The Health Benefits of Rutin Supplements

The Science Behind Rutin for Varicose Veins

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Rutin is a plant pigment or bioflavonoid, found naturally in common foods like apple peels, black tea, asparagus, buckwheat, onions, green tea, figs, and most citrus fruit. Besides getting it from food, you can also find rutin in supplement form. Rutin contains quercetin (an antioxidant shown to reduce inflammation and offer a range of health benefits).

Health Benefits

Proponents claim that rutin can help strengthen blood vessels and improve circulation. Rutin supplements are sometimes touted as a remedy for conditions affecting vessels, such as hemorrhoids, varicose veins, and spider veins.

In addition, some animal research suggests that rutin may prevent the formation of blood clots that could help prevent heart disease and stroke.

To date, very few clinical trials have tested the potential health benefits of rutin. Here's a look at some key study findings:

Chronic Venous Insufficiency

A rutin derivative may be of some benefit to people with chronic venous insufficiency, according to a review published in the Journal of Clinical Pharmacy and Therapeutics in 2015. Chronic venous insufficiency is a condition in which the veins do not efficiently return blood from the legs to the heart. The condition is linked to health problems like varicose veins, ankle swelling, and nighttime leg cramping.

For the review, researchers analyzed 15 previously published studies on the effectiveness of hydroxyethylrutosides (a partially synthetic derivative of rutin). They concluded that hydroxyethylrutosides was more effective at reducing symptoms of pain, cramps, and the sensation of heaviness in the legs compared to a placebo.

Varicose Veins in Pregnancy

Rutoside (a compound found in rutin) may help treat varicose veins in pregnant women, according to a 2015 report published in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. In their analysis of a previously published clinical trial, scientists determined that rutoside appears to help relieve the symptoms of varicose veins in late pregnancy. However, the review's authors note that there is not enough data to assess the safety of using rutoside during pregnancy.

Post-Thrombotic Syndrome

Rutoside may not help in the treatment of post-thrombotic syndrome (a complication that develops from blood clots in the veins of the leg) suggests a report published in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews in 2015. Post-thrombotic swelling involves swelling in the affected leg, cramps and pain, and a burning, itching, or prickling sensation.

For the report, researchers analyzed three previously published studies evaluating the effectiveness and safety of rutosides. They found no clear evidence that rutosides improved symptoms or signs of post-thrombotic syndrome compared to placebo, no treatment, or compression stockings (a common treatment for this condition).

Possible Side Effects

Rutin is generally considered safe when consumed in the amounts found naturally in foods like citrus, onions, and apples. However, rutin supplements may cause certain side effects, including a headache, rashes, muscle tension, changes in heartbeat, a high white blood cell count, blurred vision, fluid accumulation in your knees, and upset stomach.

Side effects may lessen as you adjust to the supplement, but you should always talk with your doctor before taking it or if you experience any side effects.

If you have a history of heart disease or blood clots, or if you are taking blood thinning medication or supplements, it's important that you speak with your doctor before using rutin supplements.

Pregnant and nursing women should not take rutin.

You can get tips on using supplements here, but it's important to note that self-treating a condition and avoiding or delaying standard care may have serious consequences.

Dosage and Preparation

There is not enough scientific data to provide a recommended dose of rutin. Different doses have been used in research studies and often rutin is combined with other herbal ingredients.

The appropriate dose for you may depend on factors including your age, gender, and medical history. Speak to your healthcare provider to get personalized advice.

What to Look For

To boost your rutin intake every day, try eating buckwheat, unpeeled apples, figs, or asparagus.

Rutin supplements are also sold online and in many natural-food stores or in stores specializing in dietary supplements.

It's too soon to recommend rutin supplements to treat any condition. If you're still considering trying it, make sure to consult your health care provider to discuss whether it's appropriate for you and to weigh the pros and cons.

If you choose to buy the supplement, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) recommends that you look for a Supplement Facts label on the product that you buy. This label will contain vital information including the amount of active ingredients per serving, and other added ingredients (like fillers, binders, and flavorings).

Lastly, the organization suggests that you look for a product that contains a seal of approval from a third party organization that provides quality testing. These organizations include U.S. Pharmacopeia, ConsumerLab.com, and NSF International. A seal of approval from one of these organizations does not guarantee the product's safety or effectiveness but it does provide assurance that the product was properly manufactured, contains the ingredients listed on the label, and does not contain harmful levels of contaminants.

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Article Sources
  • Aziz Z, Tang WL, Chong NJ, Tho LY. A systematic review of the efficacy and tolerability of hydroxyethylrutosides for improvement of the signs and symptoms of chronic venous insufficiency. J Clin Pharm Ther. 2015 Apr;40(2):177-85. 
  • Kauss T, Moynet D, Rambert J, et al. Rutoside decreases human macrophage-derived inflammatory mediators and improves clinical signs in adjuvant-induced arthritis. Arthritis Res Ther. 2008;10(1):R19.
  • Morling JR, Yeoh SE, Kolbach DN. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2015 Sep 16;(9):CD005625.
  • Smyth RM, Aflaifel N, Bamigboye AA. Interventions for varicose veins and leg oedema in pregnancy. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2015 Oct 19;(10):CD001066. 
  • Rutin. Natural Medicines Database. Professional Monograph. 3/15/2018