Circulation problems can lead to cold hands and feet, muscle cramps, or tiredness. No supplement can cure circulation problems, but people may find they help with the symptoms.
Blood delivers oxygen and vital nutrients to cells, tissues, and organs throughout the body. Poor circulation can also slow down wound healing, increasing the risk of infection.
Treatment for poor circulation will depend on individual circumstances. Some people may be able to promote good circulation with lifestyle changes, while some people may require medications to help widen blood vessels or manage underlying conditions.
Read on to learn more about supplements for better circulation.
Impaired circulation can cause many symptoms, such as:
- cold hands and feet
- numbness or tingling
- dry skin, especially on the feet
- hair loss on the legs
- brittle nails
- slow wound healing
- erectile dysfunction
However, these symptoms can also result from many other health conditions. People should see a doctor for a diagnosis if they think they have poor circulation, any other new or unexplained symptoms, or another long-term condition, such as diabetes.
Supplements are not a treatment for circulation problems. However, they may help with symptoms for some people or generally support cardiovascular health.
Capsaicin is a compound that exists in chili peppers, such as cayenne. One of its uses in traditional medicine is improving circulation.
Few studies have examined if capsaicin is an effective treatment for circulation problems. However, scientists believe it may be a vasodilator, which means it dilates or opens up blood vessels due to its influence on TRPV1 receptors. According to
However, should be aware that capsaicin can cause side effects, even in small doses. These include:
- stomach pain
- burning sensations
High doses may carry serious risks, particularly for people with heart conditions.
Omega-3 fatty acids
Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are Omega-3 fatty acids that encourage the release of nitric oxide. Nitric oxide relaxes blood vessels, allowing more blood to flow through them.
Some research suggests that this and Omega-3’s anti-inflammatory effects may improve the function of the cells inside blood vessels, encouraging proper dilation. This may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease in people who are at risk, such as those who smoke or have a high body mass index (BMI).
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends that people take no more than
Red beetroot powder contains nitrates, which are compounds that the body converts into nitric oxide. Nitric oxide helps relax blood vessels, increasing the amount of blood they can carry.
Vitamin B3, or niacin, is a vitamin that doctors sometimes prescribe for lowering cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood. One
There is not much evidence vitamin B3 directly helps with the ongoing management of circulation problems, but it does support cardiovascular health in general.
The upper limit of daily B3 for adults is
L-arginine is a semi-essential amino acid present in some meats and nuts. A
The study looked at 80 adults, ages 40–65 years, with mild to moderately high blood pressure. The participants took 2.4 g of l-arginine, 3 milligrams (mg) of vitamin B6, 0.4 mg of folic acid, and 2 micrograms of vitamin B12.
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. However, taking l-arginine alone did not produce any change.
The garlic powder improved blood flow in the upper arm compared with a placebo. However, the results were not statistically significant. More research is necessary to determine if garlic is beneficial to blood flow.
Curcumin is a naturally occurring substance that is present in turmeric. It is a phenol, which is a type of antioxidant.
There is no guarantee that supplements will help with circulation problems. The evidence supporting some supplements is weak.
Whether a supplement helps also depends on the underlying cause of the circulation problems. For example, if a person is low in B vitamins, taking them may help improve blood flow. Others may need to take steps to prevent or control underlying diseases.
People can speak with a doctor to better understand their condition and what might be causing it. They can also make recommendations based on a person’s overall health, age, lifestyle, and other factors.
It is important to note that the FDA does not regulate supplements, and some may be harmful. Always check with a doctor before trying one.
Lifestyle adjustments may help improve circulation. It may help to:
- exercise regularly
- eat a balanced diet
- stay hydrated
- reduce or manage stress
- get massages
- quit smoking
Several supplements may help improve circulation. Substances such as capsaicin, beetroot powder, and Omega-3 fatty acids may help dilate blood vessels and reduce inflammation. Others may help maintain the health of blood vessels.
However, much of the research is preliminary, so there is no guarantee any supplement will directly improve blood flow. Supplements can also cause side effects and drug interactions.
Supplements are not an appropriate treatment option for some people with circulation issues. Anyone with circulation problems should speak with a doctor to get expert advice and to check that a supplement is safe for them.