How to Prevent Calcification of Your Arteries

Too much calcium, along with other lifestyle and dietary factors, can increase calcification risk.

You cannot turn on the television without hearing the wonderful benefits of calcium. Milk is promoted extensively by both dietitians and doctors as being the most important food for children and adults for the building and maintenance of “strong bones”. We are inundated with the miracles of this nutrient. However important, without the proper balance of calcium and other nutrients, calcium cannot perform its job of helping your bones. In fact, it may provide unseen consequences to your arteries.

What is Calcification of the Arteries?

Our bones need calcium, yet how do they know how to get into our bones? Vitamin K, as well as other biological process helps “direct” and keep the calcium in the bones. If they do not stay there, they can be released and stored in the arteries. This can lead to “hardening of the arteries”, atherosclerosis and calcification of the arteries. This, in turn, can lead to heart attack, stroke, diabetes, and perhaps other diseases.

Endothelial collagen caps “attract” calcium to deposit its stores in the arteries, forming a bone like structure. This is what is meant by calcification of arteries commonly called, “hardening of the arteries”. This can be very common in some people more than others, such as the elderly and those with a poor diet and lifestyle program.

Who is at Risk for Calcification?

A poor diet can increase the chances of calcification. As mentioned previously, vitamin K helps to keep calcium out of the arteries and in the bones.  Too much calcium (as promoted by conventional nutritionists and medical establishments) and very little vitamin K can increase calcification of the arteries.

Oxidative stress can also increase calcification. The standard American diet (SAD) contains an enormous amount of compounds that increase free radical production, as processed foods and conventionally raised animals have very unnatural, chemical ingredients, additives, hormones, pesticides, etc. Damage to sites in the body promote healing mechanisms to occur. Since the body is always trying to maintain an equilibrium, calcium might deposit in damaged sites in the arteries, resulting in calcification.

Eat Your Greens! (To Prevent Calcification)

Greens provide an excellent source of vitamin K to balance out your calcium intake from dairy products (hopefully raw dairy). In fact, you really don’t need dairy at all for calcium, despite what has been told to us over the years. Greens, nuts and seeds, provide a good source of calcium, balanced with the vitamin K. Plus, it’s lower in calories and filled with antioxidants and other nutrients that dairy lacks.

Although I do love raw goat milk and cheeses, especially since they are so easy to digest, I have to admit that vegetation should be the number one source for nutrients for healthy bodies. You can read more about calcium and vitamin K, and other articles I have on this blog about building healthy bones here.

My semester is finally over! That means I can spend more time here connecting with everyone who cares enough to come and be a part of The Healthy Advocate. I’m actually able to make this my full-time summer job, so yay me! I have more recipes coming, so stay tuned for them, as well as a new blog post about my experience being in a conventional Dietetics education system. Until next time, this is The Healthy Advocate.

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5 Responses to “How to Prevent Calcification of Your Arteries”
  1. Wendy Meyers 15 May 2012 at 12:16 pm #

    Great blog Brandon and a very important topic! I think it’s critical for people to understand the difference between Vit K1 and Vit K2. The latter is what’s responsible for arterial calcification and most people are highly deficient in K2. Supplementation of eating Natto (a Japanese form of fermented soy) is the best way to get proper levels of K2.

    Here is a very informative article which will help direct readers further.

    http://menaq7.com/index.php?page=differences-between-vitamins-k1-and-k2

    Wonder job covering an important topic. You have a great site!

  2. Wendy Meyers 15 May 2012 at 12:17 pm #

    Sorry…let me rephrase that: Vit K2 is what’s required to PRVENT arterial calcification. :-)

    • admin 15 May 2012 at 2:10 pm #

      Thank you so much Wendy. Yes, Vitamin K2 is definitely the vitamin to be concerned with to prevent arterial calcification (as well as to promote many other aspects of human health). I haven’t tried Natto yet, but am very interested in incorporating it into my diet very soon.

  3. Bella Bells 20 May 2012 at 11:34 pm #

    So the verdict is, aside from milk, we should also eat foods rich in vitamin K. Hmm, what if I only get vitamin k2 supplements (not consume natural foods), will that do?

    • admin 22 May 2012 at 7:41 am #

      We really should be receiving the bulk of our nutrients from natural foods, to receive the nutrients from their natural source. That is what nature intends for us. When we are traveling, or very busy, to eat properly, vitamin K2 supplements are great, but should only be seen as supplements, not replacements. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment Bella! I hope this helps. :)

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