by Glickman-Simon R

The heart works in a steady pattern. Arrhythmia is a break in the pattern. The heart may beat too fast, too slow, or irregularly. It may also skip a beat. Some arrhythmias may not cause health problems. Others can cause fainting, low energy, problems breathing, and chest pain. It can also raise the risk of other problems, such as stroke.

It is treated with drugs, implanted devices to steady the rhythm, or heart surgery.

Natural Therapies

You should not treat this problem yourself. But some people may use natural therapies along with standard ones.

Possibly Effective

Unlikely to Be Effective

Editorial process and description of evidence categories can be found at EBSCO NAT Editorial Process.

Editorial process and description of evidence categories can be found at EBSCO NAT Editorial Process.

Herbs and Supplements to Be Used With Caution

Talk to your doctor about all herbs or pills you are taking. Some may get in the way of your treatment or other health problems you may have. These have known safety issues:

  • Caffeine excites the heart and may cause rapid heartbeat. Herbs that contain caffeine, such as guarana and cola nut, may cause the same problems. The herb ephedra also excites the heart. Do not take it if you have an arrhythmia.
  • Creatine may cause heart arrhythmias, but more data is needed.
  • Fish oil in high doses acts as a blood thinner. It may cause problems in some people.



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REFA3 Li Y, Barajas-Martinez H, et al. Comparative effectiveness of acupuncture and antiarrythmic drugs for the prevention of cardiac arrhythmias: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Front Physiol. 2017 Jun 8;8:358.


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REFB2 Jenkins DJ, Josse AR, Beyene J, et al. Fish-oil supplementation in patients with implantable cardioverter defibrillators: a meta-analysis. CMAJ. 2008;178:157-164.

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Revision Information

  • Reviewer: EBSCO NAT Review Board Richard Glickman-Simon, MD
  • Review Date: 03/2019
  • Update Date: 03/02/2019