The Heart a Double Pump with its own electrical system ...

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D. S. McGerk | June/16

Topic: The Heart's Electrical System and Abnormal Rhythms.

, this is a personal observation with no medical advice intended, but, understanding How the Heart Works and what happens when your blood chemistry does not support the body's natural electrical system is important. In my case low potassium [K+] triggers an electrical imbalance, and palpitations, and eventually doctors tag me/us/you with AF, (Atrial Fibrillation) (1). and a candidate for a "Pacemaker".

Well, I/you/us "Fired" that doctor and after 65 years, I finally put an end to this condition by doing my own research and no longer experience AF. (Note 1,2) And see Summary. The solution was the pay attention to the body's signals of malnutrition - hence longevity.

The SA node electrical potential, Heart muscle action potentials display variable shape because of the participation of voltage-gated chloride [Cl- and calcium [Ca++] channels (Note 3) in addition to the sodium [Na+] and potassium [K+] channels used by skeletal muscle and neurons. And, too little [Na+] is just as bad as too much. (JAMA, SALT)

The time, course, and shape of action potentials differs among ventricle, atrium, and pacemaker muscle. Yet, in all cases it is the amount of Ca++ entering during an action potential that governs the force generated and the pace of heart pumping. This is because entering Ca++ is the trigger in heart muscle that releases stored calcium from the sarcoplasmic reticulum, which in turn initiates cross bridge formation between actin and myosin filaments and muscle shortening. (2,3)

The primary pacemaker cells of the human heart are located at the sinoatrial [SA] node. Other conducting muscle cells with pacemaker capability exist along the tract of conducting muscle from the SA node to the tip of the ventricles. But it is the fastest pacemaker, the SA node that normally determines heart rate.

Blood is driven through the vascular system of arteries and veins by the difference in blood pressure between the arterial and venous sides of the circulation. Mean arterial pressure, the driving force behind blood flow is maintained at a set point of about 100 mmHg [millimeters of mercury] by a continuously active neural feedback loop.

The AV node electrical potential, as the source of AF (Arterial Fibrillation) acts after the SA node. The electrical signal starts in the SA node. The heart electrical system still depends on the chemical potential between Na, K, and Ca.

The Heart - a Double Pump, (4) each electrical signal begins in a group of cells called the sinus node or sinoatrial (SA) node. The SA node is located in the right atrium. In a healthy adult heart at rest, the SA node sends an electrical signal to begin a new heartbeat 60 to 100 times a minute. From the SA node, the electrical signal travels through the right and left atria. It causes the atria to contract and pump blood into the ventricles.

The electrical signal then moves down to a group of cells called the atrioventricular (AV) node, located between the atria and the ventricles. Here, the signal slows down slightly, allowing the ventricles time to finish filling with blood. The electrical signal then leaves the AV node and travels to the ventricles. It causes the ventricles to contract and pump blood to the lungs and the rest of the body. The ventricles then relax, and the heartbeat process starts all over again in the SA node.

(5, 9) KHAN Academy, youTube simple lesson. (10) Cardiac muscle shares a few characteristics with both skeletal muscle and smooth muscle, but it has some unique properties of its own. Not the least of these exceptional properties is its ability to initiate an electrical potential at a fixed rate that spreads rapidly from cell to cell to trigger the contractile mechanism. This property is known as autorhythmicity. Neither smooth nor skeletal muscle can do this. Even though cardiac muscle has autorhythmicity, heart rate is modulated by the endocrine and nervous systems.

The daily recommendation of Na, 2300mg, K, 4700mg is set, 1:2 ratio, but the problem is that any diuretic depletes both of these elemental metals. Replacing Na is easy, the real issue is K and keeping the Na+, K+, and Ca++ balance. Without this balance, the above graph show that an imbalance in the channels can cause errors in heart rhythm triggering. (5,6) The Na+/K+ pump is responsible for transporting nutrients and maintaining cell volume. The wrong balance of electrolytes (such as sodium or potassium) in your blood. (7,8) (Note 1,2) And see Summary.


  1. From personal experience, when I get heart palpitations or feel irregular heartbeats, this signals potassium [K+] is low in my system. (Verified by blood work on several occasions. At the VA, and online) (20), Immediately, I go to coconut water, and eat tomatoes raw, or slightly warmed in a pan sauce which goes over my omelette/frittata or salmon and of course I do not use processed refined salt. (read label on salt) The recommended salt simulate the ocean, which, comes best from ancient deposits of salt from evaporated oceans. (22,23,24,25)
    Go to snacks - pumpkin seeds [K+] and we start the day with the fortified tomato juice recipe ... this site "Breakfast - Daily Starters".
    As it turns out Circadian Rhythm is critical to heart function ... this site: ... metabolism.
  2. See also,
    The Antioxidant, high Electrolyte, Protein Smoothie, with Ketogenic options.
    Tomato Juice Cocktail, added C and K (potassium), turmeric, horseradish.
    Sweet potato, banana, oats, almond butter cookie.



  1. Potassium [K+] is a critical element. We get plenty of sodium [Na+] and the body can balance the calcium [Ca++], as it stores that in our bones. Chloride [Cl−] comes along with Na and the Chlorine in our water. The Na+/K+ pump is responsible for transporting nutrients and maintaining cell volume. Potassium aids in muscle contraction, nerve impulse, and heart function. Potassium is hard to get, USDA DV is 4700mg. This is hard to get without the proper diet. This must be tracked we need to work overtime to get 4700mg potassium [K+] to get it in our diet. Supplemented as Potassium Citrate there is a sustained improvement in calcium balance in older men and women. (11)
  2. Potassium Chloride KCl is used instead of sodium chloride NaCl, assuming normal use 7-8 grams/tsp, i.e. 1 tsp = 7-8gm. 1 tsp salt (NaCl), 39% Na by weight, 7.0g crystal salt, Na = 2730mg, KCl 52% K by weight, = 3540mg. If using Potassium Citrate M.W. = 324.4 g/mol, therefore, the mEq would be approximately 5 times KCl. KCl M.W. = 74.55 g/mol, by weight. That means adding 5 tsp of KC6H5O7 (Potassium Citrate) to you electrolyte regime.
  3. Ion Channel: The cell membrane is permeable to a number of ions, the most important of which are Na+, K+, Ca++ and Cl-. These ions pass across the membrane through specific ion channels that can open (become activated) and close (become inactivated). Therefore, these channels are said to be gated channels. (12,12a)

    The Na+/K+ ATPase ion transporter (Wiki), which is a critical functioning part of every animal cell, plays a major role in cellular malnutrition and dysfunction.
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[ + ] Sources and References:

  1. JAMA , JAMA - Journal of the American Medical Association, Fatal and Nonfatal Outcomes, Incidence of Hypertension, and Blood Pressure Changes in Relation to Urinary Sodium Excretion
  2. SALT , SALT - Dr. Mercola analysis - ... Salt Could Actually Spare You a Heart Attack
  3. 1 NHI, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, USDA Human Services, What Is Atrial Fibrillation?
  4. 2 Cardiac output: intrinsic, neural and endocrine effects Tips for How to Study the Cardiovascular System, by Margaret Reece, PhD
  5. 3 APS, American Physiological Society, Arrhythmogenic Ion-Channel Remodeling in the Heart: Heart Failure, Myocardial Infarction, and Atrial Fibrillation, by Stanley Nattel, Ange Maguy, Sabrina Le Bouter, Yung-Hsin Yeh
  6. 4 Cardiac Muscle Electrical Activity, Natural Pacemaker When the heart's electrical system misfires, K, Ca, and Na out of balance.
  7. 5 OpenStax,, Cardiac Muscle and Electrical Activity
  8. 6 WebMD High Blood Pressure and Diuretics (Water Pills), What Are the Side Effects of Diuretics?
  9. 7 WebMD When Your Heart Rhythm Isn't Normal
  10. 8 Mayo Clinic, Staff, Heart rhythm problems (heart arrhythmias) occur when the electrical impulses ... Heart Arrhythmia
  11. 9 Sinoatrial Node Action Potentials Cardiovascular Physiology Concepts, Richard E. Klabunde, PhD
  12. 10 youTube - khanacademymedicine video Electrical System of the Heart
  13. 11 NCBI PMC, Potassium citrate supplementation results in sustained improvement in calcium balance in older men and women, Kendall Moseley MD, Connie Weaver PhD, Lawrence Appel MD, Anthony Sebastian MD, and Deborah E. Sellmeyer MD.
  14. 12 Journal of Neuroscience February 2015, 35 (8) 3346-3359; DOI:, Peripheral Nerve Injury Induces Persistent Vascular Dysfunction and Endoneurial Hypoxia, Contributing to the Genesis of Neuropathic Pain, Tony K.Y. Lim, Xiang Q. Shi, Julia M. Johnson, Malena B. Rone, Jack P. Antel, Samuel David and Ji Zhang
  15. 12a NCBI PubMed, Peripheral Nerve Injury Induces Persistent Vascular Dysfunction and Endoneurial Hypoxia, Contributing to the Genesis of Neuropathic Pain, Tony K.Y. Lim, Xiang Q. Shi, Julia M. Johnson, Malena B. Rone, Jack P. Antel, Samuel David and Ji Zhang
  16. 20 Lab Tests Online, Understanding Electrolytes, Empower your health, Understand Your Tests.
  17. 22 Dr. Mercola and many others, FDA's Salt Restriction Plans Could Harm Your Health - Forbidden Indulgence to Salt Could Actually Spare You a Heart Attack
  18. 23 Dangers of Restricting Your Salt Too Much, Low Salt Is Bad for Heart Health, June 08, 2016
  19. 24 End the War on Salt, The Guilty Pleasure that Could Save You From Heart Disease
  20. 25 The American Journal of Medicine, Diets to Prevent Coronary Heart Disease 1957-2013: What Have We Learned? James E. Dalen, MD, MPH, Stephen Devries, MD, FACC

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