Meet Joe and Bob
Both of these fellas are in their sixties. Joe works out regularly and has a very healthy diet; chicken, fish, vegetables. All this while his blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar are under control and yet he has a hidden risk factor for a heart attack. Bob on the other hand, is a meat and potatoes man and watching ESPN is the closest he gets to exercise; although it is quite an effort for him to lug around that beer belly of his. Does that count as exercise? In any case, Bob’s blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar are at very unhealthy levels, yet he does NOT have the risk factor that Joe does. In fact, you’d normally expect Bob to keel over any day now, but the truth is, Joe is more likely to go!
Tissues Harden As a Result of Calcification
This sounds crazy and probably seems to go contrary to what we’ve been told for years. While blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar are important and are all factors that determine heart disease risk, many of us actually start turning to stone in our sixties. This is not Medusa’s doing, but rather the slow calcification of blood vessels, organs and soft tissues. Essentially what begins happening is that calcium begins to deposit in these areas, the same calcium that keeps bones strong. When soft tissues are exposed to calcium deposits, they begin to harden, just like a bone. Soon they cannot do their job properly or at all (like pump blood!). Sound crazy?
- One study of 577 seniors age 55-86 showed calcification in more than half of the participants and the severity increased with age.1
- Another study of 10,305 men and women, averaging 65 years old, found that 40% had calcification.2
- An even larger study of 44,052 healthy individuals WITHOUT risk factors for heart disease showed that 48% of them had calcification to some degree.3
It’s even worse for those already dealing with diabetes or kidney disease, but something can still be done.4 In fact, it may even be reversible, but time is of the essence.
You Need it and Then it Kills You
You likely already know that calcium is an essential mineral. Our bones are made of it and some is always found in the bloodstream. However, if you don’t get enough calcium in your diet, your body starts robbing it from your bones, eventually causing problems like osteoporosis. So you need calcium, but you also have to be able to absorb it. If not, then it rides around in the blood until it finds a home somewhere, like a blood vessel5. Now arteries and veins both carry blood and are naturally very elastic and stretchy, but calcium deposits cause them to harden and pretty soon blood cannot flow properly. It’s quite a conundrum! If you don’t get enough calcium, your body robs it from your bones and it is eventually deposited in your blood vessels and organs where it eventually kills you!
The Beating Stops
Sadly, heart failure is often the first sign that atherosclerotic calcification is a problem. It alone is strongly linked to heart failure and of course death. Here are some more studies to consider:
- 1867 seniors with no known symptoms of heart disease were sampled for calcification levels and followed for the next 7 years. Those with higher calcification levels were almost 4 times as likely to experience heart failure.6
- Another 10,746 people, again with no risk factors to start, showed a strong correlation between calcification levels and the likelihood of a coronary “event,” such as a heart attack or death. Perhaps even more disturbing was that this trend held true even for those under 40!7
- Here’s the doozie. In a study of 44,052 people, those with no risk factors for heart disease were 7 times more likely to die early because of atherosclerotic calcification than those with low calcification and 3 “normal” risk factors such as smoking, family history, high cholesterol and diabetes. In addition, high blood pressure and calcification was the worst combination8; these folks dropped like flies!
- On the bright side, a U.S. study of 13,092 subjects found that those with no calcification were far less likely to succumb to heart problems.9
Your Calcification Score
There’s a measurement out there called your CAC score, or coronary artery calcification. The higher the score, the greater your risk and it is a little bit scary how accurate this number is at predicting your next heart attack and perhaps death; even if you are otherwise the picture of health. Your score can be zero (that’s the best) or up in the thousands, but you want to be at least below 400 or else you are at risk. The only way to know for sure where you are at is a CT scan. If your “number is up” so-to-speak, you can take action right away to reverse the problem and potentially save your life with a new, cutting edge supplement known as Artery Strong.
Get ‘Em All
To make sure that your blood vessels do not turn to stone, you need 3 ingredients, but it is a little tricky. Vitamin K, vitamin D and vitamin A are all essential although they all come in several forms. Vitamin K2 and vitamin D3 are both forms that are naturally occurring; the others are lab imitations. Oftentimes beta carotene is a source of vitamin A found in vitamin supplements, but they are not the same thing. In fact, beta carotene is a source of vitamin A, but vitamin A is NOT a source of beta carotene. Beta carotene can become vitamin A as the body needs it, but it will do nothing for calcification. You need the form of vitamin A known as retinol and you can’t be sure beta carotene will give you what you need. That is because retinol:
- Keeps vitamin D in balance.
- Is involved in the regulation of cell reproduction, including in blood vessels.
- Lowers your risk of heart disease.10
Vitamins A and D also team up to improve cell communication, particularly in regard to those that regulate calcium. Interestingly enough, low levels of both have strong links to coronary artery disease.11 Perhaps you also already know that vitamin C is a significant player in calcium absorption. After all, if not absorbed properly, calcium ends up in places you don’t want it.
The K/D-Key to Calcification
Vitamin K is especially important because of its strong link with calcification. Those low in vitamin K are far and away more likely to develop calcification12,13. In fact, one Italian study found that low vitamin K was associated with calcification of the iliac arteries, the ones that service the entire lower half of your body.
Vitamin K also ensures that your calcium stays in your bones where it belongs (minus that tiny amount in your blood of course).15
Vitamin D produces a protein called osteocalcin which adds calcium to your bones. However, vitamin K must activate osteocalcin. Without enough D, not enough osteocalcin can be made and without enough K, the osteocalcin will not activate. Are you starting to see why these two are so important? One study showed this by finding that vitamins D and K together had a protective effect against heart disease and early death.16
Get the Right K
There are two forms of vitamin K commonly found in supplements, MK-4 and MK-7 and you want lucky number 7 because it is superior in every way. For instance, one study comparing the two found that the MK7 form hangs around in the blood stream for up to 48 hours after taking it, whereas MK-4 is undetectable even after a full week of supplementation.17 You would need to take thousands of times as much MK-4 to see the same effect as a tiny dose of MK-7. One recent study found that supplementation with MK-7 for 3 months showed a substantially improved vitamin K status.18 This is precisely what you need to avoid calcification.
Vitamin K and CAC
MK-7 has a very strong track record for preventing calcification:
- In a 3 year long double blind, placebo-controlled study, MenaQ7-the form of MK-7 found in Artery Strong significantly reduced arterial stiffness in healthy, older women. In fact, the stiffer the arteries, the greater the effect.19
- A recent animal study found that high doses of MK-7 reduced calcification in blood vessels.20
- An ongoing trial is currently looking out how well MK-7 can reverse, or at least slow down, the calcification process in those already diagnosed with heart disease and with CAC scores of 50-400. Researchers expect it will prove effective.
Artery Strong Stops Vascular Calcification
Now is the time to take action to ensure that you don’t become a statistic. Artery Strong contains the vitamin A, D and K you need to see that you keep on keepin’ on. Take one capsule per day and make sure it is along with a meal that includes fat. All 3 of these nutrients are fat soluble, meaning they need some fat to dissolve in to be the most effective.