Top Tips for Healthy Blood Pressure
- Blood viscosity describes how easily blood can flow throw your body.
- Supporting healthy blood viscosity is important for healthy blood pressure.
- Many doctors don’t discuss blood viscosity when talking about ways to promote healthy pressure.
- Fortunately, there are many natural options for maintaining healthy blood viscosity and blood flow.
by Dr. John Neustadt
When your blood pressure is in a healthy range it means its easier for your heart to pump blood to all the cells in your body. Your blood transports all the nutrients and molecules essential to your health and life, from immune cells to oxygen to sugars and fats, hormones, vitamins, minerals and more. It does this at almost lightning speed. Your blood makes a full cycle around the body, from the massive arteries down to the tiniest capillaries and back—in a mere forty-five seconds.
Thicker Blood is Stickier Blood
The thickness of blood is called blood viscosity, and that determines how easily it flows through your body. Thicker blood is stickier blood, which make it harder for the blood to travel through the arteries and veins. As a result, the heart has to worker harder to circulate the same amount of blood. This puts stress on the heart, arteries and veins.
Many factors contribute to blood viscosity. Unhealthy levels of free-radicals, inflammation and fibrinogen as well as smoking, dehydration, fibrinogen and not exercising impact blood viscosity.3 Fibrinogen is a blood protein involved in forming blood clots. Elevated fibrinogen increases blood viscosity.4 If you want to know if your fibrinogen is high, a fibrinogen test an give you that information.
Blood that is too thick can’t adequately nourish organs and tissue. When tissues aren’t getting enough oxygen and other nutrients, it can damage organs, including the eyes, lungs, bones, kidneys, liver, brain, heart and more. Maintaining healthy blood viscosity helps blood flow more easily and promotes healthy blood pressure.
Exercise is an excellent way to improve blood viscosity, blood flow and blood pressure.11 Exercise modifies and improves many conditions linked to hyperviscosity, including diabetes and pre-diabetes, elevated fibrinogen (a blood protein involved in forming blood clots), high blood pressure, high cholesterol, elevated triglycerides and more.12,13
Many types of exercise are helpful, so you’ve got options. When athletes ran 10 kilometers, their blood viscosity dropped.14 But you don’t have to be a super jock to get benefits. Going for regular brisk walks can also help. Women (65-74 years old) with Type 2 Diabetes who did a brisk walk for a total of 120 minutes per week (about 17 minutes per day) saw their blood viscosity, blood pressure, fibrinogen and cholesterol all significantly improve.15
The regular practice of yoga has a beneficial effect on blood flow and whole blood viscosity too. When 23 sedentary adults and 19 regular yoga practitioners were examined, those who practiced yoga had significantly lower whole blood viscosity.16 You can even work exercise into your daily life, including taking the stairs and parking further away from a store in a parking lot.
Plant-based diets—rich in whole grains, vegetables and fruits—have been shown to reduce blood viscosity and improve arterial flexibility and blood flow. Plant-based foods are rich in antioxidants and flavonoids that help reduce inflammation, as well.17
Pine Bark Extract
Pine bark extract, like the pine bark extract in NattoPine, is well known for its ability to support cardiovascular health. Pine bark extract is rich in proanthocyanidins, which are strong quenchers of reactive oxygen species (ROS).18,19 Unhealthy levels of ROS are known to damage blood vessels and promote an unhealthy inflammatory respone.20 Pine bark extract helps protect from damaging free radicals to support heart and blood vessel health.
Nattokinase is an enzyme found in the Japanese food natto and in dietary supplements. It dissolves the blood clotting protein fibrinogen to promote healthy blood viscosity.21 Nattokinase offers a natural means of supporting healthy blood clotting. It’s similar to our own natural clot dissolving enzyme, called plasmin.22,23
Nattokinase has been shown in studies to promote healthy blood flow, blood pressure and blood viscosity, and also support nerve health.24 It’s more potent than garlic, bromelain or ginseng for supporting healthy blood clotting and flow.25 Overall, nattokinase is a powerful food-based substance for cardiovascular health.26 The decades of research on the health benefits of nattokinase and pine bark extract for supporting healthy blood flow is why both of these nutrients are both in NattoPine.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Fish and fish oils are a source of omega-3 fatty acids, both eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). They have repeatedly shown the ability to support healthy triglyceride levels and blood pressure.27 Fish oil is a good source of EPA and DHA that can promotes healthy blood clotting.28,29
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16Chen H, McGowan EM, Ren N et al. 2018; 13: 1177271918785130.
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21Vanschoonbeek K, Feijge MA, Paquay M, et al. 2004;24:1734-1740.
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