Free radicals as most people know are the bad guys and can be harmful to health, whereas antioxidants – the good guys, help to stop the free radicals from running free & creating havoc. This process should be kept nicely in balance and when its not this is called oxidative stress. Too many free radicals as a consequence of oxidative stress are know to contribute to ageing but ageing itself has a trick up its sleeve.
Steven Segal (really!), a professor at MU’s School of Medicine says that “Aging may trigger an adaptive response to counteract the effects of oxidative stress on blood vessels”. When oxidative stress continues over time, the body seems to adapt to it and preserve the cells; “Segal’s recent study suggests that blood vessels adapt during the aging process to regulate ROS (free radicals) and minimize cell death when subjected to an abrupt increase in oxidative stress. This adaptation helps to ensure that the arteries of older individuals can still do their jobs.”
Two more studies featured in the Science Daily article on cocoa flavanols showed significant improvement for veins; “Professor Kelm comments that “the reduction seen in risk scores suggests that flavanols may have primary preventive potential for CardioVascular Disease.” Other longer-term studies, such as the 5-year Cocoa Supplement and Multivitamin Outcomes Study (COSMOS) of 18,000 men and women, are now underway to investigate the health potential of flavanols on a much larger scale.”
So, what can we do to help aging blood vessels, say if we’re suffering from varicose veins, broken capillaries or bruising? We have a whole host of heart-friendly supplements available here, many including arginine which is found in chocolate amongst other things. Fat soluble vitamins A, D, E and K all have an effect either on the blood vessels themselves, their abilty to expand or contract or on their structural integrity. Do check them out and see which might work best for you!
Reference: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/09/150910110832.htm, http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/07/150709113431.htm.