Circulatory Health (General)
Adenosine 5’ – triphosphate (Peak ATP)
Studies in humans show that factors such as age and disease states cause intracellular
levels of ATP to drop significantly. It now appears that there is also a significant
decline in extracellular levels of ATP, which negatively affects blood pressure and the
health of the blood vessels. Extracellular ATP circulates in the blood and acts upon
ATP receptors on the lining of the blood vessels. This triggers the release of nitric oxide
which improves the tone of the blood vessels and relaxes the vessel walls so that more
blood can get through to the heart, lungs and peripheries, especially skeletal muscles.
As well as the obvious benefits to the vascular system, this improvement in blood flow
also facilitates the delivery of oxygen, glucose and other nutrients to all tissues of the
body, and ensures efficient removal of metabolic wastes, thereby improving cellular
efficiency through all tissues of the body.
Both niacin and inositol hexanicotinate have been found to increase blood flow in
circulatory disorders such as Raynaud’s Disease (fingers and toes that are
hypersensitive to cold) and intermittent claudication, which is characterised by
walking-induced cramping caused by depleted oxygen in the lower extremities. Some of
the circulatory benefits of niacin and inositol hexanicotinate are due to the influence on
blood clotting and blood lipids. Also significant is the temporary stimulatory effect of
niacin on dilation of blood vessels near the surface of the skin, in part, accounting for
the temporary flushing (redness, heat and itching) experienced soon after ingestion.
The properties of vitamin E may significantly benefit artery, vein and capillary
circulation. Research has highlighted therapeutic and/or preventive benefits with
vitamin E supplementation in numerous conditions associated with circulatory
dysfunction i.e. atherosclerosis, cerebrovascular disease (i.e. stroke), Raynaud’s Disease
(excessive sensitivity to cold in fingers and toes), vasculitis, intermittent claudication
(walking-induced cramping caused by depleted oxygen in the lower extremities), hot
flushes, oedema and purpura (capillary haemorrhage).
Studies strongly suggest that EPA from fish oils can improve vascular function, and
therefore, circulation. These effects include an antithrombotic effect, lipid (triglyceride)
lowering, reduced blood and plasma viscosity, and improvements in endothelial
dysfunction. Omega 3 fatty acids have been shown to inhibit the activity of a chemical
called thromboxane. Thromboxane is a potent vasoconstrictor and causes platelets to
aggregate (stick together). It is therefore implicated in the development of blood clots
and other vascular disorders. The favourable influence of omega 3 fatty acids is
attributed, among other things, to the fact that these nutrients have an inhibiting
influence on the biological activity of thromboxane.
The active compounds in the herb ginkgo (e.g. flavone glycosides) have been found in
numerous studies to promote circulation. Although this effect is especially pronounced
in the micro-circulation of the brain, ginkgo actually tonifies the circulatory system in
general, due to several remarkable mechanisms.
Circulatory Health Summary
Nutrient/Herb Typical intake range
Adenosine 5’ –triphosphate (ATP)1 125 - 300mg per day
Niacin hexanicotinate2 600 – 1800mg per day
Vitamin E 3 200-800IU per day
Fish oils4 1000 – 4000mg per day
Ginkgo biloba extract (24%
ginkgoflavoglycosides, 6% terpene lactones)5
60 – 180mg per day
Refined and processed foods
Nuts and seeds
Take regular exercise
Stop smoking (major inhibitor of circulation)
Consider massage therapy
1. Use only under medical supervision if taking warfarin or other anticoagulant medication.
2. High-dose niacin in any form should be avoided in those with pre-existing liver disease (or
elevated liver ezymes) or gall bladder disease, unless under medical supervision. Long-term, highdose
niacin or inositol hexanicotinate should be avoided in diabetics unless medically supervised.
High-dose niacin should be avoided in cases of pregnancy, peptic ulcers or gout unless under
medical supervision. Taking high-dose niacin with alcohol, beta-blockers, mecamylamine or
pargyline may cause severe hypotension (low blood pressure).
3. Avoid concurrent use of high dose vitamin E supplements with Warfarin and other anticoagulant
medication. May reduce insulin requirement in insulin-dependent diabetes and should therefore
be used under supervision by diabetics.
4. Do not take in conjunction with anticoagulant medication
5. Do not use during pregnancy or lactation. May decrease the action of Warfarin. Concurrent use
with insulin and oral hypoglycaemic medication under medical supervision only. Do not use with