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Understanding and managing Raynaud's Phenomenon

Tips and supplements from Nancy's Nifty Nook

As winter approaches and temperatures drop, many people eagerly anticipate cozy nights by the fire and winter sports.

For some individuals, however, the onset of cold weather brings challenges associated with Raynaud's Phenomenon (Raynaud’s), a condition characterized by the constriction of blood vessels in the fingers and toes. This constriction leads to reduced blood circulation, resulting in discoloration, pain, numbness and tingling. In severe cases, ulcers may form on the fingertips, tongue or tip of the nose.

Nancy’s Nifty Nook carries a wide array of herbal remedies and supplements to help manage symptoms associated with Raynaud’s. Stop by the store and speak to store owner Nancy Young for more information.

What is Raynaud’s?

Raynaud's is a vascular disorder that primarily affects the fingers and toes. Cold weather and emotional stress are common triggers that cause blood vessels to constrict, leading to a decrease in blood flow.

In cold, damp climates, it is more prevalent among women (20-30 per cent) than men (4-13 per cent), and symptoms usually manifest in the late teen years or early 20s. Secondary Raynaud's (Raynaud’s Syndrome) may occur due to underlying conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, scleroderma or mechanical trauma.

Management Strategies

  • Bundle Up: To minimize the impact of cold weather, individuals with Raynaud's should wear gloves, warm socks and hats. It is advisable to bundle up before going outside, and some may even need gloves when reaching into the fridge.
  • Battery-Warmed Gear: Consider investing in battery-warmed gloves and boots or clinically activated hand and foot warming packets for added warmth in extremely cold conditions.
  • Stress Management: Since emotional stress can trigger symptoms, relaxation techniques like yoga and meditation may help manage stress-induced episodes.
  • Tobacco Avoidance: Steer clear of tobacco, as it can constrict peripheral blood vessels, exacerbating Raynaud's symptoms.

Nancy’s Recommended Herbal Remedies

  • Ginkgo: Known for improving circulation by dilating blood vessels, ginkgo also protects cells from low-oxygen situations and inhibits platelets from sticking together. Caution: Do not take if using aspirin or blood thinners.
  • Bilberry: An antioxidant that works as an anti-inflammatory, bilberry relaxes small blood vessels and preserves them after exposure to cold.
  • Garlic: With its ability to inhibit platelets, break up clots, and lower blood pressure and cholesterol, garlic is an antioxidant maintaining healthy blood vessels.
  • Cayenne Pepper: Reduces blood cholesterol and platelet stickiness while providing a warming effect. Use in moderation to avoid gastrointestinal irritation.
  • Ginger: An antioxidant that reduces platelet stickiness and inflammation, ginger can be incorporated into the diet or taken as a tincture. Consult a pharmacist if on blood thinners.
  • Hawthorn: A heart and blood vessel tonic, hawthorn strengthens both blood vessels and the heart's contractions, promoting increased circulation.
  • Gotu Kola: Aids in wound healing and maintains healthy skin and connective tissues. Particularly beneficial for those with scleroderma.

Nancy’s Recommended Supplements to Combat the Chill

  • No Flush Niacin (Inositol Hexanicotinate): Start with 500mg three times daily for the first two weeks, then increase to 1000mg three times a day for improved circulation.
  • Magnesium: Prevent small artery constriction by maintaining adequate magnesium levels. Food sources include kelp, wheat bran, nuts and whole grains.
  • Essential Fatty Acids: Combat inflammation with 1-2 tablespoons of flaxseed oil or Udo's 3/6/9 blend.
  • Antioxidants: Include Vitamin C (500mg once or twice a day) and 400 IU of Vitamin E to support overall health.

Whenever starting a new herbal remedy or supplement, it is recommended to consult with your medical doctor or pharmacist.

By adopting appropriate lifestyle modifications and incorporating herbal remedies and supplements from Nancy's Nifty Nook, individuals with Raynaud's can enhance their quality of life and better manage symptoms associated with this vascular disorder.

Drop by Nancy's Nifty Nook located at 152 Holland Street E. for more information on these products and personalized advice on managing Raynaud's.