Did you know that varicose veins affect as many as 10–30 percent of adults? Or that the risk of developing them increases with age, sex – women are twice as likely to suffer from the condition as men – pregnancy, obesity, remaining stationary for extended periods of time, and family history? Here’s an overview of the condition as well as a look at how the right collagen supplement can play an important role in managing it.

What are varicose veins?
Varicose veins are enlarged veins that are noticeable for their deep purple or blue colour. They typically appear on the lower leg.

Are spider veins the same thing?
Spider veins are a less severe version of varicose veins and are named for the pattern they create on the surface of the skin. They are usually very fine and appear on both the legs and face.

What causes varicose veins?
The condition is caused by valves in the veins that have become damaged or weakened. Put simply, to ensure that blood moves away from the tissues and towards the heart, valves in the veins create a one-way system that keeps it flowing in the right direction. Unfortunately, if these valves become compromised, blood starts to pool in the veins, at which point the veins swell and twist.

What are the signs and symptoms?
Varicose veins don’t always cause pain or discomfort, but when they do, they may result in:

  • An achy or heavy feeling in your legs
  • Burning, throbbing, muscle cramping and swelling in your lower legs
  • Worsened pain after sitting or standing for a long time
  • Itching around one or more of your veins
  • Skin discoloration around a varicose vein

(Source: Mayo Clinic)

What can you do?
While varicose veins can’t be prevented, there are several strategies you can implement to reduce your risk of developing the condition and ease your symptoms.

  • Follow a regular exercise routine – this helps to help maintain good blood circulation in your legs.
  • Try not to sit or stand in one place for too long – change your position regularly.
  • Elevate your legs above your heart 3–4 times daily for about 15 minutes – this helps to boost the blood circulation in your legs.
  • Stick to a low-sodium diet – a diet that’s too high in sodium causes your body to retain water, which in turn causes swelling.
  • Maintain a healthy weight – the more weight you carry, the greater the pressure on your veins.
  • Avoid heels and tight-fitting clothing – the latter can reduce blood flow.
  • Wear compression socks or stockings if advised to do so by your GP.

What about supplements?
Collagen is an important supplement for vein health. The most commonly occurring protein in the body, it is the ‘glue’ that holds our connective tissue together. Collagen provides structure to our skin, bones, tendons, ligaments etc., and preserves elasticity in the skin as well as in the blood vessels and veins.

This 2002 study compared collagen type I, III and V in dermal fibroblasts* taken from the skin of both control subjects and those with varicose veins. The findings? That while the synthesis of type I collagen was increased in subjects with varicose veins, synthesis of type 3 collagen was decreased in the same subjects.

* “Dermal fibroblasts are key for the production of collagen and other proteins that make up the dermis and that preserve the skin’s function as a barrier. The activity of these cells is also crucial for the repair of skin damage.” (

As a result of this discovery, the authors hypothesised that, “Because collagen I confers rigidity whereas collagen III is involved in the extensibility of a tissue, modification of the collagen I/III ratio might contribute to the weakness and the decreased elasticity of varicose veins.”

Adding a collagen supplement like our grass-fed bovine Pure Hydrolysed Collagen –a blend of type 1 and type 3 collagen – to your daily diet can help to increase your type III collagen levels, which can help treat varicose veins.

You can buy our Pure Hydrolysed Collagen here.

In addition to encouraging vein health, our Pure Hydrolysed Collagen helps to promote:

  • Stronger, thicker hair and nails
  • Healthy joints
  • Clear skin
  • Weight loss
  • Muscle mass

It has also been associated with:

  • Improving arthritis
  • Strengthening arteries
  • Preventing wrinkles and smoothing the skin

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Photo by Dan Gold on Unsplash

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