Inception of major problem: January 2005
Symptoms: Tachycardia around meal time. 2-3 different kinds of skipped beats. No shortness of breath. No dizziness. Normal blood pressure. Normal metabolic panels.
Cardiologist work done so far
EKG came back normal. Cardio said no need to do a stress test as due to my weight lifting and cardiovascular exercise I would pass it with flying colors. I was prescribed Toprol XL. It calmed the heart, lowered bp (I have normal blood pressure and a bit of white coat syndrome), but of course did not make the palpitations go away.
I am euthyroid as well based on blood work. Basic metabolic panel including liver enzymes etc all came back normal.
As early as 2001 I noticed a heart function abnormality associated purely with whey protein. I would feel as though I was going hypoglycemic and about to go to sleep after consuming it (think insulin flucuation from a big meal kind of feeling). Then my heart would give me one or more jolts. Felt like a thud and skipped beat. I felt like I could fly out of bed. I was then wide awake rather than sleepy. At other times during the day my body would twitch a little. I felt like it originated form the heart somehow. I called them protein jitters haha.
I don't experience that problem if I don't consume whey protein. So I stopped at some point and I no longer noticed any symptoms.
In January 2005, I greatly increased my caloric intake. I noticed upwards of 10,000 skipped beats per day or more at one point. The only thing that caused those particular beats was gluten, specifically the typical proteins found in wheat products, barley, oatmeal etc. (rice and corn seemed to not cause a problem).
Once again, those palpitations went away entirely once I eliminated the gluten.
What was left was standard palpitations. Stress caused some mild 'pressure like palpitations'. The best way I can describe those is just like a light squeeze in the chest area. Changing position from horizontal to vertical still can cause changes in heartbeat for me. I also still get the tachycardio from that as well. I can get tachycardia around meal times.I then noticed that when I used lower carbohydrates, the symptoms were much worse. So it seems when insulin gets low, I have more trouble with palpitations. Sounds normal to me for palpitations! Further, it seems protein in general, especially when consumed by itself, exascerbates the condition. My latest solution involved consuming a very low protein diet very high in carbohydrates. To my surprise and happiness about 80% or more of the noticable symptoms went away entirely. It was like my heart was calm once again! But of course I wasn't consuming adequate protein by a long shot and had a diet weighted very highly in cho.
What should my next steps be?
Do you recommend I shell out the cash for a holter monitor when I am experiencing symptoms? What other sorts of medical tests do you think are warranted? In essense, what do you think the underlying cause might be? Caffeine or other mild stimulants have never caused me a problem. As a matter of good common sense though I do not use stimulants like caffeine (maybe once in a blue moon). The only supplement I take now is a multivitamin and I think we have ruled that is not the contributing factor. To me it is 100% obvious that my heart doesn't seem to handle certain proteins well at all. I can't explain it. It doesn't seem that altering electrolyte intake has any effect on things.
What is the best course of action. I'd like to understand why and how this happens.