My grandma has mobility issues and has to sit most of the day.

Q. Dear Terry, “My grandma has mobility issues and has to sit most of the day. At the end of the day, she has noticeable swelling in her ankles and feet. She is pretty stubborn and refuses to take any medication that the doctor recommends. I help her elevate her feet most nights before she goes to bed and sometimes she wears compression stockings. Are there herbs or natural things she could try?” – Georgie M., Lawton, OK

A. Dear Georgie, Excessive sitting or standing without movement can cause fluid buildup between the cells in our body. Swelling, also called edema, often shows up in the feet and ankles due to gravity and fluid settling in the lowest part of the body.

There can be many causes of edema and the circulatory system is often involved. One of my favorite ingredients to support the heart and blood vessels is grape seed extract. Grape seed extract helps to maintain blood vessel flexibility and integrity, which can help prevent swelling. Studies have shown that grape seed extract can decrease edema from a variety of causes including prolonged sitting, venous insufficiency, surgery, or injury. In one study, a single dose of 400 mg of grape seed extract was shown to decrease leg swelling and edema by 70% in women who were sitting for a prolonged period of time (6 hours).

I prefer French grape seed extract that is tannin free with low-molecular weight oligomeric proanthocyanidins (OPCs) that are well absorbed. I would take 400 mg of grape seed extract once or twice per day.

Edema can also develop when there are vitamin and mineral deficiencies in the body. I think the following nutrients could be very beneficial: vitamin B6, magnesium, and zinc. I strongly recommend vitamin B6 in the form of pyridoxal-5-phosphate (P-5-P) in combination with magnesium glycinate and zinc glycinate. P-5-P is the biologically active form of vitamin B6. In addition to optimizing vitamin B6 metabolism, the magnesium in the glycinate form delivers a good dose of magnesium to help with muscle relaxation and resistance to nerve excitability. Zinc also works synergistically with magnesium and vitamin B6.

I recommend taking 10 mg of vitamin B6 (as P-5-P), 100 mg of magnesium (from magnesium bisglycinate chelate), and 5 mg of zinc (from zinc glycinate chelate) three to four times daily.

She may also want to consider taking curcumin. Curcumin is a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. Studies have shown that it is also effective for edema. The curcumin I prefer is enhanced with turmeric essential oil. I would take 750 mg of this curcumin per day.

Healthy Regards!

Terry . . . Naturally