Q. Dear Terry, “This time of year, my Raynaud’s is worse than usual. I do my best to keep my hands from getting cold. Are there herbs or other natural things I could try?” – Mackenzie G., Chicago, IL
A. Dear Mackenzie, I highly encourage you to keep your healthcare practitioner in the loop with any supplementation you are considering. To strengthen circulation, there are several ingredients I recommend: French grape seed extract, vitamin B6, magnesium, and zinc.
I think French grape seed extract is incredibly beneficial for the vasculature. In scientific studies, grape seed extract has been shown to shield blood vessels and arteries from oxidative stress and free radical damage. I recommend taking a grape seed extract that is tannin-free and standardized to contain only OPCs small enough to be absorbed. I would take 400 mg of French grape seed extract three times per day.
I also think that vitamin B6 is very useful to help with vasospasm, which is one of the mechanisms indicated in Raynaud’s. I prefer the human, biologically active form of B6 called pyridoxal-5-phosphate (P-5-P). This special form of vitamin B6 is easily utilized by the body and has numerous health benefits. I would combine P-5-P with the minerals magnesium and zinc. Magnesium plays many roles in the body including helping muscles and blood vessels to relax. Deficiencies are very common due to our diet and lifestyle. Zinc works synergistically with magnesium and vitamin B6. I would take 10 mg of vitamin B6 (as P-5-P), 100 mg of magnesium (as magnesium bisglycinate chelate), and 5 mg of zinc (as zinc bisglycinate chelate) twice per day.
There are also three vitamins I think are very important for proper circulation: vitamin A, D, and K. The two main types of vitamin K we obtain through diet or supplements are K1 and K2. Many people are familiar with K1 and its effects on blood clotting, as vitamin K derived its name from the German word “klotting”. However, vitamin K2 is equally important, especially when it comes to proper circulation. When taking vitamin K2 for supporting the arteries, I also include vitamin D3 (as cholecalciferol) and vitamin A (as retinyl palmitate). Studies are finding that vitamin D and vitamin K work better when they’re both at optimal levels. Vitamins A and D are also important for the cells that line the inside of our blood vessels. These vitamins all work together to help with healthy circulation.
I would take 10,000 IU of vitamin A (as retinyl palmitate), 5,000 IU of vitamin D3 (as cholecalciferol), and 45 mcg of vitamin K2 (as menaquinone-7) per day.
Terry . . . Naturally
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