Originally Posted by amergin
On the specific point of whether it is possible to reduce either Calcium Score or Plaque Volume ...
Following on from Liz53's info on score being age weighted, it appears to be possible to reduce the score at the same time as the plaque and calcium volume is increasing?
There appears to be no evidence that plaque or calcium, once laid down, can ever be removed, much as I would wish that to be the case. If anyone has any hard evidence to the contrary I would be glad to her it.
Liz is right in that age is a factor. But I don't think the score is weighed. I think that the score you get places you in a different percentile of risk based on your age. With my score I'm in the 90th percentile for a 53 year old male. Yikes! But if I was 70 my score would have put me in the 50th percentile. If I was 90, that score would be well below the 50th percentile. So I don't think that the actual calcium score changes with respect to age, but the score as a "risk factor" assessment is age dependent.
The Ivor Cummins video that Janet provided the link for indicates a significantly reduced risk of a CVD event if the rate of increased calcification is less that 15% per year. The cardiologist that I saw told me that those who are increasing their calcification at alarming rates (20% to 35% per year) are those that are not making significant lifestyle changes to address their CVD risk factors. Given the lifestyle changes I've made over the past 3 years he believes that I've put the breaks on as far as increased calcification goes. He didn't expect my score to change much in one year and suggested that I wait 2 or 3 years to have another Heart Calcium Scan done. I hope he is right, but I don't think I can wait that long. I was pretty heart sick (no pun intended) when I received the news of my calcium scan. I have since learned that my risk of a heart attach may not fall in line the statistics associated with my score. I want to know if my lifestyle has stopped or slowed down the rate of calcification in my arteries. I will retest next January.
Apparently there is some small rat study that was done that seemed to indicate that artery calcification can potentially be reduced with high doses of vitamin K2. In other words, it might be possible to actually improve your calcium score. I don't know how applicable this might be to humans. It certainly needs more study. I tried to find that rat study to provide a link. I couldn't find it. But I did come across this recent article on the potential benefits of vitamin K2:
Vitamin K2: new research confirms essential role in heart health
The entire article is good, but I found this section very encouraging given my circumstances:
Breakthrough intervention trial
At this point, only observational data suggested a link between vitamin K2 intake and cardiovascular health, but intervention trials with cardiovascular endpoints had been lacking. That was no longer the case once a groundbreaking 3-year study was published, confirming this association.
Researchers at the R&D Group VitaK of Maastricht University in the Netherlands monitored 244 healthy postmenopausal women for 3 years using pulse wave velocity and ultrasound techniques. The participants were randomly assigned to take a nutritional dose (180µg) of vitamin K2 as MK-7 (as MenaQ7 from NattoPharma) or a placebo capsule daily for 3 years.1
After 3 years of treatment, the Stiffness Index ß in the MK-7 group had decreased significantly compared with the slight increase in the placebo group (Figure 2). Results confirmed that MenaQ7 not only inhibited age-related stiffening of the artery walls, but also made a statistically significant improvement of vascular elasticity, especially in women with high arterial stiffness. According to the researchers, the data demonstrated that a nutritional dose of vitamin K2 as MK-7 (as MenaQ7) promotes cardiovascular health.
Improved vascular elasticity sounds good to me. That's a good enough reason for me to to make sure I'm getting enough K2 from natural sources or supplements.
Good natural sources of vitamin K2 are from sources like eggs, butter, & beef. It may be that increased carbs, BG, and insulin levels were not the only issues with the trend towards a low fat 'heart healthy" diet. Reduced consumption of the right fatty foods may have created a vitamin K2 deficiency, compounding the problem as far as CVD risk goes. Meat, butter, and eggs might actually be the "heart healthy" foods and we were eating less of them. I know I switched from eggs to cereal, butter for margarine, and less red meat for a number of years trying to eat "healthy" as I was told to. It didn't work for my weight nor my metabolic health, and more than likely increased my risk for CVD.
I was not big into taking supplements before, but since I had that calcium scan done I have added supplements to my daily regimen. Between now and my next heart calcium scan I will be supplementing with vitamin C, D3, K2 and magnesium. I will stick to my version of a LCHF + high fiber diet and I will continue my daily exercise. This is a serious N=1 experiment. I'm hoping for good results. If not, I may feel compelled to follow doctor's orders and take a statin.