Q. Dear Terry, “I am having trouble with swelling in my ankles. I've learned to watch sodium intake. The problem is when I travel the swelling is worse. I take lisinopril with a small amount of diuretic in it. I would like to find something natural that would help keep swelling down.” – Ladonna S., Owensboro, KY
A. Dear Ladonna, I encourage you to keep your healthcare practitioner in the loop with any supplementation you are doing, as they may have additional insight. With that being said, I believe there are some natural ingredients that can support the vascular system.
Edema occurs when fluid builds up between the cells in our body. There can be many causes of edema and the circulatory system is often involved. Edema often shows up in the feet and ankles due to gravity and fluid settling in the lowest part of the body.
One of my favorite ingredients to support the heart and blood vessels is grape seed extract. Grape seed extract helps to maintain blood vessel flexibility and integrity, which can both contribute to swelling (edema). Studies have shown that grape seed extract can decrease edema from a variety of causes including prolonged sitting, venous insufficiency, surgery, or injury. In one study, a single dose of 400 mg of grape seed extract was shown to decrease leg swelling and edema by 70% in women who were sitting for a prolonged period of time (6 hours).
I prefer French grape seed extract with low-molecular weight oligomeric proanthocyanidins (OPCs) that are well absorbed. I would take 400 mg of grape seed extract twice per day.
Edema can also develop when there are vitamin and mineral deficiencies in the body. I think the following nutrients could be very beneficial: vitamin B6, magnesium, and zinc. I strongly recommend vitamin B6 in the form of pyridoxal-5-phosphate (P-5-P) in combination with magnesium glycinate and zinc glycinate. P-5-P is the biologically active form of vitamin B6. Many people (some estimate up to 50% of the population) cannot fully utilize B-vitamins from food and supplements, because these forms of B-vitamins must be converted into the active form before they will function. By using the form of vitamin B6 that is identical to the kind your body utilizes, you bypass this problem entirely. In addition to optimizing vitamin B6 metabolism, the magnesium in the glycinate form delivers a good dose of magnesium to help with muscle relaxation and resistance to nerve excitability. Zinc also works synergistically with magnesium and vitamin B6.
I recommend taking 10 mg of vitamin B6 (as P-5-P), 100 mg of magnesium (as magnesium glycinate), and 5 mg of zinc (as zinc glycinate chelate) three to four times daily.
You may also want to consider taking curcumin. Curcumin is a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. Studies have shown that it is also effective for edema. The curcumin I prefer is enhanced with turmeric essential oil. I would take 750 mg of this curcumin twice per day.
Terry . . . Naturally
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