Circulatory Health (General)
Adenosine 5′ – triphosphate (Peak ATP)
Studies in humans show that factors such as age and disease states cause intracellular levels of ATP to drop significantly. It now appears that there is also a significant decline in extracellular levels of ATP, which negatively affects blood pressure and the health of the blood vessels. Extracellular ATP circulates in the blood and acts upon ATP receptors on the lining of the blood vessels. This triggers the release of nitric oxide which improves the tone of the blood vessels and relaxes the vessel walls so that more blood can get through to the heart, lungs and peripheries, especially skeletal muscles.
As well as the obvious benefits to the vascular system, this improvement in blood flow also facilitates the delivery of oxygen, glucose and other nutrients to all tissues of the body, and ensures efficient removal of metabolic wastes, thereby improving cellular efficiency through all tissues of the body.
Both niacin and inositol hexanicotinate have been found to increase blood flow in circulatory disorders such as Raynaud’s Disease (fingers and toes that are hypersensitive to cold} and intermittent claudication, which is characterised by walking-induced cramping caused by depleted oxygen in the lower extremities. Some of the circulatory benefits of niacin and inositol hexanicotinate are due to the influence on blood clotting and blood lipids. Also significant is the temporary stimulatory effect of niacin on dilation of blood vessels near the surface of the skin, in part, accounting for the temporary flushing (redness, heat and itching) experienced soon after ingestion.
The properties of vitamin E may significantly benefit artery, vein and capillary circulation. Research has highlighted therapeutic and/or preventive benefits with vitamin E supplementation in numerous conditions associated with circulatory dysfunction i.e. atherosclerosis, cerebrovascular disease (i.e. stroke), Raynaud’s Disease (excessive sensitivity to cold in fingers and toes), vasculitis, intermittent claudication (walking-induced cramping caused by depleted oxygen in the lower extremities), hot flushes, oedema and purpura (capillary haemorrhage).
Studies strongly suggest that EPA from fish oils can improve vascular function, and therefore, circulation. These effects include an antithrombotic effect, lipid (triglyccridc) lowering, reduced blood and plasma viscosity, and improvements in endothelial dysfunction. Omega 3 fatty acids have been shown to inhibit the activity of a chemical called thromboxane. Thromboxane is a potent vasoconstrictor and causes platelets to aggregate (stick together). It is therefore implicated in the development of blood clots and other vascular disorders. The favourable influence of omega 3 fatty acids is attributed, among other things, to the fact that these nutrients have an inhibiting influence on the biological activity of thromboxane.
The active compounds in the herb ginkgo (e.g. flavone glycosides) have been found in numerous studies to promote circulation. Although this effect is especially pronounced in the micro-circulation of the brain, ginkgo actually tonifies the circulatory system in general, due to several remarkable mechanisms.
Circulatory Health Summary
Nutrient/Herb Typical intake range
Adenosine 5′ -triphosphate (ATP) (1)
Niacin hexanicotinate (2)
Vitamin E (3)
Fish oils (4)
Ginkgo biloba extract (24%
ginkgoflavoglycosides, 6% terpene lactones) (5)
1 25 – 300mg per day
600 – 1 800mg per day
200-800IU per day
1 000 – 4000mg per day
60 – 1 80mg per day
Refined and processed foods
Nuts and seeds
Take regular exercise
Stop smoking (major inhibitor of circulation}
Consider massage therapy
1. Use only under medical supervision if taking warfarin or other anticoagulant medication.
2. High-dose niacin in any form should be avoided in those with pre-existing liver disease (or elevated liver czymes) or gall bladder disease, unless under medical supervision. Long-term, highdose niacin or inositol hexanicotinate should be avoided in diabetics unless medically supervised. High-dose niacin should be avoided in cases of pregnancy, peptic ulcers or gout unless under medical supervision. Taking high-dose niacin with alcohol, beta-blockers, mecamylamine or pargyline may cause severe hypotension (low blood pressure).
3. Avoid concurrent use of high dose vitamin E supplements with Warfarin and other anticoagulant medication. May reduce insulin requirement in insulin-dependent diabetes and should therefore be used under supervision by diabetics.
4. Do not take in conjunction with anticoagulant medication
5. Do not use during pregnancy or lactation. May decrease the action of Warfarin. Concurrent use with insulin and oral hypoglycaemic medication under medical supervision only. Do not use with MAOI anti-depressants.