Today, we look at the symptoms and causes of poor circulation in the body, and how we can fix this with vitamins that improve blood flow.
Poor circulation means either a lack of blood flow to certain parts of the body, such as the extremities, or a lack of blood flow throughout the body.
In either case, it’s not good news. Blood carries oxygen and nutrients to every cell in the body. This is necessary for the cells to function properly. Blood also carries away waste. If blood flow is poor, waste can accumulate in the cells, which further affects their function.
As we age, our circulation decreases, and this can lead to accelerated aging. Cells that are deprived of vital nutrition are damaged more easily by free radicals, and over time, the body’s systems start breaking down. The heart has to work harder to pump blood because your body isn’t getting enough oxygen.
Poor circulation is a widespread problem that doesn’t get the attention it deserves. This condition can lead to a variety of symptoms and contribute to disease.
The symptoms of poor circulation include:
Numbness and tingling in feet and hands.
Hands and feet that are always cold.
Swelling and fluid buildup, known as edema.
Digestive problems such as cramping, abdominal pain, diarrhea, constipation, and bloody stools.
Poor memory, concentration, and confused thinking.
Muscle cramps and joint pain in the hands, feet, legs, and arms.
Chronic exhaustion or fatigue.
Varicose veins in the legs that get worse.
Leg ulcers that are difficult to heal.
Discolored skin that appears pale, blue, or purple.
Conversely, improved blood flow can take you to a whole new level of radiant health! The benefits include:
More stable blood pressure.
A better sex life.
Better cognition and focus.
Improved heart health.
Increased exercise performance.
Reduced risk for chronic disease.
Reduced signs of early aging.
So, what causes poor blood circulation?
The factors that cause chronic diseases also give rise to poor blood circulation.
One. A diet high in processed foods including refined sugars and carbs, and inflammatory oils, and low in fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats from fish and protein.
This type of eating contributes to poor circulation because:
-You may be missing the nutrients you need to produce nitric oxide and support other processes for blood circulation. For example, deficiencies in iron, vitamin B12, folate, vitamin C, and magnesium can reduce the body’s ability to produce red blood cells that carry oxygen.
-When blood sugar rises, it damages the micro vessels and decreases the body’s ability to produce nitric oxide.
-Inflammatory food triggers inflammation in the body, which then affects circulation.
-Making poor dietary choices leads to obesity and chronic disease. Obesity increases the risks of varicose veins and blood pressure problems.
Two. A sedentary and lifestyle. Too much sitting constricts blood flow.
Three. Chronic stress. When we’re stressed, blood flow is directed away from the digestive system and internal organs, and toward the muscles to prepare for “fight or flight.” Chronic stress contributes to high blood sugar, weight gain, and lower moods—all of which can lead to poor circulation.
Four. Chronic diseases cause narrowing of the arteries and reduced blood flow. This includes atherosclerosis (plaque buildup in blood vessels), Raynaud’s disease (an autoimmune disease that affects fingers and toes), diabetes, and neuropathy (nerve damage).
Five. Smoking. This habit interferes with blood flow and increases the risks of stroke, heart attack, and cardiovascular disease.
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Next, to understand how we can increase circulation, we need to understand nitric oxide.
Nitric oxide is a vasodilator or a compound that relaxes and widens your arteries and veins.
The endothelial cells that line your blood vessels produce nitric oxide. Enzymes called nitric oxide synthase make nitric oxide from the amino acid called l-arginine. This process requires oxygen and micronutrients—both of which are important for healthy circulation.
Having poor circulation makes it difficult for cells to produce nitric oxide, and herein lies the problem. To optimize circulation, you need healthy nitric oxide levels, but to optimize nitric oxide production, you need healthy circulation.
The rest of this video will explain how you can get out of this vicious cycle of low-nitric-oxide poor circulation.
Besides circulation support, nitric oxide is essential for a functional immune system, relaying nerve signals and reducing inflammation.
The micro vessels in the body, which make up 74% of the entire vascular system, rely on nitric oxide to deliver oxygen and nutrition to the heart and the rest of the body.
When there isn’t enough nitric oxide, circulation decreases and results in the symptoms mentioned earlier.
Next, let’s look at the vitamins that improve blood flow by increasing nitric oxide levels.
We use the word vitamins broadly to include natural compounds like amino acids and antioxidants.
Let’s begin with our Number 7. L-arginine.
As mentioned previously, l-arginine is a precursor to nitric oxide in the body. When you increase the amount of l-arginine available to cells that produce nitric oxide, they produce more.
However, l-arginine alone may not be enough to have sustained effects in dilating blood vessels. After you turn 45, your digestive system has a harder time converting l-arginine into nitric oxide.
So, just taking an l-arginine supplement, or eating protein-rich foods that contain l-arginine, like fish, red meat, poultry, soybeans, whole grains, beans, and dairy products, may not have much effect on nitric oxide levels. The solution is to combine this amino acid with the next nutrient.
Our Number 6 is L-citrulline.
L-citrulline is a non-essential amino acid that is efficiently turned into L-arginine in the kidneys. This makes it a good supplementation choice for increasing nitric oxide synthesis in the body.
L-citrulline supports healthy blood pressure, promotes sharper memory and focus, and boosts your libido. Studies show that l-citrulline works well, even if you’re in your 60s, 70s, 80s, and beyond.
L-citrulline is a byproduct of l-arginine production and is recycled back to l-arginine. Studies show that when you combine l-arginine and l-citrulline, nitric oxide is produced more effectively at a lower dose, than if you used more of either amino acid.
Watermelon is the king of citrulline-rich fruits. The word citrulline comes from “Citrullus,” which is the Latin word for watermelon. Other citrulline-rich fruits include Casaba Melons, Cucumbers, and Cantaloupe.
Coming up next is Number 5. Beetroot Extract.
Beetroot is an excellent source of dietary nitrates. When you eat foods high in nitrates, bacteria in your saliva convert them into nitrites, which are then converted into nitric oxide. Other nitrate-rich foods include spinach, lettuce, carrots, arugula, cabbage, garlic, broccoli, kale, and celery.
Supplementing with concentrated versions of these foods can help improve vasodilation and blood flow. Beetroot extract helps to boost your energy and endurance, plus it can help you walk longer and think more quickly on your feet.
Next up is Number 4. Vitamin C.
Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that helps to improve nitric oxide synthase activity. When Vitamin C is combined with dietary nitrates, it helps to increase the bioavailability of nitric oxide.
Getting into our top 3, Number 3 is Hawthorn Berry.
In traditional Chinese medicine, hawthorn berry is one of the most commonly used foods to treat high blood pressure. This small, red fruit is packed with antioxidants that help open up your arteries to stimulate blood flow. Not only can hawthorn berry increase nitric oxide levels, but it also helps your body absorb significantly more el citrulline and beetroot extract when you take these nutrients together.
Our Number 2 is Glutathione.
Glutathione is a molecule that helps with detoxification, cell repair, and immune system function. This powerful antioxidant helps increase nitric oxide levels by getting rid of free radicals that damage nitric oxide molecules. To keep glutathione levels high as you age, eat plenty of sulfur-rich foods like mushrooms, garlic, onions, and cruciferous vegetables. Or supplement with glutathione precursors like N-acetyl-cysteine or glutamine.
And at Number 1, we have Trans-resveratrol.
Trans-resveratrol is a type of polyphenol that is found in grapes, red wine, and berries.
This antioxidant helps increase the activity of enzymes that are involved in nitric oxide synthesis. It has also been shown to increase the half-life of nitric oxide, allowing it to remain active for a longer period. Trans-resveratrol may help to improve blood flow and circulation.
Other than these 7 nitric oxide nutrients, consume anti-inflammatory whole foods and nitrate-rich foods to support healthy blood flow.
Last but not least, here are two simple ways you can release more nitric oxide and improve blood flow: exercise regularly and breathe through your nose.
As always, this video is educational and does not constitute medical advice; we are not doctors.
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Your body can only be as healthy as your blood flow. Don’t let poor circulation become a silent killer—take action today.