Insufficient consumption of certain vitamins and minerals can result in heart palpitations and cardiac arrhythmia. However, overconsumption of some nutrients can also result in these side effects. It's best to be cautious when consuming any supplements that can cause heart palpitations.
Vitamin Deficiency and Heart Palpitations
There are very few vitamin deficiencies that cause heart palpitations. However, according to the National Institutes of Health, insufficient folic acid (also referred to as folate) can result in anemia. Anemia, in turn, can cause heart palpitations, fatigue, shortness of breath and a variety of other symptoms.
Insufficient vitamin B12 can also lead to anemia and thereby result in heart palpitations. Deficiencies in folate and vitamin B12 often go hand in hand. However, anemia is a fairly severe side effect of nutrient deficiency. You're likely to experience other common side effects of B-complex vitamin deficiency, like oral health problems, before experiencing heart palpitations.
That being said, if you have been diagnosed with a folate deficiency, you can find this nutrient in a variety of animal and plant-based products. Beef liver, spinach, legumes, asparagus and Brussels sprouts are all good sources of folate.
Vitamin B12 is harder to obtain, because it's primarily found in meat, seafood and dairy products. However, certain sea vegetables and mushrooms also contain this nutrient. Yeasts and cereals are also fortified with vitamin B12.
Vitamin D has also been associated with heart palpitations, but only in large amounts. Instead of these being vitamin deficiency heart palpitations, they are heart palpitations caused by over-supplementation. Excessive amounts of vitamin D can also raise calcium levels — another essential nutrient associated with heart palpitations.
Read more: The 14 Best Foods for Your Heart
Potassium Consumption and Heart Palpitations
According to Harvard Health Publishing and the Food and Drug Administration, potassium and magnesium both help your body maintain a healthy, normal heart rhythm. Both insufficient and excessive amounts of these nutrients can cause cardiac side effects, like heart palpitations.
Most adults need to consume between 2,600 and 3,400 milligrams of potassium on a daily basis. This nutrient can be found in various legumes and beans, fruits, vegetables and animal products. You can obtain large amounts of potassium from sun-dried tomatoes, peppers, soy products, dairy products and a variety of herbs, including cilantro, chervil and parsley.
However, most people don't get enough potassium. The Food and Drug Administration considers this mineral to be a nutrient of concern.
Insufficient potassium can result in hypokalemia. Mild hypokalemia can cause muscle weakness and gastrointestinal side effects, while moderate to severe hypokalemia can cause kidney and heart-related issues, including heart palpitations and arrhythmias. People with pre-existing kidney and heart issues are particularly prone to these side effects.
Unfortunately, if you take too many potassium supplements, you could experience similar issues. The build-up of potassium in your body, known as hyperkalemia, can also affect your heart rate and cause palpitations. Hyperkalemia may even cause life-threatening arrhythmias. People with kidney problems, heart problems and diabetes are at increased risk for this health issue. Certain medications may also make you more likely to experience hyperkalemia.
Read more: 10 Heart Healthy Foods That Aren't
Magnesium Consumption and Heart Palpitations
Adults typically need to consume between 310 and 420 milligrams of magnesium each day. This nutrient can be found in a variety of fiber-rich, plant-based products. These include foods like legumes, beans, nuts and seeds. You can obtain large amounts of magnesium from foods like seaweed, hemp seeds, flax seeds, Brazil nuts and peanut products.
According to the National Institutes of Health, insufficient amounts of magnesium can result in cardiac problems like abnormal heart rhythms and coronary spasms. Magnesium deficiency also has the potential to cause hypokalemia or hypocalcemia (low levels of calcium).
Like potassium, large amounts of magnesium can also produce cardiac side effects. Excessive magnesium in your body can result in gastrointestinal issues, low blood pressure, palpitations and even heart attacks. Magnesium toxicity is rare, but when it occurs, it can result in death. You're more likely to experience magnesium toxicity if you've taken magnesium-containing laxatives or antacids.
Heart Palpitations and Your Diet
Even if you're not deficient in any nutrients or consuming excessive amounts of supplements, certain vitamins and minerals can still have the tendency to produce heart palpitations. In these cases, other foods and beverages can increase the levels of specific nutrients in your body. For example, the consumption of marine collagen can increase your body's calcium levels.
While collagen heart palpitations are unlikely, hypercalcemia-related palpitations are not uncommon. According to the Mayo Clinic, excessive calcium can cause fainting, arrhythmias and other heart problems. Hypercalcemia also has the potential to produce kidney, gastrointestinal and cognitive side effects.
If you are experiencing heart palpitations regularly but are consuming a relatively healthy diet, you may want to consult your nutritionist or doctor. They can assess you for abnormally high or low levels of vitamins or minerals. Some people, such as those with gastrointestinal problems or other secondary health issues, may require more nutrients than average.
Other Products That Cause Palpitations
While certain vitamins and minerals can cause heart palpitations, it's much more likely for something else in your diet to be causing this issue. For example, caffeinated products like coffee, tea, chocolate and energy drinks are all common causes of heart palpitations and other cardiac side effects.
If you're not particularly sensitive to caffeine but have experienced palpitations or other similar side effects after consuming energy drinks, your symptoms could be caused by another added ingredient.
An October 2014 study in the journal Trends in Endocrinology and Metabolism reported that common energy drink ingredients, like ginseng and taurine, can affect your cardiovascular health. These aren't just energy drink ingredients,though; according to a March 2018 study in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, products like these are also taken as supplements to enhance cognitive function.
Despite their benefits, these ingredients have been known to cause increases in blood pressure. You might also experience sensations like your heart racing after eating or drinking them.
Is This an Emergency?
- NIH: "Folate Fact Sheet for Health Professionals"
- NIH: "Vitamin B12 Fact Sheet for Health Professionals"
- NIH: "Vitamin D Fact Sheet for Health Professionals"
- Harvard Health Publishing: "Listing of Vitamins"
- FDA: "Vitamins and Minerals Chart"
- NIH: "Potassium Fact Sheet for Health Professionals"
- MyFoodData: "200 Foods Highest in Potassium"
- American Heart Association: "Hyperkalemia (High Potassium)"
- MyFoodData: "200 Foods Highest in Magnesium"
- NIH: "Magnesium Fact Sheet for Health Professionals"
- MedlinePlus: "Shark Cartilage"
- Mayo Clinic: "Hypercalcemia"
- Trends in Endocrinology and Metabolism: "Impact of Caffeine and Coffee on Our Health."
- International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism: "Nutritional Supplements and the Brain"