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Blood clots form inside major blood vessels under certain conditions when the body is hurt or injured. The clotting of blood is part of the body's healing mechanism which goes into effect when there is an injury or damage to it's tissue. The blood platelets will start to clump together when they come into contact with damaged artery walls, if you are nutrient deficient due to poor dietary habits or use of medication, or have a predisposed genetic condition, such as Factor V (5) Leiden in which the blood has an increased tendency to form clots.
Having blood clots, or a propensity to getting them, is not obvious. Your doctor will tell you if you are at risk and suggest yearly diagnostic screening. Blood clots are nothing to fool with, so we strongly suggest that you work closely with your health care specialist. Our information is meant only to guide you so that you can talk to your doctor with more knowledge.
A thrombosis is a clot that forms in a vessel or an organ in the body.
An embolism is a clot that forms and detaches, ending up in another location.
Both block or partially block blood flow, which can cause serious damage to tissue or even death. They can cause strokes, heart attacks and can seriously impact other cardiovascular conditions, such as atrial fibrillation.
Other Conditions that Influence
Damage to the wall of an artery
• Injury in any part of the body, especially after an operation
• A recent heart attack or heart surgery
• High cholesterol diet
• Insufficient EFAs – essential fatty acids
• Free radicals
• High altitude: above 14,000 feet
• Hormone therapy
• Late stages of pregnancy
• Birth control pills – a study by Duke University found that moderate exercise can significantly reduce this risk
• Cancer and cancer therapy
• Liver disease
• Immobility, especially on long airplane flights, which may cause Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT), the formation of small clots in the legs
See our Blood Thinners article for more information.
• Garlic, which studies have shown can reduce the build-up of cholesterol as well as reducing plaque deposits in the aorta; garlic can also react with warfarin (Coumadin), so talk to your doctor about eating garlic if you are on warfarin.
• Feverfew, a traditional garden herb, originally used to reduce fever
• Dong quai, also called Angelica sinensis, which is also known as the “female ginseng,” used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat blood pressure problems and mild anemia, and also used as an anti-inflammatory; it has trace amounts of natural coumarin
• Ginger, which studies suggest may inhibit clotting; but it also can be an intestinal irritant
• Gingko biloba, which improves blood flow to all parts of the body
• Fish oil contains the fatty acids EPA and DHA which break down fibrin. Fibrin is involved in blood clot formation. Fish oil helps the blood flow more freely and helps in the prevention of new clots. This is especially important if you’ve had a clot that has been cleared away. Recommended dose is one tablespoon three times daily to start, then reducing to one tablespoon twice daily; continue with 11/2 tablespoons daily for maintenance.
• Vitamin E, which studies suggest may inhibit the harmful effects of LDL (bad) cholesterol. Cholesterol can block arteries and cause heart attacks. An Australian study found that taking 100-200 mg of the gamma tocopherol form of vitamin E lowered platelet aggregation, or clot formation and reduced LDL cholesterol significantly. We suggest taking a complete natural form of vitamin E and not the synthetic dl-alpha tocopherol form or other synthetic varieties. The recommended dose is 400 IU of mixed tocopherols, three times a day to start, and reducing to 600 IU daily.
Exercise, especially during long air travel, is very effective in keeping the clots from forming. Clots formed during flights leads to the condition known as Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) mentioned above. Get up from your seat and walk around the isles of the plane; if you can't do that then stretch your calf muscles while remaining seated by flexing them and moving your legs up and down on the ball of your foot. Also, wear loose, comfortable clothing and shoes to aid in maintaining proper circulation.
Nattokinase, made from an enzyme produced in fermented soy beans, hinders clot formation and thins blood, but should not be used when taking any other blood thinner: consult a physician if you are taking a blood thinner or one of the supplements mentioned above. Nattokinase can dissolve blot clots in two hours. Dr. Jonathon Wright, a leading natural health specialist, recommends taking two 138 mg capsules every four hours to start, and, as your condition improves, reduce the dose to one capsule every four hours, then one capsule three times daily.
Red algae, also called dulse, has been shown in studies to have anti-coagulant and anti-tumor properties
A natural form of vitamin C is always recommended if you have a tendency to platelet aggregation. Whenever the body is under stress or is injured, vitamin C is beneficial in repairing tissue. We suggest 1-2 grams two to three times daily, or to bowel tolerance.
A deficiency in vitamin K can inhibit clot formation. It is found in: alfalfa, broccoli, dark green leafy vegetables and soybeans. Also: Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, egg yolks, liver, oatmeal, rye, and wheat. If you are taking Coumadin or other blood thinners, inform your doctor before consuming vitamin K as it may thin the blood too much.
Magnesium has an important role to play in preventing blood clots and keeping the blood thin - much like aspirin but without the side effects. Start with 400 mg daily.
Do you have hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid)? Supplementing with iodine helps with this condition and also reduces the tendency to form blood clots.
Warning: If you are going to have surgery, including dental, make sure your doctor knows if you are taking any form of blood thinner!