Your body holds about 60,000 miles of vessels, which rely on the pumping of your heart to keep blood flowing. That blood carries nutrients and oxygen throughout the body. Maintaining healthy circulation is vital to a healthy life. Many lifestyle factors can affect circulation, such as smoking/nicotine, not standing or moving enough (like those who sit at a desk all day for work), diet, stress, and more.
In these studies, nutrients showed promise in supporting healthy circulation, blood pressure, kidneys, and more.
Black Seed Oil for Circulation
Nigella sativa relaxed vessels, increased flow
Reduced chances for heart and circulatory problems
In this study, doctors measured vessel function in 50 adults who had higher chances of developing heart and circulatory issues. Participants took a placebo or 500 mg of black seed (nigella sativa) oil per day.
After two months, for those taking black seed oil, blood vessels were better able to relax and dilate, increasing flow capacity by 2.97 percent compared to 0.71 percent for placebo. Doctors also measured blood levels of nitric oxide metabolites, a molecule the body produces naturally, and which regulates the ability of vessels to relax and dilate. Nitric oxide levels increased 4.73 micromoles per liter of blood (mmol/L) in those taking black seed oil, compared to 0.99 mmol/L for placebo.
Discussing the findings, doctors said heart and circulatory conditions are among the leading causes of mortality worldwide and that black seed oil may help maintain circulatory health.
Reference: Phytotherapy Research; 2022, Vol. 36, No. 5, 2236-45
Iron and folic acid provide heart and kidney protection
Circulating iron protects the heart
To determine iron deficiency, doctors typically measure iron and ferritin stored in the body. While iron stores may be sufficient, too little circulating iron may prevent the body from working properly, leading doctors to consider “functional” iron deficiency (FID)—circulating and stored—rather than “absolute” iron deficiency (AID)—stored iron only.
Here, doctors evaluated FID and AID in 12,164 participants in three studies lasting an average 13.3 years. At the start, 60 percent had AID while 64 percent had FID. Those with FID were 24 percent more likely develop coronary heart disease compared to 20 percent of those with AID. Those with FID were also 26 percent more likely to die from heart and circulatory conditions, while there was no link detected in AID, suggesting that measuring FID rather than AID can save lives, doctors said.
Reference: European Society of Cardiology—Heart Failure; 2021, ehf2.13589, Published Online
Folic acid protects the kidneys in high blood pressure
High blood pressure (BP) can damage the kidneys, raising chances for protein to escape into the urine, a condition called proteinuria. To build muscle and bone, protein must remain circulating in the blood.
This study followed 8,208 people treating high BP with enalapril, who began without proteinuria. Participants had high neutrophil counts; an inflammatory factor in BP. After an average of 4.4 years, chances for developing proteinuria was 2.8 percent for those who had added folic acid to enalapril, compared to 5.2 percent for those who had not added folic acid.
Reference: British Journal of Nutrition; 2021, Vol. 126, No. 7, 1040-7
Vitamin K and flavonoids improve heart and circulatory health
Vitamin K reduced hospitalizations in circulatory conditions
Fats and cholesterols can build up on artery walls, reducing blood flow, in a type of heart condition called atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD). In this study, doctors analyzed findings from a large trial covering 53,372 adult men and women over a 23-year period.
Overall, those who got the highest amounts of vitamins K1 and K2 were 21 percent less likely to be hospitalized with ASCVD. For vitamin K2, chances were 14 percent lower. The benefits of vitamin K appeared in all forms of heart and circulatory conditions, but were particularly beneficial in peripheral artery disease—arteries other than those serving the heart and brain—reducing these hospitalizations by 34 percent.
Doctors believe vitamin K protects against calcium buildup in arteries, and recommend increasing current daily intake guidelines.
Reference: Journal of AHA; 2021, Vol. 10, No. 16, e020551
Flavonoids improve blood pressure
Beneficial bacteria in the gut microbiome break down flavonoids and enhance their capacity to protect the heart and circulatory system. In this first flavonoid-microbiome-blood pressure study, doctors measured flavonoids in the diets of 904 men and women, aged 25 to 82, and compared them to DNA microbiome bacteria samples.
After an overnight fast, doctors took three blood pressure measurements, three minutes apart. Those with the highest levels of flavonoids had lower blood pressure and greater microbiome diversity compared to those who got the least flavonoids in the diet.
Doctors said microbiome diversity from high flavonoid levels accounted for about 15 percent of the improvement in systolic blood pressure.
Reference: Hypertension; 2021, Vol. 78, No. 4, 1016-26
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 2023 by Natural Insights for Wellbeing. All rights reserved. Used with permission.
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