Now that we are knee-deep in summer, no doubt we are more conscious than ever of how our legs look. Spider veins are about the last thing we want to see when we look at our legs – and the last thing we want others to see when they look!
About 15 years ago I began to notice spider veins around my ankles and on my lower calves. Had I not stumbled upon the real cause of spider veins, I’m sure that today my legs would be an unsightly mess. Instead, I am practically free of spider veins. When a few do appear, I find I can get rid of them in pretty short order with a little attention to proper nutrition. While it is easiest to reverse the effects of spider veins in the beginning when they are very small, it is never too late for improvement.
I have looked at dozens of articles/sites dealing with the subject of spider veins, and the suggested helps are rarely ever more than skin-deep. The cause, however, is. Here are three major contributors to spider veins:
First, let’s consider how chronic dehydration causes spider veins.
Hydration is of the utmost importance to our over-all health. Our bodies have a wonderful system for rerouting water so that our most vital organs and our very important circulatory system have dibs on water, should there be a shortage. We get thirst signals when 1) body fluids are becoming too concentrated or 2) our blood volume is getting too low. Unfortunately, we often respond to thirst signals with sugary drinks and too much food, which both tend to dehydrate us even more. The body, not getting the water it needs to flush out these sugary drinks and break down all that food, is forced to draw water out from other sources. This is only meant to be a temporary draw, but if we continue in our bad habits, it becomes routine, and pretty soon the body is operating on a water deficit all the time.
Our veins are generally treated as one of the body’s V.I.P.’s (very important parts) when it comes to water distribution. This is because the blood volume must stay up so that the veins stay inflated enough to maintain pressure. Without a water distribution program, our veins and arteries would kind of flatten out like a ribbon every time we get too little water. But this won’t do. All along the pathways of our circulatory system are little tiny filters that spray water and nutrients through where they are needed. To do this, there must be a pressure that is sufficient to allow this spraying action to take place. This is why you can feel ill very quickly if your blood pressure drops too low. To prevent this from happening, hormones are released when the blood volume drops too low and measures are taken to borrow water from elsewhere in the body to maintain the proper blood pressure. These hormones can also temporarily close off some of the smaller veins and tiny capillaries to increase blood pressure to the more important veins and arteries.
If the veins and arteries are continually having to borrow water from elsewhere in the body to keep from going flat, they will eventually just close off some of the capillaries that are not as vital to the functioning of the body as a whole. These can dry up rather abruptly, leaving rather ugly tell-tale signs, usually very small at first. In these early stages, a person doesn’t feel a thing; it just looks a little unsightly. Eventually, as a person becomes more and more dehydrated and more of the smaller veins and capillaries are involved, there may be some numbness and tingling, and even pain, as the effects of the decreased circulation set in.
Another factor in the appearance of spider veins: Chlorinated water. Chlorine works by breaking down the lipid (fat) content of cell membranes and cell walls. This can have a devastating effect on veins and arteries, which are largely held together by fats. With the more prominent veins and arteries, chlorination (including chloramines) slowly erodes surfaces, eventually causing little holes that need to be “plastered” with patching material. But for tiny little capillary walls, chlorine (and acidity in general) can just mean a form of sudden death.
Chlorinated water enters the bloodstream almost immediately and therefore has a great effect on the veins. Still, caution is also needed when it comes to foods that contain bleaching chemicals, like bleached flour, bleached sugar, bleached salt, etc. High-acid junk foods can likewise have a similar effect on the veins, so it is best to limit those as much as possible.
Tiny capillaries, especially those of the thin skin surrounding the ankles, emerge from the fatty layer of the skin, projecting into the dermis. Veins and arteries are held together largely by fats, so following a low-fat diet for extended periods of time can make the veins more susceptible to attack. As bad – or worse – is going back and forth from a high acid, junk food diet to a low-fat diet, which puts yo-yo dieters at high risk for spider veins. Good fats, like those from fish, avocados, and coconut, can go a long way to help prevent spider veins. Even animal fats – like those found in real butter, lard, and yes, bacon! – can help to restore weakened veins, as the fatty acids found in animal fats are the ones the body turns to most often to make repairs. Of course, with all fats, a little goes a long way.
WHAT TO DO
Thankfully, the body is very forgiving when it comes to spider veins. Regeneration of small capillaries can take place quickly when good changes are made in the diet. First and foremost, undertake a program of gentle rehydration. This should include getting plenty of good quality, chlorine-free water along with a little sea salt to help with absorption. Second, stop taking in things that break down the cell membranes – chlorinated water and other high-acid junk foods. And third, increase foods that repair the cell walls (fats that come from real food). Doing these things can go a long way to reverse the condition of spider veins.
Also by this author:
Don’t Blame the Salt
“Your Body’s Many Cries for Water” by Dr. F. Batmanghelidj
“Smart Fats: How Dietary Fats and Oils affect Mental, Physical and Emotional Intelligence” by Michael A. Schmidt