Intermittent Claudication

Intermittent Claudication is characterised by pain in the legs, usually the calf muscles, when walking. It is caused by atherosclerosis which narrows the arteries restricting the supply of blood and oxygen to the legs. The best way to deal with this condition is to address the underlying cause.

The lack of blood flow to the legs means that there is insufficient oxygen to meet the needs of the muscles being exercise, so a cramp like pain comes on.


Nutritional Supplements that could help. (Refer to the individual supplement for cautions in use.)

Supplement/Herb What it does Dosage
L Carnitine Carnitine is required to transport fatty acids, which are the primary source of energy for the muscles, into the cells. 1000mg twice daily
Evening Primrose oil Needed for the production of prostaglandins which control inflammation. 1000-2000mg daily
Lysine Helps clear the arteries. 1500mg daily
Vitamin C Helps improve circulation. 2000mg daily
Magnesium May help relax the blood vessels and muscles and reduce symptoms. 200-400mg daily
Vitamin B3 as Inositol Hexaniacinate Effective at lowering cholesterol, helps reduce leg pain and improves walking distance. 2000mg daily
Vitamin E A powerful anti-oxidant it can ease pain and discomfort and improve walking distance. 400-600iu daily
Bromelain Helps break down arterial plaque, useful as an anti-inflammatory herb to reduce pain and swelling.. as directed
Garlic Garlic and Gingko Biloba work together to decrease the over-coagulation of blood that may contribute to atherosclerosis. 1 – 5gm daily
Gingko biloba Stops platelets from sticking together too much, improves circulation, also anti-oxidant. 120mg daily


Diet and Lifestyle Factors

In order to reduce the likelihood of getting intermittent claudication, it is important to reduce your intake of saturated fats, trans fat, hydrogenated fats. This includes margering, refined cooking oils, red meat, chicken skin, full fat dairy products and all commercially baked cakes, biscuits, pastries, pies and pasties.

Fried food should be completely eliminated.

Limit alcohol to 2 units per day. 1 unit equals half a pint of beer or a pub measure of wine or spirits.

Coffee should be avoided as it can worsen cholesterol.

Include in your diet:

Oily fish such as salmon, trout, tuna, sardines, mackerel and herrings 3 to 4 times a week as they help to thin the blood and keep it flowing freely.

Garlic and onions.

Five portions of fruit and vegetables daily.

Nuts, seeds, linseeds, oats, oat bran and psyllium husks for their fibre content.

Do not smoke as this damages the walls of the blood vessels causing narrowing of the arteries.

Take regular exercise to improve veinous return to the heart and keep muscles oxygenated.


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