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If you prefer a holistic approach to treating your chronic venous insufficiency (CVI), i.e. your varicose veins and all the associated symptoms, like swollen ankles and pain, you may want to research the use of flavonoids in addition to the conventional varicose vein treatment you receive in a clinic, like Metro Vein Centers. In fact, many vein doctors who perform varicose vein treatment, like EVLT and sclerotherapy, actually prescribe flavonoids to their patients.
Flavonoids, also called bioflavonoids, can be part of a conservative treatment before conventional varicose vein treatment and as an ongoing therapy to improve circulation and blood vessel health after conventional varicose vein treatment. Chemically, flavonoids are a class of antioxidants found in plants and fungi. They are responsible for giving plants and fungi their pigmented colors, along with another class of antioxidants called carotenoids. Thus, if you eat a wide variety of plants, in every color of the rainbow, you’ll be getting flavonoids in their most natural form.
To show the link between flavonoids and vein health, it is interesting to note that flavonoids are often nicknamed “vitamin P.” The “P” part stands for “permeability.” This is because the very first health benefit clearly demonstrated for flavonoids was improving the leakiness of capillaries in people with chronic venous insufficiency. The more permeable capillaries are, the more they leak. Capillaries have very fragile walls and become very leaky when venous blood begins to back up (venous reflux) and put more pressure on the capillaries.
While all flavonoids can improve vein health, before and after conventional varicose vein treatment, there are two flavonoids that have been well studied scientifically and thereby proven in controlled studies to very significantly improve symptoms associated with varicose veins. These are diosmin and hesperidin. Try to say these names ten times fast, we dare you :-) They don’t exactly roll off the tongue do they?
Diosmin and hesperidin are found primarily in citrus fruit. However, if you buy a bag of oranges and eat the whole bag, hoping to see a significant improvement in your varicose vein symptoms, you may be disappointed. While you may see modest improvements by eating a bag of oranges, you might get more benefit if you brewed the peels of one or two oranges into a tea. Diosmin and hesperidin are concentrated in the peel, not the sweet juicy flesh, although there is some diosmin and hesperidin in the entire fruit.
If you are fan of the creed advanced by Hippocrates, the famous Green physician, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food,” you may be interested to note which cuisines feature citrus peel. Sun-dried tangerine peel, also called chenpi or chen pi, is prevalent in both Chinese cooking and Chinese medicine. Anyone for some good authentic orange chicken? If you are in need of varicose vein treatment, this may be your dish!
While several studies have shown the effectiveness of citrus fruit flavonoids in improving varicose vein symptoms, one particular study stands out given its size. It was a 2002 study involving 5052 participants in twenty-three countries, with varying degrees of chronic venous insufficiency. Each participant took 500 milligrams of micronized purified flavonoid fraction (MPFF) daily. This included 450 milligrams of diosmin and 50 milligrams of hesperidin. Patients’ degree of chronic venous insufficiency was also accessed via the CEAP classification system so the improvements of symptoms could be fully accessed.
Symptoms like swelling, pain, cramps, and leg heaviness were significantly reduced across the board. However, the symptoms were reduced even more in those participants who did not have significant venus reflux (backward flow of blood in the veins). Leg swelling and leg heaviness were reduced about as much across the board, including people who had venous reflux and those who did not. This may be because those who did not show venous reflux could have seen improvements in their lymphatic system in addition to the functionality of their veins and capillaries.
What’s even more promising about this study is that most patients seemed to show a continued improvement throughout the six month period, suggesting that if they stayed on the MPFF supplement after the six month study, they probably improved even more!
Before you head down to the all you can eat Chinese buffet, or order some diosmin supplements, you may want to see just how serious your varicose vein condition is. Sometimes the worst part of a person’s chronic venous insufficiency is deep down where you cannot see the varicose veins through the skin. You can get a free vein evaluation at Metro Vein Centers just by calling and setting up an appointment. While orange peel and diosmin may be beneficial, your condition may be serious enough to warrant varicose vein treatment like sclerotherapy that will permanently close off the problem vein(s).