- POTS is a disease of the autonomic nervous system that affects heart rate and blood flow, especially when standing or exercising.
- While POTS has its own diagnostic requirements, it’s often associated with other autoimmune illnesses or infections. The symptoms of POTS could present themselves in response to a deeper issue.
- Although POTS is still being researched, there are a number of holistic remedies that could gently reverse symptoms.
If your heart is racing and it’s not from excitement, you might be suffering from something called POTS (or Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome).
POTS is a relatively common diagnosis, but it hasn’t received much attention until recently. Associated with an elevated heart rate, low blood pressure, and fainting spells, POTS can make you feel like you’re out of control of your body — or running a marathon when you’re sitting on your couch.
While this illness is still being studied, we’ve seen many people find help for POTS by pursuing holistic interventions and root cause treatments, like neuroplasticity work and mineral balance.
Table of Contents:
- What Is POTS?
- POTS as a Secondary Condition — Association with Autoimmune Disorders, Infections, Etc.
- The Relationship Between POTS and COVID
- Understanding POTS on a Cellular Level
- How to Address Root Cause Healing for POTS
- With the Right Tools, There Is Hope for Reversing POTS
What Is POTS?
POTS (or Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome) is a condition that affects the autonomic nervous system, creating a myriad of symptoms. The most common is an unstable heart rate.
With POTS, the heart rate increases rapidly when a person switches from sitting to standing. Blood flow reduces as well, creating symptoms like lightheadedness, anxiety, and fainting. Patients may skip out on sports or physical activities due to physical discomfort when standing.
The autonomic nervous system is responsible for regulating blood pressure and heart rate when you’re sitting, standing, or exercising. If this part of the nervous system doesn’t kick in, the body can’t keep up with basic movement.
Due to a dysregulated autonomic nervous system, POTS sufferers could experience a heart rate of as much as 120 beats per minute when moving from a sitting or standing position. (For context, a normal heart rate is around 60-100 beats per minute.)
POTS as a Secondary Condition — Association with Autoimmune Disorders, Infection, Etc.
While POTS has its own diagnostic criteria, it’s often part of a bigger problem. Many studies agree, POTS can present itself as one symptom of other more complex chronic conditions.
For instance, POTS is a common diagnosis for people with autoimmune conditions, or it may be triggered by infections like Lyme Disease, mold toxicity, and parasites. It’s also associated with hypermobility, vascular compression syndrome, mast cell activation syndrome, and irritable bowel syndrome.
We believe it’s essential to dig deeper into your POTS diagnosis. Don’t settle for symptom management alone — instead, find the root cause and begin working toward healing.
Here are a few root causes to look into that may trigger symptoms of POTS:
- Mineral deficiency
- Nervous system dysfunction
- Lyme disease
- Mitochondria dysfunction
- Mold toxicity
- Heavy metal toxicity
- Low nitric oxide
- Viral infections
- Chronic inflammation
The Relationship Between POTS and COVID
There are some infections that put you at a higher risk for developing POTS, including the recent coronavirus infection. Those suffering from long-COVID may notice a change in their heart rate and increased fatigue, brain fog, and sensitivity to standing or exercising. While these symptoms could be temporary, it’s important to take action.
POTS isn’t a very well-known illness, so it can easily be misdiagnosed as stress, anxiety, or long-COVID. It’s important to advocate for yourself in medical environments and do what you can at home to balance your autonomic nervous system.
Additionally, COVID and other infections can put stress on the body, depleting mineral stores. Since mineral imbalances are so closely associated with POTS, we recommend doing a hair mineral test or supplementing broadly with Liquid Minerals.
Understanding POTS on a Cellular Level
Proper hydration and mineral intake are extremely important for POTS management. Sodium and magnesium particularly are needed to replenish cellular stores and increase energy. People with POTS may struggle to retain water in their cells. They may also be at risk for Mast Cell Activation Syndrome (MCAS) and mitochondrial dysfunction.
By replenishing your cells with the nutrients they need to thrive, you’re able to give your body a break from underlying stress, allowing it to focus on what’s more important: healing.
How to Address Root Cause Healing for POTS
There could be a lot of underlying issues responsible for your POTS diagnosis. These simple steps will help you better understand this disease as a whole, allowing you to embrace healing from the inside out.
Optimize Hydration and Salt Intake
Good hydration isn’t just for athletes.
If you suffer from POTS or any other chronic illness, getting adequate hydration with minerals and electrolytes should be a daily priority. It’s even been suggested that dehydration and mineral deficiencies could be the root cause of a POTS diagnosis.
One study shows that simply drinking water decreased high blood pressure in orthostatic patients.
So how can you ensure you’re getting enough fluids? Here’s what we recommend:
- A hydration supplement like E-Lyte
- Magnesium and potassium liquid minerals
- Adrenal cocktails
- Phosphatidylcholine (like BodyBio PC) to support your cell membranes
- A few teaspoons of salt mixed in water during a POTS attack
Understanding the Role of the Nervous System in POTS
While POTS draws a lot of attention to heart rate and blood pressure, the real culprit of the illness is a dysregulated nervous system. According to studies, POTS symptoms can stem from the autonomic, parasympathetic, and central nervous systems.
There are some key indicators to know if your nervous system is struggling. In addition to POTS, you may also notice symptoms of anxiety, easily activated fight or flight, insomnia or other sleep issues (since a rapid heart rate can make it difficult to fall asleep), brain fog, digestive problems, and other stress-related symptoms.
Here are some ways you can take charge of the autonomic nervous system, achieve a state of calm, and rebalance your limbic system:
- Somatic exercises. Somatic movement is gentle exercise that seeks to connect the body and spirit. It's known for helping with stress release and trauma recovery — including physical injuries and nervous system dysregulation due to emotional and physiological distress.
- Limbic system retraining. If your brain is stuck in fight or flight, this can trickle down to the body. A constant state of fight or flight creates stress and nervous system dysfunction. There are plenty of programs available to help calm the nervous system through neuroplasticity work.
Vagus nerve support. The vagus nerve is part of the parasympathetic nervous system. It works to regulate involuntary body functions, like digestion and heart rate. You can stimulate the vagus nerve with stretching, breathing exercises, massage, and meditation.
- Trauma support. Trauma of any kind is often associated with chronic illness. It can invigorate an illness that’s already being treated or trigger disease onset. If you’ve experienced trauma and have symptoms of nervous system dysfunction, it may help to talk with a psychologist to explore trauma healing and brain rewiring.
With the Right Tools, There Is Hope for Reversing POTS
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