Is there anything you can do to reverse plaque buildup in the arteries?

Q. Dear Terry, “Is there anything you can do to reverse plaque buildup in the arteries?” – Leo D., Yakima, WA

A. Dear Leo, Plaque accumulation in the arteries, also known as atherosclerosis, is composed of various substances, including calcium. Calcium plays many roles in the body – it helps with cell signaling, blood clotting, and muscle contractions – including the heart. But, if calcium is not properly regulated in the blood and tissues, it can build up in the blood vessels.

When it comes to atherosclerosis, there are three vitamins that are crucial to move calcium out of the blood vessels and back into the bones where it belongs. To make sure your body is using calcium optimally, you need to make sure you’re getting enough of the vitamins that regulate calcium: the fat-soluble vitamins K2, D3, and A.

Vitamin K2 (menaquinone) helps to activate proteins, such as osteocalcin and matrix GLA-protein (MGP), that help carry calcium to where it’s needed in the body. Osteocalcin puts calcium into bone tissue, making the bones stronger. MGP inhibits calcium accumulation in the arteries and other body tissues. Optimal levels of vitamin K2 ensure these proteins work the way they should.

Vitamin D3 is crucial to bone and heart health. It helps to prevent calcium buildup in the blood vessels by increasing the expression of the vitamin K-dependent proteins that regulate calcium. Studies are finding that vitamin D and vitamin K work better when they’re both at optimal levels.

Most people know that vitamin A is essential for healthy eyes, but it does so much more. It influences a number of body processes, including regulating various proteins that control the types of cells the body makes. This includes the cells that line blood vessels. Researchers are also investigating the relationship between vitamins A, D3, and K2 – what they’re discovering is truly fascinating. Vitamin A and D appear to work together and both may be involved in the communication between cells, especially those cells involved in calcium regulation via vitamin K-dependent proteins.

I recommend taking 10,000 IU of vitamin A (as retinyl palmitate), 5,000 IU of vitamin D3 (as cholecalciferol), and 45 mcg of vitamin K2 (as menaquinone-7) daily.

For additional support, I would also take 400 mg three times per day of a French grape seed extract that is standardized to contain only OPCs that are small enough to be absorbed, so you’ll get the maximum benefits.

Healthy Regards!

Terry . . . Naturally