Fibrinogen is a protein that is produced by the body and plays a very important role in the process of clotting. When there is damage to a tissue, for instance if you cut your finger, the fibrinogen acts to form the scaffolding on which the clot can form.
As you can see, this is a very important process and fibrinogen is an important player in keeping you from bleeding to death during injury.
So far so good, so why are we talking about fibrinogen?
Fibrinogen – The Jekyll and Hyde of the body
Fibrinogen apparently has a dark side as well. As with most compounds produced by the body, when they get out of balance they become potentially harmful and fibrinogen is no different. Because fibrinogen acts as a precursor to clots, you can imagine that if fibrinogen levels rise it can lead to abnormal clots such as deep vein thrombosis, heart attack and stroke. In addition, having a chronically elevated fibrinogen has been linked with plaque formation in the arteries and thus becomes a major risk factor in the development of heart disease. Fibrinogen can also impede normal blood blow by thickening the blood, thus making it difficult for oxygen and nutrients to be delivered to vital organs and muscles. This poor blood flow can cause fatigue, muscle pain and even memory loss.
You can see how an elevation in fibrinogen can lead to chronic health problems that ultimately decrease the quality of our lives. So what can be done about elevated fibrinogen?
How to Normalize Fibrinogen
First, have your doctor test your blood to determine if your fibrinogen levels are too high. Research suggests that fibrinogen levels should remain between 200 and 300 mg/dl, even though the blood test may list a much higher range as “normal”.
Now that we know that your fibrinogen levels are elevated, we recommend the following lifestyle and supplement change
- Control blood sugar. Diabetics are at a much higher risk of heart attack and stroke. This increased risk occurs for many reasons, however, higher fibrinogens are likely one reason. Controlling blood sugar can have a significant impact on fibrinogen levels.
- Exercise. Regular exercise can help to promote better blood flow while decreasing the amount of fibrinogen that is circulating through the system.
- Adding olive oil to your diet has been shown to lower fibrinogen levels in people who have elevated levels.
- Supplement with omega-3 fatty acids, specifically fish oil. The omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil have been shown to decrease the risk of heart attack. In addition, fish oil decreases triglycerides, stickiness of blood cells and…you guessed it, fibrinogen levels! For best results we recommend that you take enough fish oil to provide 1000 mg of EPA and DHA. A good recommendation would be WholeMega by New Chapter 2 capsules twice daily.
- Normalize homocysteine. Homocysteine is a byproduct of protein metabolism that has been linked to heart disease. Your doctor can order a simple blood test to assess homocysteine levels. Elevated homocysteine prevents the body from breaking down fibrinogen and thus can lead to an increase in blood fibrinogen. If they are high then you will want to take supplements containing certain vitamins and nutrients such as B12, folic acid, B6 and trimethylglycine (TMG). One such product that combines all of these nutrients is called Homocysteine Factors by Pure Encapsulations.
- Vitamin C can help to keep fibrinogen levels in check. It appears that you must take at least 2,000 mg of vitamin C daily in order to lower fibrinogen levels significantly. If you have high fibrinogen levels, you may want to take 1,000 mg of Pureway vitamin C from Your Prescription for Health, twice daily.