Many patients have asked if there are supplements that I can use to get rid of and/or prevent varicose veins.
There has been much printed in the health press with regards to supplements for different medical issues, and this is also true for venous disease and varicose veins.
Flavonoids, a natural plant pigment, have been recommended as a way of preventing varicose veins. These can be found in the peel and white pith of citrus fruits, such as oranges, grapefruits, and lemons, which are a great source of antioxidants. They are also found in berries; blueberries, and cranberries especially those that are darker and riper. Blackberries, black grapes, and bananas also are rich in flavonoids. With regards to vegetables, those that are of the green and red family contain flavonoids. The method of action is to strengthen vein walls making them less likely to rupture, as well as increasing venous tone, and reduce the possibility of pooling of blood flow in the veins. People who do not wish to go the natural route can take mineral supplements to accomplish the same goal: Hesperidin 50 mg per day and Diosmin 450 mg per day are reasonable options. It is unclear as to how long you can take the supplements without potential for risk, as these are not regulated by the FDA.
More recently there has been literature on the Internet with regards to Gotu Kola 60 mg a day to reduce progression of varicose veins, and strengthen the valves in the veins. The plant from which Gotu Kola comes from is found in the India, and South Africa. The American cancer Society has reported preliminary data that this works to reduce swelling of the lower extremities, and reduce leakage of the blood vessel walls, both of which reduce symptoms and presence of varicose veins. However, they recommend that this product usage requires further study.
Pycnogenol derived from the pine bark of a tree known as Pinus Pinaster, is yet another supplement which may help reduce leg pains, heaviness and fluid retention. The tablet may be derived from extracts of peanut skins, and grape seeds.
Horse chestnut extract has also been used as a natural supplement to improve venous circulation.
While these may have beneficial effects, in terms of trying to improve venous health, please remember that these supplements are not regulated by the FDA, and as such oversight is not watched correctly. People who are on medications for various medical issues, such as diabetes, hypertension, and hyperlipidemia should consult with their physician prior to adding any of the supplements into their daily regimen, as cross-reaction’s and drug incompatibility is a risk.