Circulation problems in the legs and feet can result from diseases such as peripheral artery and peripheral vascular diseases and by intermittent claudication. Common to these conditions are the narrowing of the arteries which get clogged with plaque. The result of this is that it becomes very difficult for one’s extremities to be supplied with blood.
Whether or not vitamins can aid in improving all or any of these conditions is still in the preliminary stages and can also be quite conflicting at this time, so before thinking of taking any of these supplements, be sure to consult your doctor.
However, the following vitamins are suggested to be helpful to bloody circulation and other conditions.
One’s circulation is affected by niacin and not getting enough of it could have negative effects. The daily requirements for women and men are 14 and 16 milligrams respectively. In 2003, The journal of Nutrition published a study which found that men with the lowest folate intake were 33% more at risk for PAD (Peripheral Arterial Occlusive Disease) than their counterparts with the highest folate intake.
The Journal of Vascular Surgery also published another related study in 2004 which noted that those with low levels of vitamin B-6 or folate had greater possibilities of having PAD.
Research in this area is still ongoing and is in the preliminary stages but other vitamins may help too. The Journal of Clinical Biochemistry and Nutrition in 2012 published a study which discovered that those with low levels of vitamin B-12 were more at risk of getting PVD. This indicates that Vitamin B-12 may aid in limiting vascular diseases too.
Vitamins C and E
Circulation in people with PVD may be improved by Vitamins C and E. It is said that an intake of 500 to 1,000 milligrams of vitamins C, in theory, may be able to restrict any damages to cells in one’s arteries because it may have an antioxidant effect with a result of limiting deposits of artery-clogging fats. For vitamin E, dosages between 400 and 1,000 international units daily may result in blood-thinning resulting in easier passage of the blood through vessels that are narrow.
It should be noted, however, that research to verify whatever potential benefits there are to these supplements improving circulation is ongoing and currently inconclusive. Before ever attempting to take these supplements in the dosages stated here, please consult with your doctor as these dosages are way higher than the recommended daily allowances for the vitamins in question.
In 2008, Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology published a study by the Albert Einstein College of Medicine which found that the risk for PAD decreased as the blood levels of vitamin D rose.
Take note that more research is needed to find out if intake of vitamin D supplements will improve circulation when a person already has the condition.
Other Beneficial Changes
The Journal of Nutrition published a study in 2005 discovered that a mixture of Vitamins A, B6, and D, folic acid, DHA, EPA, and oleic acid helps in improving PVD symptoms. Recommendations by the Medical Center of the University of Maryland are that one eats a heart-healthy diet which is high in fibre content and low in cholesterol and fats. It has also been said that circulation in the legs may be improved by a lot of exercise which includes walking.
Circulation can also be enhanced by the following supplements.
By regulating blood pressure, potassium also aids circulation. Some good sources of potassium include bran wheat, wheat germ, figs and raisins.
Grape seed – antioxidant support for the blood vessels
There are potent antioxidant properties contained in grape seed, just like vitamin E. It is known to protect against damage done to the blood vessels by free radicals. There is a claim that after vitamin E has performed its essential function of destroying free radicals, grape seed may help in its protection and reconversion to its antioxidant form. Symptoms of Chronic venous insufficiency and varicose veins may also be relieved by grape seed.
Fish oil supports blood vessel function
Fish oil is known to support healthy peripheral blood circulation and arteries. It is also known, in clinical trials, that fish oil supplement intake has positive effects on the functioning of blood vessels even in individuals that are normal.
Ginkgo and bilberry support peripheral circulation
These herbs, ginkgo and bilberry, have been known for their functions in improving alertness, concentration and memory and in supporting visual function. But they may also be able to aid in the maintenance of peripheral blood circulation. Ginkgo, in addition to this function, may also aid in bringing symptomatic relief to the legs after walking a long distance where they begin aching.
Horse chestnut and butcher’s broom help relieve varicose veins
Clinical studies reveal that the herbs, horse chestnut and butcher’s broom, which have traditionally been used in European herbal medicine in the treatment of vein disorders including haemorrhoids and varicose veins, bring relief to fluid retention, swelling, tension and itching.