Extrasystoles and the Heart: Symptoms, Causes and Remedies

Extrasystoles and the Heart: Symptoms, Causes and Remedies. I will start off by saying that the condition characterized by extrasystoles (premature heart beats) is not dangerous and is highly unlikely to pose any serious health problems. In simple words, an extrasystole is a premature or faster heart beat occurring in many absolutely healthy individuals. It is estimated that 1 in 2 people will experience the condition at one point in their lifetime. Extrasystoles improve and disappear completely with vitamin and mineral supplementation and lifestyle changes.

Extrasystoles may affect perfectly healthy children, adolescents, adults and older people without posing any health risks whatsoever. I first experienced extrasystoles about 15 years ago and, as you can see, I am still alive and happy today. I started noticing some irregularities in my heart beat when I was alone at home, laying in my bed. I also noticed that when I was in the company of other people, having a pleasant time, they disappeared like magic.


When you are laying in bed, just before falling asleep, and you feel like your heart is either skipping a beat or going a heartbeat too fast, it is natural to feel scared and think that maybe something is wrong. At first I was scared too and sought medical advice to calm my fears down. But the extrasystoles did not stop even after getting reassurance from my doctor that my heart was perfectly healthy. Eventually, I learnt how to manage them. Here is my personal experience about how I successfully dealt with extrasystoles.

What I learnt causes my extrasystoles: I noticed that hearing sudden, loud noises or being woken up unexpectedly from my sleep not only made me anxious, frightened or stressed, but also triggered my extrasystoles. When I would calm down, my heartbeat got back to normal. A scientific explanation for this is that the body, believing it is in imminent danger, reacts instinctively by increasing anxiety and stress levels, to prepare for an attack. Stress, anxiety, fear are emotions that may trigger extrasystoles by the negative impact they have on our body. But as soon as we calm down, extrasystoles stop too.

The causes for my extrasystoles were almost always stress and anxiety. For example, my favorite thing to do is go for a bike ride in the countryside where I live. Breathing fresh air and feeling the warm sun rays on my skin fully relaxes me. And although I sometimes rode my bike for miles, I never experienced extrasystoles. But when I started worrying about having to get up in the middle of the night to work, or stressing about how to pay my bills, the condition started bothering me again.

Since I had went to my doctor for a thorough checkup, including an EKG (electrocardiogram), and found out I was perfectly healthy, I knew there couldn’t be something physically wrong with me. Almost 95% of extrasystoles cases occur as a result of stress and anxiety and are not caused by a physical problem of the heart.


Another cause for extrasystoles is smoking. According to statistics, smoking is the number 1 cause of cardiovascular disease, especially in men. Smoking also causes extrasystoles so giving up cigarettes will certainly improve the quality of your life. An excessive intake of sugar, honey and other similar sweeteners can cause heart rhythm abnormalities as well. Coffee drinkers are also at risk of experiencing extrasystoles as a result of the caffeine in coffee.

For some people, eating too much dark chocolate or cocoa or drinking excessive amounts of tea also causes extrasystoles. Dark chocolate, black coffee and green and black tea are powerful stimulants and some people are simply much too sensitive to them. Everyday tea and coffee contain stimulants such as theine and caffeine which excite the cardiovascular system and cause extrasystoles so drastically reducing your intake of coffee and tea will help you immensely. Read more about the side effects of drinking coffee and which is better: coffee or tea in the morning.

You might find this funny, but sometimes, when I feel the urge to pee and still hold it in a little bit more, I get extrasystoles. Moreover, not getting enough sleep might put your body into overdrive and cause extrasystoles, or even low blood pressure. So make sure you are not sleep-deprived.

Because I went through the same thing some of you are going through now, I wholeheartedly recommend that you go see your doctor and ask for an ECG or EKG test (an electrocardiogram). What happens during an EKG or ECG? A family doctor or cardiologist will place some small metal discs called electrodes on your chest, arms and legs (usually wrists and ankles). You just have to lie still on a bed for several minutes (5-10) while the machine to which the electrodes are attached measures your heart’s electrical activity. An EKG will simply confirm that your extrasystoles, and possibly other symptoms, are no reason for concern.

How I take care of my extrasystoles: Because extrasystoles are not an indication of any heart problem, I am against taking any medication. After all, I have a healthy heart. But I do have some tips to make extrasystoles more manageable so the condition doesn’t interfere with daily life. In the evening, before going to sleep, I like to drink a cup of herbal tea. My favorites are hawthorn, sea buckthorn tea, lemon balm, chamomile, passionflower because they relax me and the warmth of the tea makes me sleepy. These herbal teas are also natural herbal remedies for anxiety.

Keeping stress levels low is also very important for managing extrasystoles so make sure you do something you enjoy every now and then. Some people like cleaning the house when they are alone, others would enjoy a good comedy movie or listening to their favorite music. I like riding my bike in solitary places, where I am surrounded by trees, maybe lie down by the bed of a river and watch ducks or seagulls. Always keep in mind that life is beautiful and that you deserve to enjoy it and you will have no more troubles with extrasystoles.

49 Replies to “Extrasystoles and the Heart: Symptoms, Causes and Remedies”

  1. Thank you Marius, that’s a very helpful response. I will let you know what happens after I’ve seen the cardiologist, and allowed the magnesium and caffeine-free regime time to do its work.
    Best wishes, Geoffrey.

    • If you haven’t seen a doctor by now, the best thing to do is make an appointment with a cardiologist and get a diagnosis. If it turns out to be extrasystoles, then the cardiologist will surely tell you to make some dietary and lifestyle changes. For example, give up coffee, alcohol, caffeinated beverages, sodas and quite smoking. Extrasystoles are also made worse by stress, so it is important to reduce your stress factors as well as get enough sleep at night. For me, taking vitamins and minerals helped treat my extrasystoles. I took potassium, magnesium and B vitamins supplements for more than 3 months. Talk to the doctor more about these aspects and see what he or she recommends to you. Wishing you lots of health.

  2. Hello. First of all I want to mention that I’m a healthy guy, basketball player. I don’t smoke and don’t drink alcohol. I’m not fat: I’m 1.92 cm and I have 74 kilograms. Last week I was checking my pulse and it was like 70 beats per minute resting, my blood pressure is 120/80 which is normal. But in the last days I can feel extrasystoles especially when I’m resting. And if I think about them I get them. I got extrasystoles like 1 in 2 or 3 minutes. As I mentioned I only get them when I’m thinking of them. I was scared that I was gonna die. When I fall to sleep I don’t feel them but when I wake up and I start thinking of them I get them. Are they dangerous for my heart? What causes them? I think that stress can cause them in my case because I got a lot of stress in my life. Thank you! And sorry for my bad English! And I forgot to tell you that I’m 19 years old.

    • Hello, Bojan. Your weight, blood pressure and pulse are within a normal range, just as you observed. And know that extrasystoles are almost never a serious health issue. But, you still have to go to a cardiologist for an exam. It’s usually just an EKG that measures your heart readings to rule out possible anomalies, like an arrhythmia. If the cardiologist tells you your extrasystoles are not caused by anything, then they are not an issue. So please see a doctor first.

      Almost always extrasystoles are not something to worry about. It helps to identify what is causing them. Like is says in the article above, possible causes include:
      1) Stress.
      2) Anxiety.
      3) Magnesium and potassium deficiency.
      4) B group vitamins deficiency.
      5) Increased nutritional requirements in case of intense physical exercise or if you are still growing or your bones are still developing.

      Especially athletes like yourself are prone to magnesium deficiencies because you are always physically active and your muscles, including the heart, need plenty of magnesium to work properly. If the body uses it all, then muscle cramps, aches, tingling, numbness or extrasystoles can appear. The nervous system also uses a lot of magnesium. Stress and anxiety eat up magnesium reserves and can cause a deficiency which can then cause extrasystoles. So if you have been stressed for some time now, maybe with basketball, school or something else, it is possible you need more magnesium. You also need sufficient potassium because being physically active can use up potassium about as fast as magnesium (potassium is an electrolyte that helps conduct electrical impulses from nerves to muscles to coordinate movement so anyone that is always exercising or playing a sport needs to have enough of it too).

      When I first had extrasystoles I was extremely scared there was something wrong with my heart. And the more I got stressed and anxious over it, the more extrasystoles I had. I went to the doctor, had an EKG and found out my heart was physically healthy. For me, taking magnesium and potassium supplements and a good B vitamin supplement was the solution. It took 3 months, but my extrasystoles disappeared. You are young and likely perfectly healthy, so don’t worry too much. Make an appointment with a cardiologist first of all and have a test to check your heart. Then consider taking some quality magnesium, potassium and B vitamins supplements and see how you start feeling. Ask the doctor about this and see what amounts he or she recommends for you specifically. See new dietary intake guidelines to know how much of each nutrient is recommended for good health. Waiting to hear back from you with good news.

  3. Thanks for replying! Yesterday I ate 2 bananas at night before I went to sleep and after 2 hours I got 1 extrasystole per 15 minutes which is good for me. I saw improvements maybe because of the bananas? Today I woke up at 10:00 in the morning and from that time until now I got only 5 extrasystoles. Maybe from the bananas because they have Magnesium and Potassium or because I’m relaxed because all says that extrasystoles in healthy people are not dangerous. I don’t know what to say. But anyway I hope they will disappear. When I was younger I felt sometimes that something like moves in my left side of my chest, like 1 of my heartbeats was stronger. And after some time they disappeared, but now they are again here and I paid attention to them, maybe they will disappear again? Thank you!

    • Hi, Bojan. Bananas are a good food for extrasystoles. 100 g of raw banana contains:
      1) 358 mg of potassium
      2) 27 mg of magnesium

      An average person is told to get 4700 mg of potassium a day, so 100 g of banana gets you approximately 13% of your minimum recommended daily intake of potassium. Also, an average person should get 420 mg of magnesium a day and 100 g of banana provides 15.5% of the minimum recommended daily value of magnesium. So yes, bananas might have helped improve your extrasystoles condition.
      Magnesium is part of your bones, muscles (including heart) and nervous system (reduces anxiety, stress, good for depression, mood swings). You need potassium for blood pressure and for muscle health (potassium regulates muscular contractions and heartbeat).

      Other foods rich in magnesium and potassium and good for extrasystoles include: grains, beans, dried and fresh apricots, potatoes, sweet potatoes, avocado, almonds and other nuts and seeds, leafy greens like spinach, chard, dehydrated fruits, broccoli, milk and dairy, pumpkin seeds, cocoa and dark chocolate.
      But cocoa also contains theobromine and caffeine which stimulate both the nervous system (potentially causing insomnia, anxiety) and the heart (potentially causing extrasystoles, palpitations etc.) so eat in small amounts or avoid altogether if you feel it’s making you feel worse.

      Usually, extrasystoles in healthy people disappear when they reduce their stress levels and increase their intake of potassium and magnesium (some people also need more B vitamins too). But remember that intense physical exercise, sweating from exercising can make you lose more essential nutrients and increase your requirements, so it is possible you might need to supplement if diet alone doesn’t provide enough nutrients to stop the extrasystoles.

  4. Anyway, Monday I’ll go to the cardiologist to make ECG and blood test to see what causes my problem. I’m a bit afraid but I must be strong.

    • It’s great that you are going to the cardiologist. I am confident the test results will be alright. Like I said, it is possible your extrasystoles are caused by a potassium and magnesium deficiency, which is the most common cause in healthy people and reversible. You are a young and healthy person and shouldn’t have anything to worry about, but it’s great you are going to the doctor anyway. Looking to hear back from you after you get the results. If you have more questions then, feel free to ask.

  5. My home doctor told me that they are caused because I’m still growing and she saw my blood results, everything is ok but I must wait to Monday to make ECG. Doctor gave me Bedoxin 20mg. I’ts vitamin B tablets. So because I’m not thinking about my extrasystoles I do not feel them anymore and I’m relaxed. When I’ll get results from ECG I’ll tell you how they are. Thank you!

    • Hello, Bojan. It seems your doctor gave you vitamin B6 supplements, probably based on the blood test results and symptoms you have described. B vitamins (B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B9 and B12) all have benefits for brain and nervous system health and can help keep you relaxed and reduce the side effects of stress, including arrhythmias like extrasystoles. B vitamins are good for digestion and help in the synthesis of neurotransmitters for the brain (especially B6) and absorption of other nutrients, which could improve a variety of conditions including extrasystoles. And now that you’ve had the blood tests and know you are healthy, it has made you more relaxed and improved your extrasystoles even more. You should feel even better after you have the EKG and see that you have a healthy heart too.
      Like the doctor told you, since you are still growing and are an active person (muscles consume lots of minerals and vitamins during exercise and you lose even more when you sweat), you probably have higher nutritional requirements and need some supplements to help give your body all the nutrients it needs. Waiting to hear from you after the EKG and wishing you lots of health.

  6. I did today ECHO on my heart and EKG. I did it at the best cardiologist here in my country. He said that my heart is super good and my heart valve is a little longer because I’m a tall person and I’m an athlete. Because I was afraid I had a little tachycardia, so he calmed me down and everything was ok. The doctor said that there are no worries and I must be calm. She noticed no extrasystoles in the echocardiogram and electrocardiogram. So now I’m relaxed and I’m not afraid anymore. And I’m finally sure that I’m healthy! Thank you for assisting me!

    • Hello, Bojan. I am so happy for you. Really, the whole point of going to the doctor and having the EKG and ECHO was to be sure you are healthy. And now that you have confirmation there is nothing wrong with your heart, your extrasystoles might stop altogether (if they were amplified by stress). If they don’t, you will know to address causes that are unrelated to your heart: stress, lack of sleep, B vitamin deficiency, magnesium deficiency and potassium deficiency. Remember, because you are an athlete, you might have higher requirements for certain vitamins and minerals (sweating and physical exercise cause you to lose more nutrients), but a good diet and some quality supplements might be everything you need to overcome any future extrasystoles. Wishing you lots of health and best of luck with you career!

  7. I am a retired GP from U.K. I am experiencing extrasystoles at random. I am a sports person and still walks 6-8 miles a week. Dropped beat does not give me any trouble but I become anxious whether I may have a stroke.
    I used to get dropped beat in the past after a while after doing a run on the road or exertional work, but used to get normal after a day. I am hypertensive and take ACE inhibitor and diuretics. But as the blood pressure was not satisfactory my doctor had added betablocker Bisoprolol and since I have started it I have noticed frequent dropped beat. Do you think Bisoprolol may be responsible?
    I had routine EKG two month ago and reported to be normal, My blood pressure is marginally better. I am also insulin diabetes and have good control.
    Please advise me. Do I need to see a cardiologist? I am 73 yeas old and still quite fit.
    Kind regards, M. Rahman.

    • Hello, Mr. Rahman. First of all, it’s always a good idea to see a cardiologist for anything heart-related that might bother you. If anything, it will put your mind at ease and save you the worry. This being said, it’s just as important to know yourself well so you can tell if something is not right and see a doctor in time.

      You say you are worried you may have a stroke. Extrasystoles alone are not considered a risk factor for stroke, but other medical conditions, especially cardiovascular ones can contribute to higher risks over time. For example, high blood pressure is known to increase the risk for stroke and aortic aneurysms. Seen that you are hypertensive and worry about the possibility of a stroke, it’s important to learn what symptoms to look for to get ahead of such an event if it ever occurs. Here are the most common symptoms of a stroke:

      1) Sudden weakness in the face muscles or feeling your face or part of it is numb. Example: if you try to smile, but only manage to smile with half of your face, the other half drooping.
      2) Arm or leg weakness. If you try to lift both arms up and one falls down because you lose muscle control or experience a sudden and extreme weakness, then it’s possible you are having a stroke. Both the arm and leg on one of the two sides of the body may be affected by weakness, numbness or sudden muscle rigidity.
      3) Speech problems. You suddenly cannot speak, utter nonsense or do not understand what other people are telling you.
      If you experience one or all three symptoms, seek medical assistance immediately or ask someone to get you medical help as soon as possible.
      Also check any serious leg, back or abdominal pain that occurs unexpectedly and apparently inexplicably.

      Considering you are hypertensive and diabetic, it is important to remember to avoid straining exercises. Normally, when you exercise, your blood pressure rises, but if you already have high blood pressure, it can be dangerous for it to rise even more. So while keeping active is healthy, some experts feel hypertensive people should avoid any physical activity that is too strenuous. Light physical exercise in the form of walking, stretching or simple yoga exercises, riding a bike or doing simple house chores should offer good levels of activity, keep muscles working with little strain on the cardiovascular system.

      Just as important, know that all medication comes with side effects and some medicines cause adverse reactions of the likes of the conditions they are meant to treat. For example, the beta-blocker you have been prescribed is said to produce side effects such as irregular heartbeat in the form of extraystoles, slow heart rate or complications such as ischemia or heart failure. It can further cause weight gain which could worsen diabetes symptoms over time. Other side effects include swelling from water retention which could contribute to high blood pressure. Diuretics may also cause loss of vital heart nutrients such as potassium and magnesium which could further accentuate your hypertension.

      Has your doctor recommended you supplement with potassium and magnesium for better blood pressure? Considering you are taking diuretics which accentuate nutritional deficiencies and seen that both nutrients are essential for good blood pressure and heart rhythm, you should make sure you get enough of both on a daily basis. The recommended daily intake of magnesium for an average adult on a 2000 kcal diet is 420 mg, while the recommended daily intake of potassium is 4700 mg a day. The minerals can be recommended as an adjuvant therapy for hypertensive individuals along with medication and can provide impressive benefits over time. You should talk to your cardiologist about the subject and figure out what the best intake is for you considering the specificity of your condition.

      Lastly, diet is crucial for cardiovascular and overall good health. Reducing salt intake considerably, eating at home and cooking your own meals from scratch, eating complex carbohydrates instead of simple carbohydrates, avoiding eating too much leafy green vegetables (they are best eaten in moderation because they are rich in vitamin K and vitamin K causes thicker blood and a higher risk for blood clots) are important aspects to consider. Also, avoid smoking, coffee, caffeinated beverages, green tea, black, white and oolong tea, energy drinks, alcohol and manage stress for better cardiovascular health. If you have any more questions, I am happy to answer them. Wishing you lots of health!

  8. Do I need an EKG and Echo? I had booked long holidays in end of Feb. 18 for New Zealand for a month. Do you think we can make it?
    Many thanks for your response. Kind regards, Rahman.

    • Hello, Mr. Rahman. I cannot give you medical advice or tell you to go on holiday or not. Only your doctor can make such recommendations based on knowledge of your medical history and assessments of your health. If you are feeling unwell or have been experiencing various symptoms that could indicate a cardiovascular pathology, then you need to see your doctor and decide together what you should do next, what tests you should have to better asses your condition etc. Knowing you have been experiencing extrasystoles and that they have gotten worse, you should talk to your doctor or, even better, a cardiologist about this and ask if there is reason for concern given you age, existing medical issues and medication you are on. See what the doctor says and, based on his or her professional opinion, decide your next steps. Make sure you tell the doctor any symptoms you have noticed, even if they may not appear important.

      What I can tell you though is how the EKG and Echo might help you. For example, knowing you are worried about a stroke, a stress echocardiogram (stress echo) could help assess heart wall movements in response to stress (physical stress from physical effort). An abnormality in wall movements could show if there is a risk for ischemia of the coronary arteries. Even a normal echo assesses the health of the major heart blood vessels and could identify blood clots, if there are any.

      An electrocardiogram (EKG) can identify any existing heart rhythm abnormalities, from extrasystoles to slow heart rate, abnormally fast heart rhythm or palpitations. While they may be harmless, they may also help predict the risks of various cardiovascular events. So having an EKG could help you know all of this. You can learn almost everything about your heart with these two tests, from structural abnormalities and defects to how it works overall. It could help to know that both the EKG and Echo are non-invasive tests, do not require any preparation at all and do not have side effects.
      Hope this helps and wishing you lots of health!

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