Circulation: Keys to a Healthier Metabolism

When we think of the concept metabolism, we mostly picture how quickly we burn calories, or how well our thyroid functions. But many other mechanisms in our bodies are responsible for our overall metabolic health. One of the key components of healthy metabolism is blood circulation. Healthy blood circulation improves heart health, brain health, eye health, and so much more. When blood flows well, it means we are properly processing the foods we eat, have healthy cell membranes that communicate well and are only sticky when we want them to be, have vein and artery walls that are free from unhealthy plaque, and so much more.

In the following studies, different nutrients show promise in helping healthy circulation, a key to the healthiest you.

Resveratrol reduced chances of second stroke

People who have had a stroke are more likely to have another, compared to those who’ve never had one. In this study, 228 men and women who had a first stroke within the last year continued on standard medical treatment and physical therapy. Some participants added 100 mg or 200 mg of resveratrol per day.

After one year, while there were no changes for those not taking resveratrol, those taking either dose of resveratrol saw systolic blood pressure decline by 5 to 6 percent, to about 139.5 mmHg, and diastolic blood pressure decline 3 to 5 percent, to about 85 mmHg.

Both resveratrol groups also saw greater declines in LDL, the “bad” cholesterol, and in triglycerides; while HDL, the “good” cholesterol increased more. For those with diabetes, fasting blood sugar declined 5 to 6 percent, to about 134 mg per deciliter of blood (mg/dl), for both resveratrol groups, but less than 2 percent, to about 141 mg/dl, for the non-resveratrol group. 

Reference: Oxidative Medicine & Cellular Longevity; Vol. 2018, ID 4147320

Omega-3s lower blood pressure

Doctors measured levels of omega-3s circulating in whole blood, called the Omega-3 Index, in 2,036 healthy young adults with normal blood pressure and weight. 

Compared to those with the lowest circulating levels of omega-3s, those with the highest Omega-3 Index scores had systolic blood pressure 4 mmHg lower on average, and diastolic blood pressure 2 mmHg lower.

Discussing the findings, doctors said controlling blood pressure is a key factor in living a healthy, long life, and that ensuring good omega-3 levels early in life, even in those without high blood pressure, may be beneficial for healthy aging in the population at large.

Reference: Journal of Hypertension; 2018, Vol. 36, No. 7, 1548-54

Magnesium reduced PAD

Peripheral artery disease (PAD) narrows arteries distant from the heart; most often affecting the legs, but also the arms and gut. In this large study, the first of its kind, doctors followed 13,826 adults for an average of 24 years, screening each for circulating magnesium levels every three years. Participants began the study without PAD.

Overall, those whose magnesium levels were no higher than 1.4 milliequivalents per liter of blood (mEq/L) were 38 percent more likely to have developed PAD over the study period compared to those whose magnesium levels were at least 1.8 mEq/L.

To isolate the health effects of magnesium, doctors adjusted for other factors that raise chances for PAD, including smoking, diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure, and still found an independent link between PAD and low magnesium levels in both men and women.

Reference: Atherosclerosis; 2019, Vol. 282, 196-201

Flavonoids reduced stroke

Most stroke is ischemic, meaning a blood clot blocks a vessel to the brain. Fatty deposits lining vessel walls are the main cause. In this study, doctors followed 55,169 adults, aged 52 to 60, with no history of ischemic stroke, and an average of 496 mg of flavonoids per day in the diet.

During 21 years of follow-up, those who got the most flavonoids, flavonols, and flavanol oligo-polymers were 10 to 18 percent less likely to have had an ischemic stroke.

Doctors adjusted for factors including demographics and lifestyle, and found that a total flavonoid intake of about 500 mg per day significantly decreased chances for ischemic stroke.

Reference: American Journal of Clinical Nutrition; 2021, Vol. 114, No. 1, 348-57

Green tea for diabetic neuropathy

Long-term high blood sugar in diabetes damages nerves throughout the body, often affecting feet and legs first, followed by hands and arms. In this study, 194 people with the condition, known as diabetic peripheral neuropathy, took a placebo or a daily green tea extract.

At four weeks, pain scores, nerve function, and the ability to feel sensations in the limbs were similar in both groups. Beginning at week eight, those taking green tea saw improved pain scores, nerve function, and ability to feel sensations in the peripheries compared to placebo. These improvements in pain, nerve, and sensations in the limbs continued to increase through the end of the 16-week study.

Reference: Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice; 2021, Vol. 43, 101317

BetsyHealth Note: This article is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any disease. Consult your healthcare provider before trying a supplement, especially if you have a medical condition, including being pregnant or nursing, take prescription or over-the-counter medications, or are planning on having surgery.

Article copyright 2022 by Natural Insights for Well Being. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

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