POTS Natural Treatment: 10 Proven Remedies for Relief

Postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome, known as POTS, is a condition where a person’s heart rate increases quickly when they move from sitting or lying down to standing up. POTS can cause lightheadedness, fainting, heart palpitations, and more problems. POTS affects between 500,000 to 1,000,000 people in the United States alone. POTS can cause suffering in anyone at any age, regardless of gender. However, 75% to 80% of people with POTS are female and aged 15-25 when diagnosed, according to this scientific article.

POTS is multifaceted and can be a complex condition to manage. Unfortunately, medication has not been proven as effective. This medical report states that combining approaches, like lifestyle changes and natural remedies for POTS, is often needed to treat this condition. This is why we’ve rounded up several natural remedies for POTS symptoms to help you treat POTS at home.

How to Treat POTS Naturally

Treatments for postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome often need to be personalized, and the natural treatments for POTS can change depending on the severity of your symptoms at different periods in your life. The following natural remedies can help you manage POTS at home, but always consult with your doctor if your symptoms worsen or if you have any doubts or other medical conditions.

1. Compression Therapy

Several studies have shown that POTS patients can benefit from compression socks - such as this study that explains the benefits of compression therapy applied to the lower body. Compression garments can help naturally treat POTS because they help control heart rate and blood flow out of the heart when you change position, like from sitting to standing.

Compression socks also stimulate blood flow throughout the body, which might help regulate heart rate and help prevent a sudden spell of dizziness. This scientific report found that compression stockings improves blood flow to the brain when you change positions, which could reduce the risk of feeling lightheaded. One report showed that POTS symptoms are often due to lower body venous insufficiency. Because compression socks help naturally treat venous insufficiency, compression socks may help with this POTS symptom.

Additionally, wearing graduated compression socks helps reduce blood pooling in the lower legs when sitting or lying down for a long time, lowering the risk of other complications such as blood clots and deep vein thrombosis. This helps keep blood circulating through the body, which means compression socks can be considered a great natural treatment for POTS. A huge advantage of compression socks is also how versatile and easy to wear they are, blending seamlessly in your everyday outfits and activities.

Try compression socks for POTS.

cotton compression socks

2. Hydration and Electrolyte Balance

Drinking enough water is essential for POTS patients. Good hydration levels support healthy blood flow and prevent dizziness and loss of balance. But in people with POTS, drinking enough fluids may not be enough to keep the necessary level of fluids in the blood vessels. This is why mixing in electrolytes or salt tablets is important natural POTS treatment, as more salt and water can help increase blood volume within the blood vessels to potentially reduce the increase in heart rate when standing up. The recommended target is to drink 2-3 liters of water per day, with added salt in a dose of around 8-10 grams per day.

3. Dietary Adjustments

You can also help add more salt in your blood through eating salty foods. However, ensure you are making healthy choices - for example, olives and nuts are great options to increase dietary sodium, as can electrolyte supplements like sports drinks. Another recommendation for POTS patients is to eat smaller meals more often throughout the day. This may help keep salt in your bloodstream at the level that you need.

Finally, energy drinks and alcohol should be avoided. They cause dehydration, which makes POTS symptoms worse. Caffeine has also been found to increase the risk of dizziness in some individuals with POTS.

4. Regular Exercise

A regular exercise routine supports healthy blood flow and your cardiovascular system. However, people with POTS may have a difficult time with physical activity if they struggle with fatigue or with balance problems. This is why we recommend starting slowly and gradually, increasing your exercise intensity a little bit at a time. Be sure to have enough fluids and salt on board before you start exercising!

Walking can be a great way to keep the blood flowing and energize yourself without burning yourself out. It also helps relieve swelling and discomfort, especially after long days at work. If you are suffering from POTS, gentle walks while wearing compression socks will support your peripheral circulation, reduce swelling, and provide a little more support for the ankles and lower legs, too.

 

Find a pair of compression socks for your sporting activities.

compression socks for POTS

5. Stress Management

Stress can wreak havoc on one’s blood pressure, making POTS symptoms worse. One study found that anxiousness increases symptoms in people with POTS. This might be because anxiety causes further dysregulation of your nervous system.

Exercising helps reduce stress, accompanied by mindfulness practices that can fit into your lifestyle. For example, spending some time in fresh air or building things out of Lego can be a great way to quiet the mind, without necessarily engaging in meditation (which can feel a little daunting to many). With that said, meditation is a great practice that can effectively reduce stress when practiced. You could start with even just 5 minutes! Consistent meditation has been found by scientific studies to be an excellent natural treatment for stress.

6. Sleep Hygiene

Stress and sleep quality are closely linked, and they both impact your blood pressure control and POTS symptoms. To improve the quality of your sleep, try to keep to a regular bedtime schedule and even develop a wind-down routine. Stop using electronics 1 to 2 hours before bed, relax by doing light stretches, and read a book before the lights go out. It’s also a good idea to wear compression socks to boost peripheral circulation when you sleep and reduce foot and leg swelling. It will also help keep a regular blood flow to prevent dizziness when you get up in the morning.

Another tip for people with POTS is to raise the head of the bed a few inches (or by using an extra pillow behind your head and lower back), so you’re not sleeping completely horizontally. This can make it easier to get up without experiencing dizziness. However, this does stimulate blood flow away from the heart and can raise the risk of venous pooling - so that’s why wearing compression socks while sleeping with your upper body raised can be beneficial.

7. Supplements

Some studies have found that people suffering from POTS have low levels of vitamin B - such as this research on teenagers with vitamin B12 deficiency. Not getting enough vitamin B affects energy levels, mood, and your cognitive abilities. Supplementing can help with this.

To improve immune function, people with POTS may benefit from adding vitamin C to their diet. Additionally, magnesium is essential for nerve function, while iron can help fight anemia, fatigue, and general weakness.

Before taking any supplements, you should check with your doctor and do blood tests to find any deficiencies. Often, low levels of certain vitamins and minerals can be addressed by changes in your diet so that you can get those nutrients directly from your food. However, if you do suffer from an important deficiency affecting your ability to manage POTS, supplements may be effective.

8. Herbal Remedies

Some herbal remedies might help people with POTS as an alternative to medication. For example, licorice root extract can counter a low level of cortisol production by the adrenal glands, improving blood pressure and POTS symptoms. However, you should always double check with a medical professional to avoid any negative side effects or unwanted interactions with medication you may have been prescribed.

9. Acupuncture

Acupuncture has often been shown to help people with nerve disorders and conditions that involve fatigue and dizziness. One study even found that acupuncture improves POTS symptoms. In Chinese traditional medicine, POTS is considered a spleen or heart deficiency, while imbalance is seen as the root cause of most diseases. Rebalancing your body and healing the heart of anxiety and stress, or strengthening the spleen against dizziness, are potential benefits from acupuncture.

10. Avoid Extreme Temperature

POTS sufferers tend to have difficulty regulating their body temperature and heat is often responsible for making symptoms worse. This is why it’s recommended to avoid spending a long time in the sun or heat. You can reduce your body temperature with cool showers, but it’s best to try - as much as possible - to avoid extreme temperatures by ensuring the right layering of clothes.

 

Keep feet cool and dry in hot weather with merino wool compression socks.

 

What are the Root Causes of POTS?

POTS is a form of dysautonomia, which is a disorder of the autonomic nervous system. This system regulates unconscious functions of our body, from our heart rate to breathing and even blood pressure. When people suffer from POTS, their blood pressure is directly affected, with their heart rate increasing abnormally fast when they change positions from lying down to standing up. In people with POTS, they cannot increase their blood pressure quickly enough to keep up with the heart rate. This may be one of the primary causes of lightheadedness.

Unfortunately, POTS can be difficult to diagnose, and the root causes are not agreed upon. Researchers have identified different subtypes, based on assumed causes, as explained by the Cleveland Clinic:

  • Neuropathic - caused by loss of nerve supply which leads to poor blood vessel muscles, particularly in the legs or core
  • Hyperadrenergic - caused by an overactive sympathetic nervous system
  • Hypovolemic - from reduced blood volume 

Can POTS Be Cured with Natural Treatments?

Holistic therapies, particularly adapted to your condition and symptoms, can be very beneficial for managing POTS. However, each case is different, and no specific treatment has been found to cure this condition. What you can achieve is control over quality of life and even a complete subsidence of the symptoms over the years.

Through good hydration and diet, people with POTS can limit the impact of POTS on their daily life to support a balanced blood pressure and heart rate. Natural remedies, like supplements, herbal treatments, or acupuncture, may also help. Overall, it is important to treat POTS holistically and on a personal level - as each person will experience POTS differently.

How Long Does It Take to See Results with Natural Treatment for POTS?

Addressing POTS with natural treatments, like lifestyle changes, diet, hydration, and exercise, can yield positive results for many people. Some end up with no symptoms for years at a time, but keep in mind, POTS symptoms can reappear. Many who are diagnosed with POTS in their teenage years might “grow out” of POTS, but things are different with older patients. As there is no “magic pill” or guaranteed cure for POTS, it is difficult to know how long it would take to see results with any of the remedies listed here, and you will need to try them for yourself.

Working with Your Doctor to Create a Personalized Treatment Plan

Since POTS can manifest in different ways based on the underlying root cause, it is important to create a holistic treatment plan that works for your symptoms. Working with your healthcare provider is a great first step towards this. They will assess your resting heart rate, triggers for this going up or down, blood pressure, lifestyle and diet, to see where changes can be made that might reduce POTS symptoms or eliminate them over time.

Additionally, many teenagers affected by POTS can benefit from psychological support, as anxiety and stress can play a role in triggering symptoms. This is, again, highly personal. Finally, it is essential to collaborate with a doctor who is familiar with POTS, since this is such a complex health condition with many unknowns. The more history a doctor has with it, the more likely they are to have encountered some trial-and-error treatments and approaches that could work for you.

References

Safavi-Naeini, P., & Razavi, M. (2020). Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome. Texas Heart Institute journal, 47(1), 57–59. Read it here.

Bourne, K. M., Sheldon, R. S., Hall, J., Lloyd, M., Kogut, K., Sheikh, N., Jorge, J., Ng, J., Exner, D. V., Tyberg, J. V., & Raj, S. R. (2021). Compression Garment Reduces Orthostatic Tachycardia and Symptoms in Patients With Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome. Journal of the American College of Cardiology, 77(3), 285–296. Read it here.

van Campen, C. L. M. C., Rowe, P. C., & Visser, F. C. (2021). Compression Stockings Improve Cardiac Output and Cerebral Blood Flow during Tilt Testing in Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS) Patients: A Randomized Crossover Trial. Medicina (Kaunas, Lithuania), 58(1), 51. Read it here.

Dahm, K. T., Myrhaug, H. T., Strømme, H., Fure, B., & Brurberg, K. G. (2019). Effects of preventive use of compression stockings for elderly with chronic venous insufficiency and swollen legs: a systematic review and meta-analysis. BMC geriatrics, 19(1), 76. Read it here.

Vernino, S., Bourne, K. M., Stiles, L. E., Grubb, B. P., Fedorowski, A., Stewart, J. M., Arnold, A. C., Pace, L. A., Axelsson, J., Boris, J. R., Moak, J. P., Goodman, B. P., Chémali, K. R., Chung, T. H., Goldstein, D. S., Diedrich, A., Miglis, M. G., Cortez, M. M., Miller, A. J., Freeman, R., … Raj, S. R. (2021). Postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS): State of the science and clinical care from a 2019 National Institutes of Health Expert Consensus Meeting - Part 1. Autonomic neuroscience: basic & clinical, 235, 102828. Read it here.

Lei, L. Y., Chew, D. S., Sheldon, R. S., & Raj, S. R. (2019). Evaluating and managing postural tachycardia syndrome. Cleveland Clinic journal of medicine, 86(5), 333–344. Read it here.

Zhao S, Tran VH. Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome. [Updated 2023 Aug 7]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2024 Jan-. Read it here.

Raj, V., Opie, M., & Arnold, A. C. (2018). Cognitive and psychological issues in postural tachycardia syndrome. Autonomic neuroscience: basic & clinical, 215, 46–55. Read it here.

Goyal, M., Singh, S., Sibinga, E. M., Gould, N. F., Rowland-Seymour, A., Sharma, R., Berger, Z., Sleicher, D., Maron, D. D., Shihab, H. M., Ranasinghe, P. D., Linn, S., Saha, S., Bass, E. B., & Haythornthwaite, J. A. (2014). Meditation programs for psychological stress and well-being: a systematic review and meta-analysis. JAMA internal medicine, 174(3), 357–368. Read it here.

Öner, T., Guven, B., Tavli, V., Mese, T., Yilmazer, M. M., & Demirpence, S. (2014). Postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS) and vitamin B12 deficiency in adolescents. Pediatrics, 133(1), e138–e142. Read it here.

Sun, J., Sang, H., Yang, C., Dong, H., Lei, C., Lu, Y., Ma, Y., Zhou, X., Sun, X., & Xiong, L. (2013). Electroacupuncture improves orthostatic tolerance in healthy individuals via improving cardiac function and activating the sympathetic system. Europace : European pacing, arrhythmias, and cardiac electrophysiology : journal of the working groups on cardiac pacing, arrhythmias, and cardiac cellular electrophysiology of the European Society of Cardiology, 15(1), 127–134. Read it here


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