Plaque and Peripheral Artery Disease
One of the most common conditions we cardiologists treat has nothing directly to do with the heart itself, but rather with blockages of blood vessels going to and from the kidneys, stomach, arms, legs, and feet. We call this condition peripheral vascular or arterial disease. You may know it as “poor circulation.”
An estimated 12 million Americans are affected by the disease, and its incidence increases with age—about one-fifth of people age 70 and older have it.
Doctors agree that peripheral circulation problems are typically due to the buildup of plaque in the affected blood vessels—similar to the kind of buildup we see in the coronary arteries that feed the heart or the carotid arteries leading to the brain. The result is restricted blood flow, discomfort, tiredness, heaviness, and, often, cramping.
To combat the condition, doctors often use drugs, angioplasty, or surgery.
A Different Tack
Instead of drugs or invasive therapies, I focus on the muscle cells and how to get rid of their metabolic by-products, which become increasingly toxic because of the poor circulation.
You see, as the muscles are used, they burn energy and release waste. This waste causes the cells in the muscles to swell and press against adjacent blood vessels. In a person whose arteries are already compromised by plaque buildup, the swelling causes further vasoconstriction, or narrowing of the blood vessels. Worse yet, the toxins themselves have a vasoconstricting effect of their own—so you’re hit with a triple whammy of sorts. And as you would imagine, the more toxins that accumulate, the worse the condition gets.
The solution is to help remove the toxins. To do this, I suggest taking 1 gram a day of glycine propionyl-L-carnitine (GPLC), on an empty stomach. GPLC is a recently developed form of L-carnitine that’s quite effective at improving blood flow and blood pressure, as well as offsetting the destructive nature of inflammatory compounds, cellular waste products, and toxins.
Other solutions also include:
- Broad-spectrum carnitine (make sure it includes GPLC), 1 gram a day, also on an empty stomach.
- D-ribose, 5 grams 3 times daily, especially before and after walking. Supplemental D-ribose renews another raw material used for cellular energy production.
- Magnesium, 400–800 mg daily. Magnesium provides critical support for ATP production. It is also a vasodilator and it helps muscles relax.
Look for these products in your health food store. The combination usually works like magic. Within a week, patients often report less discomfort, cramping, and tiredness in the legs, and they are able to walk much further.
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Meet Dr. Sinatra
Dr. Stephen Sinatra is a highly respected and sought-after cardiologist and nutritionist with more than 30 years of clinical practice, research, and study. His integrative approach to heart health focuses on reducing inflammation in the body and maximizing the heart's ability to produce and use energy. More About Dr. Sinatra
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