The 5 Best Natural Blood Thinners to Help Prevent Dangerous Clots
7 minute read
Your body generally does a great job of protecting you from bleeding by naturally clotting. This prevents you from losing too much blood. In some cases, however, clotting can be dangerous, making it necessary to thin the blood out.
As a result, blood thinners are commonly prescribed by doctors today. That said, there are also natural blood thinners for those who want to avoid the potential side effects of medications.
Why You May Need Blood Thinners
Certain conditions may require blood thinners to prevent unwanted clotting. These include
♦ Congenital heart defect
♦ Irregular heart rhythm
♦ Heart valve surgery
♦ Deep vein thrombosis
With any of these, your risk for developing a life-threatening blood clot increases. Blood thinners help to reduce this risk. Blood thinner medications help to reduce your risk for heart attack or stroke, which is more common with these conditions.
Blood thinners do not actually thin out your blood, nor do they break up blood clots. They work by preventing the formation of new clots and can also slow the growth of existing ones.
Many of the prescribed blood thinners (anticoagulants) achieve this be removing vitamin K from the liver, which is an essential vitamin for clotting. There are also antiplatelet drugs, which prevent platelets from sticking together to form clots.
Blood clots can form for a number of reasons, so it is important to recognize the signs and consult your doctor as soon as possible. Risk factors that increase your chances of blood clots include smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, inherited blood-clotting disorders, and certain medications like birth control.
The signs to look out for depending on where the clot has formed, include:
♦ Legs: Pain, redness, and swelling
♦ Arterial clot: Pale color, numbness in limbs, and coolness to the touch
♦ Lungs: Chest pain, shortness of breath, fainting, and rapid breathing
♦ Brain (stroke): Loss of speech, dizziness, weakness on one side of the body
Natural Blood Thinners
The five ingredients below are known to provide blood-thinning properties, but should always be discussed with your doctor first. While they are generally safe, they may contain compounds that are not well suited to your particular condition.
Known for adding spice and color to your curries, turmeric has also been used for centuries as a healing spice. The anti-inflammatory and antioxidant compounds make turmeric a popular option for reducing inflammation and overall risk for many diseases, including heart disease.
| Related: Turmeric: The Natural Anti-Inflammatory |
Curcumin, which is the main compound, also happens to be an anticoagulant, so it can work to reduce the formation of blood clots. Curcumin works to stop coagulation cascades and interferes with clotting factors, which makes it a natural blood thinner.
It is important to note here that turmeric alone is not easily absorbed by the body. When using turmeric for its health benefits, it is best to take a turmeric supplement designed for high bioavailability.
Beyond adding that holiday spice to your favorite meals, cinnamon is a natural blood thinner. It contains the compound coumarin, which is a powerful anticoagulant. This compound also has the ability to lower blood pressure and relieve inflammation, which can contribute to heart problems.
However, cinnamon, when used for long periods of time, can increase your risk of liver damage. If you need a long-term blood thinner, it is best to speak with your doctor first before trying cinnamon.
Ginger belongs to the same family as turmeric and contains salicylate. This chemical is only found in plants and works to prevent blood clot formation. Acetylsalicylic acid is actually a synthetically derived version used to prevent stroke and heart attack and is more commonly known as aspirin.
While some studies have found this compound to be effective at reducing clotting, scientists continue to research whether it is as effective as prescribed blood thinners.
4. Cayenne Pepper
This contains high levels of salicylates, which are known to provide a strong blood-thinning effect. You can easily take cayenne pepper capsules or grind some up yourself to spice up food. These peppers have also been found to reduce blood pressure and increase circulation, both of which work to promote overall heart health.
Take care when using cayenne pepper, as too much has been known to cause an upset stomach in some people. Also, it should never be used alongside prescribed blood thinners.
5. Vitamin E
This essential vitamin is primarily known for improving skin health, eye health, and preventing inflammation. In addition to this, vitamin E is known to be a mild anticoagulant. This means it has the ability to reduce blood clot formation, and because it is milder than the other natural options, you may be able to consume more of this.
Keeping Your Heart Healthy
In addition to trying natural blood thinners, it is a good idea to promote overall heart health. Following a heart-healthy diet is one way to reduce your risk of dangerous clots.
A balanced diet full of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, healthy oils, healthy proteins, and low-fat dairy products will keep your heart in good shape. These diets also limit high-fat, high-cholesterol, and high-sugar foods.
It is important to remember that you should never start taking natural therapies of any kind without consulting your doctor first. Foods and natural items can interfere with medications you are taking, and when it comes to blood, you could thin it out too much.
Natural options may also reduce the effectiveness of your medications and could increase clotting risks in the end.
The Bottom Line
Depending on your need for blood thinners, you may be able to benefit from the versions that nature has to offer. With their various health benefits and abilities to reduce blood clotting, these natural options may be more suited to your life.
Just be sure to discuss any blood thinner options with your doctor first, and find out if the natural treatments are a better fit for you.