People who have symptoms associated with chronic venous insufficiency (CVI*) in the veins of their legs need a little extra support during the cold season so that they can enter summer with a spring in their step,says Maameya Dankwa, brand manager at Nativa, marketers of the Venavine® range.
She explains that chronic venous insufficiency occurs when the walls of the veins, or the valves, in the lower leg veins do not work effectively. The resulting impaired circulation of blood flow from the leg back towards the heart can manifest in unattractive varicose or bulging veins, swollen legs, changes in skin colour and texture, or non-healing wounds.
The condition is common among adults, with an estimated prevalence of around 17% worldwide. It is higher in industrialised countries and is associated with occupations which require standing for long periods of time.
Symptoms of poor circulation in the legs:
• Cold feet
• Pale looking feet
• Swelling and water retention
• Numbness or fatigue in the feet/legs
• Tingling sensation
The effects of winter: Generally cold exposure causes the body’s topical capillaries to contract in an attempt to conserve heat. This action improves the symptoms of chronic venous insufficiency, possibly by preventing excess blood from entering the veins and pooling there.
Heat has the opposite effect. Capillaries dilate in an attempt to get rid of excess heat allowing more blood to enter the legs, with more blood pooling and worsened symptoms.
Winter affects chronic venous insufficiency in the following ways:
• Not only do we tend to exercise less in winter, but we also move less to try and conserve heat, less movement results in less muscle action, and as muscle contraction is needed to assist our veins to return blood to our hearts, reduced movement can aggravate symptoms.
• We tend to sit in front of heaters in winter. Heat aggravates the symptoms of chronic venous insufficiency.
• One of the symptoms of chronic venous insufficiency is dry, itchy skin. Winter can worsen this due to the effect of cold dry air, or the drying effects of heated air.
• People often wear tight leggings or pants during winter. Unlike compression stockings that only compress the lower leg (calf) in order to assist blood flow back to the heart, leggings compress the whole leg including the thigh, making it difficult for blood to return to the heart from the veins.
Seeking relief: The pain caused by venous insufficiency is often relieved by walking or by elevating the legs. Warmth tends to aggravate the symptoms, while cold tends to relieve them. Compression stockings can ameliorate or prevent the pain associated with venous insufficiency.
While no oral medication is known to help varicose veins disappear, some of the common symptoms such as pain, discomfort, fatigue and heavy leg feeling associated with chronic venous insufficiency can be alleviated with the right supportive formula*.
According to Maameya, a trio of quaintly named herbal extracts, Butcher’s Broom, Horse Chestnut Herb and Red Vine Leaf have been well researched and have been separately proven to have potential supportive effectiveness against the symptoms associated with chronic venous insufficiency, strengthening the vein walls in the legs and improving blood circulation.Gaining access to these herbs is easy as they have been formulated into Nativa’s range of Venavine® Leg Vein Health products.
“The active ingredients found in the Venavine® capsules can assist the body by improving blood circulation in the legs, reducing swollen and painful legs and alleviating cramps. The action of rubbing and massaging the Venavine® Intensive Cream onto your legs can help to promote healthy blood flow, increase blood circulation and soothe pain in the legs which can be caused from poor blood circulation”, she says.
Venavine® Capsules contain the well-studied ingredient Red Vine Leaf Extract and are a supportive supplement for people suffering from chronic venous insufficiency. This active ingredient can assist the body to alleviate symptoms such as pain and swelling from varicose veins, spider veins, reduced leg vein circulation, as well as tired and heavy legs and night time muscle cramps.
Each capsule contains 180 mg of Red Vine Leaf Extract containing a complex mixture of flavonoids which may reduce the symptoms of chronic venous insufficiency. Red Vine Leaf Extract can help to protect, seal, and strengthen the walls of leg veins to help reduce fluid loss into the tissues around the veins which can cause oedema and swelling.# The recommended dosage is 2 – 4 capsules a day, depending on the severity of symptoms. Around R182.87 for 60 Venavine® Capsules (a month’s supply).
Venavine® Intensive Capsules have a triple action formula of Red Vine Leaf, Horse Chestnut Herb and Butcher’s Broom extract. The formulation can support the body with alleviating symptoms like heavy, tired, painful and swollen legs, strengthening of the walls of leg veins and improving circulation.
The effect of Red Vine Leaf Extract can be attributed to its flavonol and studies show significant improvement in symptoms of leg heaviness, tension sensation, tingling and pain, as compared with those who had taken the placebo.
The effect of Horse Chestnut can be attributed to a saponin which has been shown to promote circulation through the veins. Studies show that it has the ability to strengthen capillaries, which can lead to a reduction in swelling. The saponins in Horse Chestnut have also been shown to inhibit the activity of enzymes involved in weakening leg vein walls.
The effect of Butcher’s Broom can be attributed to steroidal saponins which have been reported as improving the strength and tone of the veins. They may also lead to constriction of the veins which helps blood return from the extremities. Butcher’s Broom extracts can also exert a mild anti-inflammatory effect.#
The recommended daily dosage is one capsule a day, for at least 60 days for results. Around R193.58 for 30Venavine® Intensive Capsules (a month’s supply).
Venavine® Intensive Cream. The cooling effect from menthol in the cream together with massaging can relax the leg muscles and improve circulation, assisting in reducing pain and swelling in the leg.# Around R89.42 for 125 ml.
All are available from pharmacies, Dischem, and Clicks.
The most common risk factors of chronic venous insufficiency are*:
• Deep vein thrombosis (DVT)
• Varicose veins or a family history of varicose veins
• Pregnancy and/or hormonal changes
• Sedentary lifestyle
• Extended periods of standing or sitting without frequent stretching, and/or breaks to sit down if standing for extended periods
• Being female
• 50 years of age and older
• Age – as we get older we become more susceptible to chronic venous insufficiency
• Gender – with pregnancy and hormonal fluctuations women are more likely to get CVI
• Lifestyle – long periods of sitting or standing, and also poor diet
* Please consult a medical practitioner for a diagnosis or if symptoms persist.
# Efficacy of support may vary between users.
Do not exceed the recommended daily dosage.