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Nutraceuticals for vascular health

Nutraceuticals for vascular health

The realities of the modern world are such that the elemental composition of our food progressively worsens. This is due to the irrational use of soils and greenhouse production, where crop size and quantity are more important than quality. As a result, we, as consumers, receive increasingly fewer nutrients from our food.

Nature-based agriculture for an adequate human microbiome

In this article, we discuss how to alleviate nutrient deficiency with the help of nutraceuticals.

What are nutraceuticals

Nutraceuticals are substances that provide health benefits and/or aid in disease prevention

The word is derived from the words “nutrition” and “pharmaceuticals” to encourage clinical research investigations into the health effects of these substances.

The word of caution is that this term is also used to refer to other, often unrelated, things. For example, it is widely used in marketing where there is no regulated definition of nutraceuticals. In addition, the definition of nutraceuticals differs by country.

The primary role of nutraceuticals is to help prevent the consequences associated with a lack of certain macro- and microelements, minerals, dietary fiber, amino acids, etc.

There are two main types of nutraceuticals:

Dietary supplements (biologically active additives) – produced in the pharmaceutical industry in the form of drugs:

  • monovitamins are prescribed during rehabilitation when the aim is to replenish a specific vitamin deficiency
  • multivitamins are used for the prevention of multiple vitamin deficiencies
  • minerals are often included in complexes for multivitamins
  • other substances, like amino acids, herbal extracts, or enzymes

Nutraceuticals in food products – substances found in food that have therapeutic properties (for example, the polyphenols that are found in many vegetables).

Nutraceuticals: History, Classification and Market Demand

Nutraceuticals in food products have remarkable advantage over dietary supplements as it is virtually impossible to supplement in excess by eating whole foods. This is because our bodies will only absorb as much as they need from food while the dietary supplements force a specific dose.

How to supplement with nutraceuticals safely

When considering taking nutraceuticals as food supplements, it is important to keep in mind the following principles:

  • It is always best to consult your trusted healthcare provider before taking any supplements to avoid overdosing on substances or harming yourself by taking nutraceuticals that your body doesn’t need.
  • Before taking nutraceuticals, you must complete a series of lab tests in order for your healthcare provider (e.g., a nutritionist) to work out the correct dosage and the duration of treatment.
  • Avoid taking nutraceuticals on a regular basis. Best to take them initially for a short period while monitoring your health markers.
Nata Gonchar

Holistic Nutritionist, founder
of the project WOW Bali

TOP-10 ingredients
for your health and
balanced meal plan
Nata Gonchar

Holistic Nutritionist, founder
of the project WOW Bali

As Hippocrates said, you are what you eat. The meaning of this phrase concerns every person, who takes care of his health. The food we eat has a big impact on our vital activity, state of health and quality of life.

Nowadays healthy diet is very popular and everyone knows that he should give up junk food. But not everyone knows what he must eat except for grain, vegetables and protein food.

It's essential to diversify your diet. Every bite of food should provide you with vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients that are necessary for good health.

So how can we have a proper nutrition plan?

We prepared a PDF-file to help you. It contains TOP-10 ingredients, which should be added to everyone's diet.

  • Start by taking small dosages of nutraceuticals and tracking your body’s reaction.
  • Food supplements should not replace a full meal. Nutraceuticals contain active substances, but for their absorption, you need helper molecules (also known as “cofactors”). These helper molecules can be found in food.
  • Substances must be taken at certain times of the day. For example, calcium can lower the acidity in the stomach, so it should be taken separately from meals. Tonic nutraceuticals should not be taken in the afternoon. Some nutraceuticals do not mix well and must be taken separately, for example, iron and calcium.

Nutraceuticals for blood vessels

It is important to remember that the biologically active substances from nutraceuticals can support our bodies only if they are 1) adequately absorbed and 2) delivered to the organs.

Blood cells function like couriers because they deliver vital components to the organs. Arteries, capillaries, and veins are the highways along which these couriers move. If the highways are well-maintained, the couriers can make their deliveries on time. If the highways are not properly looked after, the traffic can slow down leading to traffic jams (i.e., blood clots).

Consequently, some areas of our bodies can become out of reach. This can result in insufficient access of nutrients and oxygen to vital organs and tissues, leading to disease susceptibility including stroke and heart attack.

For the proper functioning of the cardiovascular system and the whole body, we must monitor the quality of our arteries, capillaries, and veins. There are several nutraceuticals that can help. The main types of substances that support the health of blood vessels are:

  • Vitamins – C, P (bioflavonoids), E, B-vitamins, K2, D3.
  • Minerals – K, Na, Mg, Ca, Cl.
  • Food components: amino acids, polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), etc.

The Emerging Role of Nutraceuticals in Cardiovascular Calcification


The most common condition that blocks the arteries is atherosclerosis. It is a chronic focal lesion of the arteries, characterized by the deposition and accumulation of fat-containing proteins in the vessel’s inner lining.

Endothelial dysfunction and injury are believed to play a critical role in the development and progression of atherosclerosis. During the development of this disease, low-density lipoproteins (LDL) attach to the damaged part of the vessel, thereby worsening the condition of the walls.

The disease is accompanied by the growth of connective tissue and the formation of atherosclerotic plaques. Plaques narrow the lumen of the artery and cause the ever-increasing chronic insufficiency of blood supply to the organs.

Atherosclerosis triggers the development of most cardiovascular diseases, such as myocardial infarction, coronary heart disease (CHD), cerebral stroke, heart failure, circulatory disorders of the limbs, abdominal organs, etc.

Atherosclerosis risk factors include:

  • sedentary lifestyle;
  • being overweight/obese, suffering from metabolic syndrome;
  • chronic stress and systemic inflammation;
  • smoking, alcoholism;
  • mechanical damage to blood vessels;
  • genetic predisposition.


If you fall into any of the above groups, you might be at risk of developing atherosclerosis. It is best to monitor your health by conducting regular laboratory tests under the consultation of a specialist.

An important health marker for those at risk of atherosclerosis is homocysteine, and it should be monitored systematically.

Homocysteine is an amino acid that has a damaging effect on the walls of the blood vessels. It is also a marker of systemic inflammation. It enhances the stickiness of the platelets, thereby increasing the risk of thrombosis.

The normal level of homocysteine in the blood is 4.5-7 µmol/l

An increase of 5 μmol/L was associated with a 60% increase in the risk of developing coronary artery disease in men and an 80% increase in women. The study additionally reports a 50% increase in cerebrovascular disease.

Relationship of Homocysteine With Cardiovascular Disease and Blood Pressure

It is possible to reduce the homocysteine levels with the help of active forms of the following substances:

  • Vitamin B12 in the form of methyl or hydroxocobalamin
  • Vitamin B9 (folic acid) in the form of 5-methyltetrahydrofolate or methyl folate
  • Vitamin B6 in the form of pyridoxal-5-phosphate
  • Betaine in the form of trimethyl glycine

Finally, it is important to know that atherosclerosis does not develop in healthy blood vessels with intact walls. The best way to prevent the development of atherosclerosis is to maintain a healthy lifestyle and use nutraceuticals that support vessel wall health.

Nutraceuticals to help strengthen blood vessel walls and maintain their integrity

Licorice extract – improves the elasticity of blood vessels and regulates blood pressure.

Directions for use: 200 mg, twice daily, 20 minutes before meals.

Fulvic acid – stabilizes the valves.

Directions for use: 1 mg daily with a large glass of non-chlorinated water.

Vitamin E – helps form red blood cells (erythrocytes) and dilate blood vessels, preventing blood from clotting.

Directions for use: 400 IU, one time a day, with food.

Vitamin C – involved in the synthesis of collagen, which strengthens vessel walls. Vitamin C also reduces the free radicals that damage the blood vessel walls.

Directions for use: 500 mg per day with food.

Please note that taking vitamin C in doses higher than 1000 mg/day is not recommended. This is because the acidic form of ascorbic acid can irritate mucous membranes.

We recommend using the non-acidic forms of vitamin C, such as the following:

  • Liposomal vitamin C has a high absorption level and comes in doses of less than 1000 mg.
  • Calcium ascorbate (Ester-C). Note that it is not recommended if suffering from urolithiasis, atherosclerosis, vascular calcification, or when taking large doses of vitamin D.
  • Sodium ascorbate should be taken together with bioflavonoids. In cases of deficiency, it can be taken in doses of more than 1 gram per day.

Bioflavonoids (polyphenols, vitamin P) – enhance the effect of vitamin C.

Directions for use: 500 mg, 1-3 times daily, with meals.

Silicon – restores the vascular walls due to the production of collagen.

Directions for use: 300 mg, once a day, with food.

Copper – restores the elasticity of the blood vessels’ walls and helps prevent myocardial infarction.

Directions for use: 3 mg, one time per day, with food.

Regular dietary intake of Flavonoids can improve endothelial function in patients with coronary artery disease, after heart transplantation, as well as in healthy patients.

Flavonoids: Antioxidants Against Atherosclerosis
The Effects of Flavonoids on Cardiovascular Health

Foods rich in nutraceuticals for vascular health

Sources of vitamin C such as citrus fruits and green vegetables strengthen the vascular walls.

Sources of bioflavonoids that work in conjunction with vitamin C include grapes, berries, natural cocoa products, as well as black, green, or white tea.

It has been shown that consuming polyphenol-rich natural cocoa products is associated with lower blood pressure.

Cocoa, Blood Pressure, and Vascular Function

Fatty fish and seafood contain vitamins E and C which strengthen the walls of blood vessels. In addition, these foods contain Omega-3 which reduces inflammation and prevents the destruction of the blood vessels’ walls.

Bone broth is a source of amino acids and minerals for synthesizing collagen.

Ginger, lemon, turmeric, honey, garlic, and beets are sources of nitric oxide (NO) which counteracts the adhesion of blood cells and is involved in restoring the vascular walls. Meat, poultry, seafood, spinach, kale, arugula, and citrus fruits also increase nitric oxide levels.

Foods rich in nutraceuticals for vascular health

Pomegranate is rich in powerful antioxidants that can protect your cells from damage and preserve nitric oxide. Nuts and seeds are high in arginine – an amino acid involved in nitric oxide production. Watermelon is one of the best sources of citrulline – an amino acid that converts to arginine and, ultimately, to nitric oxide.

Nutraceuticals that help to purify blood

The blood gets clogged due to the abundance of bad cholesterol consisting of large low-density molecules (LDL). Whenever there is a high density of LDLs in the system, they form clots, the blood viscosity increases, and the blood circulation slows down. Increased blood viscosity also often causes cardiovascular disease.

Association between Blood Viscosity and Cardiovascular Risk Factors in Patients with Arterial Hypertension in a High Altitude Setting

Signs of increased blood viscosity

  • tingling and/or numbness in the limbs
  • hearing loss, tinnitus
  • nervous disorders, including anxiety
  • increased fatigue and decreased tolerance to physical activity
  • headaches

To aid vascular health, we recommend using vascular nutraceuticals to purify the blood and clean blood vessels of bad cholesterol.

Vascular nutraceuticals in food supplements

Vitamin K2 – helps prevent the deposition of calcium salts in the vessels.

Directions for use: 100 mcg daily, together with vitamin D3.

If suffering fromirritable bowel syndrome (IBS), the daily dose should be 300 mcg.

Consult your doctor if taking anticoagulants, antiplatelet drugs or if you suffer from a bleeding disorder or other blood-related issues.

Vitamin D3 – regulates the growth of endothelial cells.

A study of participants without pre-existing cardio-vascular diseases (CVDs) shows that lower plasma vitamin D levels were associated with a higher incidence of cardio-vascular events.

Vitamin D deficiency and risk of cardiovascular disease

Directions for use: 2000 IU per day with fatty foods.

Garlic extract – reduces the formation of cholesterol plaques and aggregation of blood cells.

Directions for use: 2 times a day with meals. Individuals with elevated total cholesterol levels should take garlic extract for at least two months.

Vitamin E – is an antioxidant that prevents the formation of blood clots. It is also responsible for the health of cell membranes.

Directions for use: 200-400 IU, one time per day for one month.

Lysine – an amino acid that prevents the deposition of cholesterol and reduces the size of existing plaques.

Directions for use: 800-3000 mg daily (the higher your physical activity is, the higher the dosage should be).

Evening primrose oil – helps reduce the risk of blood clots in the vessels.

Directions for use: 1000 mg, 1-2 times daily with food.

Omega 3 – helps thin the blood.

Directions for use: 1000 mg per day with food.

Horse chestnut extract – helps thin the blood and improves the functioning of venous valves. It has proven efficacy against chronic venous insufficiency.

Horse chestnut seed extract for chronic venous insufficiency

Directions for use: 250 mg, 2 times a day with meals.

Lecithin – helps to dissolve cholesterol more effectively by decomposing it into small particles.

Researchers have found that soy lecithin can help increase HDL – a good type of cholesterol, and lower LDL – a bad type of cholesterol, in blood profiles.

Influence of Soy Lecithin Administration on Hypercholesterolemia

Directions for use: 2400 mg once a day with a meal.

Vascular nutraceuticals in foods

  • Turmeric contains a polyphenol that reduces fatty deposits in the arteries.
  • Pomegranate helps cleanse the arteries, stimulates nitric oxide production in the blood, and lowers blood pressure.
  • Apples contain pectin, which helps lower cholesterol levels.

Vascular nutraceuticals for atherosclerosis

Statins are usually prescribed to lower cholesterol levels in those who have atherosclerosis. Statins are generally regarded to be a safe drug, but some people can experience side effects that include:

  • diabetes mellitus
  • hepatic disorders
  • cognitive impairment
  • cataract
  • myalgia

Side effects of statins

Satins can also contribute to nutrient deficiencies in the body, which can be prevented by taking the following nutraceuticals:

  • Omega 3
  • Q10
  • A complex of tocotrienols (vitamin E) that includes the d-gamma and the d-delta tocotrienols (to be taken at night)

Maintaining a healthy diet rich in garlic, berries, citrus fruits, cruciferous vegetables, oily fish, and wheat germ oil while taking statins is also recommended.

Nutraceuticals for cerebrovascular health

Cerebrovascular health is the health of the brain, arteries, and veins.

Every minute, between 34 and 50 ounces of blood passes through the brain. The brain controls all the biochemical processes of the body. The health of the brain vessels, also known as the cerebral vessels, ensures cognitive health and longevity.

Damage to the cerebral vessels begins with damage to small capillaries. When the blood flow becomes restricted, the supply of energy and oxygen to the brain as well as waste removal become less efficient. This can lead to damage to the brain itself.

Looking after your cerebrovascular health has many long-term benefits:

  • reduced risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease
  • improved cognitive functions
  • reduced risk of mental disorders, including depression and anxiety

Nutraceuticals for cerebrovascular health

How to keep the cerebral vessels healthy

Nutraceuticals for cerebral vessels are called nootropics or cognitive enhancers. They improve cell membrane condition, reduce blood viscosity, and promote the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the brain. Cognitive enhancers include the following nutraceuticals:

DMAE – stimulates the production of acetylcholine, an essential substance for the growth of new structures in the brain and the maintenance of the normal activity of existing structures. DMAE is best taken with ginkgo biloba and lecithin.

Directions for use: 250 mg, 1-3 times a day between meals.

Bacopa Monnieri – an important anti-aging agent in Ayurvedic medicine. It stimulates blood circulation in the brain.

Directions for use: 500 mg twice a day with breakfast and lunch.

Tocotrienols and tocopherols (vitamin E) – help with the growth of collateral vessels of the brain, improve blood supply, and reduce cholesterol deposition on the walls of blood vessels. The use of tocotrienols activates the growth of new vessels just after ten weeks of continuous use.

Tocotrienols, the Vitamin E of the 21st Century

Directions for use: 500 mg of tocopherols and tocotrienols combined, 1-2 times daily, with meals.

Nutraceuticals from food for cerebral vessels

Sources of vitamin E – walnuts and hazelnuts, almonds, avocados, salmon, red palm kernel oil, and wheat germ oil.

Sources of phospholipids – liver, caviar, olives, fish oil, legumes, and seeds.

Sources of Omega 3- herring, mackerel, caviar, algae.

The role of exercise

Physical activity is one of the best remedies for cerebral vessels’ health.

Aerobic exercise provides increased blood flow to the brain, especially the hippocampus, which is critical for memory. A systematic review of studies dealing with the effects of fitness on the brain shows that the hippocampus is firmer and more resilient in those with the highest fitness level. In addition, those with higher levels of fitness performed better on memory tests.

Effect of aerobic exercise on hippocampal volume in humans

Adverse effects of nutraceuticals

Although nutraceuticals are potentially safer than pharmaceuticals, self-prescribed supplementation can lead to the development of adverse effects:

  • overdosing on some substances can be toxic and/or cause temporary undesirable effects like pain, gastric disorders, or diarrhea
  • adverse reactions can ensue when nutraceuticals are taken in conjunction with prescribed medication
  • allergic reactions to some ingredients

Always remember the golden rule of nutritionists: first comes balanced nutrition and lifestyle, and only then everything else. In this sense, nutraceuticals are just an addition. They help to alleviate health conditions temporarily, but if the underlying causes are not resolved (for example, mucosal disorders, reduced acidity of gastric juice, lack of digestive enzymes and absorption factors, high antinutrients, etc.), then the problem will return. That’s why it is recommended to consult a trusted specialist before taking nutraceuticals as food supplements.


Nature-based agriculture for an adequate human microbiome

Nutraceuticals: History, Classification and Market Demand

The Emerging Role of Nutraceuticals in Cardiovascular Calcification

Relationship of Homocysteine With Cardiovascular Disease and Blood Pressure

Nutraceuticals in cardiovascular prevention: lessons from studies on endothelial function

Flavonoids: Antioxidants Against Atherosclerosis

The Effects of Flavonoids on Cardiovascular Health

Cocoa, Blood Pressure, and Vascular Function

Association between Blood Viscosity and Cardiovascular Risk Factors in Patients with Arterial Hypertension in a High Altitude Setting

Vitamin D deficiency and risk of cardiovascular disease

Horse chestnut seed extract for chronic venous insufficiency

Influence of Soy Lecithin Administration on Hypercholesterolemia

Side effects of statins

Tocotrienols, the Vitamin E of the 21st Century

Effect of aerobic exercise on hippocampal volume in humans

Emergence of nutraceuticals as the alternative medications for pharmaceuticals