What Is It?
Atherosclerosis is a degenerative disease in which plaque made of fatty deposits
accumulates on the inner walls of the arteries, hardens, thickens and begins
to restrict blood flow. If the coronary arteries are blocked, it is
commonly referred to as “heart disease”. If the effected
artery is feeding the brain, it can cause a stroke. Atherosclerosis begins
when cells on arterial walls become damaged and lesions are formed. Over time,
these lesions collect cellular debris, cholesterol, and lipoproteins damaged
by free radicals until that portion of the artery becomes blocked. By
the time there are actual symptoms, the artery can be 90% blocked. The
good news is atherosclerosis can, in most cases, be reversed or prevented through
changes in lifestyle and diet.
The major risk factors include high blood cholesterol levels, smoking, diabetes,
high blood pressure, being overweight, stress, and lack of aerobic exercise. These
risk factors are compounded when there are more than one of the major risk
factors present. Additional risk factors include: Too much saturated fat and
refined food in the diet, vitamin B6 deficiency, caffeine and alcohol, excess
salt, low antioxidant status, low levels of essential fatty acids, low levels
of magnesium and potassium, elevated levels of homocysteine, increased fibrinogen
formation, increased platelet aggregation and low thyroid function.
- Reduce your intake of saturated fats and hydrogenated (or partially hydrogenated)
fats. You can do this by eliminating or reducing red meat, high fat dairy
products, margarine, fried foods and fatty snack foods. Instead, eat fish
and white meat poultry, low or non-fat dairy products, and fresh vegetables
- Also, eliminate or reduce coffee consumption to one cup a day. Green
tea makes a very healthful alternative. In addition, reduce or eliminate
soft drinks (regular and diet). The phosphorus in soft drinks creates
a negative balance of blood calcium.
- Substitute whole grains and bread made from whole grain flour for refined
bread and pastries.
- Reduce the amount of sugar and salt in your diet and increase the amount
of fresh fruits and vegetables.
- Stop smoking.
- Start an exercise program that you will stick with. It is always
best to seek the advice of a licensed healthcare practitioner before starting
an exercise program.
- Integrate stress management into your life. Stress contributes
to a build-up of plaque in the arteries. Meditation and/or yoga are very
- Lose weight if you need to.
- Avoid over-eating
- Vitalzym – a systemic enzyme product that includes serrapeptase.
3-5 three times daily between meals.
- Supplemental fiber.
- GLA is the precursor to a prostaglandin PGE1, one of the most potent inhibitors
of platelet aggregation.
- Carnitine – 1,000-3,000 mg daily to help raise HDL and lower LDL
- A good high-potency multi-vitamin and mineral formula daily.
- If homocysteine levels are high, add 50 mg extra of B6 and B12 and 400
mcg extra of folic acid
- A good antioxidant supplement
- 500 – 1,000 mg of Vitamin C three times a day.
- 400 – 800 IU of Vitamin E daily. The World Health Organization considers
inadequate vitamin E levels to be the single biggest risk factor for heart
- 1 tablespoon of flaxseed oil (omega-3 oils) once a day.
- 1,200 mg of garlic (in capsules) a day.
In some cases, dietary and lifestyle changes may not be sufficient alone
to lower cholesterol levels. There are natural substances that can be
used in place of drugs, all of which should be undertaken only under the advice
of a licensed health practitioner.
- One such natural substance is niacin. The best form of niacin is inositol
hexanicotinate. Begin with 500 mg three times daily for 2 weeks, and then
increase to 1,000 mg. Niacin has been shown in several studies to be more
effective overall than drugs in lowering cholesterol levels.
- Policosanols and red yeast rice have been shown in studies to lower elevated
- Another alternative therapy is EDTA chelation therapy. EDTA ( ethylenediaminetetraacetic
acid) is an amino-like acid and when released slowly into the bloodstream,
binds with minerals like calcium, copper, iron and lead and carries them to
the kidneys for excretion, thus preventing further free radical damage to
- There has been some preliminary research done in Germany with an enzyme
called serrapeptase that shows that the enzyme’s protein-dissolving
action will gradually break down atherosclerotic plaques. More research needs
to be done on this, but it is a hope for the future.
The nutritional suggestions in this material are not offered to treat, mitigate
or cure disease, and should not be used as a substitute for sound medical advice.
This information is designed to be used in conjunction with the services of
a trained, licensed healthcare practitioner.