5 Practical Tips to Improve Poor Circulation

By on March 18, 2017
5 tips for poor circulation

If you have Poor Circulation, like someone who has cold hands and feet, and maybe even experience symptoms like in Reynaud’s disease, such as hands that can’t even hold a cold drink cup, or hands that turn red when the temperature is barely cool outside, then you might want to pay attention to thess practical tips on how to improve circulation.

1. Get Your Vitamin D Level Up to Optimal Levels

Almost every organ in the body has receptors for Vitamin D, and so Vitamin D is a nutrient that is vital for a vast array of health issues, including the proper functioning of the circulatory and muscular system. Vitamin D can influence both the proper workings of muscles and the health of the blood vessels.

There are many reports on the internet of people with poor circulation having improvement with vitamin d, so a study set out to test the theory that Vitamin D might help with even as severe a circulatory issue as Reynaud’s. Indeed, after 8 weeks of high dose Vitamin D treatment, Reynaud’s sufferer’s reported significant improvements 1 while those given a placebo did not.

The authors speculated that it might be because Vitamin D is causing some amount of vasodilation. Vasodilation is when blood vessels become larger. This helps circulatory issues because the smaller the blood vessel, the less blood can go through it, the larger and more dilated the blood vessel (to a certain degree) the more blood supply can go through it and the better the circulation will be. So, anytime someone has a circulation problem, providing more vasodilation will often solve help to improve the problem.

This is certainly one plausible explanation as several studies have shown that vitamin D is, indeed, a vasodilator 2, 3. Incredibly, in one study, even ONE SINGLE dose of 100,000 IU’s of Vitamin D, arguably an incredibly low dose that would barely increase levels in someone who was deficient, was able to improve endothelial function through dilation of the blood vessels 4.

But how much Vitamin D should you take? It’s not about the dose, it’s about having Optimal Levels of Vitamin D. Until you know your levels, you can’t know how much to take, and you will almost surely be incredibly surprised at how low your levels are if you have problems like poor circulation.

2. Take Niacin, And I Do Mean Niacin

Niacin is also known as Vitamin B3 and nicotinic acid. It is a potent vasodilator and has been shown to be helpful in treating Reynaud’s and symptoms of poor circulation. A few positive studies have been done on people with poor circulation using niacin derivatives 5, 6, 7, and while there were few reported problems in these studies, unfortunately, almost all niacin derivatives have been shown to have a high risk for causing increased liver enzymes.

This problem is overcome by taking pure niacin, not niacinamide, not any of the ‘no flush’ niacins, but niacin. Just niacin. So, why don’t doctors just give niacin? Well, niacin has the problematic effect of causing a ‘niacin flush’. While that sounds benign, it can be… well, an interesting sensation. For me, it generally starts out as slight itching on the palms and face, then begins to feel warm all over, then processes to itching and tingling to the scalp, and the face, scalp, and upper chest get hot and turn red until the face looks and feels as if you’ve been badly sunburned. Additionally, your heart might beat fast and pound in your chest! Whew. It sounds worse than it is.

This goes away in about a half hour, and it can be frightening if you do not know it is a normal reaction to niacin, but if you do know, it can be downright pleasant if you just go along for the short and intense ride. If you continue to take niacin regularly, the body ‘gets used’ to the niacin and you can then take niacin without the flush occurring so long as you take it regularly. But take a vacation from taking niacin, and you’ll be back to getting the flush again.

The flush is the reason that there are so many niacin derivatives out there, but really, the flush is not that big of a deal, and pure niacin, in my opinion, has so far proven to be the only safe version of niacin on the market at this time. The trick to not experiencing the flush so badly is to start out with low doses and increase gradually, sometimes over a period of up to a month.

5 practical tips to improve poor circulation


While it seems that most people can start on doses of about 50 to 100 mg right away, I have found that I’m EXTREMELY sensitive and will flush even at doses of 12.5 mg. I have yet to find out why some people are more sensitive than others, but it has been speculated that the more you need niacin, the less flush you will have. In any case, I also find that I can escalate doses extremely quickly and be up to several hundred milligrams per day in just short of a week. But some people may take much longer than that. The trick is to take the lowest dose that makes you feel the least amount of flush, and take that dose 2 to 3 times per day until you do not feel a flush, then increase the dosage by the same amount and again, take it until you do not feel the flush, then increase again, etc.

Generally, safe dosages run up to about 3000 mg per day, taken in 3 divided doses. To clarify, that is 1000 milligrams taken 3 times per day. In the case of problems of poor circulation, symptoms might improve rapidly. If this is the case, just take the lowest dose that improves your symptoms.


3. Got Poor Circulation, This Tip Won’t Cost You a Cent

This potent vasodilator that has been proven to increase circulation and improve vascular function, you can get for free anywhere you live in the world. It’s known as exercise! Yes, exercise is a potent vasodilator. That’s why whenever someone exercises in a cold environment, they almost always end up taking off warm weather gear once they get moving. The movement of muscles and blood vessels causes nitric oxide production that leads to improved circulation.

4. Ditch the Mouthwash

I know this sounds crazy, with every commercial telling you how killing 99.999999% of all the bacteria in your mouth will make you happy, healthy, and probably get you more dates too! Certainly, having cavities and periodontal disease is not a good thing, but killing bacteria indiscriminately in your mouth can have consequences too.

Some of the bacteria in your mouth are Good Bacteria that can help to cause vasodilation by aiding in the production of nitrous oxide in the body, and Antibacterial Mouthwash might be killing you slowly. Seriously, in studies that have been repeated several times by different organizations, using antibacterial mouthwash for just a short time proved to raise blood pressure significantly through the act of cutting off the supply of vasodilating bacteria.

So, what should you do for mouthwash then? Kep reading because the next tip can be used as both a mouthwash and to improve circulation, at the same time!

5. This Improves Dental Health and Circulation at the Same Time

Another thing that can help circulation is drinking Matcha Tea, a specific type of green tea. Not only can matcha tea improve mental focus and cause relaxation from the L-theanine that it contains, one of the Side Effects of Green Tea are it’s vasodilating properties.

As promised, you can also use Matcha Tea for Dental Health. Matcha has an interesting ability to inhibit the bad bacteria that cause cavities and periodontal disease, while at the same time leaving alone the good bacteria that assist in nitrous oxide production. And it tastes good too!
If you have circulation problems like Reynaud’s disease, intermittant claudication, or just have cold hands and feet from poor circulation, then improving vasodilation through any of the various means we mention here is a great way to begin helping to improve your symptoms.

If you have used any of these vasodilators for help with your circulation problems? If so, please let us know in the comments. We’d love to hear your experiences.



About Kerri Knox, RN

The author is a Registered Nurse and Functional Medicine Practitioner. With 20 years of experience in health care, she has the unique perspective of being solidly grounded in both Conventional Medicine and Alternative Medicine. She can help you to to find and repair the underlying causes of chronic illness, while empowering you to take charge of your own health. She is the owner and author of this blog and website.

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