Mitral Valve Prolapse
The mitral valve is one of the four valves separating chambers of the heart. Mitral valve prolapse (MVP) is a common and occasionally serious condition in which the cusp or cusps of the mitral valve bulge into one of the heart chambers during the heart’s contraction. This bulging is caused by abnormalities in the valve’s structure. When serious, mitral valve prolapse may progress to mitral regurgitation, where the incompetent valve can no longer keep blood from leaking backwards into the wrong chamber of the heart.
What are the symptoms of mitral valve prolapse?
Most people with MVP experience no symptoms. Some may experience difficulty breathing during exertion or when lying down, tremor, fatigue, lightheadedness, dizziness, and fainting. Some develop dull chest pain, palpitations (awareness of the heartbeat), anxiety, and other symptoms associated with the “fight or flight” response. When MVP causes these symptoms, it is referred to as dysautonomia syndrome.
Dietary changes that may be helpful for mitral valve prolapse
In people who have dysautonomia, low salt intake may be part of the problem. Therefore, unless there is another health problem (such as high blood pressure) that is worsened by high salt intake, people with MVP should not restrict the amount of salt in the diet.1
Lifestyle changes that may be helpful for mitral valve prolapse
People with dysautonomia symptoms should avoid stressful situations and should work on techniques for coping with stress.
Nutritional supplements that may be helpful for mitral valve prolapse
Magnesium deficiency has been proposed as one cause of the symptoms that occur in association with MVP.2 In a study of people with severe MVP symptoms, blood levels of magnesium were low in 60% of cases. Those people with low magnesium levels participated in a double-blind trial, in which they received a placebo or magnesium (500 mg per day for one week, then about 335 mg per day for four weeks). People receiving magnesium experienced a significant reduction in symptoms of weakness, chest pain, anxiety, shortness of breath, and palpitations.3
In one report, deficient levels of L-carnitine were found in five consecutive people with MVP.4 One of these people was given L-carnitine (1 gram three times per day for four months) and experienced a complete resolution of the symptoms associated with MVP.
Are there any side effects or interactions with mitral valve prolapse?
Refer to the individual supplement for information about any side effects or interactions.