The circulatory system provides cells with oxygen and nutrients, whilst also carrying waste matter away from the bloodstream
Poor circulation can cause symptoms like cold hands and feet, though it can also be a risk factor for more serious conditions such as Cardiovascular Disease (CVD). This occurs when the arteries become blocked, fatty deposits cause the artery walls to thicken, or the artery walls become less elastic.
There are many ways to support circulatory health but three particular vitamins that may be of benefit are:
Read on to find out why these nutrients are helpful for our circulatory system.
Vitamin D is actually considered to be a hormone and influences many processes, including:
Recently, research has also highlighted that vitamin D could be important in issues relating to our circulatory health.
Does vitamin D improve circulation?
Vitamin D could work to strengthen endothelial cells, which act as a barrier between blood vessels and tissues and manage the flow of substances in and out of cells. It could also help to strengthen the blood vessels, and reduce levels of a hormone called angiotensin which drives up blood pressure and inflammation.
Vitamin D deficiency has also been associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.1 This may be to do with its role in helping to keep the arteries and blood vessels relaxed.2
Where can you find vitamin D?
Unlike other nutrients, the body has the ability to make its own vitamin D when exposed to the sun. Food sources of vitamin D are limited, though it can be found in oily fish, eggs, offal and mushrooms.
If you are taking a supplement, please note that it is not recommended we take more than 400IU / 10 mg a day long-term. If you are taking a multi-vitamin or other supplements such as cod liver oil, check them for vitamin D content before adding a vitamin D supplement.
A.Vogel Self-Care Tip: How to get vitamin D from the sun
The sun is the body's main source of vitamin D. Both the colour of your skin and the amount of time you spend out in the sun will determine how much vitamin D the body is able to make. Paler skin tones can make vitamin D within about 15 minutes whilst fairer tones may require a few hours. Watch my video below for more vitamin D-related tips like this!
What are B vitamins?
There are many different parts of the B vitamin family, which have a range of different roles, such as:
Energy storage and use
Using folic acid
A couple of specific B vitamins are also known to influence circulation issues.
Which B vitamins can help circulation?
Vitamin B12 is most beneficial for circulation as it helps to keep nerve and blood cells working well. Without enough vitamin B12, the body may not be able to create enough red blood cells to transport oxygen around the body. The result of this could be fatigue and weakness.
Vitamin B6, on the other hand, is associated with a reduced risk of CVD. This is because it could lower levels of an amino acid called homocysteine which, in excess, has been associated with heart disease.3
Research has shown that blueberries, in particular, could reduce risk of cardiovascular disease.4 It is possible that one of the reasons for this is the high vitamin B6 content of them.
In addition to this, vitamin B6 is thought to improve capillary circulation – this is the movement of blood through the smallest blood vessels.
Where can you find B vitamins?
Vitamin B12 deficiency is quite easy to correct, as long as you are including the right foods in your diet. Some good sources of B12 include eggs, salmon, cheese and cod.
Vitamin B6 is, as I mentioned, is present in blueberries. It is also found in poultry, vegetables, wholegrains and fish.
What is vitamin E?
Another very important nutrient, vitamin E, is known to help the following areas:
On top of this, our circulation is another possible area that vitamin E could benefit.
Does vitamin E help circulation?
Vitamin E is thought to be good for blood circulation, which may be helpful if you are prone to cold hands and feet (even when it isn't winter!).
There is also evidence that vitamin E could support the health of blood vessels and the flow of blood in the arteries.5
Lack of E may be one of the reasons for stiffening of the arterial wall, which tends to raise blood pressure.6, 7
Where can you find vitamin E?
Vitamin E is present in plant oils like soya, corn and olive oil. Nuts, seeds and wheatgerm also contain a reasonable amount.
Did you know? Vitamin E is fat soluble meaning it can be stored in the body and you don’t need to include it in your diet every day. The RDA for men is 4mg and 3mg for women.