10 Best Natural Blood Thinners 2023

The main function of blood is to deliver oxygen and nutrients to the body and carry away the waste to be disposed. Blood travels in arteries and veins. Arteries carry blood from the heart to the rest of the body and veins bring it back to the heart.


When trauma occurs, or when we accidentally cut ourselves, the blood stream carries a type of protein (called clotting factors) to the damaged area to seal it from further blood loss.

There is a delicate balance between too much and too little clotting factors. Too little and we continue to bleed. Abnormal clotting process can be catastrophic, leading to deep venous thrombosis (DVT) in the legs and pulmonary embolism (PE) in the lungs.

Common causes

In short, all unhealthy lifestyle behaviours will increase the risk of an abnormal blood clot such as DVT and PE.

Here are some common risk factors:
  • Prolonged immobility (post-surgery, car travel, plane travel)
  • Trauma
  • History of DVT
  • Obesity
  • Smoking
  • Lack of physical activity
  • Sleep apnea
  • Cancer
  • Low vitamin D (lack of sunshine)
  • Genetic defects like Factor V Leiden, Prothrombin Gene mutation, MTHFR (MethyleneTetraHydroFolate Reductase) mutation and elevated homocysteine, Lp(a) and several others.
Of note, varicose veins and spider veins on the skin are not dangerous. They are a cosmetic issue but may also be a sign of an unhealthy liver or kidney function.
 

Symptoms

The most common symptoms are pain or swelling one leg compared to another in the case of a DVT.

PE may present as chest pain, but most likely shortness of breath.

Ultrasound of the legs is the diagnostic modality of choice. A CT scan may confirm if a clot traveled to the lungs.

Pharmaceutical  treatment

Two major categories here. Vitamin K antagonists (warfarin/Coumadin) or the non-vitamin K anticoagulants like Pradaxa, Xarelto, and Eliquis.

Aspirin also has some efficacy in recurrent DVT prevention.

Natural Blood Thinning Supplements 

The following can be taken together or separately. 

Disclaimer: Discuss with your doctor before stopping any pharmaceuticals. 

1. N-acetylcysteine (NAC)

N-acetylcysteine (NAC) is a precursor to glutathione. It is an antioxidant and increases glutathione levels in the body (Source). 

NAC is a natural alternative for aspirin and an over-the-counter supplement that both prevents blood clots and breaks up existing ones i.e. anticoagulant effects. NAC also has other benefits that makes it useful against COVID-19. 

2017 paper found NAC has potent thrombolytic effects, meaning it breaks down blood clots once they've formed.

Importantly, NAC may also protect against other problems associated with COVID-19, including the hypercoagulation that can result in stroke and/or blood clots that impair the ability to exchange oxygen in the lungs.

Many COVID-19 patients experience serious blood clots, and NAC counteracts hypercoagulation, as it has both anticoagulant and platelet-inhibiting properties.
 
Consider taking around 500 milligrams/day of NAC, as it helps prevent blood clots and is a precursor for your body to produce the important antioxidant glutathione.

2. Fish Oil and Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Fish oil is a natural anticoagulant, which means it can prevent the blood from clotting. This property may help explain some of its heart health benefits, since thinning the blood may improve cardiovascular health. Omega-3s may increase bleeding risk when a person takes them with specific anticoagulant or medication. (R)

The IOM (Institute of Medicine) did not establish a UL (Tolerable Upper Intake Level) for any omega-3s, although it noted that high doses of DHA and/or EPA (900 mg/day of EPA plus 600 mg/day DHA or more for several weeks) might reduce immune function due to suppression of inflammatory responses. Doses of 2–15 g/day EPA and/or DHA might also increase bleeding time by reducing platelet aggregation.

However, according to the European Food Safety Authority, long-term consumption of EPA and DHA supplements at combined doses of up to about 5 g/day appears to be safe. It noted that these doses have not been shown to cause bleeding problems or affect immune function, glucose homeostasis, or lipid peroxidation. Similarly, the FDA has concluded that dietary supplements providing no more than 5 g/day EPA and DHA are safe when used as recommended. Two large clinical trials completed after these assessments found that taking 4 g/day of omega-3 supplements for several years slightly increased the risk of atrial fibrillation in people with CVD or at high risk of CVD.

Commonly reported side effects of omega-3 supplements are usually mild. These include unpleasant taste, bad breath, heartburn, nausea, gastrointestinal discomfort, diarrhea, headache, and odoriferous sweat.

Reference: Omega-3 Fatty Acids - Health Professional Fact Sheet (nih.gov)

3. Lumbrokinase

Lumbrokinase (LK) is an enzyme derived from earthworms is thought to aid in blood clot prevention, inflammation reduction, and circulation problems. 

Thrombolytic agents typically used to dissolve clots are urokinase (u-PA), streptokinase, and tissue plasminogen activator (t-PA). These drugs, however, are not specific for fibrin and have adverse and dangerous side effects including severe bleeding and heavy blood loss which may result in death. In contrast, LK is very specific to fibrin as a substrate and it does not cause excessive bleeding. It can dissolve the fibrin itself or convert plasminogen to plasmin by inducing endogenous t-PA activity to dissolve fibrin clots (Source).

Interestingly, for more than ten years, clinical trials have also used lumbrokinase as an oral supplement to support and maintain healthy cardiovascular function as well as to treat cardiovascular diseases.

According to some studies, post-ischemic treatment with lumbrokinase attenuates myocardial I-R injury through the activation of Sirt1 signaling, and thus enhances autophagic flux and reduces I-R-induced oxidative damage, inflammation and apoptosis.

In fact, between two other substances with known fibrinolytic or proteolytic effects, namely nattokinase, which comes from fermented soy products; and serrapeptidase, made by silk worms and exerting anti-inflammatory activity (which could even replace non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) like Ibuprofen and Indomethacin), lumbrokinase is the most potent fibrinolytic enzyme.

In a study comparing lumbrokinase to Serrapeptidase, aka serrapeptase, and nattokinase on a milligram to milligram basis, researchers found that lumbrokinase is about 300 times (1/294) stronger than serrapeptase and 30 times (1/36) times stronger than nattokinase. (R)

4. Quercetin

Quercetin is a pigment that is found in plants, vegetables, and fruits, and serves as an immune nutrient offering many health benefits. Elderberry, red onions, white onions and cranberries are the richest sources of quercetin. It is a flavonoid and antioxidant that may help to reduce inflammatory cytokines, infections, allergies and anti-blood clot property.
 

5. Vitamin C

Vitamin C, 1 tablet 2x per day. (R)

6. Alpha Lipoic Acid 

1 cap per day of our extended-release alpha-lipoic acid. (R)

7. Beetroot Juice Powder 

One heaping teaspoon 1-2x per day in water or a smoothie. Beets are prized for their ability to function like natural aspirin, blocking platelet function. (R)

8. Curcumin 

How to use turmeric for blood clot? Cook with turmeric but add 1 cap 2x daily of a quality curcumin product. (R)

9. Berberine 

Berberine comes from plants and as a supplement, affects just about everything in the body positively. This includes blood-thinning through its anti-thrombin and anti-platelet activities. Depending on the situation, usually, 1 cap 2x per day is good for prevention. (R)

10. Vitamin E 

Vitamin E, 1 cap daily. (R)

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