PEAK TESTOSTERONE

Atherosclerosis Reversal

Who needs arterial plaque (atherosclerosis) reversal? Just about everyone! Young guys who have noticed their hardness factor decreasing and their time to get erection increasing do not want to admit that their issue is likely partially or fully based on atherosclerosis. How can I be so sure? Well, I can't for sure, of course, as oftentimes there is a hormonal or even psychological component as well. However, as I point out in my page on Young Men and Erectile Dysfunction, research shows that at least half of all men in their early 20's (in Western societies) have significant arterial plaque and about a fifth have their artery diameters reduced by over 25%! That's a huge amount of plaque, especially for someone that should be in the prime of their life.

I have already done a page on How to Reverse Your Arterial Plaque, so I on this page I want to focus on why it is so important to focus on reversing any arterial plaque that you may have. In fact, I want to show evidences that egressing your plaque will improve everything you want to do as a male.  That may sound like an exaggeration, but read below and you'll see that the lining of your arteries is just as important as testosterone. 

Here are just some of many examples as to Why Atherosclerosis Reversal is Critical for Men:

1. Plaque Reduction Heals the Endothelium and Improves Vasodilation and Blood Flow (And Thus Erections).  One of the most famous of the "Plaque Reversers" as I call them has actually documented the tremendous improvements in blood flow and the ability of the arteries to relax that comes from decreasing atherosclerotic plaque. I am talking about Dr. K. Lance Gould and you can read about his work here:  A Review of Heal Your Heart. (This is a book to be read and re-read for any guy interested in preserving his erectile strength and avoiding cardiovascular disease.) Dr. Gould actually monitors and has documented (via PET imaging) these miraculous changes that occur when diet and lifestyle are properly modified.  He wrote the following:

"Reversal treatment reduces the severity of coronary artery narrowing.  The abnormal endothelial lining heals, and the coronary arteries function more normally.  They are more likely to enlarge (vasodilate) rather than go into spasm (vasoconstrict).  Consequently, coronary blood flow to the heart muscle improves both at rest and druing stress." [6]

Now, just in case the significance of this is not obvious, I will point out that this does not just apply to the heart.  All the arteries in one's extremities will be positive effected, including those in the penis.  This means penile arteries will experience improved blood flow when a plaque regression program is undertaken (assuming of course that one has plaque to begin with).

NOTE:  Arterial Plaque Inversely Assoicated with Blood Flow Even In Young People!  Common sense tells you that as the arteries fill up with plaque and lose their ability to dilate and the walls become fibrotic and hardened and nitric oxide decreases - need I go on? - that this is going to be bad for blood flow.  Well, common sense would be exactly right in this case and one study on young people showed just that.  Again, this study was not on 80 year olds in a nursing home but on a population of young people between the ages of 24 and 39 years old.  These young people were impervious, right?  And completely immune to any heart disease that might have developed, right?  Of course, the study showed the oppsoite and that "brachial FMD is inversely associated with carotid IMT." [1]

Let me translate that a bit:  FMD (flow mediated dilation) is a measure of blood flow and IMT (intima media thickness) a measure of plaque buildup in the carotid (neck) artery.    So these authors basically stated that as plaque levels increased, blood flow decreased and, yes, in young people.  And this undoubtedly explains some of the difficulties these young men were having in the bedroom.  In my same page on Young Men and Erectile Dysfunction, I point out a study that shows as many as one fourth of all young men have erectile dysfunction.  These guys should be struggling NOT to have spontaneous erections at that age, but instead have the arteries of the typical senior from a few generations ago.

NOTE:  How do you measure your atherosclerosis?  There are two ways that you can do it on your own (in the U.S. in 45 out of 50 states) without a doctors orders:  a) an IMT through Lifeline for $70 or b) a Heart Scan through one of your local heart institutes.  The former is an ultrasound of a neck carotid.  The latter is usually around $99 and does involve some radiation.  You can read hear about my  My Heart Scan Results.

2.  Heart Disease is Greatly Reduced.  The #1 killer of men is by far heart disease. And many studies have shown that stabilizing or regressing arterial plaque improves heart disease on all fronts. Again, let me quote from Dr. Gould: "Regression of coronary atherosclerosis markedly reduces the risk of plaque rupture, thrombosis, vasoconstriction, heart attack, sudden death and the need for coronary bypass surgery or balloon dilation." [7]

Another one of the plaque regressors, Dr. Esselstyn, has found very similar results.  His strategy was to put men on a low fat vegan diet, which profoundly decrease inflammation and cholesterol.  And he noted the following at a 12-year follow up:

--About 3/4ths of them had regressed their atherosclerosis

--All of them had stabilized their atherosclerosis

--Angina and heart events were dramtically improved when compared to those that were initially in the program and then quit. [8]

3. Niacin and Statins Improve Endothelial Function.  First of all, let me say that I am no fan of statins and, generally speaking do not even think they are necessary.  However, Dr. Gould, who reverses plaque day in and day out, uses statins effectively for that purpose.  And Dr. Esselstyn will occasionally use a statin with some of his patients as well.  I am also no huge fan of high dose niacin as it just does not seem natural to me.  However, I freely admit that Dr. Davis also used niacin very effectively to reverse plaque.  Basically, both of these strategies improve lipid parameters, especially LDL-P (apoB), and thus can decrease plaque.  Again, see my page on How to Reverse Your Arterial Plaque for some of the details.

Now let me make an observation:  both high dose niacin and statins have studies showing that they improve endothelail function.  Isn't it just a bit odd that the two big gun compounds that regress plaque improve endothelial function??  For example, one study on men and women with Metabolic Syndrome (prediabetes - and probably well over half of those reading this have prediabetes - showed that niacin improved endothelial function by 22%. [2] Just one supplement did that!  Imagine if the particpants also ate nitric oxide boosting foods - see my book  The Peak Erectile Strength Diet for more information - and exercised!

Likewise, many studies have shown that statins improve endothelial function.  Yes, statins are have many issues with them, but one can't deny that they can get the blood flowing and arteries dilating again for many men. [4][5] Again, isn't it coincidental that these two anti-plaque agents immediately help with endothelial function and, therefore, will generally help with erections?

A Vicious Circle: Endothelial Dysfunction Predicts Future Plaque.  We all know that the ultimate sign of poor endothelial function, high blood pressure, is a huge risk factor for atherosclerosis.  This is due to several reasons, but one is that the increase pressure hitting the arterial walls makes them more vulnerable to developing plaque.  This was shown in a different way from a study that found that "systemic endothelial function was associated with progression of preclinical carotid arterial disease over a 6-year period and was more closely related to cIMT changes than conventional risk factors." [3] The authors stated that in their opinion it was likely due to the fact that the endothelial dysfunction created a ripe enivonment to actually increase damage to the lining of the arteries.  Yes, this is a vicious circle:  arterial plaque worsens endothelial function and endothelial dysfunction worsens plaque.  No wonder most people are limping around by their 50's and on multiple medications!

CONCLUSION:  Regressing plaque will likely do the following for men:

  • Greatly protect them from heart attack, angina and stroke
  • Will improve blood flow, nitric oxide and blood pressure
  • Will protect erectile strength and improve erectile dysfunction
  • By the way, plaque regression will likely also protect men from Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. New research is showing that these may just be part of "calcification of the brain" similar to the way heart disease is "calcification of the arteries."

    REFERENCES:

    1)  Circulation, 2004, 110:2918-2923,"Interrelations Between Brachial Endothelial Function and Carotid Intima-Media Thickness in Young Adults: The Cardiovascular Risk in Young Finns Study"

    2) International Journal of Clinical Practice, Nov 2007, 61(11):1942 1948, "The effects of extended-release niacin on carotid intimal media thickness, endothelial function and inflammatory markers in patients with the metabolic syndrome"

    3) Circulation, 2009; 119: 1005-1012, Published online before print February 9, 2009, "Endothelial Function Predicts Progression of Carotid Intima-Media Thickness"

    4) Circulation, 2005, 111:2356-2363, Published online before print May 2, 2005, "Simvastatin Versus Ezetimibe: Pleiotropic and Lipid-Lowering Effects on Endothelial Function in Humans"

    5) Circulation, 2001, 104:376-379, "Cerivastatin, a Hydroxymethylglutaryl Coenzyme A Reductase Inhibitor, Improves Endothelial Function in Elderly Diabetic Patients Within 3 Days"

    6) Heal Your Heart, by Dr. K. Lance Gould, Rutgers Univ. Printing, 5th edition, 2002, p. 36

    7) Heal Your Heart, by Dr. K. Lance Gould, Rutgers Univ. Printing, 5th edition, 2002, p. 37

    8) http://www.dresselstyn.com/reversal01.htm