common treatments for a certain type of irregular heartbeat (technically known as atrial fibrillation) is a procedure called cardioversion.

Cardioversion involves applying an electrical shock to the heart to attempt to restore a normal heart rhythm. It sounds a bit frightening, but it's actually very safe and is often successful-at least in the short term. The problem is, the fibrillation frequently returns-sometimes after a length of time, but sometimes quite promptly, within just a few days. And when prompt recurrences happen, it can be quite upsetting. Patients are often understandably discouraged and don't want to undergo repeat treatment.

But just last month a group of Greek researchers reported that vitamin C-yes, that's just "regular" vitamin C-can significantly decrease recurrence of atrial fibrillation after cardioversion treatment.

In this study, 44 individuals with this problem were "randomized" evenly to take either no vitamin C, or 2 grams of vitamin C 12 hours before cardioversion, and then 500 mg twice daily for the next seven days. Only one of the patients given vitamin C had a relapse of atrial fibrillation, while eight (36 percent) of the patients not given the vitamin had relapses.1

The researchers also found two other positive changes in the group given vitamin C: both their white blood cell levels and fibrinogen levels fell significantly, but neither dropped in any of the control patients. Markers of inflammation were also significantly higher among patients who had a recurrence of atrial fibrillation, compared with those who did not.

So far, there's no longer-term follow-up to this research, but taking 2 grams (or perhaps a bit more) of vitamin C each day certainly can't hurt-and there are many other health benefits to it as well.

References:

1 Korantzopoulos P, Kolettis TM, Kountouris E, et al. "Oral vitamin C administration reduces early recurrence rates after electrical cardioversion of persistent atrial fibrillation and attenuates associated inflammation," International Journal of Cardiology September 2005; 102(2): 321-326


This article was published in the August, 2008 issue of the Dr. Jonathan V. Wright's Clinical Nutrition & Healing newsletter, and is presented here with permission.