Afib Runner News Update – Vitamin D Helps with Heart Failure & Exercise Helps Atrial Fibrillation Outcomes

brownmountaintrailBrown Mountain Trail

Vitamin D Helps with Heart Failure

I’m not certain this first item has much to do with readers of this blog – theoretically we are getting outside and getting plenty of sunshine, but a recent study showed that supplementation with high doses of vitamin D improved left ventricular structure and function in patients with chronic heart failure, although it doesn’t improve walking distance (citation below). I think the people in this study were a little worse off than a typical afib runner. In this study the non-placebo group received 4000 IU of vitamin D.

Personally, I like to supplement with vitamin D – one of two supplements that I take. I tested my vitamin D levels via a blood test several years ago and was at the low end of normal even with modest supplementation. This is interesting considering that I was running about 35 miles a week, all outdoors!

The other supplement I take is B complex – pretty standard for vegetarians.

Good news for fib runners: Exercise is good for your a trial fibrillation!

At the recent American College of Cardiology’s 65th Annual Scientific Session & Expo, findings were presented that show exercise reduces risk of cardiovascular death and all cause death. And it appears that the more you exercise the better the outcome.

I have a citation below, but I will summarize by saying that in a European study with over 2000 patients, subjects were divided into four groups based on weekly exercise: none (38.9%), occasional (34.7%), regular (21.7%), and intense (4.7%). In a two year follow up it was determined the “regular” and “intense” group had lower death rate, improved outcomes, etc. And of course the “intense” group did better than the “regular”, “regular” did better than “Occasional,” etc.

So there you go – justification for continuing to work out with atrial fibrillation. It seems obvious but it is nice to see proof.

Vitamin D and hearth failure:

Witte KK, Byrom R, Gierula J, et al. Effects of vitamin D on cardiac function in patients with chronic HF: the VINDICATE study [published online April 2016]. J Am Coll Cardiol. doi:10.1016/j.jacc.2016.03.508.

Exercise and afib:

Proietti M, Boriani G, Laroche C, et al. Physical activity and major adverse events in patients with atrial fibrillation: A report from the EURObservational research programme pilot survey on atrial fibrillation (EORP-AF) general registry. Paper presented at: 65th Annual Scientific Session & Expo; April 4, 2016; Chicago, IL.!/3874/presentation/42867.

4 thoughts on “Afib Runner News Update – Vitamin D Helps with Heart Failure & Exercise Helps Atrial Fibrillation Outcomes

  1. Hi
    Thanks for this post. I love all your pic’s
    I am a mountain biker and part-time runner, and also play squash now and then.
    I have read some articles about “intense” training and how it can possibly change the structure of your heart if done for many years. I cannot remember where I read it but they talked about possible thickening of the ventricular muscles and enlargement of the atrial chambers.

    Have you or anybody come across some studies like that?

    Thank you for the inspiration!

    • My reading has suggested that the reason endurance athletes are more prone is not as much the intense training but the lack of rest and recovery. Chronic inflammation in the muscle of the atrium, which eventually leads to scarring, is thought to change the way pacemaking signal conducts to the ventricle – does that make sense? Also – the increased size of the atrium is also a risk factor. I should write a post about this – thanks for the question.

      • From what I have read, an atrium larger than 5cm (2 inches?) is a substantial risk factor. As I said, this is all new to me! Do you run with a heart rate monitor? haven’t figured out how you are able to run with this at all…..

  2. 1.) My understanding is that an enlarged left atrium (like mine) is a significant risk factor for stroke – but for some reason isn’t included in the CHADS2 risk prediction tool.

    2.) I don’t use a heart rate monitor. Because of the way my sternum is they are really uncomfortable (I had open heart surgery for a mitral valve repair 20+ years ago back when they cracked the chest open to get to the heart. Plus I’m not certain they are very accurate for afib.

    3.) Running *IS* hard with a fib. Especially now with the high dose of the beta blocker.

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