Ways to increase your blood circulation….
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Today's post: Thursday, 3-29-2007
Ways to increase your blood circulation….
The wife of a close friend of mine no longer smokes.
That’s the very good news. And he doesn’t smoke, so, as far as I know, she gets no secondhand smoke at home. And, thanks to new laws, she can work in a smoke free or mostly smoke free environment at work -- which is definitely true at her desk where she spends the most time each day.
Unfortunately, she did smoke for far too long a time before she quit. And, as most smokers even more unfortunately still do NOT know is that smoking creates or triggers tons of plaque in your arteries & veins in multiple ways every time a person smokes or breathes in second hand smoke.
So now she is fighting pain in her legs from circulation so poor that her pulse in her lower legs is hardly perceptible.
As I understand it, she has had a procedure done to use an angioplasty type device to open some of the larger blood vessels in her legs.
And, she now wants to try things that will further improve the circulation in her legs & keep the gains from the angioplasty without needing to get an operation similar to a heart bypass to improve circulation that way.
And, there are several ways to do that do seem to work that she might try.:
These methods also help to prevent heart disease & stroke; keep your kidneys healthy; keep you from developing age related mental decline & keep your sexual response good since all these things depend on good blood circulation.
1. It’s imperative that she keep her blood sugars down in the desirable range & that she have good insulin response to her body’s own insulin.
Research on type II diabetics has clearly established that excessively high glucose levels & poor insulin response directly create horrible circulation. And that if this situation is not reversed with lifestyle changes or multiple drugs, the person who has II diabetes will be much more likely to have a heart attack, a stroke, go blind, have their kidneys ruined enough to need dialysis, or need food amputation from the resulting problems with blood circulation.
However, if she eats right; takes a good multivitamin plus mineral supplement daily & some other supplements listed here; & gets what regular exercise she can do, particularly strength training & very carefully gets some short aerobic exercise sessions, her blood sugar levels will move towards the desirable range, her insulin response will be much better; & her blood circulation will improve dramatically.
a) For eating right, the most important things are to NEVER drink any kind of soft drink; discontinue eating any food made with refined grains; go pretty easy on whole grain foods; eat no potatoes or French fries; AND eat robust amounts of health OK proteins & oils & non-starchy green vegetables & whole fruits. Garlic, onions, ginger, turmeric, & particularly cinnamon also help & she should use them for spicing her food in ways she likes & as often as possible. (A recent article said that eating blueberries & to some degree dark purple grapes & other kinds of berries improved circulation.)
Beef fed only grass; wild caught salmon; sardines; shrimp & most other seafood; eggs; beans & lentils; & nuts all tend to enhance your health if you don’t eat one of them you are allergic to. And, beef fed only grass; wild caught salmon; sardines; shrimp & nuts all have fats & oils that enhance your health as do avocadoes & extra virgin olive oil.
Also, NEVER eat artificially saturated fat either partially hydrogenated (or fully hydrogenated, interesterified, as some unethical or ignorant food companies have done to avoid bans on the transfats in partially hydrogenated foods.) And never eat foods that contain them. They harm blood circulation & can also cause type II diabetes in some cases.
"The natural trace mineral chromium helps you control blood sugar and improve your sensitivity to insulin. Since insulin sensitivity declines with age, reversing that decline with chromium reverses that aspect of aging."
In the article by Dr Al Sears in today's Early To Rise
And, if you improve your insulin sensitivity the insulin you already make at the right times keeps your blood sugar low enough for good health.
In a separate article, he says he recommends 600 mcg per day of chromium polynicotinate.
Since I take that & believe it helps keep my HDL cholesterol up & bad LDL cholesterol down also, that's the kind I recommend.
The quote "appears courtesy of Early To Rise, the Internet’s most popular health, wealth, and success e-zine. For a complimentary subscription, visit http://www.earlytorise.com/ "
400 to 600 mg a day of magnesium in the chelated form or the asporotate or citrate forms also seems to help with blood sugar control
That much magnesium also helps prevent or help lower high blood pressure & to prevent constipation. And, it has dozens of other benefits.
And, at least 200 mg a day of alpha lipoic acid also helps with blood sugar. It also has been found to help prevent & reverse brain aging & it definitely works both as antioxidant directly, it also helps your body get more antioxidant effect out the other antioxidants you eat in your food or take as supplements.
c) Exercise directly boosts your circulation every time you do it.
Even mild exercise does this. And strength training is one of the best ways to improve insulin response known. If you do even half an hour of strength training well three nonconsecutive days each week, you will get stronger & your insulin response & circulation will improve.
In her case she may be only able to manage 3 repetitions with very light weights on leg exercise without it causing too much pain. But she may well also find that by persisting & doing the other things listed here, she can gradually work up to sets of 10 & add to the weight used as well.
Meanwhile, she can work out better on exercises for her arms, chest, & back and exercise more vigorously -- & as her heart rate goes up & her blood circulates more there, it will also gradually circulate more in her legs. And, her insulin response will improve sharply.
2. Nitric Oxide release.
Taking l-Arginine & drinking pomegranate juice have been shown to improve nitric oxide release. And nitric oxide release in your bood vessels enables them to relax & to respond with more elasticity to blood flow & blood flow increases.
You get some effect by taking as little as 500 mg a day of L-arginine. But the ideal is to take 6 times that much with water twice a day – once just before you exercise & once just before you go to bed. (It tastes dreadful straight. So I suggest 500 mg capsules.) Also, it’s important to get l-Arginine & NOT l-Arginine HCl as the hydrochloric acid part might be harmful in that high a quantity. And, it adds an extremely harsh aftertaste. Straight l-Arginine does not have those problems & is available.
With drinking pomegranate juice, 4 ounces a day is enough to get a strong effect on nitric oxide release. That’s fortunate as it’s quite expensive.
3. Increase HDL cholesterol & lower LDL cholesterol.
Keeping them both from oxidizing with vitamins C & E and with alpha lipoic acid & plentiful fruits & vegetables also helps.
But, unoxidized, part of HDL cleans out your arteries & the part of LDL cholesterol which is literally small enough & tough enough to fit into the molecular chinks in your blood vessels tends to get stuck there like gluey gravel & to build plaque that narrows your blood vessels or blocks them & is HORRIBLE for blood circulation.
Statin drugs can do this but can be dangerous to some people; must be taken with at least 100 mg a day of CoQ10 to be safe to take; & are dreadfully expensive.
She might well need them if her LDL cholesterol is over 200. But if it’s significantly lower, she might be OK with eating right & exercising and taking the following supplements.:
(I lowered my LDL from 130 to 84 using them; & had I not already been eating right and exercising regularly, my family history suggests my LDL might well have been well above 160 maybe even 200.)
The most important three are beta sitosterol; niacin, & inositol hexaniacinate.
The company, Natrol, makes a beta sitosterol supplement that is quite inexpensive. And, I take 2 at lunch & one with dinner. (I don’t take them at breakfast as I take my fat soluble vitamins D3 & E at breakfast. And, I want to be sure the sterols in the supplement don’t block me from using them.)
I also take 300 mg a day of niacin right after breakfast. I get the Whole Foods brand as I know it’s effective; & it’s also very inexpensive.
(Occasionally but rarely I get the flush reaction as I do if I accidentally take two. It’s a bit like an internal & temporary all over sunburn where much of your skin turns the color of a bad sunburn & warms up. It can be a bit uncomfortable & throws off my ability to judge the temperature of the air I’m in; but it does go away after about half an hour. And, even better, I’ve heard that when this happens, it means that my LDL cholesterol was too high & it’s as if the niacin is burning it out of my blood vessels. So I’m pleased it’s benefiting me.)
Lastly, I take 300 mg of inositol hexaniacinate before breakfast & again after dinner each day for a total of two a day. Again, I take the Whole Foods brand which they label as No Flush Niacin.
From what I’ve read, this total of 900 mg a day of the two forms of niacin is safe for most people. But if you have any liver problems, you should have your doctor check your liver health indicators with a blood test on a regular basis.
And, it’s important to do so if you take more than that or you take the timed release version, Niaspan, on the advice of your doctor – typically in MUCH higher doses of niacin.
The nice thing is that the chromium polynicotinate, exercise, niacin, & inositol hexaniacinate already listed all effectively raise HDL cholesterol. And, exercise & the two forms of niacin have been shown to increase the kind of HDL that cleans your blood vessels, protects your heart, & helps you live longer.
Interestingly, so has drinking red wine regularly. Normally women metabolize alcohol half as well or as fast as men. But if my friend’s wife is OK to drink it, drinking a single glass of red wine after dinner most days effectively raises her HDL by as much as twenty percent I’ve read. And, separate studies have shown regularly drinking that much wine protects your heart through the HDL boosting & the other phytonutrients in the red wine.
(Women who are recovering alcoholics or who are taking medications that interact with alcohol or who might well have two or more glasses before driving will likely be far safer to pass on drinking the red wine & stick to the other methods. Heavy use of Tylenol combined with alcohol can damage your liver severely for example.)
4. Other supplements that promote circulation directly include 200 iu a day of natural vitamin E; ginkgo biloba; bilberry extract; grape seed extract; pycnogenol; & resveratrol.
Apparently so does drinking Welches dark purple concord grape juice.
These tend to keep your blood from excess clotting; expand your capillaries; & make the walls of your blood vessels smoother, tougher, & more elastic.
And, UNLIKE ASPIRIN, they do this WITHOUT harming your stomach lining & causing bleeding in it. Plus, they continue to do the job even when you are quite stressed or if you take Advil or other NSAID’s while aspirin does NOT.
5. She should have her homocysteine level checked. As an ex smoker with circulation problems it’s quite likely to be well over 12. That is very harmful & one of the ways smoking cigarettes harms circulation.
It should be well under 9.0; & in order to move it there, she may well need to also take a B-complex supplement AND 1,000 mcg a day of methylcobalimin, the methyl form of B12; 800 iu of folic acid, enough added B6 to bring her daily total to 75 or so (Over 100 is not safe).
In addition she should take 500 mg of NAC n-acetyl cysteine once or maybe even twice a day.
If her post-test is till above 9.0 after several weeks of those supplements, she should also look into extra stress relief & add the supplement TMG.
My online search didn’t find the dosage recommended as that’s the only one I don’t yet take.
However there is a great write up on Wikipedia:
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Trimethylglycine (also commonly known as TMG, betaine, glycine betaine or betaine anhydrous) is more specifically N,N,N-trimethylglycine.
TMG is not to be confused with betaine hydrochloride.
Trimethylglycine is an organic compound with a structure similar to choline and a betaine. The molecular structure is (CH3)3NCH2COOH as a cation with either the carboxylic acid as the anion (loss of proton) or another anion present. The difference is that choline (trimethylaminoethanol) has been reduced from a terminal carboxylic acid to a hydroxyl group. If Trimethylglycine donates one of its methyl groups, then it becomes dimethylglycine.
Trimethylglycine is used to treat high homocysteine levels. Kilmer S McCully MD theorised that cholesterol and clogged arteries were symptoms rather than causes of heart disease and proposed homocysteine as a more likely culprit. If it were not for his work, homocysteine would not have been thought harmful and so supplements to lower homocysteine would not have been thought necessary.
TMG may also have uses in enhancing mood, as methyl donor it helps increase SAMe levels.
A compound which may be confused with TMG is betaine hydrochloride, or betaine HCl. Betaine HCl is used as a digestive aid; it is particularly helpful for persons with insufficient acid production in the stomach. Betaine HCl has an acidic taste.
TMG (anhydrous betaine) tastes sweet with a metallic aftertaste and is usually produced from sugar beets.
After giving off a methyl group TMG becomes dimethylglycine. DMG helps increase oxygenation to cells and athletes have used it to increase performance. TMG is used by the ton in livestock farming, paired with lysine to increase "carcass yield," to help increase muscle mass.
 Biochemical mechanisms
TMG functions very closely with choline, folic acid, vitamin B12 and S-adenosyl methionine SAMe. All of these compounds function as "methyl donors." They carry and donate methyl functional groups to facilitate necessary chemical processes. The donation of methyl groups is important to proper liver function, cellular replication, and detoxification reactions.
TMG also plays a role in the manufacture of carnitine and serves to protect the kidneys from damage.
Back to my blog post:
The liver protection mentioned can be useful for people who take any form of niacin or who drink any form of alcohol. And the kidney protection mentioned may well be crucial to someone who has high blood glucose or problems with circulation.
So, after reading this, I think she would be very wise to add TMG to her daily supplement immediately.