Arteriosclerosis is a major cause of heart attacks, blockage of blood flow to the brain and major organs, and reduced circulation in feet and hands that causes numbness and in extreme situations, amputations. There are other conditions that are created by loss of blood flow from the clogged arteries.
The most common approach to treating clogged arteries involve surgery. A discussion of the surgical procedures and other treatments that can be applied to managing arteriosclerosis is provided by the Mayo Clinic.
Angioplasty and stent placement. In this procedure, your doctor inserts a long, thin tube (catheter) into the blocked or narrowed part of your artery. A second catheter with a deflated balloon on its tip is then passed through the catheter to the narrowed area.
The balloon is then inflated, compressing the deposits against your artery walls. A mesh tube (stent) is usually left in the artery to help keep the artery open.
- Endarterectomy. In some cases, fatty deposits must be surgically removed from the walls of a narrowed artery. When the procedure is done on arteries in the neck (the carotid arteries), it’s called a carotid endarterectomy.
- Fibrinolytic therapy. If you have an artery that’s blocked by a blood clot, your doctor may use a clot-dissolving drug to break it apart.
- Bypass surgery. Your doctor may create a graft bypass using a vessel from another part of your body or a tube made of synthetic fabric. This allows blood to flow around the blocked or narrowed artery.
These surgical treatments are highly invasive and involve considerable risk.
Mayo Clinic suggests a number of medications and lifestyle changes to reduce the effects of arteriosclerosis, but none of them directly address the removal of the plaque that is causing the clogging of the arteries. The medications lower blood pressure, reduce clogging using anti-coagulation drugs, and support the reduction of low-density lipids (LDL), which are fats that can cause clogs. There is also mention of anti-platelet medications such as aspirin. A May 2019 article in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) suggests the benefits of aspirin therapy to improve platelet functions must be weighed against the risk of increased bleeding in the brain.
Because of the number of fatalities related to arteriosclerosis, there is considerable research. This link provides a report for drugs under development in 2018 to treat heart disease. It covers a wide range of conditions, but none of the developmental drugs appear to focus on preventing clogged arteries or removing the underlying causes of the clogs to restore normal blood flow in all the arteries.
While there has been limited research on using vitamins and supplements to treat arteriosclerosis, there have been some positive results in actually preventing arteriosclerosis. There is a 2004 research study that shows a version of EDTA-tetracycline long-term chemotherapy that reduced clogging by removing calcium from coronary arteries.
The results of this study that started with 100 patients over a four-month period showed significant improvement in CAC scores (average 14% reduction), angina 84% for a subset of the trial group), LDL cholesterol beyond statin usage results, and no significant side effects from this nutraceutical approach.
A much longer study was established in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, that was initially conducted over a seven-year period starting in 1989 on 7,983 participants. The study involved the administration of vitamin K2, with significant reductions in arteriosclerosis that provided a 50% reduction in heart attacks, and a 50% reduction in cardiovascular diseases in post-menopausal women. The study was expanded over time to include over 15,000 participants.
Vitamin K2 provides a significant second benefit in that the calcium that is removed from the arteries was deposited in the bones of the post-menopausal women resulting in a 35% reduction in hip fractures, and a 50% reduction in spinal degeneration. The Rotterdam study results have been documented in articles published by the NIH (National Institute of Health).
Taking vitamin K2 is being recognized for its prevention and cure of arteriosclerosis with proven results and minimal side effects. There is no comparable pharmaceutical drug that directly addresses clogging of arteries compared to those achieved with vitamin K2. Vitamin K2 provides substantial documented benefits in the treatment of osteoporosis that are comparable to pharmaceutical drugs. Vitamin K2 is now being reviewed as having a positive result in the treatment of COPD.
While interest in nutraceutical treatment of conditions is minimally expressed in the US, the history of Oriental Medicine and Ayurvedic (India) has been established over thousands of years. Vitamin K2 is primarily manufactured by fermenting soybeans in a process refined by the Japanese over centuries. The Rotterdam studies exceeded the typical research trials done in the US in length of time (over seven years) and the number of participants (7,983 initially).
There is increased pressure by the FDA and CDC to show that nutraceutical approaches using vitamins and supplements achieve the results of pharmaceutical drugs. In the cases of the treatment of arteriosclerosis and osteoporosis using vitamin K2, the evidence shows comparable or better results for vitamin K2 with substantially fewer adverse effects.
It is hoped that research in the US in using nutraceuticals will be increased to provide prevention of major diseases and treatment of these diseases without the side effects of pharmaceutical drugs.