The circulation of blood into and out of the heart is critical for health. Blood flows throughout the body courtesy of the pumping action of the heart. The blood carries oxygen to the body's tissues through blood vessels, consisting of arteries and capillaries. Certain vitamins contribute to the health of the circulatory system, ensuring that blood flows quickly and without impediment throughout the body.
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Niacin is one of the eight B vitamins. Niacin is effective in improving blood circulation, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. A niacin deficiency is rare. Most people get adequate amounts of niacin through the foods they eat. Foods containing niacin include fish, beets, sunflower seeds and peanuts. Most cereals and breads are fortified with niacin. This vitamin also helps lower the levels of "bad cholesterol" in the body, which may prevent hardening of the arteries, or atherosclerosis. Blood has a more difficult time circulating in a person with atherosclerosis. Some people may take supplements of niacin to prevent atherosclerosis and other conditions. However, too much of this vitamin has side effects so discuss the proper dose with your doctor.
Vitamin E has positive effects on the circulatory system. Vitamin E helps widen blood vessels so that blood can easily get through them. It also prevents blood from clotting inside the vessels. The body uses vitamin E to make red blood cells. You can get vitamin E from several foods. These include vegetable oils, seeds, nuts and green leafy vegetables. Many cereals, margarine and fruit juices are fortified with vitamin E. It is not dangerous to eat vitamin E foods, according to MedlinePlus, but taking large amounts of supplements can be. Do not take vitamin E supplements unless you have permission from your doctor.
Not getting enough ascorbic acid -- more commonly known as vitamin C -- in your diet can lead to atherosclerosis and the build up of plaque in the blood vessels that impedes blood flow. Vitamin C may also assist in keeping arteries flexible, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. Foods that contain ascorbic acid include fruits such as watermelon, oranges, strawberries, kiwi, cantaloupe, grapefruit, tomatoes and mango. Vegetables are good sources of vitamin C as well, including Brussels sprouts, broccoli, winter squash and leafy green.
Vitamin K is a crucial nutrient for proper blood clotting, or coagulation. A lack of this vitamin can cause excessive bleeding, or hemorrhaging. This can start as blood oozing from the nose or gums. Increasing intake of vitamin K may decrease your risk of bleeding associated with liver disease, malabsorption syndromes or long-term use of antibiotics, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. High dietary sources of vitamin K include green tea, turnip greens, cabbage, spinach, asparagus, kale and dark green lettuce.
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Vitamin B3 (Niacin)
- MedlinePlus: Vitamin E
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid)
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Vitamin K
- Latent Semantic Analysis at CU Boulder: The Circulatory System: Part II: The Heart and Circulation of Blood