Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS) is a form of dysautonomia that is characterized by a significant increase in heart rate upon standing. This condition can cause a wide range of symptoms including dizziness, rapid heartbeat, and fatigue. While conventional treatments have their place, many individuals are exploring holistic, naturopathic approaches to manage their POTS symptoms. Let's delve into some of these natural strategies. (1)
POTS affects the autonomic nervous system, which regulates essential functions such as heart rate and blood pressure. When a person with POTS stands up, their heart rate increases significantly, leading to uncomfortable and often debilitating symptoms. The diverse symptomatology and underlying mechanisms make POTS a complex condition to manage. (2)
Naturopathic and Functional Medicine Approach to POTS
Naturopathic and functional medicine aim to stimulate the body's self-healing process through natural therapies, considering factors like diet, lifestyle, and mind-body connection.
Hydration and Sodium Intake
One of the simplest naturopathic strategies for managing POTS is increasing hydration. This approach can help increase blood volume, potentially reducing symptoms like lightheadedness and rapid heart rate upon standing. (3)
Diet can play a significant role in managing POTS. Small, frequent meals rich in protein and low in refined carbohydrates can help maintain stable blood sugar levels, potentially improving symptoms. Certain POTS patients also report benefits from adopting specific dietary approaches, like a gluten-free or low-histamine diet, though this should always be individualized and discussed with a holistic healthcare provider. (4)
Certain herbs are thought to support the nervous system and cardiovascular health. For instance, adaptogenic herbs like Siberian ginseng may help the body adapt to stress and regulate heart rate. (5) However, given the complexity of POTS, any herbal supplement should be taken under the guidance of a healthcare provider to avoid potential interactions and side effects.
Since stress can exacerbate POTS symptoms, strategies to manage stress are crucial. Practices like yoga, meditation, and deep breathing exercises may not only help manage stress, but also improve symptoms like rapid heartbeat and dizziness. (6)
A naturopathic and functional medicine approach to managing POTS can offer complementary strategies to conventional treatments. By focusing on hydration, diet, herbal medicine, and stress management, individuals with POTS may find additional tools to manage their symptoms. As always, these strategies should be discussed with a healthcare provider to ensure they are safe and suitable for each individual's unique situation.