Heart Health

How to prevent plaquing in coronary arteries-the complete list backed by science

By Kim Crawford, M.D. Last updated: March 6, 2020
how to prevent plaquing in coronary arteries

So you don’t want to develop heart disease?

Me either! If you’re reading this, you want to prevent problems before they start. You want to know how to prevent plaquing in coronary arteries and how to prevent cancer, auto-immune disease, and Alzheimer’s. I’m glad you’re reading this because I’ll present all of this information to you here. For now, though, we’ll focus on why you are reading this particular article.

Perhaps a loved one just had an episode or even died from a sudden heart attack, and you want to make sure this doesn’t happen to you. First of all, my very sincere condolences if this is the case. Second, my congratulations to you for taking steps to learn how to prevent coronary plaquing in your heart. Indeed, we can prevent plaque build-up. I wish more doctors who are Cardiologists would be Preventive Cardiologists because that’s where the satisfaction lies—not the money, but the satisfaction. That’s a sad statement, but let’s not get political here. Let me give you the information you want. To begin, let’s review how coronary plaquing happens.

How coronary plaque forms:

how to prevent plaquing in coronary arteriesPlaque forms when oxidized LDL cholesterol lodges in the wall of the artery. I’ll explain in detail what that means below.

Then, the body sends white blood cells to trap the cholesterol, which turns into foamy cells that ooze more fat and cause more inflammation.

Many experts believe it is this internal inflammation, along with all sorts of other inflammatory substances besides white cells that create the danger in the arterial smooth muscle wall.

The inflammatory response triggers smooth muscle cells in the arterial wall to multiply and form a cap over the area. The soft plaque beneath the cap is dangerous because it can break open, form a clot and cause a heart attack.

Soft plaque can also become hardened by minerals such as iron and calcium. In this case, we see pieces of hard plaque breaking off and causing heart attacks. Either way, plaquing is not a good thing to have in your arteries or anywhere in your body, for that matter.

The basics of plaque prevention-a review of what you know:


I think everyone is aware weight normalization is essential for cardiac health. In fact, being overweight or obese has just surpassed smoking (of all things!) as the #1 risk factor for coronary artery disease (plaquing). If you need help with weight loss, you might want to start out with my weight loss solutions article and then check out the rest of the information on this website.  I’m an anti-aging doctor as well as a well-known weight loss doctor so you can find tons and tons of what you need here. I won’t belabor this because you might already be at your ideal weight. However, if you’re not, you now know where to come for help.


I know you are aware that you must not smoke, but if you do, perhaps you don’t know what you truly need to quit. I know it’s controversial, but I’m convinced that vaping is far healthier than smoking. So, step one, switch to vaping. Then try to wean off using nicotine patches or gum. You may be unaware of this next part. You’ve likely heard that nicotine is as addictive as cocaine, right? Well, it’s true. That’s why quitting is so hard for people who smoke. The cause of nicotine addiction is dopamine craving. Dopamine is a brain chemical (neurotransmitter) which is low in most individuals with addictive disorders. You can raise your dopamine naturally by taking l-tyrosine and SAMe supplements. Doing so will make quitting smoke a whole lot easier.

Blood Pressure:

You are also aware that having a normal blood pressure is imperative, aren’t you? I’m just listing everything there is and will indeed get to some things you likely have not heard. Remember high blood pressure doesn’t generally cause symptoms such as headaches and/or nosebleeds. My medical colleagues and I don’t know how these myths started, but in my opinion, the myths cause people to be complacent about having their blood pressure checked. As a quick sidebar, if you have hypertension, diabetes, and are overweight, that’s called metabolic syndrome.

Metabolic Syndrome:

Metabolic syndrome puts you at a much higher risk of coronary artery disease. New (and rather exciting) research shows that metabolic syndrome is partially a result of an inadequate amount of SIRT1 enzymes (proteins) and that the SIRT1 pathway can be augmented by integratives (supplementation). Details on that are found in the sirtfood diet plan.


Diabetes is a risk factor for coronary artery disease, and I’ll leave it at that for now. I’m saying “for now” because diabetes isn’t the whole “blood sugar” story as you have been taught to think. Here is more you should know about what actually is a normal blood sugar to have.


Lastly, you are aware that exercise reduces your risk of heart disease, amongst other diseases. How much is enough? It depends on whether you are looking for optimal health, weight loss, or simply the American College of Cardiology recommendations of 40 minutes of walking 3-4x per week. Optimal health involves incorporating at least one session of high-intensity training, and two sessions of weight training as well. No time to weight train? You might want to try it “my way” and have your weight training fit into your schedule.

How to prevent plaquing in coronary arteries-what you might not know:

Now, let’s get into the things you might not know about because they are not publicized. Why not? I seriously don’t know. I also don’t know why the medical establishment insists on using drugs for treatment rather than using preventive advice. Oh wait, could it have anything to do with the pharmaceutical industry? Don’t get me started. Anyway, let me now tell you the whole story about how to prevent plaquing in coronary arteries.

Control internal inflammation:

The most important way to control inflammation is to eat carefully. The AHA calls this simply eating Mediterranean style, but there is no real explanation for you. Well, the explanation is that eating processed, sugary, starchy, or fast foods cause inflammation. Remember when we discussed plaque formation above? Inflammation is pivotal to the plaquing process. You can eat Paleo or just an anti-inflammatory diet  which is what you’ll find in full detail in my weight loss book. You can add supplements such as fish oils, green tea, and curcumin to lower inflammatory markers. Get this under control, or you will be clogging up your arteries. Inflammatory markers to have measured include a serum insulin, homocysteine and a CRP.

Control your blood sugar:

This is one of those arenas in which you may be educating your primary care doctor. Diabetes is now defined by the ADA as a fasting blood sugar of 119 mg/dl with insulin resistance at a fasting blood sugar of 100 mg/dl. I’m here to tell you these numbers are not only regularly adjusted down, but that they are still wrong, according to A4M (The American Academy of Anti-aging and Regenerative Medicine).

We see “glycation” which is cellular aging (stiffening, loss of function) at blood sugars of 85 mg/dl—not 100 mg/dl where, by the way, the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease begins to soar. When someone has a blood sugar that is “glycation-high” we always normalize weight and add blood-sugar lowering supplements such as berberine, alpha lipoic acid, and chromium nicotinate. We reduce all sugars to zero and starches to near-zero in the diet. Please check your fasting blood sugar to see if you need to have it adjusted.

Fix your oxidative stress:

This is a no-brainer. I measure this with a raman spectrometer, and all new patients have oxidative stress—100%. It’s basically a reflection of how many high-antioxidant fruits and veggies you consume, with some toxins from our world (pollution and so forth) put into the mix. We can correct it by eating about 15 servings of organic non-GMO fruits/vegetables daily, or “juicing.” Another option (what I do) is to use powdered fruit/veggies that are non-GMO and organic with no toxic additives that can be made into tasty drinks. If you cannot oxidize a small, sticky LDL particle, it simply cannot stick to your arteries. Think about that one to put oxidative stress solutions into perspective.

Control your stress and your cortisol level:

You might be aware that “stress” increases the likelihood of disease processes. However, you might not know why. Chronic stress increases cortisol levels. High cortisol is associated with higher levels of “catecholamines” such as epinephrine (adrenaline) which causes blood vessel constriction. The combination will increase your plaquing score (LpPLA2) and increase your chances of coronary artery disease.

Get educated about cholesterol:

Notice first I didn’t say get your LDL cholesterol level down to 99 mg/dl (no cardiac events) or 70 mg/dl (history of cardiac event), right? There are plenty of people who have had heart attacks and continue to plaque up their coronaries but have perfectly normal cholesterol profiles. What’s the problem?  You need to focus on the number and size of LDL particles, not the serum level. The serum level is an antiquated way to measure serum lipids which is about two years out of date. Alas, some doctors still use serum measurements instead of doing an NMR profile.

Furthermore, even if you have a high number of small, dense LDL particles, unless they are extremely high, we don’t commit you to a statin drug. By the way, statins are a lot more toxic than drug companies let you know. We make sure that your small LDL (potentially sticky) particles don’t oxidize. We make sure you don’t have inflammation, glycation or elevated cortisol. Further, we check you have a normal plaquing score. If all of these requirements are met, you don’t get slapped with a drug.

This is correct information, and I suggest you find yourself a Preventive Cardiologist if you have any of these issues.  Do make sure you get the guidance and treatment you need to prevent coronary artery disease.

If you have had a metabolic environment which supports plaquing, the great news is you can reverse heart disease (plaquing) if you do all of the things I’ve mentioned. So, good luck and contact me if you need me to answer questions for you.


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