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Good blood flow delivers oxygen and vital nutrients to cells, tissues, and organs throughout the body.
Poor blood flow can give rise to many symptoms, including:
- numb, tingling, or cold hands and feet
- swollen abdomen, legs, ankles, or feet
- digestive problems
- muscle cramping or joint pain
- paler or blueish skin
- slow healing time
- erectile dysfunction
- chest pain
- confusion or lightheadedness
Taking medications that improve blood flow may help manage conditions that cause poor circulation. However, some vitamins and supplements might also help increase circulation or contribute to healthy blood flow.
Learn about them, and what the research says, in this article.
Although there is no solid scientific evidence to support their use, many preliminary studies and research articles suggest that certain vitamins and supplements may improve blood flow.
Vitamin B-3, or niacin,
- increase blood vessel function
- reduce blood levels of bad cholesterol
- reduce inflammation within blood vessels
Inflammation in the blood vessels can lead to the development of conditions such as atherosclerosis, which can damage them or cause them to narrow.
It is essential not to take too much vitamin B-3, as it can cause adverse effects. The upper limit for adults is 35 milligrams (mg) per day.
Vitamin B-3 is available in capsules and as a powder in drugstores and online.
The body needs iron to make hemoglobin, the protein within blood that carries oxygen. The body also needs iron to make myoglobin, a protein that carries oxygen from the lungs to muscles.
The body also uses iron to make connective tissues, including those within blood vessels that allow them to control blood pressure.
Adults should never consume more than 45 mg of iron per day. Taking too much iron can cause serious side effects, such as vomiting and fainting. Taking a very high dose can lead to a coma and even be life threatening.
People can buy iron supplements at a pharmacy or online.
L-arginine is a semi-essential amino acid present in some meats and nuts. It helps stimulate the release of nitric oxide, a compound that causes the smooth muscles lining blood vessel walls to relax.
The author of a
To get blood flow benefits, it may be important to consume L-arginine alongside B vitamins. Some
The same study looked at 80 adults, ages 40–65, with mild to moderately high blood pressure. The participants took 2.4 grams (g) of l-arginine, 3 mg of vitamin B-6, 0.4 mg of folic acid, and 2 micrograms of vitamin B-12.
After 3 months, those taking the supplements experienced significant improvements in blood vessel health and a reduction in blood pressure compared with those who took a placebo.
L-arginine is available for purchase online.
Omega-3 fatty acids
However, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommend that people take no more than 3 g per day of EPA and DHA combined, from both dietary sources and supplements.
Look for omega-3 fatty acids in drugstores and online.
- reduce free radical damage and inflammation
- increase vascular health
- lower blood pressure
- reduce cholesterol levels
- reduce inflammatory chemicals within blood vessels
Many people take capsaicin as a supplement, but it is also present in many peppers, especially chilli peppers and cayenne peppers.
People should be aware that capsaicin can cause bothersome side effects, even in small doses. These include:
- stomach pain
- burning sensations
Capsaicin is available to purchase in some drugstores and online.
Antioxidants called flavonoids may help reduce the risk of cardiovascular events.
In a small
People can look for quercetin capsules online or at a pharmacy.
Red beetroot powder
In a small
People can buy beetroot powder supplements online.
Cinnamon supplements are available in many grocery stores and online.
The garlic powder improved blood flow in the upper arm compared with a placebo. However, the researchers did not find the evidence to be statistically significant. More research is necessary to determine if garlic is beneficial to blood flow.
People can often find garlic at their local grocery store. Those who do not like the taste can try supplements, such as these available for purchase online.
Curcumin is a naturally occurring phenol, a type of antioxidant, present in the spice turmeric.
Those who had curcumin experienced an improvement in elements of blood vessel functioning.
Curcumin is available for purchase in some drugstores, health food stores, and online.
Eating a vitamin-rich diet is essential to blood vessel and cardiovascular health. That means getting the daily recommend amount of essential vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients contributes to good blood flow.
In most cases, however, there is not enough research to know precisely how specific vitamins and supplements impact blood flow.
Also, everyone responds to nutrients differently, especially based on factors such as underlying health conditions, age, and lifestyle habits.
It is crucial to note that the FDA do not regulate supplements, so people should only purchase reputable brands.
Plenty of lifestyle adjustments may help improve blood flow, including:
Many vitamins, minerals, and other supplements have the potential to help increase blood flow.
However, not a lot of research suggests that any specific vitamin or supplement can directly improve blood flow. That said, consuming a healthful array of nutrients is vital for overall health.
For people with circulation issues, vitamins may not be an appropriate treatment option. These individuals should speak to a doctor about medical options.
Some supplements can interact with other medications or make certain conditions worse. Always talk with a doctor before trying supplements or vitamins for blood flow problems.