Thanks to arteries, our vital organs have oxygen that helps them get into motion. The inner walls of our arteries are naturally smooth. However, too much sugar, alcohol, smoking and fried food can cause plaque build-up in our arteries. The plaque is potentially dangerous as it leads to cardiovascular diseases.
Other than bad cholesterol, plaque consists of calcium, fat, cellular waste, and fibrin. Cells in the arteries react to the plaque by multiplying and secreting excess substances, finally leading to atherosclerosis. The condition causes the arteries to harden and narrow which retards our blood flow and causes high blood pressure. Untreated, atherosclerosis puts patients into a possibly precarious position that can end in death.
Scientists could not track down a single reason for the appearance of plaque. They came to a conclusion that there were multiple contributors to atherosclerosis: unhealthy diet, smoking, alcohol abuse as well as sedentary life. There have been some groundbreaking discoveries when it comes to reversing atherosclerosis, and in the following paragraphs, you’ll be introduced to medications that successfully slowed plaque build-up and even reversed it.
Policosanol turned out to be triumphant at different levels. A study claims that taking 10 mg of policosanol lowers cholesterol more effectively than aspirin. Policosanol is also better than statins at lowering LD and especially at raising the levels of HD. An astounding increase of good cholesterol by 31 percent goes to show that policosanol promises much longer and peaceful life for the atherosclerosis patients. Additionally, in one of the studies policosanol successfully melted away the existing plaque in the arteries and stopped the condition from deteriorating.
Statins are no novelty in the battle against atherosclerosis. In a study that included 350 subjects, patients took statin Crestor. The 2-year long experiment had astonishing results. Crestor achieved the lowest level of LPD possible, reducing it from 130.4 mg/dL to 60.8 mg/dL. Crestor also increased the level of good cholesterol by around 6 mg/dL which gave the researchers hope that they witnessed something revolutionary. Most importantly, the drug didn’t have any safety issues except for the rise of liver enzymes in some subjects which was not unprecedented. Plaque regression was noticeable in 78 percent of patients which gives hope that the scientists are on the way of finding something that unmistakably works.
Evolocumab is a PCSK9 inhibitor that scientists discovered when some people had mutations in the PCSK9 gene which left them with no more than 20mg/dL of LDL. Having in mind that 100mg/dL of bad cholesterol is optimal, this is an extremely low level of LDL. Therefore, Nissen and his colleagues carried out an 18-month long study in which they tried out a combination of a statin and evolocumab. A thousand people took part in the experiment, including the ones with diabetes, smokers, hypertension patients and the ones who have already suffered a stroke or a heart attack. More than half of the people who took the combination of a statin and the inhibitor-experienced plaque shrinking while the ones who took the placebo instead of the inhibitor didn’t show improvement. Interestingly, the combination had a stronger effect than the respective medications would have if given alone. The study, unfortunately, leaves a lot to be desired. It did not answer the question whether the combination of the evolocumab and a statin would prevent the first heart attack in high-risk people. Finally, evolocumab is neither affordable nor practical. The injections cost as much as 1200 dollars per month, leaving only the affluent people to give it a chance.
Cyclodextrin is a new, promising medication that could solve the plaque problem. Latz and his colleagues carried out an experiment and used mice as subjects. After the mice have taken high-cholesterol diets, cyclodextrin aided them in more than one way. Aside from getting rid of the plaque, cyclodextrin started cholesterol metabolism, cleared away the waxy substance from the arteries and diminished the inflammation, the original cause of atherosclerosis. Latz came to the idea after hearing about Hempel’s, parents who had proven that cyclodextrin helps children with NPC. The disease causes a rare genetic disorder that disables distribution of cholesterol through the body, leading to organ dysfunction, neurodegeneration, and eventual death. Cyclodextrin successfully transported and dissolved the cholesterol in the NPC patients and increased their life expectancy but did not completely cure them.
Serrapeptase is an enzyme that silkworms use when they turn into a moth and try to get out of the cocoon. The enzyme destroys dead tissue only, which is why moths are unharmed after transformation. In the case of humans, serrapeptase kills off the dead tissue that narrows arteries, which is very useful after angioplasty and coronary bypass surgery because it prevents the plaque from building up again.
Phosphatidylcholine is a phospholipid that is both water and fat-soluble. It is the most abundant element that is in the make-up of our body. Phosphatidylcholine’s most important characteristic is that it takes part in reverse cholesterol transport by allowing Lecithin cholesterol acyltransferase to put more cholesterol into the HDL particles. Intravenous treatment is more efficient than the oral which bears noticeable results after a year and 4-6 grams of daily intake. You can find Phosphatidylcholine in most European countries as Lipostabil, Essential or Plaques while in the US, its use is still experimental.
REVERSING YOUR DIET
No doctor will prescribe you a statin or any other medicine that alleviates high blood pressure without warning you about your eating habits. If you want your therapy to be a complete success, you will have to give up on fried food, sugar and soda as they contain trans fats, the main culprit for atherosclerosis. Start to change your diet slowly by adding veggies, fruits, and nuts to your diet as well as whole-grain meals. Physical exercise is also widely recommended because it promotes optimal blood circulation and keeps obesity at bay.
ALL IN ALL
Despite finding some top-notch medications that have achieved almost perfect results, modern medicine hasn’t found something that would remove plaque in its entirety. Until then, be sure to take precautions against atherosclerosis in the first place: eat healthily, exercise regularly and try to avoid stress as much as it is possible.