T Nation

Heart Health & Relation to HRT


I've been on TRT with Thyroid meds for going on 3 years. I have a history of heart related issues, but visits to my cardiologist over the past few years have always had great results. My endo added HGH therapy to my regimen (2units/day), just about three months ago and I have been feeling just fantastic.

Here's the issue, I had my 6 month check up with my Cardiologist yesterday and everything was going fine. He then noticed that I had not had an EKG for a year and decided to have the nurse do one. Upon returning to the room he told me that my heart was not beating regularly and that I had developed an Atrial Fibrillation.

I was shocked to hear this, because I've had no symptoms whatsoever. I'm wondering if this could at all be related to the HGH therapy; I've always heard and read that HGH is the best thing for (an ailing) heart.

Now I'm being told that I may have to be subjected to whats called a cardioversion (shock the heart back to normal rhythm) but only after wearing a monitor for twenty four hours for diagnosis of the severity of this issue. Has anyone experienced this, and do you feel it can be related to the HGH therapy? Any input is appreciated.


I can't comment if HGH has anything to do with it. But I can tell you that I also felt that I had an irregular heart beat. I take thyroid meds also and doctor put me on a holter 24hr monitoring. I assume this is what you will get. The results came back that I had about 6 beats extra at times. Doctor said this is nothing to worry about quite normal. To be honest I never looked into it further. I also had my bp monitor state sometimes irregular heart beat sensed when I took my readings. I had and EKG and nothing out of the ordinary last year.

What kind of Thyroid meds are you on? If you are Hypo it is not uncommon to swing between hyper and hypo. I would strongly suggest you get a TSI blood test to rule out hyper. From what I have read you should not have any TSI in blood. I have also been told that having high amounts of TSI in blood damages the heart.

TSI can cause irregular heart beats, ask to get it checked out. I hope you have more luck than me thus far. I just have had bad luck with shitty docs.


IROC, I am Hypo, but my test results have consistently been good, I am taking Lyothyronine and Levoxyl for treatment. My TSH is 0.677, T4 8.1, FT4 1.24, T3 total 153, T3 uptake 34.0. My doctors are pretty good, I've just sort of been caught on my heels with the diagnosis given to me regarding the Atrial Fibrillation. I've been researching the causes and possible cures and one possible treatment may be the use of a Magnesium supplement, which I may try. Thanks for the input.



This is interesting. I also had some weird heart issues earlier this year. I was having episodes, especially at night, where it would feel like my heart was racing and pounding. I also felt out of breath (air hunger, it's called). An ECG found that I was missing up to three beats at times.

Prior to this I was doing some long cardio sessions and I was sweating buckets. I believe I messed up my electrolyte balance.

  • have you been sweating a lot recently (could precipitate an imbalance)?
  • do you have any fasciculations (e.g. in your calves)?

I haven't noticed any strange heart activity in the last few weeks (or more). It may be because I've upped my Magnesium supplement intake to ~800mg/day (on top of normal diet). Make sure you try a good supplement. I use Magnesium glycinate. Magnesium oxide will just give you the runs, and it's not very bioavailable.


Interestingly enough, night time (when I go to bed) is the time when I feel some of the possible symptoms also. I don't experience the shortness of breath that you describe, but my cardiologist and what I've read online do say it is one of the symptoms of Atrial Fibrillation. My EKG however showed that my heart races, meaning instead of 60-100 beats per minute, mine is sometimes reaching 100-175 or more beats per minute.
To answer your questions, yes I have been sweating sometimes excessively even when I'm not working out. I can't say that I've noticed any twitching of my calve muscles, however there has been some cramping and not only localized to my calves. I understand where you're going with this howvever and my recent research leads me to believe that I in fact am deficient in Magnesium. I have read that Magnesium chelate is also another good form to use, have you heard of it in this from and do you have an opinion on it? I do know that Magnesium Oxide is not what I should use. I plan to start with 500 mg/day and adjust accordingly. Thanks for the information.


Magnesium glycinate is a chelated form of magnesium. The magnesium is bound (chelated) to glycine (amino acid) for better absorption.

I have also used magnesium oil, and it helped with my calves twitching. The problem with it is I could never be sure of the dosing (it's topical).

You might check out "The Magnesium Miracle" by Carolyn Dean. Based on that book, if memory serves, around 70% of people in North America are magnesium deficient (by her standards, I guess). For reasons explained in the book, a blood test will likely not catch that, unless you are grossly deficient. Dean recommends supplementing with 600-1000mg/day, also if memory serves.

PS: although my heart feels like it's racing, it's not. My ECG put me at 52bpm, during an "event". So it's just a weird sensation.


You might enjoy this paper:

Dietary Magnesium Deficiency Induces Heart Rhythm Changes, Impairs Glucose Tolerance, and Decreases Serum Cholesterol in Post Menopausal Women, Forrest H. Nielsen, PhD, David B. Milne, PhD**, Leslie M. Klevay, MD*, Sandra Gallagher, BS and LuAnn Johnson, MS, Journal of the American College of Nutrition, 2006

Link: http://www.jacn.org/content/26/2/121.long

(not equating you to a post-menopausal woman at all!)

From the text:


Also of interest I believe:


MacJ, Thanks for the information /links, I really try to educate myself through research such as reading the book you have suggested and links to papers, lab studies, etc. I was able to find some 250 mg tablets of Magnesium Glycinate at the local Vitamin Shoppe. I took 1 tab last night just prior to going to bed and although I'm not certain, I'm pretty sure that it may have helped with my A-Fib racing heart symptoms.

I then took 2 tabs (500mgs) this morning and have noticed that I haven't had any symptoms as of yet today. Do you know if it is possible to experience the effects of Magnesium so soon? I will more than likely adjust my dosage up to 750-1000mgs as my body gets used to absorbing the Magnesium.

None of my local health food or supplement stores seem to carry Magnesium Glycinate in bigger dosage than 250 mg, would you happen to know of an online source that does carry larger dosages?
Once again, thanks for your input.


Placebo effect works too :slightly_smiling:

It can take a long time to restore magnesium levels in the body (weeks to months even). Unless you get injections.

Sorry, I don't know of any sources off hand for large dosage capsules. I use "MegaMag" from a company called NutriChem. These are 120mg capsules. On top of that I take two Ca/Mg/Zn caps per day. These are not high quality, and the Mg is from a "blend" which I'll bet is mostly magnesium oxide. As soon as the bottle is empty I'll find a better quality Ca/Mg/Zn combo.

It'll be interesting to see how your next ECG looks.


MacJ, I was sort of thinking the same regarding a Placebo effect. New twist, I wore a Holter monitor for 24 hours. Received a call from the Dr. after he read the results and he told me that I in fact experienced a few times of slow heart beat rather than fast. I am scheduled for an Echocardiogram on the 28th of this month, I'll keep you informed.


Good luck on your follow up. You are lucky to have such an attentive doctor. Sounds like you are in good hands. Yes, please let us all know how you progress.

I wonder if by slow heart beat he meant a widening of the QRS complex, or he actually meant a slow heart rate (bpm). At least you'll find out soon.


Good luck on your follow up. You are lucky to have such an attentive doctor. Sounds like you are in good hands. Yes, please let us all know how you progress.

I wonder if by slow heart beat he meant a widening of the QRS complex, or he actually meant a slow heart rate (bpm). At least you'll find out soon.


Update on A-Fib situation: I had an ECG on the 28th and it turns out that my heart is functioning perfectly. No valve, pumping or blood flow issues. I have been taking 750 Mg of Chelated Magnesium daily and definitely can say it has made a difference not only in terms of my heart function, but also with issues such as excessive sweating, cramping, back pain, etc. I've also noticed my energy level has seemed to increase.

The thing I don't understand however is, my cardiologist insists that I continue to take Pradaxa, which is the new Coumadin type blood thinner without the need for frequent blood tests. He tells me it's because I could have episodes of A-Fib and this is a preventative measure against that happening.

I guess the thing that has me confused and I will press the Dr. on is, upon his last prognosis he told me the Holter monitor showed a few episodes of slowed heart rate, this in fact lead to him taking me off of the medication Metoprolol. I was / am under the impression that A-Fib is a higher than normal heart rate or quivering of the heart. If my functon is good and I do not have signs of a high heart rate, why do I need the Pradaxa?

I've asked some of my less trusting friends who have suggested that it's a Big Pharma deal, in other words, the Dr. gets a payday to write prescriptions for the expensive drugs. I'm hoping that my Dr. is not like that, because he has seemed to do the right thing in the past, although, I do think I have been over medicated with Metprolol, which is given to slow the heart rate. I have lost almost 45 lbs. in the last year and am in great physical shape, which he hasn't taken in to consideration regarding medications and dosages.


Good stuff.

If you're not supplementing with Zinc, you might want to add that in with your Mg at night. 30mg (or even 60mg if you're active and sweating a lot through exercise, and your dietary intake of Zn is not high). Google "ZMA".

If you don't take the meds (e.g. in order to see if you actually need them and you are not needlessly subjecting your body to some pharmaceutical agent), and you have a fibrillation episode, would it then be too late to start?

I think the key thing you wrote is "why do I need the Pradaxa?" If your doctor is advising you to take this drug, then your doctor should lucidly explain why and convince you of the necessity.

......Or, does your doctor think you have a "Pradaxa deficiency"?

PS: I may be off-base here, but I looked at the Pradaxa website and I don't see where it claims to prevent A-Fib.


I will look in to Zinc supplementation, I had also read a bit about this being "Heart Healthy" combined with Magnesium. You've come across the same information that I have regarding the use of Pradaxa. It is primarily a blood thinner that prevents clotting.

I know that A-Fib prevents the flow of blood completely from the upper chamber, which results in pooling of blood, coagulation, and possible clotting that can lead to a stroke. Can it be a possibilty that I have A-Fib as well as episodes of a slow heart rate? I guess if that were the case, the Dr. would have mentioned it to me.
I'll certainly will ask the questions. Thanks for the input MacJ; again, I'll keep you posted.


rbarker - have you ever read stopthethyroidmadness.com/things-we-have-learned? It is possible that a number of your issues could be related to your thyroid.

what are all of the possible side effects of the drug? are the chances of a serious side effect worth taking a prescription drug on the off chance that it might be helpful?


PureChance, I have not read Stopthethyroidmadness, but definitely will now that I know it's out there. As mentioned in one of my earlier posts, I do suffer from Hypothyroidism and do take medication(s) for it. I did go through some trial and error before we finally got the meds dialed in and everything seems to be fine.

That however is not to say that other adjustments could be possible, but I have been feeling like things have been on track for the last year and a half.
Regarding the use of Pradaxa ("the drug"), I agree with you in that I don't like to first, take a drug for the sake of taking it and second, it is a powerful blood thinner that I just don't like having in my body and the problem is, it can cause internal bleeding, prevents clotting so if I get cut in any way it would need medical attention as opposed to just bandaging or waiting for natural clotting to take place.

I am frustrated and a bit furious with the train of thought that my Dr. seems to have taken regarding the use of prescription drugs, especially this one even after testing has shown that I really don't need it. I am considering getting a second opinion even though I have been with this Dr for a number of years.

I would rather work harder to prevent any type of A-Fib event he feels could happen, while also using other means of supplementation if necessary.
Thanks for the input.


remember - your doctor is just a consultant and nothing more. you are free to follow or disregard his advice. You can keep seeing him and simply tell him that you decided that the risk of the side effects was not worth the potential benefit to you at this time, but that if your A-Fib issues got worse, you would reconsider.


Update on A fib- Went to hospital yesterday and had a Cardioversion done. My heart rythm converted to Sinus after the first blast. Entire procedure took less than ten minutes. Prep time, waking up and release took the longest, but was home by 1:00 p.m. Hopefully I will be able to maintain Sinus rythm and be done with this, only time will tell. Dr. says I will have to stay on Pradaxa for at least one more month to safeguard against possible clotting. Best thing is no restrictions and can get right back to working out.