Plaque Buildup and Peripheral Artery Disease

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Filed Under: Heart Health, Circulation
Last Reviewed 03/28/2014

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.”  

Plaque Buildup and Peripheral Artery Disease 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 plaque buildup in the affected blood vessels—similar to the kind of plaque 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 in peripheral artery disease treatment. 

A Different Tack for Peripheral Artery Disease Treatment

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 peripheral artery disease treatment symptom of 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 Peripheral Artery Disease Treatments

  • 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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