Barbara Depta - June 28 2021

Blood Flow: The Missing Link Between Your Brain & Rest Of Your Body

What do brain fog, PTSD, and lack of energy all have in common? Blood flow. Your brain and rest of the body need blood flow to survive. In this article, you’ll find the best tools to boost blood flow for overall health. As always at Resync, you’ll only find  strategies backed by science.

Why Does Blood Flow Matter?

Having a healthy flow of blood is absolutely essential for maintaining health. Your brain needs oxygen. Your muscles need nutrients like amino acids. Even getting frisky requires blood flow, whether you're male or female. So whether you want to stay energized, recover faster, train stronger, or sideline the side effects of aging, supporting your blood flow is going to massively affect your ability to do so. Design a lifestyle around positive blood flow and you will no doubt feel the effects on your energy. With June 27th being PTSD awareness day and June being Alzheimer's awareness month, I want to especially emphasize how important blood flow is to improve your brain and your whole body health.

How Do You Increase Blood Flow?

Blood flow may be a complicated system, but that doesn’t mean taking care of it has to be. There are a few key things that make it simple.

Heart health is number one, as indicated by your standard blood labs. If your blood sugar, blood pressure, or blood cholesterol are too high, each of these will interfere with blood flow. Addressing heart health issues with a healthy diet (see more below) and regular exercise is the foundation of any blood flow-enhancing strategy.

On top of the well-known fundamentals for a healthy heart, you also need to know about nitric oxide. Dubbed the “miracle molecule” for it’s Nobel prize winning discovery, nitric oxide is the molecule that tells your veins to open up and let the blood flow. Nitric oxide is the fundamental hormone that allows more blood to flow through your veins and more nutrients get to where they need to go. Even though knowing its level would provide so much value, it is almost never measured in your standard blood lab.It’s not enough to just be getting enough nitric oxide, though; the system of proteins and hormones that help it function also have to be working right. Your ability to make nitric oxide is regulated by your microbiome, the availability of specific nutrients like vitamin C, antioxidants, nitrates, and L-arginine, and even your level of physical activity. I’ll get into the specific nutrients that help your nitric oxide system later on in this article.

Knowing that blood flow depends on a healthy heart and, in turn, proper nitric oxide function, let’s look at some of the ways you can improve these.

How To Increase Blood Flow Naturally

What are the things you can do to support blood flow?

Hyperbaric Oxygen For Better Blood Flow to the Brain

A medically-supervised session in a hyperbaric oxygen chamber (HBOT) is only approved for a small list of conditions by insurance, but even so, HBOT is being studied to address symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). Since brain oxygenation and blood flow to the brain are altered with PTSD and with traumatic brain injuries, improving blood flow and oxygenation are promising therapies to pay attention to.

HBOT uses a pressurized chamber big enough to lay down in to deliver an extra amount of oxygen that you wouldn’t be able to achieve normally. This forces oxygen into the blood, into other tissues, creates new blood veins, and results in blood flow to any injured areas. That increased blood flow includes the brain, which is why HBOT is becoming a hot area of research for veterans suffering from PTSD and high-impact athletes who’ve had repeated concussions or traumatic brain injuries.

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is a fascinating subject and I invite you to learn more about this treatment from Ray Cralle, a leading neuro-rehabilitation and sport rehabilitation physical therapist, in my video interview here.

Sunshine for Better Blood Flow to the Body

Getting some sun is another way to boost blood circulation. You obviously don’t want to roast to a lobster-red out there — even a small amount of redness means you’ve probably gotten too much sun — but getting just enough sunshine is important for generating vitamin D and forming new blood veins.

Aim for 10-15 minutes if you’re a person with light skin to 90 minutes or more if you have very dark skin for the circulatory benefits of having enough vitamin D. That much sunshine is also enough to bump nitric oxide levels and promote new blood veins. If you can’t get enough sun exposure, a vitamin D supplement can be crucial for maintaining heart health; even the supplemental form can improve blood flow via nitric oxide.

Increase Blood Flow With Breath Exercises

Humming and meditation are other options for increasing blood flow. They may not be the most well known, and practised but they certainly are powerful!

Mindfulness meditation — when you open your mind up, judgement-free, to whatever comes up — is known for its positive mental effects, but it has side-stream benefits like reducing strain on your heart, increasing nitric oxide levels, and reducing inflammatory cytokines, according to an analysis of 5 recent research studies. All of these combined lead to significantly better heart health, better endothelial function, and ultimately, healthier blood flow.

Breathing pushes air through your sinus cavities, so why would humming do anything different? Outside of your main sinuses are parasinuses which hold a large reservoir of nitric oxide. The vibrations caused by humming allow an exchange between your blood and your sinus cavities, which effectively, and dramatically, raises nitric oxide levels.

So, whether you’re in the shower, in the car, or taking a walk, start humming your favorite tune and you might just start noticing positive effects for your blood flow!

Boost Blood Flow With a Sauna

You may know it as a great way to wind down after a session at the gym, but saunas have some impressive data to back up their health benefits. Frequent, brief exposure to intense heat is known to reduce the risk of death and heart disease significantly. According to Finnish research, compared to only going once per week, going to the sauna two or three times per week reduces different heart diseases by 1/5th to 1/4th across the board. Going 4+ times per week lowers the risk of dying from heart disease by 40%!

One way saunas are shown by studies to improve health is by increasing nitric oxide. After just one session, levels of nitric oxide go up. After 6 consecutive sessions, those levels increase by a little more than 3 micromolar, an increase of more than 20%! This impact on blood flow due to increased nitric oxide is actually quite similar to the benefits you might expect from starting an exercise regimen.

How To Increase Blood Flow With Exercise And Movement Practices

Ever notice your bulging veins after a run or another endurance sport? Cardio exercise — including endurance training, aerobic exercise, high-intensity interval training, and many team sports — is going to promote healthy nitric oxide levels and healthy heart function. Resistance training is important for preserving muscle mass, but it may not have the same effect on nitric oxide levels and heart function. Even specific movements, like shear strain, have a special ability to increase nitric oxide so that your connective tissues can relax, slide, and move along each other.

In fact, exercise is probably the best “drug” in existence for promoting a long and healthy life. The US recommends getting 5 hours of moderate-intensity exercise or 2.5 hours of vigorous exercise per week to prevent chronic disease and promote optimal health. So get out there and get your heart pumping like your life depended on it, because, well… it truly does!

How To Increase Blood Flow With Nutrition

Nutrition affects blood flow in so many different ways. For overall heart health, cutting out processed foods like sugar and processed foods, and eating more superfoods like red and green veggies and berries are some of the low-hanging fruit that will yield the greatest return on investment.

To truly optimize your blood flow and circulation, though, we’ll have to get into the finer details:

• Nitric oxide is generated via two pathways, one from plant-based nitrates or other synthetic nitric oxide donors and the other from amino acids L-arginine and L-citrulline.

• You can open up your blood veins by other pathways too, with other amino acids like taurine, glycine, and alanine.

• Similarly, blood flow is regulated by certain essential nutrients like niacin, vitamin E, and omega-3 fatty acids. As an all-around healthy nutrient that we don’t eat enough of, potassium should also be high on your list of blood-flow boosters.

• Lastly, blood flow and nitric oxide function are affected by other functional plants and their unique polyphenols. Mango, turmeric, ginger, chocolate (cocoa, cacao), berries, citrus fruits, cinnamon, garlic (and other members of the onion family), and spicy peppers all have unique ways of promoting blood flow.

List Of Nutrients That Boost Blood Flow:

Potassium
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Vitamin EI
ronB-vitamins (B2, B6, B12 in particular)
Niacin
Plant-based Nitrates
Flavonoid And Catechin Polyphenols
L-citrulline & L-arginine
Capsaicin (spicy peppers)
Curcumin And Curcuminoids (turmeric)
Gingerols And Shogaols (ginger)Allicin (garlic)Cinnamic Acid (cinnamon)

List of Heart-Healthy Foods To Boost Blood Flow:

Arugula
Aronia Berries
Beets
Dark Chocolate (>80%)
Garlic
Ginger
Mango
Onion
Red Spinach
Spicy peppers
Green Spinach
Turmeric

Best Foods For Blood Flow

Red Spinach (Amaranthus tricolor)

Red spinach is taking the sports supplement industry by storm as the most concentrated source of natural nitrates in the world. Recent research shows that red spinach can produce substantial gains compared to beetroot extract at a fraction of the dose. Red spinach extract is standardized to a very high nitrate content, contains no sugar or other unwanted nutrients, and it’s becoming more well-known and available - which is great news for your circulatory health.Red spinach extract also has vitamin E, potassium, and is loaded with inflammation-fighting antioxidants for your physical and mental health. It’s all-around positive profile as a supplement should put you at ease whether you’re facing a tournament or adding grace to your years.

Chokeberry (Aronia Melanocarpa)

Aronia berries are a concentrated source of unique antioxidants plus a remarkable amount of dietary plant-based nitrates. The nitrate level in aronia berries make ruby-red beets pale to a paltry pink. Plus, the antioxidant polyphenols in aronia have their own beneficial antioxidant effects, including helping to regulate the nitric oxide system positively, and possibly lowering cholesterol and triglycerides in research studies.

Red Beetroot (Beta vulgaris)

Red beet root has been the industry standard for raising nitric oxide levels for decades. Beet powder may have been popular in the past, but research evolves and the newest science says there are even better sources of natural nitrates.

There’s nothing wrong with the tried and true benefits from beet juice: it’s cheap and easy to get, but there’s a catch. Nitrate levels from one beet to the next can be off by a factor of ten. And, frankly, the nitrate levels in beets punch like a lightweight compared to the heavy-hitting doses in other plants like red spinach. You just don’t know how much of a benefit you’re getting when you down a couple pounds of roasted beets — yes, it takes the nitrates in about 2 or 3 beets to get the immediate benefits shown in research.You can try beet juice as well, but you’ll have the same problems: it doesn’t always deliver. Check out our table comparing nitrate doses from many different sources. Plus, the extra sugar in most beet juice is not what you want for a healthy heart.

Turmeric (Curcumin longa)

Turmeric doesn’t have any nitrates in it, but its golden ingredient curcumin can still help boost nitrate-making processes in healthy adults. Add on the other health benefits of one of the most powerful anti-inflammatory agents known to humankind, and you can see that it’s a great pair to any nitrate source.

Ginger (Zingiber officinale)

Ginger, the fragrant and spicy botanical, helps promote a healthy heart via a different mechanism than nitric oxide. Ginger actually controls the balance of relaxation and contraction in heart and blood vessel cells, effectively reducing strain on the heart in people with heart conditions. In addition to its anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-fatigue effects, there’s no reason to not be challenging your palate with this pungent spice!

Mango (Mangifera indica)

Besides being delicious, mango may provide circulation benefits by increasing nitric oxide genes and promoting microcirculation — incredibly important for getting nutrients to where they need to go. Plus, it may help regulate blood sugar, especially for people with issues with heart and vein health.

Resync Is The Industry Leader In Blood Flow Support 

Resync is the new standard in an outdated nitric oxide market plagued by bad science. We aim to set the standard by which all nitric oxide boosters are judged.

The synergistic blend and the clinically tested amounts of ingredients in our products optimizes recovery and cardiovascular benefits in a blend that has the highest concentration of plant-based nitrates and the highest level of quality certification available (NSF sport and Banned Substances Control Group Certified Drug Free). It’s suitable for all dieters from keto, vegan, and low-carb to low-fat. At an attractive price point, you can’t beat this nitric oxide-boosting plant-based supplement!

If you’re considering a nitric oxide supplement to boost blood flow, make sure you’re getting one that actually works and has been clinically tested. If you want to know what the best and most popular nitrate supplement is, check out our guide here!

Key Takeaways

In this article, I covered the basics of how blood flow works and why it’s important for the health of your brain and body. Here are the key pieces of information you should come away with:

• Blood flow depends on heart health and proper nitric oxide function, among others.

• Hyperbaric oxygen is a promising treatment for PTSD and TBIs because of the way they affect blood flow to the brain

• Saunas may have such powerful effects because of their ability to improve blood flow.

• Exercise is one of the most important ways to maintain a healthy circulatory system

• The top foods and supplements for boosting blood flow are red spinach, aronia berry, red beetroot, turmeric, ginger, and mango. Others include dark chocolate, spicy foods, omega-3 fatty acids, potassium, and specific amino acids like L-citrulline.

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Subscribe to our feed and never miss our best content! If you want more, leave a comment or question below, and we’ll get back to you! While other companies push clickbait and fake news, what we say is backed by research. When you have the right information, you are empowered to make the right decision, that’s why we break down complex science into practical takeaways you can use today. If there’s something you want to know more about, let us know by contacting us or getting in touch on social media!

Helping you lead a healthier life,The Resync Team

References

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PubMed, doi:10.1093/eurheartj/ehq069.Gerstgrasser, Alexandra, et al. “In Vitro Activation of ENOS by Mangifera Indica (Careless™) and Determination of an Effective Dosage in a Randomized, Double-Blind, Human Pilot Study on Microcirculation.” Planta Medica, vol. 82, no. 4, Mar. 2016, pp. 298–304. PubMed, doi:10.1055/s-0035-1558219.Ghayur, Muhammad Nabeel, and Anwarul Hassan Gilani. “Ginger Lowers Blood Pressure Through Blockade of Voltage-Dependent Calcium Channels.” Journal of Cardiovascular Pharmacology, vol. 45, no. 1, Jan. 2005, pp. 74–80.Gonzalez, Adam M., et al. “Red Spinach Extract Supplementation Improves Cycle Time Trial Performance in Recreationally Active Men and Women.” Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, May 2019. 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Semantic Scholar, doi:10.15835/NBHA4017181.Rahmani, Jamal, et al. “The Effect of Aronia Consumption on Lipid Profile, Blood Pressure, and Biomarkers of Inflammation: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials.” Phytotherapy Research: PTR, vol. 33, no. 8, Aug. 2019, pp. 1981–90. PubMed, doi:10.1002/ptr.6398.Skarpańska-Stejnborn, Anna, et al. “Effect of Supplementation with Chokeberry Juice on the Inflammatory Status and Markers of Iron Metabolism in Rowers.” Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, vol. 11, no. 1, Oct. 2014, p. 48. BioMed Central, doi:10.1186/s12970-014-0048-5.Takemoto, Yumi. “Amino Acids That Centrally Influence Blood Pressure and Regional Blood Flow in Conscious Rats.” Journal of Amino Acids, vol. 2012, Hindawi, May 2012, p. e831759. www.hindawi.com, doi:10.1155/2012/831759.Varela, Claudia Elena, et al. “Effects of a Natural Extract of Aronia Melanocarpa Berry on Endothelial Cell Nitric Oxide Production.” Journal of Food Biochemistry, vol. 40, no. 4, Aug. 2016, pp. 404–10. PubMed Central, doi:10.1111/jfbc.12226.Vinnichuk, Yuliya. Influence of Skilled Athletes’ Altitude Training on Erythropoiesis and Angiogenesis Processes. 2015. www.vdu.lt, doi:10.15823/sm.2015.31.Weitzberg, Eddie, and Jon O. N. Lundberg. “Humming Greatly Increases Nasal Nitric Oxide.” American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, vol. 166, no. 2, American Thoracic Society - AJRCCM, July 2002, pp. 144–45. atsjournals.org (Atypon), doi:10.1164/rccm.200202-138BC.Wolf, S. Tony, et al. “Four Weeks of Vitamin D Supplementation Improves Nitric Oxide-Mediated Microvascular Function in College-Aged African Americans.” American Journal of Physiology-Heart and Circulatory Physiology, vol. 319, no. 4, American Physiological Society, Oct. 2020, pp. H906–14. journals.physiology.org (Atypon), doi:10.1152/ajpheart.00631.2020.Yano, K., et al. “Ultraviolet B Irradiation of Human Skin Induces an Angiogenic Switch That Is Mediated by Upregulation of Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor and by Downregulation of Thrombospondin-1.” The British Journal of Dermatology, vol. 152, no. 1, Jan. 2005, pp. 115–21. PubMed, doi:10.1111/j.1365-2133.2005.06368.x.Written by Barbara Depta and registered dietitian, Detrick Snyder, MPH, RDN. Updated on 06/28/2021.

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