An adult heart rate between 60 and 100 beats per minute (BPM) is considered normal, but a heart rate of only 40 to 60 BPM is considered normal for highly trained athletes. If your ticker tends to tock a bit fast or you have anxiety-induced tachycardia, consider these supplements to lower heart rate.
Tachycardia is a heart rate that's faster than normal, typically above 100 BPM. This condition can be caused by a chemical imbalance, stimulants like caffeine and nicotine, certain medications, heart conditions and anxiety or stress. Even if your beat is less allegro and more andante, an older article published in the December 2011 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association found that a resting heartbeat rising above 70 BPM over time could be a sign of cardiac trouble to come.
Read more: How to Determine the Baseline Heart Rate
Supplements to Lower Heart Rate
Magnesium plays a vital role in maintaining a normal heart rhythm, not to mention hundreds of other physiological processes. A review of 18 self-reporting studies published in May 2017 in Nutrients found that magnesium could be beneficial for helping calm people who suffer from anxiety as well.
According to the authors of a study published in the October 2015 issue of the journal Open Heart, coenzyme Q10 can improve overall heart health. The popular supplement is considered generally safe, but further review is needed to understand how it can affect specific risk factors like blood pressure and heart rate.
Foods That Lower Heart Rate
While some supplements might help, Harvard Health Publishing recommends that you try to meet your dietary and heart health needs with whole foods that lower heart rate. Smokers should start by eliminating stimulants like nicotine, and sensitive people should consider cutting caffeine from their diet, as it can affect heart rate.
As part of a diet low on the glycemic index, beans and other legumes were shown in a study in the November 2012 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine to improve overall cardiac health, including lowering resting heart rate. As well as being full of heart-healthy fiber, beans are a good source of magnesium, which you can also get in nuts, whole grains, dark leafy greens and avocados.
The omega-3 fatty acids in fish have been shown to lower resting heart rate and may have some protective effects on heart health, especially in conjunction with a reduced intake of omega-6's. Fish is also a good source of coenzyme Q10, along with meat, nuts, and some oils.
Other Natural Heart Rate Reducers
Herbal supplements to lower heart rate do not have much definitive evidence to support their use. For example, passionflower has not been studied extensively, and the research on valerian has not been conclusive, according to the National Institutes of Health and National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. Instead, there are a number of science-backed things you can try at home:
Many other at-home methods to lower heart rate exist but should be taught by a doctor. The diving reflex can be especially effective if done safely, so if you need to lower your heart rate immediately, ask a medical professional to teach you the best methods. In the meantime, try a splash of cold water or a refrigerated washcloth.
- MedlinePlus: "Pulse"
- Harvard Health Publishing: "Tachycardia"
- Journal of the American Medical Association: "Temporal Changes in Resting Heart Rate and Deaths From Ischemic Heart Disease"
- Harvard Health Publishing: "Increase in Resting Heart Rate Is a Signal Worth Watching"
- National Institutes of Health: "Magnesium"
- Nutrients: "The Effects of Magnesium Supplementation on Subjective Anxiety and Stress—A Systematic Review"
- Open Heart: "Coenzyme Q10 for the Treatment of Heart Failure: A Review of the Literature."
- Current Atherosclerosis Reports: "Recent Developments in the Role of Coenzyme Q10 for Coronary Heart Disease: A Systematic Review"
- Harvard Health Publishing: "Vitamins and Your Heart"
- University of Michigan Health Services: "Caffeine"
- Archives of Internal Medicine: "Effect of Legumes as Part of a Low Glycemic Index Diet on Glycemic Control and Cardiovascular Risk Factors in Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus: A Randomized Controlled Trial"
- Food and Drug Administration: "Dietary Fiber"
- Frontiers in Physiology: "Reduction of Heart Rate by Omega-3 Fatty Acids and the Potential Underlying Mechanisms"
- Journal of Cardiology: "Cardioprotective Mechanism of Omega-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids."
- Marine Drugs: "Cardioprotective Effects of Omega-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids: Dichotomy Between Experimental and Clinical Studies"
- Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition: "Coenzyme Q10 Contents in Foods and Fortification Strategies."
- PLOS ONE: "Web-Based Mindfulness Intervention in Heart Disease: A Randomized Controlled Trial"
- University of New Hampshire: "Top Songs to Listen to During Times of Stress"
- Journal of Clinical Medicine: "Effects of Exercise on the Resting Heart Rate: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Interventional Studies"
- Journal of Human Hypertension: "Effects of Aerobic Training Intensity on Resting, Exercise and Post-Exercise Blood Pressure, Heart Rate and Heart-Rate Variability"
- StatPearls: "Physiology, Diving Reflex"
- National Institutes of Health: "Valerian Fact Sheet for Health Professionals"
- National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health: "Passionflower"