Why are your arteries calcifying?
Today, we’ll talk about why your arteries are calcifying and potentially turning into bone.
Heart disease is the #1 killer worldwide; it isn’t out of place to discuss a nutritional aspect of this problem that gives you something you can do about it.
In this article, we will focus on the calcium part of this problem more than cholesterol or other problems with the heart.
Different types of heart disease may result in a variety of different symptoms.
Arrhythmias are abnormal heart rhythms. Symptoms of an arrhythmia include:
Atherosclerosis reduces blood supply to your extremities. In addition to chest pain and shortness of breath, symptoms of atherosclerosis include:
3. Coronary artery disease
Coronary artery disease is a common heart condition that affects the major blood vessels that supply the heart muscle. Cholesterol deposits (plaques) in the heart arteries usually cause coronary artery disease.
Symptoms of coronary artery disease can include:
· Chest pain, chest tightness, chest pressure, and chest discomfort (angina)
· Shortness of breath
· Pain in the neck, jaw, throat, upper belly area, or back
· Pain, numbness, weakness, or coldness in the legs or arms if the blood vessels in those body areas are narrowed
Cardiomyopathy is a disease that causes the muscles of the heart to grow larger and turn rigid, thick, or weak. Symptoms of this condition include:
It is usually after a coronary calcification scan when your doctor tells you that you have calcified arteries. This scan can show how much calcium has built up in your heart’s blood vessels.
This is important because how much calcium you have in your arteries is one of the most vital indicators of your risk of having a heart attack in the future. So, knowing this helps doctors decide the best course of treatment for you.
Calcium shows how much fatty build-up (plaque) is in your arteries because this build-up contains calcium. Plaques in your heart arteries are the leading cause of heart attacks.
In addition, if a piece of plaque breaks off, a blood clot can form around it, blocking blood flow and oxygen supply to your heart. This can damage the heart muscle and can be life-threatening.
You have probably heard of the term ‘hardening of the arteries — this is the same thing as calcification. This is because the calcium forms hard crystals in the blood vessel wall. Studies in the laboratory have shown that the calcium deposits in arteries form because the muscle cells in the blood vessel wall start to change into bone-like cells when they are old or diseased.
There are two types of cells in your bones: the osteoblast and osteoclast. The osteoblasts are cells that build bones, while osteoclasts degrade or break down bones. So, we have these two things happening in the bone at all times. If you have too much osteoclast, you will have osteoporosis. And if you have too much osteoblast in your arteries especially, you start getting calcification in your bones. So, your arteries are turning into bones — a bizarre thing indeed.
You will inhibit the calcification problem if you have sufficient vitamin K2 in your body. This is because vitamin K2 inhibits osteoblast — the cell that forms bone in the wrong place. In addition, vitamin K2 is a potent stimulator of Matrix GLA protein, a particular protein that inhibits vascular mineralization and depends on K2. So, if you are deficient in vitamin K2, this protein will not inhibit vascular mineralization or calcification.
Vitamin K2 is becoming more popular. There are more than 3500 research papers on vitamin K2 that you can look up.
So, vitamin K2 is all about keeping calcium out of the arteries, keeping calcium in the bone, and making the bones very strong.
The most exciting thing about vitamin K2 is that bacteria make it. It is different than vitamin k1, which comes from leafy greens. And so, vitamin K2 is made by bacteria. So, even in your gut, you can convert vitamin k1 to k2 with the right microbes.
If you have gut problems and don’t have the right microbes, you can’t make this conversion.
It is also important to note that vitamin k2 is a fat-soluble vitamin. This means that its absorption is dependent on bile which is produced by the liver, and if you have a fatty liver, you’re going to make less bile resulting in the absorption of less k2.
If you have problems with your gallbladder, you will also have trouble absorbing vitamin k2.
If you have inflammation in your gut, gastric bypass surgery, or some problem with your gut, that can inhibit your absorption of k2.
Also, if you don’t eat enough fermented foods, you could be deficient in vitamin k2. This is because certain microbes in the fermentation process can make vitamin k2.
Examples of foods that can provide vitamin k2 include natto (fermented soybeans), sauerkraut, raw cheese, grass-fed butter, and kefir.
There is also vitamin k2 in egg yolks, beef, liver, sausage, and fatty foods. So, if you are on a low-fat diet, you might be omitting these.
Artery calcification can be a sign that you have atherosclerosis and heart disease.
Sufficient amounts of vitamin K2 may help inhibit calcification. Vitamin K2 helps keep calcium out of the arteries and in the bones, making the bones strong. Your good bacteria make vitamin K2.
If you take vitamin K2 as a supplement, consider taking the natural form called MK7 and take it with vitamin D.
Let me know in the comments below if you have any questions.
Disclaimer: Dr. Berner does not diagnose, treat, or prevent any medical diseases or conditions; instead, he analyzes and corrects the structure of his patients with Foundational Correction to improve their overall quality of life. He works with their physicians, who regulate their medications. This blog post is not designed to provide medical advice, professional diagnosis, opinion, treatment, or services to you or any other individual. The information provided in this post or through linkages to other sites is not a substitute for medical or professional care. You should not use the information in place of a visit, consultation, or the advice of your physician or another healthcare provider. Foundation Chiropractic and Dr. Brett Berner are not liable or responsible for any advice, the course of treatment, diagnosis, or any other information, services, or product you obtain through this article or others.
Zaheer A, Murshed M, De Grand AM, Morgan TG, Karsenty G, Frangioni JV. Optical imaging of hydroxyapatite in the calcified vasculature of transgenic animals. Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 2006;26(5):1132–1136. doi:10.1161/01.ATV.0000210016.89991.2a
Durán AC, López D, Guerrero A, Mendoza A, Arqué JM, Sans-Coma V. Formation of cartilaginous foci in the central fibrous body of the heart in Syrian hamsters (Mesocricetus auratus). J Anat. 2004;205(3):219–227. doi:10.1111/j.0021–8782.2004.00326.x
Flore R, Ponziani FR, Di Rienzo TA, et al. Something more to say about calcium homeostasis: the role of vitamin K2 in vascular calcification and osteoporosis. Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci. 2013;17(18):2433–2440.
Yao Y, Jumabay M, Ly A, Radparvar M, Cubberly MR, Boström KI. A role for the endothelium in vascular calcification. Circ Res. 2013;113(5):495–504. doi:10.1161/CIRCRESAHA.113.301792
Okuyama H, Langsjoen PH, Hamazaki T, et al. Statins stimulate atherosclerosis and heart failure: pharmacological mechanisms [published correction appears in Expert Rev Clin Pharmacol. 2015;8(4):503–5]. Expert Rev Clin Pharmacol. 2015;8(2):189–199. doi:10.1586/17512433.2015.1011125
Barrett H, O’Keeffe M, Kavanagh E, Walsh M, O’Connor EM. Is Matrix Gla Protein Associated with Vascular Calcification? A Systematic Review. Nutrients. 2018;10(4):415. Published 2018 Mar 27. doi:10.3390/nu10040415
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