Raw Honey and arrhythmia?

The day my symptoms resembling A fib started, I ate raw honey for the first time. I read that if the honey is from bees who harvested from rhododendrons, it can cause arrhythmias. Symptoms are generally gone within 24 hours.  The honey I bought was a prepackaged one with no origin on the label. 

I have eaten local honey before with no adverse effects. This was bought in a store. My symptoms were gone within 24 hours. 

from bbc.com:

Mad honey poisoning occurs after people consume honey contaminated with grayanotoxin, a chemical contained in nectar from the species Rhododendron ponticum and luteum. 

Grayanotoxin interferes with chemical messages in the body - in this case, the heart.

There are more common causes of arrhythmia, such as stress, caffeine, tobacco, alcohol and certain medications, including some diet pills and cough and cold medicines.

Not all arrhythmias are dangerous but if you think you have one, you should get it checked by a doctor. 

Symptoms include palpitations or awareness of your heartbeat, tiredness, dizziness and fainting. 

Doctors attending the European Society of Cardiology meeting heard how people who drink too much cola risk arrhythmias. 

Anyone else ever hear this about honey? Hmmm


Addition to list...

by Penguin - 2023-01-25 20:04:24

Grayanotoxin poisoning sounds very nasty.  

Thank you so much for relating your experience and grave concerns so lucidly. 

Let's hope that this particular honey pot won't encourage any 'stinging' comments Lavender.  

Stinging Comments??

by Good Dog - 2023-01-25 20:30:43

Stinging comments ? Maybe that nasty honey comes from "Killer Bees"

Seriously though:

LAVENDER: Did I understand you to inidcate that your A-fib symptoms are gone?

If that is so, Great News?



by Lavender - 2023-01-25 20:59:46

Yes, Dave, my symptoms ended within 24 hours...had lasted about 19. It truly sounds like A fib, but then I was thinking about what I had to eat. I've always gotten strange reactions to foods even though I was blood allergy tested for food allergies.

I have "reactions" like unexplained hives, swollen tongue from pineapple, rashes, itchy belly, stuff like that from some things. Cantaloupe, strawberries in large quantities causes itchiness. In any case, I usually keep a food diary and know what I ate when. I eat mostly plants, salmon, tuna, chicken, eggs, olive oil, yogurt, nuts, oatmeal...healthy stuff and rarely digress. I buy honey from a local farm. 

For some reason this bottle of raw honey ended up on the shelf and I was out of local. It's the only different thing I ate so I looked up "honey and A fib". I was surprised to read several reports about it. 🧐

I never had the A fib type symptoms before or since. It surely could've been stress-I have always said my life is "perils of penelope"!😵‍💫

I don't see my new cardiologist til April and I'm going to ask him about the honey connection. 
(BF was ordered MRIs and an MRA-no openings til April as well!) It's a hurry up and wait world. 

As for the honey pot topic pic-I started it with just HONEY as the topic, then added the pot so someone wouldn't think I was calling them honey. 😘 so I corrected it now to reflect my question more clearly. 

"EVERYTHING is or might be counter indicated"

by AgentX86 - 2023-01-26 00:19:22

"Be afraid.  Be very, very, afraid."

Gotta sell newspapers and good news doesn't sell. Our society has it so easy that we have to invent things to keep us busy.  Being scared works.

Next week they'll tell us that the latest "study" found that water is a deadly toxin.  Drinking water leads to death. 

Anything is possible

by Gemita - 2023-01-26 04:45:32

Lavender, after experiencing such difficult arrhythmia symptoms, I am not at all surprised that you have started looking for the culprit.  I went on doing this for months when I had a nasty first attack of Atrial Fibrillation until my cardiologist firmly told me to stop searching for clues because in some patients, none will ever be found.  Sometimes electrical disturbances start for no apparent reason and these are the hardest ones to come to terms with, aren’t they?

All you can do is to wait and see if this was a one off, or whether you will get another such episode to compare it with the episode you experienced when you ingested the raw honey.  Then you will hopefully have your answer? 

Anyway I thought I would include a link for further reading below.

A a gardener, I have found there are many toxic plants in my garden, at least toxic to cats, dogs, foxes and other animals if they start chewing them.  Of course some plants like Nepeta cataria, commonly known as catnip can have this wonderful hallucinating affect on cats and they just love the stuff, rolling in it and salivating but there are some plants that are quite obnoxious and really harmful.

Lavender, as an arrhythmia patient, I don’t think we can rule anything out “just yet”.  On the whole though in view of your family difficulties and health concerns recently, I would tend to think that you have become run down and exhausted from these events, since we know that stress can trigger many unwanted symptoms.  I hope your heart stays in blissful normal sinus rhythm


arrhythmia symptoms

by Good Dog - 2023-01-26 07:28:44


I certainly understand the desire/need to try to determine the cause of your arrhythmia symptoms. I am exactly the same. I guess that I believe that there is a cause for everything. Sometimes, maybe not, but the point being that if we can determine the cause, we can avoid a repeat of the problem. There are times in life when people have health problems that continue to reoccur until they finally realize and/or are educated with regard to the cause/precursor. So I continue to believe that it is important!

Regardless of the cause, I am happy to know that you are better.



Interesting though

by Penguin - 2023-01-26 07:38:15

I've always been able to eat most foods fortunately, but I have a great deal of empathy for those less fortunate than me, and I'm sorry to hear that you suffer so badly Lavender. 

Since acquiring arrhythmia I too have found that there are food triggers which lurk out there and can take me by surprise.  Raw green pepper was a recent trigger for example. 

It's likely that a lot more of these research articles are going to appear because AF has recently become a huge research focus and rightly so!  I welcome the health centred, useful research into treatments and prevention. 

However, food triggers for arrhythmia is a difficult area. I suspect that it's quite a minefield as we can never be entirely sure what is in the food we eat unless we grow it or rear it ourselves or use trusted producers.  When reactions occur their severity will inevitably vary. 

We've also got to be wary of how practical it may be to apply research - honey is a great example because we can't electronically tag bees or be absolutely certain of their nectar sources. 

For example, re: gryanotoxin content in honey. The food industry could be asked to perform product sampling where their nectar is obtained from areas with lime soil but I don't know how practical that might be and how much controversy that would cause with producers. Sampling for gryanotoxin could be helpful but would the concentration vary from pot to pot? The amount we eat (the serving) from a heavily affected or lightly affected pot would vary too.   There are a lot of variables here! 

The best we can hope for is labelling and education to let us know about possible reactions perhaps, so thank you for flagging this up Lavender.  



Tagging our bees

by Gemita - 2023-01-26 08:30:10

Good point Penguin, I remember when we were boasting the natural properties of our pure Manuka organic honey which we had just purchased for an exorbitant amount, I received the comment “how do you know that it is completely organic, supposing the bees had visited a non organic source”?  I felt rather disillusioned, although the taste of the honey we were enjoying was far superior to anything else we had ever tried, but as you say, we cannot tag our bees. 

Although I am not particularly food sensitive, eating itself can trigger oesophageal motility disturbances which can then trigger my arrhythmias because of the proximity of the oesophagus to the heart, so a gastric connection in my opinion can indeed be high on the list as a potential cause.  

I am not sure that they will ever fully understand AF, although because of the high costs of managing patients and the burden of symptoms that AF patients have to bear, I hope they will make more progress in the future to try to stop this rhythm disturbance.  However age is the biggest risk factor for AF and we cannot do too much about this.

Very good input!

by Lavender - 2023-01-26 09:14:51

Much appreciated all the insight and group thoughts!

As Dave said, when something new and scary happens...you want to know the trigger. I don't write down everything I eat, only new things. I "could" eat more of this raw honey as an experiment to see if it replicates what I experienced in heart gymnastics...but I am not that brave!

Gemita, it very well could be that this is an arrhythmia that may or may not reoccur. Being that it never happened before, my radar antenna went up, sensing danger...which put me into a "let's not let this happen again if preventable " mode. 

Gemita- the article you site from 2022 shows that more research is being done on honey and mentioned much of what I read elsewhere. 

If it does happen again, at least I will recognize what's going on, thanks to you describing it so well. I won't be as shocked. I will be in further contact with my cardiologist but suspect that unless he's come across this, he may very well be unsure at this point as to the trigger. Time will tell. 

AgentX86- you're so right. We can't live in fear. I do think, though, if we know for proven-sure something is detrimental, then avoiding it is the thing-think of processed foods, additives, etc.

Water? Read the bottled water labels-many contain sodium and other minerals etc. 

I once ate a new brand of yogurt. I had a very brief rapid bubbling feeling in my heart. My cardiologist told me it was the product called INULIN that I was sensitive to. Inulin is in lots of stuff-so I read labels and don't eat it.

Up til around menopause, I ate everything with no problem. At one point, I took red yeast rice capsules at the advice of my pcp. It set off a journey into the world of change in my digestive system which was later diagnosed as functional dyspepsia. It set off a three year medical journey of pain, hospitalizations, and unintended 60 pounds weight loss.  I had to learn what I could and couldn't tolerate. I saw two gastroenterologists, an endocrinologist, had blood work, all kinds of stomach tests...yada yada. I had to do the elimination diet and started very slowly adding foods. 

One gastro group gave me Zantac 300 which awoke me with loud buzzing in my ears. I now have permanent ear ringing which an ENT said can't be fixed. 😵‍💫

If a med label has side effects, without even looking, I develop a reaction. You should see my list of things I cannot take. Hence, I am on no meds. 

I had two covid vax doses and a booster with no reactions. This past September, I had the bivalent covid vaccine. Within 24 hours, I ended up being sent to the ER by my pcp. My pressure went to 200/100 and I had severe stomach pain. Three doctors determined it was a reaction to the vaccine. My pcp said that since we do not know what elements of the bivalent vaccine caused this, I am not to get any more vaccines!  

I eat lots of things now but eat clean. Well, as clean as I can, knowing what we can know of what we eat.  As Penguin said...we can't really be sure unless we know the food producer. I'm friends with an organic local farmer but we also eat at restaurants occasionally and you never know what's done. I'm not hyper about it but I am aware of what goes into me. 

As Gemita said-it could be the joys of aging. Not for sissies. Always an adventure! The stressors of this past couple of weeks certainly have been over and above my norm. Stress can make everything worse for certain. 


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