Find out what a DVT expert says about fish oil and garlic supplements as preventive measures.

A deep vein thrombosis is a pretty common condition in the general population, but there are those individuals who are at particularly high risk.

And those are people with multiple risk factors. Any one of the following risk factors, when combined with one, and especially two, of any of the others, puts a person at a noteworthy risk for a DVT.

  • Smoker
  • Obese
  • Sedentary lifestyle, no regular exercise, excessive daily sitting
  • Use of birth control pills
  • Frequent air traveler, long flights, few walking breaks while on the plane
  • Long distance truck driver who takes few walking breaks
  • Recent joint replacement surgery
  • Recent abdominal surgery
  • Excessive bed rest for some other condition
  • Pregnancy

The thicker that blood is, the more likely it will clot under the right circumstances, such as the risk factors above.

Aspirin thins out the blood, but it comes with side effects, namely stomach upset. It can also cause internal bleeding.

Fish Oil, Garlic and DVT Risk

Fish oil and garlic are natural blood thinners and anti-inflammatory agents. Can they help lower the risk of a deep vein thrombosis?

“Yes, fish oil can have a protective effect [against deep vein thrombosis], as omega-3 fatty acids are known to reduce inflammation throughout the body,” says Paul Lucas, MD, surgeon with the Vascular Center and director of the Vascular Laboratory at Mercy Hospital in Baltimore.

Inflammation Is a Precursor to DVT

“Inflammation to damaged cells lining veins can lead to thrombus formation,” says Dr. Lucas.

“Garlic is an effective blood thinner and may reduce DVT risk.  These do convey some risk reduction, but small.”

Popping fish oil and garlic supplements doesn’t give you a pass for sitting in your truck’s cabin for five hours straight, or refusing to get up and walk around a little bit while on a long airline flight. Or to continue smoking.

Rather, fish oil and garlic supplements are an adjunct to an overall program that’s designed to prevent your blood from becoming thick and sticky, leading to a dangerous clot.

Dr. Lucas leads a team of vascular surgeons and technologists who specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of patients with diseased blood vessels.
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer.