Discover the truth about clogged arteries and heart disease. When we look at the root cause of cardiovascular disease, in virtually all cases, the core issue is inflammation.
(scroll down to see blood tests and studies) Specifically, it is inflammation in the arteries that damages the arterial walls and attracts plaque deposits.
When plaque builds up and narrows and stiffens the arteries, this condition is called atherosclerosis; it is the primary cause of heart attacks and strokes.
So, what causes inflammation in the arteries, that leads to atherosclerosis? The answer goes far beyond the conventional idea of “too much cholesterol.”
Today, we look at 8 major risk factors that cause artery-damaging inflammation and increase your risk of heart disease.
Thankfully, heart disease is 100% preventable. Watch till the end to learn how you can detect these risk factors, and take steps to protect your heart. Without further delay, let’s get into it.
As always, this video is educational and does not constitute medical advice; we are not doctors. You can find a link to the studies below.
At the top of our list is Number 8. “Leaky Gut”
Most people don’t know this, but “Leaky Gut” is closely linked to cardiovascular disease.
The cells in your intestinal lining are supposed to prevent bacteria and toxins from entering your bloodstream. However, sometimes this barrier develops “holes” and “leaks,” allowing unwanted substances, such as LPS (bacterial toxins), to contaminate your blood and trigger systemic inflammation.
Inflammation in your arteries can lead to endothelial dysfunction, which means the cells lining the inside of your blood vessels (endothelium) are damaged, causing the heart arteries to narrow instead of opening wide.
This can cause chest pain and shortness of breath and can contribute to artery blockage and high blood pressure.
Additionally, leaky gut can lead to the development of autoimmune diseases such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and psoriasis, which can increase the risk of hardening arteries.
Symptoms of leaky gut range from bloating, gas, and cramps to food sensitivities, fatigue, headaches, and joint pain.
A major driver of leaky gut is an unhealthy diet that is low in fiber, high in sugar, and high in bad fats, leading to an imbalance of gut bacteria.
One blood test to detect inflammation is called the high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP) test. This protein indicates overall inflammation in the body. A good level is below 1.0 mg/dL, and high levels indicate arterial inflammation that is seen with infections and gum disease.
For more information about leaky gut, see our video “Top 5 Foods that Cause Gut Inflammation“.
This brings us to the next risk factor, Number 7, “Bacteria in the Mouth”.
Every cardiologist will agree there is an association between gum disease, gingivitis, and cardiovascular disease.
Bacteria from the deep pockets of the gums can enter the bloodstream and cause injury, inflammation, plaque buildup, and blockages in the coronary arteries.
Many people notice blood while brushing or flossing, but they are not aware that this could signal a problem.
What’s alarming is that scientists have found oral bacteria in blood clots that cause strokes, brain aneurysms, and heart attacks.
Root canal teeth are especially concerning because they are dead teeth. These dead teeth are infected deep within the jawbone and can release inflammatory particles into the arteries.
In a study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, DNA analysis revealed that the same bacteria from root canal teeth were found in the plaque of coronary arteries.
In another study published in the Journal of the American Dental Association, researchers found that people with root canal teeth had more than twice the risk of cardiovascular disease than those with no history of having root canals.
Yet, millions of root canals are performed every year without considering this correlation.
So, it’s important to be aware of the risks associated with root canals and do your own research. I have included links below.
Did you know that your toothbrush is highly contaminated with germs and bacteria? To clean it, you can use a toothbrush sanitizer. This is a portable case that uses UV light to automatically kill the germs on your toothbrush after every use. Check out our recommended toothbrush sanitizer below.
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Next on our list is Number 6, “Refined Sugar & Bad Fats”.
Everyone thinks that LDL cholesterol is bad, but the evidence linking it to heart disease is weak. Half of the people who have heart attacks have normal LDL levels, so there is not a strong correlation.
Having said that, the type of LDL cholesterol that is harmful is oxidized LDL. These are the small, dense LDL particles that are easily oxidized and quickly enter your arterial walls. When this happens, the oxidized LDL particles trigger an inflammatory response, which causes plaque to build up.
And guess what causes oxidized LDL to increase in your body? A diet high in refined sugars, refined carbs, and vegetable seed oils, such as high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), white flour, and “unhealthy fats” like chemically-processed corn oil, safflower oil, and trans fats found in deep-fried foods and packaged foods; these are the heart-damaging foods you’ll want to avoid.
Also, a diet high in saturated fats (like coconut oil), does not correlate with heart disease; it is more about the quality of fats that we consume. Fatty fish, nuts, seeds, and olive oil are examples of healthy fats rich in anti-inflammatory Omega-3s and monounsaturated fats.
See the link below, to learn what are healthy HDL and LDL test values and ratios.
This brings us to Number 5. “High Insulin Levels”.
Millions of people are dealing with blood sugar issues; if you are pre-diabetic or diabetic, you may wonder what this has to do with heart disease. The answer lies in insulin resistance; that is, your body cannot use insulin at the rate at which it is being produced. As a result, you end up with high insulin levels.
So, what is a normal fasting insulin level? Many metabolic health experts suggest that fasting insulin should stay below 10 μU/mL, and preferably below 5. Many diabetics have fasting insulin levels that can go up to 100.
Insulin is an inflammatory particle that causes inflammation when present in high levels in the bloodstream. It is a hormone released by the pancreas. When your insulin levels are too high, they can inflame and damage cells, just like high sugar levels.
If you were to remove all the blood from your body and measure the amount of sugar in it, there would only be about a teaspoon or five grams of sugar. Now, that can of soda you drink contains 18 to 20 grams of sugar.
So, when your body senses high sugar levels, it tries to compensate by increasing insulin production. Unfortunately, this leads to fat buildup, especially visceral fat, high blood pressure, and metabolic syndrome.
All of this is closely related. If you are diabetic and start taking insulin because your condition has worsened, you could be taking insulin for years; this can lead to increased weight gain.
People say that visceral fat and obesity are directly linked to heart disease; however, what they do not mention is that administering insulin to so many people makes it difficult for them to remain lean.
That’s because insulin is a fat-storage hormone. When your insulin levels are high, your body won’t burn fat. The enzyme that burns fat is called lipase, and it is deactivated by insulin. Therefore, if you want to lose weight, you need to lower your insulin levels instead of increasing them.
Coming up Next is Number 4, “Sleep Disorders & Stress”.
Millions suffer from sleep problems, such as insomnia and sleep apnea.
People with sleep apnea are constantly suffocating and starving for oxygen every night, which is incredibly stressful and puts immense strain on their cardiovascular system.
At night, your fight-or-flight hormones should be low because you’re resting.
However, if a person stops breathing multiple times per minute due to sleep apnea, their stress hormones will surge all night long, and damage the heart and blood vessels.
Sleep apnea cases have been increasing due to factors such as smoking, drinking alcohol, being overweight, and airways narrowing.
This is a serious issue and should be treated. Solutions like CPAP machines and other mouth devices can help.
If you are sleeping poorly because of a respiratory condition and your airways are blocked, you can use an OPEP device to open up your airways and clear excess mucus from your lungs. Click the link below to see our recommended solution.
Lastly, stress is closely linked to high blood pressure and heart disease, and poor sleep can make stress worse.
To relieve stress and improve your ability to fall asleep faster, you can use this special hand-held device. It sends gentle signals from your hand to your brain that tell your nervous system to relax. Check it out at the link below.
Coming into our Top 3, at Number 3 we have “Heavy Metals & Toxins”.
We face an onslaught of toxins in our food, water, air, homes, and workplaces every single day.
Numerous studies have revealed that heavy metals such as lead, mercury, and cadmium can harm our health by disrupting normal cell function. They accumulate from sources including dental fillings, water supplies, smoking, and beauty and hygiene products.
Researchers have linked the buildup of toxins to high blood pressure, heart artery damage, heart muscle damage, and peripheral artery damage in the legs.
Also, air quality has emerged as a major cause of heart disease. While we have long known the dangers of smoking and second-hand smoke, new data show that non-smoking-related air pollution can also damage arteries and cause inflammation.
To completely flush heavy metals and toxins from your body, and detoxify at the cellular level, check out our recommended solution below.
Moving on next, we have Number 2. “Nutrient Deficiencies”.
A deficiency of certain vitamins, such as Vitamin D, CoQ10, and folate can affect your cardiovascular health. In particular, a deficiency in B12 or folate can lead to high homocysteine levels, which greatly increase the risk of clogged arteries.
Homocysteine, an amino acid, can cause inflammation in the arteries when levels are too high. A healthy homocysteine level is under 9 mcmol/L.
For a list of vitamins that can help to prevent artery damage and dissolve plaque deposits, see our video, “The Best Way to Clear Your Arteries.”
And at Number 1, we have, “Sedentary Lifestyle”.
A lack of physical activity is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Spending too much time sitting increases inflammation due to the loss of muscle tissue and increased body fat. Moving regularly is crucial for clear arteries and strong heart muscles.
Do anything you enjoy: tennis, walking, using a standing desk, taking the stairs, or parking further away from stores so you walk a bit more each day.
There you have it! The 8 major factors that increase your risk of clogged arteries and heart disease.
You can test for blood sugar, inflammatory markers, cholesterol, and lipids during your routine checkup. To see the recommended lab tests, and learn what levels are good, click the link below.
One important strategy for clogged arteries is to eat an anti-inflammatory diet. Click the link below to get your free anti-inflammatory diet plan.
The next videos to watch are, “The BEST Way to Clear Your Arteries”, and “Top 5 Foods that Cause Gut Inflammation”.
Essential Lab Tests for Assessing Your Risk Factors for Clogged Arteries
Understanding your risk factors for clogged arteries is crucial for maintaining heart health. Several lab tests can provide insight into these factors. A Comprehensive Blood Analysis is an excellent place to start, as it examines various aspects of your health.
Blood Sugar Levels
It’s important to monitor your blood sugar levels:
HbA1C: This measures glycated hemoglobin and red blood cells. Ideally, it should be between 4 and 5.2%. The optimal range is 5% or lower. A moderately high range is 5.3-5.6%, while 5.7-6.4% indicates prediabetes and a high risk of developing diabetes. Over 6.4% means you have diabetes.
Fasting Glucose: Optimal levels are under 90 mg/dL. Normal levels are less than 100 mg/dL (5.6 mmol/L), while 100 to 125 mg/dL (5.6 to 6.9 mmol/L) indicates prediabetes. Two separate tests with results of 126 mg/dL (7 mmol/L) or higher confirm diabetes.
Fasting Insulin: Optimal fasting insulin levels are between 2-5 uIu/mL. Early insulin resistance ranges from 6-9 uIu/mL, while anything over 10uIu/mL indicates insulin resistance. Severe insulin resistance isn’t flagged on the lab until it reaches over 24.9 uIu/mL.
Monitoring inflammatory markers is essential:
HsCRP: Ideal levels are under 1, with the optimal being below 0.8. High levels indicate arterial inflammation, often seen with infections and periodontal disease.
LDH (lactate dehydrogenase): The optimal range is 140 to 180. High levels suggest chronic inflammation, while levels below 140 indicate hypoglycemia.
Serum ferritin: The ideal range is under 150. High levels signify inflammation.
Homocysteine: This inflammatory protein is a byproduct of methionine metabolism. Healthy levels are under 9, with optimal levels being under 7.
A lipid panel test examines the following:
VLDL cholesterol: The ideal range is 5 to 30 mg/dl.
HDL cholesterol: The ideal range is 55 to 80. Levels above 100 can indicate chronic inflammation or active infection.
Triglycerides: The ideal range is 40 to 80.
Maintaining a balanced ratio of LDL to HDL and triglycerides to HDL is crucial for your health. Aim for an LDL: HDL ratio of 3:1 or less, and a triglyceride: HDL ratio of 2:1 or less, with 1:1 being optimal.
Higher triglyceride and lower HDL levels typically indicate insulin resistance and high fasting insulin levels.