Naturally Sweep Plaque From Your Arteries

By David Blyweiss, M.D., Advanced Natural Wellness

 August 08, 2014

  • Let’s get to the heart of the problem
  • Naturally flush away plaque
  • Cut risk of heart attack and stroke by 30%

These days, mainstream doctors aren’t curing heart disease. They aren’t stopping you from having a stroke, either. In fact, some of the treatments they’re using might even be sending you down a deadly path.

Most strokes and heart attacks occur because plaque is blocking or narrowing your arteries. Sometimes a piece of the plaque even breaks off and produces a clot, which literally stops the flow of blood to vital organs.

So, what does your doctor do if you’re at risk for blockages? He pulls out his pad and writes up a prescription for a statin drug. He might also put you on a blood-thinner like warfarin.

Well, these are two of the worst drugs you can take if you’re hoping to keep blood flowing freely through your arteries. Both of them contribute to calcification – or hardening – of any plaque that has accumulated in your blood vessels.

When arteries become hardened, it reduces blood flow and can ultimately result in a heart attack. Next thing you know, it’s time for a stent, balloon or bypass. But none of these solutions actually treats your problem. They’re just patches.

The real cure is to reverse that plaque build-up so your blood can flow freely through your body without obstruction. And, it’s surprisingly easy to do.

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As a functional physician, my goal is to get to the root of disease and stop it at its source. One of the key issues when it comes to the health of your arteries is inflammation. I can’t stress that enough.

There’s one inflammatory marker that’s found in almost all cases of arterial calcification. It’s called homocysteine. Sadly, high levels of this amino acid put you at around three times the risk of serious heart problems and about five times the risk of stroke.

But, there’s good news. Lowering your homocysteine levels is as easy as getting three crucial nutrients, and they’re all available in supplement form. Just take the following vitamins each day:

• 500 mcg. B12
• 20 mg. B6
• 800 mcg. folic acid

This is something that’s extraordinarily easy to do. Better yet, it won’t drain your wallet. These B vitamins aren’t just effective. They’re pretty cheap, too.

There are also a few other inexpensive supplements that can flush that plaque out of your arteries:

Vitamin K2 (menaquinone) is a form of vitamin K that we don’t get enough of here in the U.S. This is bad for us, because if you have low levels, it can speed up arterial calcification. But people with the highest intake of K2 have fewer calcifications – and a much lower risk of heart disease.

Now, when you think of food sources for vitamin K, you probably think of green leafy vegetables. That’s vitamin K1 (phylloquinone), and it has not been shown to have the same plaque-clearing effects. Vitamin K2 is the good stuff. It’s most abundant in organ meats and fermented foods. Natto, made from steamed and fermented soybeans, is probably the richest source.

Since many of us don’t get enough vitamin K2 in the foods we eat, I think it’s important that everyone take a supplement. For prevention, take 45 to 100 mcg. of K2 once a day. If you’re at high risk for arterial disease, I recommend 500 mcg. daily.

Magnesium is another nutrient that helps sweep plaque from your arteries. When researchers compared people with the highest magnesium intake against those with the lowest, the odds of having any coronary artery calcification were cut by almost 60%.

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Taking too much magnesium when you aren’t used to it can create a laxative effect. To prevent this, I think it’s important to start with a lower dose of 150 to 200 mg. and build up to 400 mg. once or twice a day until your bowels are comfortably moving. If you can slowly increase to 5 mg. per pound of body weight, that should meet your body’s needs.

Adding these supplements to your daily regimen is inexpensive and could ultimately save your life. But, there’s one more way to flush that plaque out of your arteries, and it’s one I heartily recommend…

Last year, results from a great study were released. The people taking part in the study ate one of three diets:

  1. A Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil
  2. A Mediterranean diet supplemented with nuts (walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts)
  3. A low-fat diet (animal and vegetable)

After close to five years, the people on both the olive oil and nut version of the Mediterranean diet cut their risk of a heart attack, stroke, or cardiovascular death by almost a third, compared to the low-fat diet.

Well, researchers have taken another look at some of the data from that study. And they found that adding just over an ounce of nuts each day to the Mediterranean way of eating also reduces plaque volume. However, eating the low-fat diet added to the plaque burden!

This is just one more terrific reason to go Mediterranean. Here’s what to do…

Make antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables the central focus of your meals. Add all the colors of the rainbow and eat as much of them as you want.

Enjoy seafood delights in the form of fish and shellfish. They’re chock-full of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. However, avoid farm-raised and the larger mercury-laden fish. Your best health benefits will come from smaller wild-caught fish like mackerel, salmon, herring, and sardines.

Replace your vegetable oil with olive oil. Olive oil is much healthier for your heart. Keep in mind that olive oil is fattening, so you don’t want to overdo it.

Don’t forget the nuts. In the research I mentioned above, the people ate about a half ounce of walnuts and a quarter ounce of almonds and hazelnuts each day. I suggest following the same pattern to help clear that plaque from your arteries.

References
Nakazato R, et al. “Statins use and coronary artery plaque composition: results from the International Multicenter CONFIRM Registry.” Atherosclerosis. 2012 Nov;225(1):148-53.

Palaniswamy C, et al. “Association of warfarin use with valvular and vascular calcification: a review.” Clin Cardiol. 2011 Feb;34(2):74-81.

Stampfer MJ, et al. “A prospective study of plasma homocysteine and the risk of myocardial infarction in US physicians.” JAMA. 1992 Aug 19; 268(7): 877-881.

McIlroy SP, et al. “Moderately elevated plasma homocysteine, methylenetetrahydro-folate reductase genotype, and risk for stroke, vascular dementia, and Alzheimer disease in Northern Ireland.” Stroke. 2002;33:2351-2356.

Van Campenhout A, et al. “Role of homocysteine in aortic calcification and osteogenic cell differentiation.” Atherosclerosis. 2009 Feb;202(2):557-66.

Beulens JW. “High dietary menaquinone intake is associated with reduced coronary calcification.” Atherosclerosis. 2009;203:489-493.

Geleijnse JM. “Dietary intake of menaquinone is associated with a reduced risk of coronary heart disease: the Rotterdam Study.” Journal of Nutrition. 2004; 134: 3100-3105.

Hruby A, et al. “Magnesium intake is inversely associated with coronary artery calcification: the Framingham Heart Study.” JACC Cardiovasc Imaging. 2014 Jan;7(1):59-69.

Estruch R, et al. “Primary Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease with a Mediterranean Diet.” New England Journal of Medicine, 2013.

Sala-Vila A, et al. “Changes in ultrasound-assessed carotid intima-media thickness and plaque with a Mediterranean diet: a substudy of the PREDIMED trial.” Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 2014 Feb;34(2):439-45

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