About Blood

Minerals, Vitamins, nutrition | July 19, 2017 | Author: Naturopath

Circulatory system, Blood pressure

About Blood

This amazing river that flows through our body providing oxygen, nutrition, immunity, transport, amongst other services, is our circulating blood.

What is blood?

About blood 1Blood is a connective tissue composed of cells and cell fragments suspended in liquid called plasma.  

The function of blood

The function of blood is to transport, regulate and protect. We know its main role as providing oxygen and delivering nutrients from digestion. It does this by diffusing  through the blood vessel walls to the cells in the body, and in reverse it is able to remove carbon dioxide and wastes from the body to be eliminated via kidneys, lungs and skin.
The function of blood can be simpified by the following:

As a transport system

  • Blood transports oxygen from lungs to the cells of the body and carbon dioxide from the cells of the body to the lungs where it is expelled out of body.
  • Carries nutrients from the gastrointestinal tract to body cells - food for our cells
  • Carries hormones to cells in the body
  • Transports heat and waste products to organs for elimination

About blood - clottingRegulation 

  • Blood circulation helps to maintain fluid balance in the body
  • Helps maintain pH in the body (the acid/base balance) through the use of buffers
  • Regulates body temperature through the heat absorbing and cooling properties of the water in plasma and its flow
  • Osmotic pressure in the blood influences the water content of body cells

Protection

  • The clotting of blood protects the body from excessive loss after injury
  • White blood cells protect against disease

The components of blood

Blood is made up of plasma, a liquid extra cellular substance (about 55%) and formed cells and the fragment of cells (about 55%). 99% of these formed cells are call red blood cells (RBC) because of their colour. White blood cells (WBC) and platelets make up the remaining 1% of total blood volume.

Plasma is made up of 91.5% water and 8.5% solutes (mostly proteins). It is these plasma proteins that help maintain osmotic blood pressure supporting the transfer of fluids across the capillary wall.

The plasma proteins are made by hepatocytes (liver cells) and they include albumins, globulin and fibrinogen. Gamma globulins (antibodies and immunoglobulins) are produced during certain immune responses. Other solutes in plasma include electrolytes, enzymes, hormones, gasses and waste products such as urea, uric acid, creatinine, ammonia and bilirubin.

Formed elements include three principal components:

About blood - blood cellsRed blood cells (erythrocytes). These carry oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body.
White blood cells (leukocytes) help fight infections and aid in the immune process. These include lymphocytes, monocytes, eosinophils, basophils and neutrophils.
‚ÄčPlatelets (thrombocytes) which help blood clot.

So how can we keep our river running smoothly?

Maintain healthy blood pressure

Maintain healthy blood pressue through exercise, weight control and healthy eating, which includes plenty of potassium rich foods (fruit and vegetables). Avoid excess salt and alcohol intake and do not smoke. The DASH diet is a diet plan proven to help improve blood pressure.

About blood antioxidantsBlood vessel integrity

Blood vessels circulate the blood throughout the body. Arteries carry oxygen rich blood to the various organs reducing to very small branches called arterioles, venules and capillaries which unite with veins, returning the deoxygenated blood (now carbon dioxide) and wastes back to the heart.

Support these important vessels with vitamin C, bioflavonoids and vitamin E.
 
Vitamin C rich foods include; broccoli, citrus fruits, pineapple, strawberries and tomatoes. Bioflavonoids are found in fruits and vegetables and are antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, reduce LDL oxidation (reducing the risk of atherosclerosis), and are antiviral and antibacterial. Food sources of Vitamin E include apricots, almonds, egg yolk and wheat germ.

Vitamin B12 and Folate

B12 and folate are needed to make new blood cells. B12 is synthesized in the gut from bacteria and found egg yolk, meat, oysters, salmon and sardines. Support gut bacteria with a good probiotic, probiotic rich foods (yoghurt, kimchi, kefir and sauerkraut) and fibre. Folate is found in leafy green vegetables and eggs.
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Iron

Iron is what gives us energy. It is a molecule that transports oxygen throughout the body  in Haemoglobin (Hb), a complex protein found in red blood cells. Foods rich in iron include red meat, poultry, almonds, apricots and avocado. Acid in the stomach is needed to absorb iron; antacids, coffee, tea and calcium can inhibit the absorption.
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About blood - waterWater 

Blood volume is determined by the amount of water and sodium ingested, excreted by the kidneys into the urine, and lost through the gastrointestinal tract, lungs and skin. 

The amounts of water and sodium ingested and lost are highly variable. The kidneys regulate the amount of water and sodium to maintaing blood volumn within a normal range.

Support blood volumn and kidney function by drinkng fresh, clean water.

Garlic

Garlic can help prevent heart disease, including atherosclerosis or hardening of the arteries, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and also to boost the immune system. Include garlic in the diet or supplement.
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Turmeric

Much study has been done on the benefits of the curcuminoids from turmeric and this includes for use in the prevention of atherosclerosis. This is a condition in which fatty materials such as cholesterol accumulate and thickens the wall of the artery blocking the free flow of blood.
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About bloodFish Oil

Fish oil can be useful for its antiplatelet activity, preventing platelets from clumping together. It helps reduce blood viscosity (thins the blood), decreased fibrinogen levels and thrombin formation (helps prevent blood clots from forming), supports the adherence of probiotics bacteria sticking to the intestinal wall (probiotics aids the production of B12 and vitamin K -  which is used for blood clotting), decreases LDL and triglycerides in the blood and is anti-inflammatory.
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Gingko Biloba  

This amazing herb is useful in helping blood flow by dilating blood vessels and other mechanisms.  It reduces atherosclerosis development and has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory constituents.
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References

Tortora, Gerald J. and Derrickson, Bryan 2006, Principles of Anatomy and Physiology, John Wiley and Sons, Inc. USA

Overview of Blood and Blood Components https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/encyclopedia/content.aspx?ContentTypeID=90&ContentID=P02316

http://www.umm.edu/health/medical/reports/articles/high-blood-pressure

Osiecki H, The Nutrient Bible 9th edition, Bio Concepts Publishing

http://www.cvphysiology.com/Blood%20Pressure/BP025

https://www.britannica.com/science/blood-vessel

http://www.umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/herb/garlic

Fisher, C; (2009), Materia Medica of Western Herbs, New Zealand

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