Raynaud's phenomenon is a little understood condition in which the fingers and toes show an exaggerated sensitivity to cold. Classic cases show a characteristic white, blue, and red color sequence as the digits lose blood supply and then rewarm. Some people develop only one or two of these signs.
The cause of Raynaud's phenomenon is unknown. It can occur by itself, as primary Raynaud’s (also called Raynaud’s disease), or as a consequence of other illnesses, such as
Conventional treatment consists mainly of reassurance and the recommendation to avoid exposure to cold and the use of tobacco (which can worsen Raynaud's). In severe cases, a variety of drugs can be tried.
Proposed Natural Treatments
Preliminary evidence supports the use of several natural supplements in the treatment of Raynaud’s phenomenon. Most of the positive evidence regards primary Raynaud’s.
In a 17-week, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of 35 people with Raynaud’s, fish oil
9. Mavrikakis ME, Lekakis JP, Papamichael CM, et al. Ascorbic acid does not improve endothelium-dependent flow-mediated dilatation of the brachial artery in patients with Raynaud's phenomenon secondary to systemic sclerosis. Int J Vitam Nutr Res . 2003;73:3-7.
10. Raynaud's Treatment Study Investigators. Comparison of sustained-release nifedipine and temperature biofeedback for treatment of primary Raynaud’s phenomenon. Results from a randomized clinical trial with 1-year follow-up. Arch Intern Med . 2000;160:1101-1108.
Last reviewed April 2009 by EBSCO CAM Medical Review Board
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