Invite Health Podcast, Episode hosted by Jerry Hickey. Ph
Today, we are going to talk about swollen ankles, calves and feet
. It's pretty common, especially if you have been standing or walking a lot. The most common cause is venous insufficiency - the swelling of these areas. Normally, your veins keep blood flowing back up to your heart in one-way valves. If they become weaken or damaged, the blood is moving slowly or leaks back down. Fluid is retained and it starts to leak out into the soft tissues of your lower legs, especially the ankles and feet. It can lead to skin changes, like sores, ulcers, infections, change of color of the skin, and the skin can become rough. The good news is, there are absolutely things you can do about this!
Important Information about Blood Circulation
At times, swelling can be a sign of some disease state or condition. Sometimes, it can be the side effects of certain medications like birth control pills or high blood pressure medications, especially steroids. If its related to your drugs, you should speak with a pharmacist, your doctor or a certified healthcare professional
But the most common cause is a problem with circulation
. You breathe in oxygen, which is dissolved by the lungs and into the heart. And then it's pumped into the different parts of your bodies, in your arteries. Once it is released, it has to be turned back to the blood vessels and heart into your veins. When the valves become overworked, they start to move the fluid slowly back towards the lung and heart and stop working. The body reacts to this by thinking it is some sort of element of inflammation or infection. This can cause Peripheral edema, or the swelling you commonly see or feel in your feet, legs and hands.
Nutrients that Support Healthy Circulation and Veins
Grape seed extract
has been shown to have a direct impact on healthy circulation
in numerous clinical studies. This is because it stabilizes a gas that helps open your blood vessels to help blood flow more evenly and easily, called nitric oxide. This is a very powerful antioxidant.
A study from Japan published in the Journal of Science, and Food and Agriculture
found that in women who sat for many hours behind a desk who had swelling of the legs, Grape Seed Extract improved swelling dramatically within two weeks, especially in leg cramps.
Horse Chestnut Seed and Horsetail
restores tone to the values in your veins. It helps those with varicose veins, where blood vessels are actually swelling. A review of studies (The Cochrane Review) came to the conclusion that Horsetail works as well as mechanical support hose, or compression stockings.
Other nutrients that can help provide support help to improve the integrity of the blood vessel walls themselves are Vitamin C, Citrus Bioflavonoid Complex, Gotu Kola Herb Extract and Bilberry.
Other Lifestyle Modifications
- Cut back on salt, which causes you to retain fluid
- Compression stockings, especially if you run or walk
- Switch positions and take breaks if you work a desk job, are driving or on a long flight