Get Passionate About Your Vascular Health

People walking their dog on a trail

It’s no secret that your vascular system plays a massive role in overall health.

But have you ever really dug in and thought about why? This is something I consider regularly, and it’s why I put such an emphasis on vascular fitness in my own life. 

If, unlike myself, you don’t spend your hours contemplating the intricate mechanics of the human body, let me share with you some of the most compelling reasons I’ve found for caring for my vascular system.

First, and simply put, your blood vessels are critical for every organ and function in your body. 

Think about how well your heart, brain, kidney, and sex organs would do if your vascular system weren’t up to task? And your athletic performance? You could say goodbye to crushing your goals at the gym, on the track, or wherever you push your athletic boundaries. 

Your blood vessels also deliver life-giving oxygen and nutrients throughout your body and carry away toxic waste. In this way, it’s fair to say that your blood is, well, the lifeblood of your body.

Have I piqued your interest? Well, there’s a lot more where that came from. Read on for the nitty-gritty on why caring for your vascular system is essential for health and longevity. 

A Little Known Masterpiece: The Endothelial Glycocalyx

One of my favorite vascular structures is a little something called the endothelial glycocalyx. 

Blood vessel diagram

1 – Endothelial Glycocalyx2 – Artery Wall

The endothelial glycocalyx sits inside every blood vessel, creating a complex inner lining. It’s composed of proteins and sugars, and even though it’s astonishingly thin, it plays an outsized role in your health[1][2][3][13][15][20][21]:

  • It controls what passes from your blood to the rest of your body[1][3][8]
  • It’s essential to producing nitric oxide[7]
  • It protects your blood vessels from dangerous intrusions and adhesions[5][8][13]

Let’s take a closer look:

The glycocalyx acts like a gatekeeper to your blood vessels. It’s semi-permeable, which means it decides what gets into your body and what stays out. It’s also essential to maintaining flexible arteries that allow free passage of blood to your heart and all of your other organs. 

Furthermore, the endothelial glycocalyx triggers the production of nitric oxide (NO), which keeps blood pressure levels healthy by relaxing the tiny muscles in the blood vessels. The glycocalyx responds to your changing blood flow, sending a signal to initiate a complex mechanism for making NO. 

And if all of that wasn’t enough, the glycocalyx protects the inner lining of your arteries and veins from damage. Your blood is full of all sorts of proteins and molecules, some of which tend to adhere to your blood vessel walls. The glycocalyx, that microscopic slippery lining of every blood vessel, ensures that nothing sticks that doesn’t belong[4][11][12][13][19]. 

The glycocalyx is fragile, but resilient.4,,11,12,13,19 The good news is it can also be supported, with healthy lifestyle choices and supplements like the one I take, Arterosil HP.

The Heart of the System

Needless to say, your heart health depends on artery health. You want youthful, flexible arteries that respond to your body’s changing demands and maintain a healthy blood supply to every organ. 

What’s less obvious, however, is the importance of the microvasculature: the tiny capillaries that provide the “last mile” in transporting oxygen and nutrients to the tissues like your eyes, brain, fingers, and toes[14]. 

If you want a long and healthy life, you need all of these structures (heart, arteries, and microvasculature) in tip-top working order. 

Brain and Blood

Even though your brain is just 2% of your body’s weight, it uses about 20% of your oxygen[10]. That’s why your blood vessels are so critical to brain health. 

And in addition to oxygen, your blood transports essential neurotransmitters around your brain, without which you couldn’t think or act.

Not surprisingly, research shows a direct association between microvascular health and cognitive function, including[6]:

  • Memory
  • Processing speed
  • Learning
  • Emotional regulation

Removing waste from the brain is equally important, and that’s another role of your vascular system[22].

Kidney Health and Blood Vessels

Your kidneys, which filter waste and balance fluids in the body, also depend on healthy blood vessels. 

The microvasculature of the kidneys is especially dense and plays a critical role in enabling your kidneys to filter your blood and dispose of waste residues[18].

In their turn, your kidneys make an important contribution to maintaining healthy blood pressure.

The Flow of Love

It’s no secret that sexual health relies on healthy blood flow. 

In men and women, the genitals have a high density of endothelial cells, enabling the production of more nitric oxide on demand. In response to arousal, your cells release extra NO, causing your blood vessels to dilate and blood to flow. In men, there’s a mechanism that restricts the veins so the blood doesn’t leave, enabling a sustained erection – thank you very much[16].

Of course, sexual arousal also depends on the activation of hormones — testosterone, estrogen, and others. And the only way they can reach their destination is through your blood. 

Pumping Iron and Pumping Blood

Healthy blood vessels are also crucial for athletes and anyone who works out. Here are just some of the ways your vascular system contributes to your sporting performance:

  • Meeting the muscles’ demands for increased oxygen and nutrients
  • Removing waste products like lactic acid
  • Dissipating heat by increasing blood flow to the skin

Furthermore, exercise is one of the best things you can do to keep your vascular system healthy. Physical activity boosts nitric oxide production, promotes new capillaries, and helps regenerate that all-important endothelial glycocalyx[23]. 

Keep Your Blood Vessels Happy

So, how do you keep your hard-working blood vessels in tip-top condition? Here are here are a few essential tips that I rely on:

  • Eat a healthy, balanced diet, including leafy greens: This kind of diet boosts the production of nitric oxide, reduces stress on the blood vessels, and promotes healthy cholesterol levels.
  • Get enough sleep and manage your stress: Both will help you protect your endothelial glycocalyx and maintain healthy blood pressure.
  • Review your supplement regimen: You can take specific supplements to care for your endothelial glycocalyx and promote sustained nitric oxide production. 

Personally, I take a product called Arterosil HP as part of my regular supplement stack. I keep this one handy because it’s not only foundational vascular support, but I find it essential to my overall health for all the reasons we just covered. 

In addition to my daily intake, I also reach for Vascanox HP when I want extra vascular support for a workout, a date, or just because I’m feeling run down. 

Arterosil HP and Vascanox HP Supplements

A happy vascular system makes for a happy heart, brain, kidneys, and sex life. That’s a pretty good deal if you ask me. I like to think of it this way: take care of your blood vessels, and they’ll take care of you. Go to affiliate to get a discount when you bundle a 3-month supply of Arterosil HP and Vascanox HP.


  1. Alphonsus CS, Rodseth RN. The endothelial glycocalyx: a review of the vascular barrier. Anaesthesia. 2014;69(7):777-784. doi:10.1111/anae.12661
  2. Becker BF, Chappell D, Jacob M. Endothelial glycocalyx and coronary vascular permeability: the fringe benefit. Basic Res Cardiol. 2010;105(6):687-701. doi:10.1007/s00395-010-0118-z
  3. Curry FE, Adamson RH. ENDOTHELIAL GLYCOCALYX: PERMEABILITY BARRIER AND MECHANOSENSOR. Ann Biomed Eng. 2012;40(4):828-839. doi:10.1007/s10439-011-0429-8
  4. Delgadillo LF, Lomakina EB, Kuebel J, Waugh RE. Changes in endothelial glycocalyx layer protective ability after inflammatory stimulus. Am J Physiol Cell Physiol. 2021;320(2):C216-C224. doi:10.1152/ajpcell.00259.2020
  5. Eckardt V, Weber C, Hundelshausen P von. Glycans and Glycan-Binding Proteins in Atherosclerosis. Thromb Haemost. 2019;119(8):1265-1273. doi:10.1055/s-0039-1692720
  6. Erdener ?E, Dalkara T. Small Vessels Are a Big Problem in Neurodegeneration and Neuroprotection. Front Neurol. 2019;10. doi:10.3389/fneur.2019.00889
  7. Gouverneur M, Berg B, Nieuwdorp M, Stroes E, Vink H. Vasculoprotective properties of the endothelial glycocalyx: effects of fluid shear stress. J Intern Med. 2006;259(4):393-400. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2796.2006.01625.x
  8. Harding IC, Mitra R, Mensah SA, Nersesyan A, Bal NN, Ebong EE. Endothelial barrier reinforcement relies on flow-regulated glycocalyx, a potential therapeutic target. Biorheology. 2019;56(2-3):131-149. doi:10.3233/BIR-180205
  9. Kim JH, Auger C, Schini-Kerth VB. Activation of eNOS by polyphenol-rich products and polyphenolic compounds. Curr Pharm Des. 2014;20(22):3521-3529. doi:10.2174/13816128113196660751
  10. Lau-Cam, Cesar A. “Chapter 35 – Protective Role of Taurine and Structurally Related Compounds against Diabetes-Induced Oxidative Stress.” Diabetes (Second Edition), edited by Victor R. Preedy, Academic Press, 2020, pp. 351–59,
  11. Lemkes BA, Nieuwdorp M, Hoekstra JBL, Holleman F. The glycocalyx and cardiovascular disease in diabetes: should we judge the endothelium by its cover? Diabetes Technol Ther. 2012;14 Suppl 1:S3-10. doi:10.1089/dia.2012.0011
  12. Machin DR, Bloom SI, Campbell RA, et al. Advanced age results in a diminished endothelial glycocalyx. American Journal of Physiology-Heart and Circulatory Physiology. 2018;315(3):H531-H539. doi:10.1152/ajpheart.00104.2018
  13. Machin DR, Phuong TTT, Donato AJ. The Role of the Endothelial Glycocalyx in Advanced Age and Cardiovascular Disease. Curr Opin Pharmacol. 2019;45:66-71. doi:10.1016/j.coph.2019.04.011
  14. McClatchey PM, Schafer M, Hunter KS, Reusch JEB. The endothelial glycocalyx promotes homogenous blood flow distribution within the microvasculature. Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2016;311(1):H168-H176. doi:10.1152/ajpheart.00132.2016
  15. Nieuwdorp M, Meuwese MC, Vink H, Hoekstra JB, Kastelein JJ, Stroes ES. The endothelial glycocalyx: a potential barrier between health and vascular disease. Current Opinion in Lipidology. 2005;16(5):507-511. doi:10.1097/01.mol.0000181325.08926.9c
  16. Panchatsharam, Pranau K., et al. “Physiology, Erection.” StatPearls, StatPearls Publishing, 2023,
  17. Reitsma S, Slaaf DW, Vink H, van Zandvoort MAMJ, oude Egbrink MGA. The endothelial glycocalyx: composition, functions, and visualization. Pflugers Arch – Eur J Physiol. 2007;454(3):345-359. doi:10.1007/s00424-007-0212-8
  18. Salmon AHJ, Satchell SC. Endothelial glycocalyx dysfunction in disease: albuminuria and increased microvascular permeability. J Pathol. 2012;226(4):562-574. doi:10.1002/path.3964
  19. Schött U, Solomon C, Fries D, Bentzer P. The endothelial glycocalyx and its disruption, protection and regeneration: a narrative review. Scand J Trauma Resusc Emerg Med. 2016;24. doi:10.1186/s13049-016-0239-y
  20. VanTeeffelen JW, Brands J, Stroes ES, Vink H. Endothelial Glycocalyx: Sweet Shield of Blood Vessels. Trends in Cardiovascular Medicine. 2007;17(3):101-105. doi:10.1016/j.tcm.2007.02.002
  21. Yilmaz O, Afsar B, Ortiz A, Kanbay M. The role of endothelial glycocalyx in health and disease. Clin Kidney J. 2019;12(5):611-619. doi:10.1093/ckj/sfz042
  22. Kaur, Jasleen, et al. “Waste clearance in the brain.” Frontiers in Neuroanatomy 15 (2021): 665803.
  23. Kröpfl, Julia M., et al. “Acute exercise-induced glycocalyx shedding does not differ between exercise modalities, but is associated with total antioxidative capacity.” Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport 24.7 (2021): 689-695.




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