Gold Coast Naturopath: Micro-circulation - Not such a “small” subject

14 Sep 2015 12:46 PMLicensee Person Gold Coast Naturopath: Micro-circulation - Not such a “small” subject

Herbs and diet can help with micro-circulation and it’s not hard to improve lifestyle with a few little dietary changes.

This subject has peaked particular interest, since my father has many health conditions associated with what I now feel to believe be associated with microcirculation.

As you know we receive all our tissue nourishment and oxygen via the circulation of blood. Macro-circulation assists circulation of our cardiovascular system (veins, arteries, heart) and commonly health problems arise from malfunctions with this system. Microcirculation main job is tissue nourishment and the concept of vascular endothelial function. This tiny network is often neglected with the treatment of circulatory system problems but also areas affecting the eyes and kidneys.  Herbs and diet can help with micro-circulation and it’s not hard to improve lifestyle with a few little dietary changes.

Micro-vessels supply tissues and organs with oxygen and nutrients; therefore microvascular disorders will impact on tissue function, given the close link between flow and metabolism. The body is affected by microvascular dysfunction; foremost is the liver and kidneys.  This also can include restless leg syndrome, osteoarthritis, retinal disease, poor healing, disc damage, and recovery from ischemia, anti-aging, athletic performance and some cancers.  

To emphasize the importance – diseases linked to microvascular dysfunction include – obesity, diabetes, hypertension, sleep disorders, Alzheimer disease, gout, lupus, polycystic ovary syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, stroke and scleroderma. When you think about it / if there is a lack of microcirculation to your heart, what do you think will eventually happen? Lack of blood flow, circulation and death of the heart muscle.

Various factors influence microcirculation. Besides a possible need for blood thinning for it to get through the blood vessels, the endothelium (monolayer of cells lining all blood vessels) needs to be healthy. Hair like protrusions on the endothelium can impede flow through the blood vessels and in turn circulation to the desired target organ.  Endothelial dysfunction is relevant to microcirculatory health.

Helpful Herbs and Food Choices

Bilberry - (Vaccinium myrtillus) has a long history with benefitting vision, particular with its role in microcirculation. Bilberry can also assist with asthma and bronchitis when cortisone therapy affects the microcirculation; it improves diabetic retinopathy and reduces hemorrhages.

Garlic - We all love to eat garlic and here is another reason why it’s good for you. Typically when it is fresh crushed and raw. Garlic is good for microcirculation and microcirculatory flow.

Gotu Kola - Studies have shown improvement in microvascular damage in diabetes and capillary permeability.

Ginkgo - Most studies involve the use of ginkgo in retinal circulatory problems; including retinal artery and capillary flow. My father has had to have two operations since his retina has almost detached – meaning he could have gone blind. Gingko improves vision in patients with glaucoma.

Grape seed (vitis vinifera) – Grape seed extract assists with poor circulation and high cholesterol; reduces swelling caused by injury and helps with eye diseases related to diabetes. Its affect on microcirculation includes capillary resistance and capillary permeability. There’s strong evidence that grape seed extract is beneficial for a number of cardiovascular conditions.

Cocoa (yes chocolate) helps improve glaucoma. The best quality is 90% cocoa lindt. My next blog is about the benefits of Cocoa

Beetroot – this is one of the richest sources of Nitric oxide (NO) which influences the contraction of arterioles; therefore beneficial for microcirculation and endothelial health particularly in regulating blood pressure. Add some beetroot to your morning juice or roast some and put it in your salad for lunch.

Green Tea – improves endothelial dysfunction particularly in smokers. Who doesn’t like a nice cup of green tea, don’t forget  it helps with weight loss too.

Dietary advice

Boost dietary nitrate – green leafy vegetables, especially beetroot.

Increase cocoa – 85% plus chocolate to 20g/day

Increase berry anthocyanin intake – 50-100g/day of either blueberries, strawberries, raspberries and blackberries

Raw crushed garlic – 1 glove a day

Increase herbs and spices – especially green tea (4cups/day) turmeric and ginger.


Further information on Micro-circulation

An article in The Australian in 2006

 “Australian researches have made a discovery that could prove beneficial to millions of older people. Through identifying how an ageing liver is starved of oxygen, they believe they may have uncovered an important factor in susceptibility to age related diseases, including coronary artery disease and nervous system disorders such as Parkinson’s.  They discovered that with age, tiny blood vessels in the liver undergo microscopic changes that can potentially translate into major diseases. A young and healthy liver has unique blood vessels. Unlike vessels anywhere else in the body they are very thin and full of holes, a bit like fly mesh. This mesh allows oxygen being carried in the blood to pass effortlessly into the liver cells where it is used to fuel metabolic processes.

With age this fine mesh like structure changes dramatically. The vessels thicken, the holes close off and an underlying basement membrane develops. This means less oxygen can get through and that liver cells have less oxygen to do their metabolic work (including processing toxins)… In old age these substances (toxins) can bypass the liver and deposit themselves elsewhere in the body where they can cause harm. Some may accumulate in coronary arteries while a particular family of toxins might travel to the brain when they congregate and manifest possibly as Parkinson’s disease.”

I think this article sums up how important our micro-circulation is. If you are suffering or a family member is presenting with cardiovascular, kidney or retinal diseases your/their health could be improved dramatically with a few dietary changes.

Contact your trusted Gold Coast naturopath, Petries Cottage of Natural Therapies, with major health concerns.