Poor blood circulation can have many causes. It can make you feel cold, especially in your arms, legs, hands and feet. Fish oil has several health benefits, including the potential for increasing your blood circulation. As with any type of supplement, you should seek information and approval from your physician about the potential benefits of a fish oil supplement for your circulation.
Poor Circulation Causes
Several medical conditions can reduce blood circulation to your extremities. Diabetes, along with causing nerve damage in your feet, can reduce the amount of blood reaching your feet. Varicose veins occur when valves in the veins become weak or damaged and fail to recirculate blood back to your heart to pick up needed oxygen. The blood backs up the veins, forming varicose veins. Peripheral artery disease, or PAD, also can diminish blood flow to your limbs.
Doctors most often recommend fish oil to their patients who have high levels of fats called triglycerides in their bloodstream. Triglycerides are classified as part of the “bad” form of cholesterol along with low-density lipoproteins. Fish oil, categorized as an omega-3-acid ethyl ester, or fatty acid, helps to counteract high triglyceride levels.
Atherosclerosis is a condition characterized by the build-up of plaque in your arteries. Triglycerides adhere to the inner walls of your arteries and form a hard substance known as plaque. Plaque shrinks the available space in your arteries for blood to pass through. This increases your blood pressure, puts a strain on your heart and decreases the amount of blood reaching your arms and legs, as well as other areas of your body. Atherosclerosis also can precipitate the formation of dangerous clots that can cause strokes. The disease can lead to heart attacks as well, if left untreated. Your doctor will prescribe appropriate medicines for atherosclerosis but also may suggest the use of a fish oil supplement.
Fish Oil Benefits
Fish oil contains EPA, or eicosapentaenoic acid, and DHA, or docosahexaenoic acid. MayoClinic.com reports that ingesting EPA and DHA through fish or fish oil supplements can decrease your risks of heart attacks as well as arrhythmias and strokes. Fish oil reduces triglyceride levels in your blood, so the chance of adding more plaque to your arteries also diminishes. Fish oil also helps to clear out some of the plaque already in place, which opens your arteries and helps your blood flow through them more efficiently. This increases circulation to all parts of your body.
- MayoClinic.com; Omega-3 Fatty Acids, Fish Oil, Alpha-Linolenic Acid; August 2011
- University of Maryland Medical Center; Omega-3 Fatty Acids; June 2009
- MayoClinic.com; Treatment Options for Poor Circulation in Feet; December 2010
- MedlinePlus: Atherosclerosis
- AARP; Atherosclerosis; May 2009
- Drugs.com: Fish Oil