This is part of our ongoing The Best Kept Secrets to Healthy Aging spotlight. Each week, we will be posting some of the great information that’s packed into our book, The Best Kept Secrets to Healthy Aging.
Healthy Circulation: Go with the Flow
Healthy blood circulation through the cardiovascular system depends on two major factors. The first factor that needs to be in place is a healthy heart. The heart is the pump that keeps blood moving throughout the body. The second major factor that’s necessary is healthy arteries and veins. The blood vessels serve as the conduits for blood to flow to the tissues. Akin to a highway network, the veins and arteries that make up the passageways of the circulatory system need to be made up of healthy cells and need to be clean and unclogged with traffic. There are a number of issues that can affect healthy circulation. Let’s look at a few of the major ones.
Blood Sugar Control and Circulation
High blood sugar (hyperglycemia) allows too much sugar to interact with the proteins that line the inner walls of your blood vessels. In your blood vessels, sugar + protein = AGE (advanced glycation endproducts – sugar-protein complexes that destroy the function of the protein and act as “debris” stuck to the blood vessel walls – sort of like rust along the inside of a pipe). This traffic can block flow and prevent capillaries from nourishing our cells. Several ways to ensure blood sugar levels stay healthy include dietary measures such as a low-sugar low-starch diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables, maintaining a healthy body weight, and dietary supplementation with nutrients like chromium, magnesium, vanadium and extracts of Gymnema sylvestre and Fenugreek.
Maintain Arterial Health
Blood can’t get to those healthy capillaries if it can’t get through your arteries. Keep them wide open by adopting sensible dietary measures such as cutting back on red meats and animal fats. Instead, increase consumption of fatty cold-water fish and fresh garlic cloves (or plenty of garlic powder) plus abundant amounts of fruits and vegetables every day. In addition, daily dietary supplementation with high-quality fish oils, allicin (from garlic), vitamin C, vitamin E, N-acetylcysteine, quercetin, resveratrol and phytonutrients from pomegranates supports arterial health and structure.
Sipping a cup or two of vessel health-promoting green tea is also beneficial, as green tea is a rich source of antioxidants and polyphenols that promote blood vessel health.
Support Venous Flow
Just as important as getting fresh nutritious blood out to your cells is getting the nutrient-depleted blood back to your heart for another cycle. Keep your venous return systems flowing smoothly with daily dietary supplementation of nutrients such as diosmin, hesperidin, Pycnogenol, resveratrol, and horse chestnut seed extract.
Horse Chestnut Seed extract
Often, cells in the walls of the veins become “loose” and leaky with age, allowing for fluids to leak out into the surrounding tissue. While it probably happens inside tissues where its effects cannot be seen, weakness in the veins is most visible when it occurs under or in the skin.
Horse chestnut extract has been recognized for many years as a “tonic for the veins.” Modern research has discovered that horse chestnut extract indeed “tightens up” the spaces between cells in the walls of veins, decreasing leakage. A recently published study showed that horse chestnut extract stimulates mild lateral contraction within the walls of veins, effectively “sealing up” any gaps that might have formed.1
Scientists also reported in the Journal of Veterinary Medical Science that horse chestnut extract contains inhibitors of enzymes that may cause vein health to be compromised when activated.2 Its inhibition of these important enzymes may explain the ability of horse chestnut extract to enhance venous structure and flow.
The prestigious Cochrane Collaboration has performed two intensive analyses of horse chestnut extract (most recently in 2006) and both times has concluded that horse chestnut extract is “efficacious and safe” in promoting healthy veins.3
The experts agree – horse chestnut extract helps to seal leaky veins and is a valuable contributor to every effort to keep your veins and circulatory system healthy.
Diosmin and Hesperidin
Research in Europe has identified a flavonoid compound that supports vein health by providing the benefits that aging blood vessels crave. The phytonutrient diosmin is found in several plants and also can be made from hesperidin, a flavonoid found in the skins of citrus fruits. In commercial products these two flavonoids are combined in a 9:1 ratio of 450 mg of diosmin and 50 mg of hesperidin. When tested in men and women needing nutritional venous support because of age, dietary supplementation with 450 mg of diosmin and 50 mg of hesperidin twice a day for 2 to 6 months improved measures of venous flow and allowed for superior maintenance of healthy vein structure.4
The results of an analysis of published research describing the effects of diosmin plus hesperidin used in combination for venous support were published recently in Angiology.5 The analysis showed that dietary supplementation with 450 mg of diosmin and 50 mg of hesperidin twice a day for 6 months produced venous healing and powerfully supported the beneficial effects of diosmin and hesperidin on blood vessels.
A “gold standard” randomized double-blind placebo controlled human clinical trial demonstrated that diosmin alone (450 mg twice a day for 60 days) has strong benefits for leg veins and comfort that older adults generally experience due to decreased venous function.4
Hesperidin is additionally revered as a strong tissue-supporting antioxidant. Free radical damage to veins leads to many of the vein-related health issues seen today in clinical practice. Adding hesperidin to diosmin thus creates a combination that potently supports venous health by providing protection against free radical attack.
Support of Blood Vessels throughout the Body
In addition to veins in the legs needing nutritional support, blood vessels of other areas of the body require adequate nutrition to function optimally. This includes the veins of the rectum and anus, which require extra flexibility and strength in order to be able to withstand and adapt to the large fluctuations in pressures they experience during normal bowel movements. If their walls become weakened due to lack of nutrition, they can collapse and stretch. Obviously, antioxidant support for these overworked blood vessels should be expected to help them maintain structural integrity and avoid failure. Fortunately, dietary supplementation with 450 mg of diosmin and 50 mg of hesperidin twice a day has been shown to dramatically support the blood vessels of these areas as well.
One More Thing
Help your heart in its strenuous work by doing some standing and stretching exercises several times a day, drinking copious amounts of water, and avoiding constrictive clothes, salty foods and excessive alcoholic beverages. A regular routine of cardiovascular exercise would also go a long way in providing added support to the entire cardiovascular system.
Diosmin, Hesperidin & Horse Chestnut
- Diosmin has been shown in research studies to support venous tone and normal lymphatic drainage.*
- Both Hesperidin and Diosmin may modulate the level and activity of certain immune factors, thus supporting the normal healthy function of blood vessels.*
- Diosmin (in the proper concentration) has been shown to promote efficient circulatory and vascular function.*
- A combination of Hesperidin and Diosmin has been shown in clinical studies to support healthy venous tone and normal vessel elasticity, thereby supporting healthy circulation.*
- Horse Chestnut Seed extract has been shown to exert significant antioxidant effects on vascular tissue, allowing for enhancement of normal circulatory function and the support of healthy vessel tone.*
- Studies point to the potential ability of horse chestnut seed extract to modulate the effects of enzymes in the circulatory system to promote normal, healthy vascular function.*
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
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Eye Health – Seeing is Believing
1. Ottillinger B, Greeske K. Rational therapy of chronic venous insufficiency—chances and limits of the therapeutic use of horse-chestnut seeds extract. BMC Cardiovasc Disord 2001;1:5. doi:10.1186/1471-2261-1-5 (http://www.biomedcentral.com/1471- 2261/1/5).
2. Sato I, Kofujita H, Suzuki T, Kobayashi H, Tsuda S. Antiinflammatory effect of Japanese horse chestnut (Aesculus turbinata) seeds. J Vet Med Sci 2006;68:487-489.
3. Pittler MH, Ernst E. Horse chestnut seed extract for chronic venous insufficiency. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2006;(1):CD003230.
4. Ramelet AA. Daflon 500 mg: Symptoms and edema. Clinical update. Angiology 2005;56 (Suppl.):S25-S32.
5. Smith PC. Daflon 500 mg and venous leg ulcer: New results from a meta-analysis. Angiology 2005;56 (Suppl.):S33-S39.