Arrhythmias are heart conditions that can be caused by an irregular heartbeat.

The atria and the ventricles are the upper and lower chambers of the heart. If you have an irregular heartbeat, you can either slow or speed up your heart rate.

An arrhythmia can lead to a premature beat.

Ventricular arrhythmias are the ones that happen in your heart’s lower chambers. There are two main types of ventricular arrhythmias, according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.

Ventricular Tachycardia is the first and means that your ventricles beat faster but often. The second type of ventricular tachycardia can be more severe and last more than a few seconds. Ventricular fibrillation can cause death.

Magnesium plays a role in keeping a steady heart rhythm, according to the Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS).

You may be wondering if magnesium can help manage these conditions. The article looks at the role of magnesium in arrhythmias.

A close-up image of a supplement pill in someone's hands.
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Magnesium plays an essential role in heart function. It helps regulate blood vessel contraction, which helps manage blood pressure.

Magnesium is in charge of heart muscle contraction, which means it helps keep your heart beating.

A typical heartbeat is maintained by multiple electrolytes like sodium, potassium, and calcium. Yet, magnesium is the nutrient responsible for regulating the movement of these electrolytes within the heart’s tissues.

If or when these electrolytes cannot function as they should, it can lead to irregular heartbeat, or arrhythmia.

Research from 2018 linked low blood magnesium levels with an increased risk of atrial and ventricular tachycardia. Magnesium deficiency is also considered a risk factor for atherosclerosis (plaque buildup in the arteries) and heart failure.

In fact, studies show that up to 38% of people with ventricular arrhythmia have a magnesium deficiency, and 72% have excessive magnesium losses.

According to research from 2015, besides stabilizing electrolyte concentrations, magnesium may also help prevent arrhythmias by:

  • acting as a calcium antagonist (meaning that it restricts the amount of calcium that enters the heart cells, allowing the heart to beat more slowly)
  • “Increasing the cell’s energy levels.”
  • Oxygen usage is improved.
  • Reducing the release of neurotransmitters that speed up your heart rate is a way to do this.

A 2018 analysis of 22 studies evaluating the relationship between magnesium sulfate supplementation and arrhythmias found that magnesium may reduce the risk of ventricular and supraventricular arrhythmias by 32% and 42%, respectively.

Research from 2017 suggests that magnesium may have beneficial effects in treating drug-induced ventricular arrhythmias.

It’s important to note that magnesium supplements are not the main treatment for all ventricular arrhythmias. Usually, these conditions are managed with medications and, at times, defibrillation or intravenous (IV) lidocaine, an anesthetic.

However, IV magnesium is the first line treatment for those experiencing a specific type of ventricular tachyarrhythmia called Torsade de Pointes, as long as they have a pulse.

Magnesium may help with Torsade de Pointes, even in people whose magnesium levels are not considered low or deficient, but there isn’t a clear consensus on how beneficial it is yet.

Magnesium is a mineral that’s abundantly present in your body and can be easily found in numerous foods and supplements, according to the ODS.

It is involved in a wide range of bodily functions. It is necessary for heart health because of its role in nerve impulse conduction and muscle contraction.

According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), magnesium’s daily value (DV) is 420 mg. The DV of a nutrient tells you how much of it you should consume per day.

However, research suggests that many Western-style eating patterns are low in this mineral. In fact, 2015 research suggests that magnesium intake in the United States barely reaches 225 mg per day.

Magnesium is available in many foods.

  • Pumpkin and chia seeds are popular.
  • There are nuts and beans.
  • There is a vegetable called spinach.
  • potatoes
  • It is rice.
  • yogurt

Evidence from 2016 suggests that your body can absorb up to 76% of dietary magnesium.

Still, common causes of low magnesium levels include:

  • low intake of food.
  • The bowel is removed during surgery.
  • malabsorption
  • Decreases in GI function through vomiting or diarrhea.
  • Drugs like lysergic acid diethylamide, lysergic acid diethylamide, and lysergic acid diethylamide are used for certain purposes.

Learn more about magnesium and how it benefits your body.

Despite magnesium’s widely explored beneficial effects for ventricular arrhythmias, research from 2016 also reports a lack of consensus on dosage.

Additionally, major studies have also found inconsistent results and warn about the potentially damaging effects of magnesium overload.

Excessive magnesium intake can lead to symptoms like diarrhea, nausea, and abdominal pain. Per the ODS, magnesium toxicity can lead to:

  • low blood pressure.
  • blushing
  • urine retention
  • Depression.
  • Weakness in the muscles.
  • Difficult breathing

Some people may have an irregular heartbeat due to magnesium toxicity.

While magnesium supplements are generally well tolerated, they can also cause gastrointestinal symptoms, such as diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting.

Before you try magnesium supplements or change your eating habits, be sure to talk with a healthcare professional.

Check out Healthline’s picks of the 10 best magnesium supplements.

There are a number of additional recommendations you could follow to improve or manage heart health.

For starters, according to 2015 guidelines from the European Society of Cardiology, you should be mindful of other electrolytes like potassium to reduce the risk of high blood pressure. High doses of potassium-sparing diuretics are common in people with heart failure.

In addition, research from 2021 suggests that calcium and magnesium compete for absorption in the gut. You may want to avoid consuming calcium-rich foods, such as dairy and leafy greens, and magnesium-rich foods or supplements at the same time.

The American Heart Association (AHA) reports that people with arrhythmias have a higher risk of heart attack, cardiac arrest, and stroke. Addressing any risk factors for heart disease can help support your best health.

Aim to follow a heart-healthy diet and exercise regularly to maintain a weight that’s healthy for you, which may help reduce other risk factors for heart disease, such as high blood cholesterol levels or high blood pressure.

Reducing the use of substances that can contribute to an irregular heartbeat is one way to do that.

Maintaining optimal magnesium levels is important.

Research shows that stress can be another cause of low magnesium levels as well as heart disease.

The AHA suggests trying to incorporate some stress-relieving activities into your day. These might include taking a walk in nature, meditating, or reading your favorite book.

Finally, the AHA recently added good sleep hygiene to the list of lifestyle factors that support cardiovascular health. Consider avoiding habits and substances that can compromise sleep quality, and make rest a priority when possible.

Ventricular arrhythmias are a potentially life threatening condition in which your heart beats too fast.

They are usually treated with a combination of drugs and procedures.

If the person has a pulse, they can be treated with IV magnesium even if they are not low or deficient in magnesium.

Research shows that magnesium deficiency increases the risk of ventricular arrhythmias.

Magnesium can help prevent and reduce ventricular arrhythmias, as well as address other risk factors for heart disease.

There is no consensus on the proper amount of magnesium and it can cause negative side effects. Talk with a healthcare professional before trying magnesium supplements.

You could prevent and manage ventricular arrhythmias by following a heart-healthy diet, exercising, and managing stress.