Varicose Veins: Prevention and Support Through Supplements and Healthy Lifestyle

What are varicose veins, how can we prevent them, and what kind of support is available through vitamins and a healthy lifestyle? Let us start by knowing more about varicose veins.

What are Varicose Veins?

By definition, varicose veins are enlarged and twisted veins that are bluish in color and occur on the skin’s surface. Varicose veins are caused by the blood moving towards the heart in veins with one-way valves. The increased pressure of blood flow through faulty, weakened, or damaged veins leading the blood to either flow in the wrong direction or pool, causes the veins to swell leading to varicose veins.

It is estimated that 30 million adults in the United States have varicose veins[1].

Risk factors include a family history of the venous disease; females; older age; chronically increased intra-abdominal pressure due to obesity, pregnancy, chronic constipation, or a tumor; and prolonged standing.

There are four different stages to varicose veins: 

  • Stage 1: Spider Veins or Reticular Veins 
  • Stage 2: Venous Nodes  
  • Stage 3: Edema 
  • Stage 4: Trophic Ulcers 

In some cases, varicose veins may indicate other underlying problems that cannot be seen by the naked eye. They will start off resembling the web of a spider, hence the name spider veins. Stage 2, the venous nodes can cause restlessness, cramping, tenderness, and even fatigue. If left untreated can cause bleeding, pigmentation, dermatitis, ulceration, and superficial thrombophlebitis. Stage 3, also known as edema, is when the leg has begun to swell. By Stage 4, trophic ulcer, there will be discoloration of the legs and around the ankles.

Prevention of Varicose Veins

According to the study on Clinical and Genetic Determinants of Varicose Veins, there is limited understanding of the genetic and environmental factors contributing to their formation [2]. So, how can you prevent varicose veins? 

You can start by avoiding foods that retain too much water, such as processed foods that are unnaturally high in salt. Other foods, such as fried foods, sugars, and alcoholic beverages, should also be avoided. Refined and simple carbohydrates that can cause damaged veins also help prevent varicose veins and should be avoided from your diet.

You will also need to make lifestyle modifications, such as avoiding prolonged standing in one place and avoid wearing clothing that is too tight. These allow the blood pooled in the leg, ankle, or foot to flow in the right direction. Constantly wearing high heels can also lead to increased risk for varicose veins. Elevating your legs from time to time will also be helpful.

Support through Vitamins

Vitamins such as C, E, K, and Niacin, found in B3, have also aid in the discomforts and prevention of varicose veins. 

Vitamin C, which is known for preventing cell damage, promoting collagen production, and strengthening blood vessels, which helps prevent varicose veins and also prevents the condition from worsening. Vitamin C can be found in bell peppers, spinach, broccoli, and citrus fruits; it is also a potent antioxidant. 

Vitamin E, another antioxidant, increases blood circulation and supports healthy vein structure. Vitamin E can be found in sunflower seeds, almonds, peanuts, peanut butter, pumpkin, beets and spinach. 

Vitamin K has anticoagulant qualities. It has been used as a topical cream for varicose veins, it also helps prevent blood clots and better blood flow through the veins. Vitamin K is well absorbed from leafy green vegetables, lettuce, turnips, broccoli when consumed with fatty foods since vitamin K is fat-soluble. Also some bacteria in the gut can help vitamin K absorption and fermented foods including fermented soy products such as natto also have this important vitamin.

Due to the treatment costs, you may wish to opt for oral dietary supplements from plants that include with Aesculus hippocastanum (horse-chestnut), Ruscus aculeatus (Butcher’s-broom), Centella Asiatica, Hamamelis virginiana (witch-hazel), and bioflavonoids. These may prevent time-consuming, painful, and expensive complications of varicose veins [4]. These have shown improvements in the capillary flow, vascular tone, and microcirculation. 

Supportive Diet & Lifestyle

Choosing a healthy lifestyle is the first step, and the foods you chose can also help prevent varicose veins. 

Here are a few specific foods that have been shown to be beneficial since they are rich in rutin, a bioflavonoid plant pigment, that has been shown to improve blood circulation, and reduce inflammation.

  1. Beets
  2. Asparagus
  3. Avocados
  4. Watercress
  5. Apples
  6. Figs
  7. Green Tea

Exercise also plays a significant role in achieving a healthy lifestyle and prevention of varicose veins. Not only is it good for your mental well-being, regularly moving, even slow paced walking, can improve your blood circulation and overall health.

Feel free to comment below and let me know what you liked best about this article.

Thank you for taking the time to read this. I’d be honored if you would share it with your family, friends, and followers by clicking the Like, Tweet, and Share buttons. If you are serious about improving your health no matter what your age or circumstances, and are ready to finally achieve optimal health and lose the weight you’ve been struggling with, then click HERE to check out my online Guerrilla Diet Wholistic Lifestyle Bootcamp for Healthy and Lasting Weight Loss.

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Thank You, 🙂

Feel free to comment below and let me know what you liked best about this article.

Thank you for taking the time to read this. I’d be honored if you would share it with your family, friends, and followers by clicking the Like, Tweet, and Share buttons. If you are serious about improving your health no matter what your age or circumstances, and are ready to finally achieve optimal health and lose the weight you’ve been struggling with, then click HERE to check out my online Guerrilla Diet Wholistic Lifestyle Bootcamp for Healthy and Lasting Weight Loss.

If you are not already on my mailing list where you will receive my weekly articles packed with scientifically based health, and nutrition content, as well as many FREE bonuses and special offers, and much more, then  click HEREto subscribe.

Thank You, 🙂

Dr. Galit Goldfarb

References:

  • [1] Fukaya E, Flores AM, Lindholm D, Gustafsson S, Zanetti D, Ingelsson E, Leeper NJ. Clinical and Genetic Determinants of Varicose Veins. Circulation. 2018 Dec 18;138(25):2869-2880. doi: 10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.118.035584. PMID: 30566020; PMCID: PMC6400474.
  • [2] Raetz J, Wilson M, Collins K. Varicose Veins: Diagnosis and Treatment. Am Fam Physician. 2019 Jun 1;99(11):682-688. PMID: 31150188.
  • [3] Johnson MT. Treatment and prevention of varicose veins. J Vasc Nurs. 1997 Sep;15(3):97-103. doi: 10.1016/s1062-0303(97)90058-3. PMID: 9362840.
  • [4] MacKay D. Hemorrhoids and varicose veins: a review of treatment options. Altern Med Rev. 2001 Apr;6(2):126-40. PMID: 11302778.

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