Can Collagen Help Varicose Veins?
Collagen is essential for smooth, supple skin, but it also plays a role in vein health. Here’s why.
Collagen supplements abound on the shelves of drugstores. Sold as a lotion to smooth skin or a powder to add to smoothies or teas, collagen products are promoted as anti-wrinkle elixirs and nail- and hair-strengtheners. But could this essential protein support vein health, too? Let’s review what collagen is and what it has to do with your veins.
What is Collagen?
Collagen, which primarily consists of various amino acids, serves as a binding agent in the body. It’s what gives strength and elasticity to your skin, tendons, ligaments, cartilage, and blood vessels, including veins. As we age, our bodies produce less collagen, which is why supplements are sometimes needed to replace the lost protein. Aging isn’t the only reason we lose collagen; smoking and sun damage can also sap our collagen reserve.
Because collagen strengthens vein walls, a lack of this protein has been linked to the development of varicose veins and spider veins. Weakened, less elastic vein walls allow blood to pool within the vein, eventually stretching it to the point when it enlarges and forms a visible varicose vein. Without collagen, our skin thins, which makes those unsightly tangles of spider veins more visible.
A 2002 study underscores the importance of collagen in maintaining vein health. Published in the journal Circulation, researchers compared certain types of collagen found in varicose vein patients and those without varicose veins. The study revealed varicose veins patients showed an imbalance in two types of collagen that could be responsible for diminished elasticity in the veins of varicose vein patients.
Can Collagen Help Varicose Veins?
Given its role in strengthening vein walls, collagen supplements could, in theory, prevent varicose veins. (As with any supplement, check with your doctor before making it a part of your vitamin regimen.)
You don’t need to buy a collagen supplement, however. A diet filled with certain vitamins also strengthens veins. Vitamin C, for instance, increases the production of collagen fibers, which keeps vein walls strong and flexible and prevents leakage from the vein. It also prevents broken capillaries that show up as spider veins. Fruits and vegetables such as oranges, strawberries, and red peppers are good sources of vitamin C.
In addition to vitamin C, vitamin E possesses vein-boosting properties. It promotes proper circulation so you’re less likely to develop blood clots. And like vitamin C, vitamin E keeps veins strong and resilient. To get more vitamin E in your meals, follow the Mediterranean diet — that means incorporating more plant oils, like olive oil, nuts and wheat germ, into your diet. Georgia’s famous peaches are also loaded with vitamins C and E!
Another way to boost collagen production and build up vein strength is to eat more protein. Plan your meals around lean proteins like fish or less fatty meats, or choose planted-based proteins such as soy.
Preventative measures like a healthy diet and exercise can reduce the risk of varicose veins or lessen their discomfort if you already have swollen veins. However, the only proven cure for varicose veins is one of several minimally invasive surgical procedures. Talk to a vein specialist about how you can eliminate the pain and swelling of varicose veins, or how you can reduce your chances of developing varicose veins.
Visit Your Atlanta Area Vein Specialists
Center for Vein Restoration operates three locations in the Atlanta area. Supervising those clinics are two experienced vein specialists: Dr. Louis Prevosit, MD, FACS, who is board-certified in thoracic and cardiovascular surgery and is a diplomate of the American Board of Venous and Lymphatic Medicine, and Dr. James Fonger, MD, FRCS, who is board-certified in general surgery and cardiovascular surgery and also a diplomate of the American Board of Venous and Lymphatic Medicine. Both physicians are experts in treating venous disorders and have helped many patients overcome the pain of varicose veins. Contact them today for a consultation.
Camp Creek Medical Center
3886 Princeton Lakes Way
Atlanta, GA 30331
Northside Center Pointe
1100 Johnson Ferry Road NE
Atlanta, GA 30342
Gwinnett Professional Center
601 Professional Drive
Lawrenceville, GA 30046