How to Improve Blood Vessel Elasticity

February 26, 2023 | Dr. Linda J. Dobberstein, DC, Board Certified in Clinical Nutrition

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 How to Improve Blood Vessel Elasticity
Healthy, pliable blood vessels are a key indicator of your health. Lifestyle and daily habits impact the durable elasticity of your arteries, and this greatly affects your overall health. Learn more about this silent, yet powerful indicator of health and what you can do about it!

Elasticity Buffers Circulatory Stress

Blood vessels transport blood, oxygen, nutrients, and metabolic wastes in a 60,000-mile vasculature highway to all regions of the body. These vessels consist of various sizes of arteries, veins, and capillaries and must be pliable, elastic, and flexible to adjust to natural physiological changes. This elasticity provides buffering effects against the natural stress of blood flow.

It is especially important for the large and medium size arteries, like the aorta and its branches, to maintain natural elasticity. The aorta is the large artery that carries blood from the left side of your heart to your arms, legs, and all internal organs except the lungs.

Factors that Affect Vascular Elasticity

Age and various stressors lead to stiffening of the arterial wall. This loss of vascular elasticity is a degenerative process. Oxidative stress, stress hormones, excessive salt, high blood sugar and blood pressure stress the elasticity of arteries.

These stressors reduce the ability of arteries to relax and constrict in response to blood pressure changes, which impacts your heart and other organs. Lack of arterial elasticity is related with onset of heart failure regardless of any other health factor.

Several other factors negatively affect blood vessel elasticity. These include obesity, elevated triglycerides and glucose levels, insulin resistance, chronic kidney disease, poorly managed blood pressure, type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes, COPD,10 post-Covid 19 infection, childhood abuse, too little and too much sleep and poor sleep quality, mental stress, high levels of oxidative stress and chronic inflammation and more.

Smoking is another factor that affects vascular elasticity. A recent study evaluated young and middle-aged smokers and abdominal aorta stiffness. Individuals who were smokers were found to have stiffness of the aorta long before other adverse vascular changes were seen.

Children and Teens

Vascular degeneration and arterial stiffness isn’t only a problem in older adults. Recent studies have shown this degeneration occurring in the vessels of adolescents and even preteens. A recent study evaluated cholesterol and insulin levels in teens, average age 17. Teens who had higher blood sugar levels were more likely to have arterial stiffness, which preceded insulin resistance. A January 2023 study showed that children ages 8-18 years with increased blood pressure also experienced arterial stiffness and organ stress!

Things that Support Arterial Elasticity

Like other things in your body, vascular elasticity is supported by many healthy behaviors. Exercise, hydration, a healthy gut, and numerous nutrients impact arterial elasticity.


A recent extensive meta-analysis study demonstrated that exercise plays a very important role in improving arterial flexibility. Regular aerobic exercise, resistance training, interval training, stretching, and/or mind-body exercises (Pilates, Tai Chi, yoga, etc.) supported vascular elasticity.


Adequate daily water intake affects vascular elasticity. Researchers evaluated middle aged men and women who consumed less than 1.5 liters of water per day and had elevated uric acid levels. Results demonstrated that women who consumed less the 0.5 liters of water per day experienced more vascular stiffness and had metabolic syndrome concerns of elevated blood sugar and blood pressure.

For normal daily hydration, consume at least ½ of your body weight in ounces of water or at least 6-8 eight-ounce glasses of water per day. Hydration needs increase by another 16-32 ounces, or more, per day depending on your activity status and environmental temperatures. Individuals with heart or kidney failure or those that take “water pills” may have different needs. Caffeine rich beverages, soda, and high sugar beverages do not provide the same hydration benefits as water does.

Gut Microbiome

Your gut flora affects your blood vessel elasticity. A recent study showed that women with inadequate beneficial bacteria and/or dysbiosis experienced loss of vascular elasticity.

Nutrition for Vascular Elasticity

Vascular elasticity requires several compounds to support and protect the endothelial lining, mitochondria, circulatory and oxidative stress, and modulation of inflammatory compounds. These nutrients include omega-3 EPA/DHA, magnesium, vitamin K2, vitamin C, vitamin E, coenzyme Q10, selenium, arginine, melatonin, vitamin D and others.

In addition, plant-based antioxidants and polyphenols quench free radical stress and modulate inflammatory markers that support vascular health and protection of elasticity. These include cinnamon, grape seed extract, apples, berries, citrus fruits, curcumin, green and black tea, grapes and wine, mango, pomegranate, olive leaf extract, olive oil, pterostilbene, resveratrol, walnuts, dark chocolate, and others.

Your “To Do List” likely focuses on work demands, household chores, and family obligations. Daily habits like drinking enough water, exercise, adequate quality sleep and a whole foods diet rich in omega-3 oils and plant-based nutrients are hopefully intertwined with these demands. These fundamental needs and behaviors are critical to aging well and all dimensions of health.

If the belts in your motor vehicle are cracked and dried out from age and use, you replace them. What about your blood vessels? Have you provided your blood vessels with the support they need for life? They can’t be replaced when they are stiff, but they can be naturally supported and remodeled.

If your daily habits have slipped into a sedentary lifestyle and a nutrient-poor, calorie-rich Western diet, renew your resolution to change and incorporate healthy behaviors and choices. Use nutritional supplements to augment your diet and provide more intensive support. Your beating heart and the flexibility of the miles of vasculature requires healthy habits no matter what age you are.

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