Archive for February, 2013


CATEGORY: 2: Inflammation

Raynaud’s is one of the most annoying problems, but also one of the easiest to fix. There is a distinction made between Primary Raynaud’s, referred to as the Disease, and Secondary Raynaud’s, referred to as the Syndrome. Both manifest as numbness in the shoulders, arms, hands, fingers, legs, feet and toes. Luckily, this therapy works equally well on both.

Primary Raynaud’s (the Disease) is diagnosed if the symptoms have no other known cause and occur by themselves, with no association with any other disorder or condition.

Secondary Raynaud’s (the Syndrome) is diagnosed in conjunction with and secondary to a wide variety of other conditions, including, connective tissue disorders, eating disorders, obstructive disorders, ingesting certain drugs, and occupations that lead to extensive exposure to cold weather or cold conditions. Raynaud’s is often described as an allergy to cold, because cold conditions are one of the classic inflammatory triggers that leads to the problem.

A closer look shows that these other conditions associated with secondary Raynaud’s are all, directly or indirectly, connected to and caused by a flare-up of inflammation, just like Raynaud’s. Therefore, if you can control inflammation you can control both Primary and Secondary Raynaud’s, no matter the cause.
Note: Inflammation can flare up anywhere in your body, at any time, and for a million different reasons. How it will manifest is a function of your personal genetics. Maybe your family has a genetic weakness in the nervous system, so your inflammation may show up as Multiple Sclerosis. Maybe the genetic weakness is in the digestive system, in which case your inflammation may show up as Crohn’s Disease. Maybe it’s a predisposition to tumor growth that turns your inflammation into cancer. But inflammation is inflammation: All and any inflammation has the same root cause, oxidation and an excess of free radicals. Hence, no matter where it manifests, any case of inflammation can be treated with the same therapy with equal success.


You wake up in the middle of the night with the phone ringing loudly in your ear. Your reach for it, only to discover that your right arm is completely numb, with no feeling whatsoever. Since the numbness extends into your hands and fingers, you can’t pick up the phone. Or you go out to shovel snow from your walk. When you finish and reenter your kitchen, your fingers are completely numb with no feeling. You even have trouble unzipping your parka. Or, maybe every time you sit down for a spell, one or both of your legs fall asleep, making it hard to stand again and move around. This is Raynaud’s, and it is one of the easiest disorders to control and prevent.


Think of Raynaud’s as “over-crowding,” like thirty-six people sharing a studio apartment, constantly getting in each other’s way, constantly invading each other’s space.

All of your blood vessels are surrounded by soft tissue. When that soft tissue becomes inflamed it takes on water, swells up and expands. As it expands it takes up more room and presses against the blood vessels, leaving less space for blood flow to get through to your extremities. The decreased blood flow to the extremities causes the numbness and the condition we call Raynaud’s. That’s all there is to it. It’s easy to see therefore, that stopping inflammation will stop the tissue from swelling, and will stop Raynaud’s from stealing space belonging to the blood vessels and thereby cutting off the blood supply to the extremities.
Note: When exposed to cold temperatures, the blood supply to the face, nose and earlobes can also be markedly reduced because of the same inflammation described above. When the oxygen supply in the area is depleted, numbness occurs due to lack of blood, and the skin turns bluish.

Chronic recurrent attacks of Raynaud’s can result in atrophy of the skin, subcutaneous tissues, and muscle, stemming from the prolonged periods without enough oxygen. In severe cases, if left untreated, Raynaud’s can progress to necrosis or gangrene of the fingertips or toes, because extended constriction of blood flow to any area leads to tissue hypoxia.

It is said that Raynaud’s can herald certain diseases by periods of more than 20 years in some cases, making if effectively their first presenting symptom. That’s because it is inflammation that is causing the Raynaud’s, as well as the other diseases. Left untreated inflammation worsens and leads to other conditions, like cancer, Crohn’s, or MS.


When inflammation flares up in your system it has a set process and reaction sequence. In the case of Raynaud’s, the inflammatory trigger causes reddening and warmth in the tissue surrounding the blood vessels. The body then attempts to cool the heat by shunting extra fluids to the tissue. The tissue absorbs the extra fluid and swells. The swollen tissue squeezes against the blood vessel walls, nanrrowing them, and decreasing blood flow to the limbs. Decreased blood flow means decreased oxygen, and results in numbness and temporary loss of usage in the affected extremities.
Raynaud’s Inflammatory Chain Reaction
environmental trigger → inflammation → reddening and warmth → extra fluids → swelling → squeezing of blood vessel walls → narrowing of blood vessels → numbness in extremities _____________________________________________________________________


Large doses of Beta Carotene—a superior antioxidant, supported by Vitamin D3 and taken on a regular basis—will prevent and heal Raynaud’s. Beta Carotene stops inflammation from being triggered, and will keep the tissue around the blood vessel from swelling and constricting blood flow to your extremities, leading to tissue hypoxia. It does this by severely restricting free radical growth. (See Blog 3: The Danger of Inflammation)

Ginkgo Biloba is recommended because it thins the blood, permitting more to get to the affected area even after blood vessel constriction. While you are using Beta Carotene and Vitamin D3 to control Raynaud’s, you may also want to take Ginkgo Biloba to thin the blood and help more blood and oxygen get to the extremities right away. Once you no longer suffer from Raynaud’s, you can stop taking Ginkgo Biloba, but you should continue taking Beta Carotene and Vitamin D3. If you are already taking a prescription drug blood thinner, like Coumadin, don’t take it with Ginko Biloba, because the supplement will duplicate the effects of the drug.
Note: Smoking tobacco worsens the frequency and intensity of Raynaud’s attacks, because tobacco smoke is known to constrict blood vessels all on its own.


Supplement           Breakfast         Dinner                   Brand                   Strength
Beta Carotene
(softgels only)      50 softgels    50 softgels    Puritan’s Pride #1223    25000 IU
Vitamin D3
(softgels only)      2 softgels         2 softgels     Puritan’s Pride #17621    2000 IU
This is a healing and maintenance dose, meaning that you should keep taking Beta Carotene and D3 in these dosages, even after Raynaud’s symptoms have disappeared.
Ginkgo Biloba
(capsules only)      1 capsule        1 capsule      Puritan’s Pride #4544      120 mg


► If you take Beta Carotene without also taking Vitamin D, you will deplete your stores of Vitamin D and develop a Vitamin D deficiency. It may manifest as sores on the inside of the mouth. Always take Vitamin D when you take Beta Carotene. Vitamin D3 is recommended, because it more closely replicates the Vitamin D made naturally on your skin from contact with the sun. If you can’t find D3, take straight Vitamin D.

Please be nice to each other, and look for my next blog: Blog 29: Dry, Sore, and Chapped Lips,  where I tell you how to have soft, kissable lips without chapstick.


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