Imagine that your body is a car. Your heart is the engine. And your blood is the oil that keeps it running.
If the oil becomes thick like molasses, what happens? It clogs up the system and kills the engine. Right?
Well, that’s what could happen in your body if you have high blood viscosity. Because when your blood is too thick, it puts you at risk for damaged blood vessels, a heart attack, and death.
Most people with this condition turn to blood-thinning drugs, usually aspirin. But the drugs come with side effects like ulcers and stomach bleeding. Synthetic blood thinners are even worse. One is Warfarin. It was initially marketed as rat poison. And it’s still used for this purpose. It can put you at risk for excessive bleeding.
But a better solution may be on the horizon. It’s from a physicist who pioneered technology that decreases the viscosity of oil in engines and pipelines. Now he’s using the same approach to thin human blood. He does it with a magnetic field. And it could reduce blood viscosity by 20% to 30%.
Rongjia Tao is the scientist behind this medical breakthrough. He’s currently the chair of the Physics Department at Temple University. He’s an expert on the important role liquid fuels play in energy production and conservation. And he knows viscosity inside out.
Dr. Tao recently did a study on blood viscosity with one of his former graduate students, Ke “Colin” Huang. The results appeared in the journal Physical Review E.
Thicker Than Water
Research has shown that people with thicker blood are at greater risk for heart disease. The thickness can be caused by many factors. They include the number and size of the red blood cells, the levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL), and chronic inflammation.
Your blood can also thicken if you smoke, have diabetes, sticky platelets, or a family history of thick blood. Another risk factor is high levels of homocysteine, an amino acid. It has been linked to cardiovascular disease.
In the laboratory, Tao and Huang used high magnetic fields (1 Tesla or above) to polarize red blood cells and link them together in short chains. The process decreased the viscosity of the blood to allow it to flow much more freely through the blood vessels. When the magnetic field was taken away, the blood thickened again. But Tao says the magnetic therapy can be repeated. It doesn’t affect the function of the cells. And he believes it could lead to a safe, effective treatment for heart patients.
“By selecting a suitable magnetic field strength and pulse duration, we will be able to control the size of the aggregated red-cell chains, hence to control the blood’s viscosity,” he said.
Tao’s research is very promising. He hopes to develop it into a procedure to prevent heart disease. We’ll update you with any new developments. In the meantime, there are steps you can take to help reduce the thickness of your blood right now.
For openers, there are many natural blood thinners that you can easily add to your diet. (Be cautious when using them, though. Consult with your doctor first, especially if you are on blood-thinning medication.) One natural blood thinner is grape seed. The University of Maryland Medical Center advises between 25 and 150 mg of the extract one to three times per day. Another option is to cook with grape seed oil. Substitute it with olive oil when cooking with high heat.
As always, NHD will continue to keep you posted on the latest and most effective natural solutions – those that are currently available as well as those that are being developed.
To your best health,
Managing Editor, NHD “Health Watch”