On YouTube, Dr. Axe is growing in popularity for his generally medically sound health and wellness recommendations. Often he will post his ideas and recommendations for viewers to watch and gain insight into whatever ails them. However, a recent video makes several claims regarding home remedies for the treatment of varicose veins.
After watching this video we have to ask; are these home remedies medically sound?
Here is a list of our replies to the primary claims made in the video.
1.- Will Boosting Collagen Help?
This claim is not backed up by science. However, it is thought that drinking 8 ounces of bone broth each day will increase collagen formation in the connective tissues. This may reduce varicose veins. However, medically it is known that only surgery can completely remove varicose veins. Bone broth does have health benefits, but it does not seem that reducing varicose veins is one of those.
2.- Are Compression Stockings the Answer?
As varicose vein occurrences continue to grow in the U.S. population healthcare companies have begun developing compression stockings designed to help prevent or slow the development of varicose vein symptoms.
These stockings work by providing pressure to the veins that are failing. Varicose veins form as a result of vein walls failing to push blood back to the heart. When this happens they collapse. The added pressure helps the veins to keep pushing the blood toward the heart against gravity.
3.- Can a Healthy Diet Do the Trick?
This claim states that consuming foods high in antioxidants and fiber and low in refined sugar and processed carbohydrates can help heal vein walls and prevent further varicose veins from forming.
Flavonoids, making another appearance, along with resveratrol are plant chemicals that are thought to have antioxidant effects on the veins allowing them to regenerate and reduce additional damage. Reducing the among of refined sugar and processed foods can also provide an anti-inflammatory effect to help reduce swelling of varicose veins.
The FDA did approve one supplement, Vasculera, which includes flavonoids which act as antioxidant. A vascular surgeon developed a dietary supplement also called Vein Formula.
4.- Is There Anything Exercise Can’t Do?
Preventing varicose veins through exercise is not directly related. Clearly exercise helps in weight reduction. Excess weight is known to exacerbate the probability of varicose veins forming. Therefore, while exercise doesn’t necessarily cure varicose veins, in a round-about way losing weight can help prevent further ones from forming. The thought behind this claim is that exercise increases circulation and better circulation can prevent varicose veins. The thought is good, but not medically sound.
5.- Are Essential Oils Essential?
The claim here is that the act of rubbing essential oils on your varicose veins will increase circulation and thereby reducing your varicose veins. Unfortunately, while massaging can increase circulation, there is no medical evidence that doing this will reduce varicose veins.
Depending on what oil is used you may see a tightening of the skin and anti-inflammatory side effects. However, this is not a permanent cure for varicose veins rather a temporary fix at best.
6.- Will Flavonoids Free You?
This claim is a bit surprising, but we can see where he is trying to go with this. In this video the claim is made that taking a red or green tomato, cutting it in half, and placing it on the area where the veins are located several times a day will reduce varicose veins and associated pain.
The primary element behind this claim is a chemical known as flavonoids and is found in many fruits and vegetables. This chemical, also known as a phytonutrient, gives these plants their vibrant colors. Flavonoids are known to have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anticoagulant properties. So the thought process is that by applying a tomato, which is high in flavonoids, to the skin these varicose veins will reduce in inflammation and pain associated.
While this sounds like a great and believable claim there is little to no medical backing behind it. The closest thing medically to this claim is a product called Dermaka. It is a medical grade cream that contains vitamins from plants commonly used to treat bruising and swelling of the skin after procedures.
7.- Could PRP Be The Key?
This final claim states that platelet-rich plasma, which is a high concentration of platelets from your own blood, applied to the veins will reduce their appearance or occurrence. Unfortunately, there has not been enough research in this area to prove or disprove these claims. Perhaps soon this will change.
Talk to a Vein Specialist
Speak with Dr. Julian Javier, a board certified interventional cardiologist and endovascular specialist in Naples, Florida. He will discuss your medical history, perform a thorough exam, and explain which of these natural remedies actually work and which don't and what treatment options are right for you.