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Health Conditions

Causes

Bruises are usually caused by bumping into something which ruptures the tiny capillaries under the skin leaving the area darkened. Some people bruise more easily than others, and this is indicative of fragile capillaries, poor health or an inability to create collagen. For people who bruise easily, bruises seem to appear for no apparent reason. Research has shown us that the leading cause of frequent bruising is a deficiency in one or more nutrients. The elderly, due to their generally poor diet, are quite susceptible to having bruises. The remedy is very simple: add supplements to your diet. Dieters who have lost a substantial amount of weight are also at risk of developing bruises. This is due to the fact that they have many capillaries that were needed to supply blood to their body, but that body is no longer there, leaving the capillaries exposed.

One of the main causes of bruising seems to be a deficiency in certain nutrients, primarily vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K, bioflavonoids, and zinc. A vitamin C deficiency may be caused by several factors:

• eating too few fruits and vegetables (remember the problem sailors used to have centuries ago with scurvy outbreaks on long voyages? It was caused by a lack of vitamin C)
• taking drugs which destroys this vitamin
• long-time stress from illness, frustration or depression
• smoking (one cigarette can deplete the body of 25 mg of vitamin C)
• frequent emotional outbursts such as anger
• exposure to pollutants, allergens or heavy metals

A deficiency in hesperidin, one of the bioflavonoids (sometimes called vitamin P), naturally occurring nutrients usually found in association with vitamin C, has been linked with abnormal capillary weakness. These bioflavonoids, including hesperidin, Citrin, Rutin, Flavones, Flavonals, Calechin and Quercetin, were found to be essential in correcting the tendency toward bruising.

Tips

When you bump something, immediately apply a cold compress to the area to reduce the swelling.

Supplements

Vitamin C is an antioxidant and is depleted when the body is trying to rid itself of pollutants, allergens or drugs. Take 2 grams the first day, adding one gram daily until 12 grams daily is reached. Using unbuffered vitamin C sometimes causes stomach upset at large doses. Bioflavonoids, such as rutin and hesperidin, facilitate the functions of vitamin C. Take 200-1,000 mg of rutin daily with the vitamin C. Vitamin C helps protect against bruising by strengthening capillary walls.

Vitamin E works synergistically with vitamin C to repair tissues.

Vitamin K is made in the intestines, but can be depleted by antibiotics, which kill the friendly bacteria that synthesize it. Supplementing your diet with leafy, green vegetables is a good way to add this vitamin to your system. You can also use vitamin K cream which will help fade and clear bruises and can help decrease post- surgical bruising when used approximately two weeks prior to surgery and after surgery. It helps the capillaries heal themselves by sealing the blood leakage. Vitamin K also supports the body's ability to reabsorb the blood in surrounding tissues, thereby helping fade the bruise and restoring the skin to normal color.

Zinc is helpful in maintaining healthy connective tissue, and a deficiency can lead to bruising. Take 50-100 mg daily. However, don't take doses this high for more than a week or two without medical supervision, as it may interfere with absorption of other important minerals, especially copper.

Remedies

Folk

Butter Apply butter (not margerine!) immediately after getting bruised. Remedy courtesy of Rosie Kinsey, as learned from an RN friend in rural Indiana.

Cabbage Macerate and heat some cabbage and apply to the affected area.

Calendula Apply a cream or a tincture of calendula to the bruise.

Mustard Make a poultice of mustard and apply to the bruise. It will draw the blood away from the bruise.

• Combine 2 parts of ground mustard seed with one part set honey and one part finely chopped onion.  Apply to the bruised area and cover with a bandage. This will relieve the bruise and swelling.

Onions Make a poultice of roasted onions and apply to the bruise.

• Cut an onion, dip it in apple cider vinegar and rub on the bruise as soon after it occurs as possible to prevent black and blue marks.

Pepper Applying black pepper oil to the bruise will also draw the blood away from it.

Vinegar Make a compress and soak it in vinegar to alleviate the bruise and swelling. Avoid getting it in the eyes.

Vitamin C Increased intake of this vitamin has been shown to improve resistance to bruising. Take 2 grams the first day, then add one gram until your intake is 12 grams daily. Use unbuffered vitamin C if regular vitamin C causes stomach upset.

Vitamin K Rub a cream with vitamin K on the bruise twice a day. Vitamin K will aid your body in breaking down blood and reabsorbing it. The act of rubbing helps speed the process.

Witch hazel A tincture of witch hazel will relieve swelling and bruises. Apply as a cool compress.

Zinc Take 50-100 mg daily. However, don't take doses this high for more than a week or two without medical supervision, as it may interfere with absorption of other important minerals, especially copper.

Homeopathic

Arnica To alleviate dark, swollen bruises, apply a gel containing arnica every three hours to encourage healing. Or, apply a tincture or cream to the affected area. Arnica traditionally has been used for muscle aches, sprains and bruises. The gel should improve the swelling, stiffness and discoloration. Some people have a reaction to arnica, so if your skin becomes red, itchy or inflamed, discontinue use.

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