How to Test and Treat Plaque Buildup in Arteries

by Dr. Stephen Sinatra
Filed Under: Heart Health, Circulation, Diagnostic Tools, Q&As
Last Reviewed 02/17/2014

How to Test and Treat Plaque Buildup in Arteries

In an effort to evaluate my risk of heart disease, my doctor prescribed electron-beam computed tomography. My test results showed a calcium score of 92.1. Is that score acceptable and what can I do to prevent additional plaque buildup in arteries from forming and to dissolve some of the plaque I have?

Electron-beam computed tomography, or EBCT, is a great screening procedure for measuring hardened plaque buildup in coronary arteries, which is a key factor in heart disease. And having a calcium score under 100 is favorable. But no one needs any calcium in their coronary arteries, so zero would be optimal. Calcium deposits are a sign of early aging, so it's important to be proactive and try to stabilize and even reverse plaque buildup in arteries to stave off heart disease.

Here's my own current, complete daily regimen for plaque stabilization and reversal. I realize it's long and comprehensive, and it'd be difficult to take everything, so, at minimum, I highly recommend the first six items on this list.

Prevent and Reverse Plaque Buildup in Arteries

  • A good, daily multivitamin/multimineral nutritional supplement
  • 75–150 mg of hydrosoluble CoQ10
  • 400–800 mg of magnesium
  • 1–2 g of fish or squid oil for omega-3 fatty acids
  • 2–3 ounces of pomegranate juice daily
  • 1 cup of organic green tea a day
  • 500–1,000 mg of L-carnitine
  • 5 g of D-Ribose twice daily
  • 1 gram garlic (preferably the high allicin form)
  • 1 gram of vitamin C
  • B-complex vitamins
  • 200–400 units of vitamin E in a mixed tocopherol that includes gamma tocopherol (don't buy vitamin E if it says "DL" on the label)
  • 150 mcg of vitamin K2 menaquinone-7 (MK-7) twice daily

Diet to Reduce Plaque Buildup in Arteries

Your diet is also crucial. I strongly recommend an anti-inflammatory, low insulin-provoking (i.e. low carbohydrate) approach to eating. The specific diet plan I put my patients on for optimal heart health is the Pan-Asian Mediterranean (PAM) diet.

In a nutshell, about 45 percent of your calories should come from low-glycemic carbohydrates.

Protein should make up about another 25 percent. High quality, organic, lean meat and poultry, organic tofu, and free-range eggs are highly recommended, as is nonfarm-raised fish at the low end of the mercury level scale.

The remaining 30 percent or so of your calories should come from healthy fats such as organic avocado, extra virgin olive oil, and organic nuts-particularly almonds and walnuts.

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