How to Reverse 20 years of Arterial Plaque: I Did: Ford Brewer MD MPH

How to Reverse 20 years of Arterial Plaque: I Did: Ford Brewer MD MPH


Hello this is Dr. Ford Brewer – with
state-of-the-art preventive medicine, heart attack, cancer, and stroke
prevention. Today we’re going to talk about removal of plaque from artery
walls. Everybody knows you can’t do that, right ? Well, that’s not right!
Actually I’m a poster boy for getting plaque out of my artery walls. I’m going
to show you my CIMT results from two years ago. As you see here that’s my C
IMT. It was done in February of 2015. I was 57. I had a plaque here and a
discreet plaque there. Well, that wasn’t good news. If you look
at my arterial age, it was estimated at 73 (years old.) Here are the normo- grams for the
(predictable amount of) thickness that you expect to see for males and females. And
there’s mine. So again, I was not a happy camper! That’s an emotional event,
whenever a patient sees a plaque in their arteries. And for me that was a
surprise. expected to have crystal clean arteries. I’d
always been the the poster boy for a good heart attack and stroke lifestyle
nobody expected me to have that. I started off as an ER doc very early – in
my early 20s. I got very frustrated seeing too many early heart attacks. I went
to Johns Hopkins to learn prevention. I
loved it, did well, and ended up running the program in
prevention. I’ve taught a couple of the past presidents of the American College
of Preventive Medicine. (Or maybe I should say they taught me!) So I know prevention . And I’ve always basically
practiced it- good diet, good lifestyle, good exercise. (I followed a)
plant-based diet all according to the standard
recommendations (at that time. The science keeps improving. ) Now what I’m getting ready to show you
is plaque – so you can understand what that is. You can see that in a couple of
my other videos as well. To understand plaque you need to understand the artery.
There are two layers of the artery that we need to look at :one is the intima (or endothelium)
layer; the other is the media layer. Normally LDL ( the small dense LDL
particles) can go through this intima (or endotheliel layer). Then, when they do, they’ll go
straight on through the media layer. But in arteries that have inflammation, they
lose the ability to pass through this media layer. That’s research by the way
that’s only just a couple of months old. It was done by a mentor and friend Brad
Bale along with Amy Doneen and David Vigerust. So what you’re looking at here
in a CIMT is the Carotid rtery Intima Media Thickness test. So again
that’s where you’re going to get plaque laid down. Let’s look at it in terms of
plaque progression. This end of the picture is a normal healthy artery
with very little plaque. As you see it progress, you get more and more plaque.
One of the things you may notice – is that the flow is not compromised until there
is a deep level of plaque. So that’s why flow studies like
angiograms and stress tests are way too late. They
don’t really look at doing any kind of intervention (because their interventions are surgery focused). They don’t look at that (surgery) until you get a 50% occlusion ( occlusion means blockage of flow). As
you can see, with this kind of plaque you still have very little
occlusion(or blockage of blood flow). So we’re saying: Wait; Move back up here; and Start thinking about the
determinants(the things that make your plaques inflamed, the things that cause
deposition of plaque). Here’s a a couple of views from
patients that have heart attacks. This is the intima(endothelial) layer – that narrow layer, the
lining. This is the media layer. So everything in between those two is
plaque (mostly LDL – or “bad cholesterol” that has gotten stuck between the intimar & media layers). That’s what they’re measuring. With me they were measuring
the thickness and saying, “Look, even though you’re 57 years old you’ve
got enough plaque here to where you fit the normo- gram (or the average) of a 73
year old. This shows another thing – it shows inflamed plaque. What is inflammation
of plaque? Inflammation of plaque is – where your immune system attacks it (the LDL in the plaque between the intima & media layers).
White cells from our immune cells go in ( to the LDL in the plaque) with antibodies. They release enzymes. (These enzymes are meant to digest & dissolve the plaque.) We
can actually measure a couple of those enzymes: myeloperoxidase (also called MPO) and LP-PLA2 (also called “plack2”) – all
in blood tests. This is what causes the heart attack – not this. This is a waxy,
stable substance. This is a liquid. As you see from here this is liquid. (When they
dry this sample for the microscope – the liquid retracted away from the from the slide.)
You can also see there is very little standing between the blood flow
and that hot plaque! Here’s why that’s the problem:
hot liquid plaque – when it touches blood will cause a clot. It’s not regular
plaque that causes the heart attack. It’s the clot. In well over 90 percent of the
cases, the clot comes from liquid plaque that has gotten out and
touched the blood. That’s exactly what happened with this patient. As you see,
this is the intima layer. And The media layer’s out here. This is plaque. The
intima has a few cracks in it. We actually look at that (the intima – or endothelial layer) when we’re looking
for MACR – ( Micro-Albumen/ Creatinine Ratio).
That’s one of our tests for inflammation. (This test – MACR is used by most internists. Although most know it’s important, not as many know we’re checking for holes in the intima. That’s because the intima is the membrane filter of the kidneys – see other videos,) I’ll talk about that in another video. But you see here – this “hot”, or liquid plaque has leaked into the bloodstream. And this
is a clot. The majority of this clot broke off & went up to the heart. It caused the
heart attack and killed this patient! (The fact that this clot is) down in here shows evidence
that the blood actually seeped through the cracks in the in the intima and
formed the clot inside that area (inside the wall as well. I’m still standing! I
didn’t have that happen. But what did I do about it? Obviously there was not
a whole lot that I could do (or so I thought at the time I taped this video) for my 73 years
worth of plaque (deposition of LDL and my artery wall) – in terms of lifestyle because my
lifestyle was pretty good. (Or so I thought at the time). Soon that I began to realize that if I had
not had a good lifestyle I very well could have had an event and all the bad
things that go along with having a cardiovascular event now. (The reality is that I should I have focused more on my dietary high-glycemic carbs). I did have
some other things and you might be guessing genetics. Yes, I did I had some
genetic challenges. I had (& obviously still have) 9P21. The 9 stands for the number of the
chromosome. I’ve got 23 chromosome pairs (like most humans).
Chromosome 9 has a
section on it called p21 which has a lot of heart attack gene problems(called SNPs – or Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms. These are sort of like mutations. Except these are stable variations seen in a lot of the population.) In fact, if
you look at Brad (Bale) & Amy( Doneen’s) book BEAT THE HEART ATTACK GENE, that’s the one they’re
talking about -9p21 I also have 4q25. That one (4q25 – again on the fourth
chromosome) is really an atrial fib risk gene. My mother has atrial fib. I
have atrial fib.(Atrial fibrillation is the most common cardiac rhythm problem.) We have some predisposition (genetic tendency) for that (atrial fib). (I also ran marathons on weekends. It has recently been found that prolonged, intense conditioning can also increase the risk for atrial fibrillation. In retrospect, that may not be a good idea for someone with 4Q25.) it’s not all just atrial fib, though.
Current evidence is beginning to indicate that it also has some risk (with 4q25)
associated with heart attack and stroke as well. Fortunately for me I had HAP 1,1. Haptoglobin 1,1 . I have a series on cardiovascular genetics. We can talk
about those later What else did I have? ApoE 3,3 – so not a
lot of risk associated with ApoE 4. I didn’t have that allele (or that ApoE4 gene). I did
have high blood pressure. And as I’ve mentioned a couple of times before I had
insulin resistance. (I didn’t know about my insulin resistance until it had already caused this plaque. If anyone should have known – it was me.) One of the major associations with 9 p21, by the way,
is diabetes. (Another reason I should have discovered my IR earlier.) So that could I have a genetic predisposition for both diabetes and
heart attack & stroke. (Again, at that time, I followed standard practices in this area. Now, on fasting & low carb diets, I’m keeping my blood sugar, insulin & HgA1c at much better levels.) So what did I do I did do a couple of lifestyle things. I
did a little tune-up. I started eating salmon everyday (more like 3 days/week now. I realize the salmon/mercury haters out there believe this is a problem) – to get omega
3s. I added niacin. Niacin is a supplement
which improves HDL, decreases LDL and decreases triglycerides. Niacin is an
over the counter you get up to about 2 grams daily. It is the only thing that we
have so far that has such a widespread (or broad) effect on all our cholesterol values.
Was it the niacin? I don’t think – well, it could have been – I think the niacin
helped. I don’t think so (I don’t think the niacin was the major change, but contributed.) There were a couple of other medication
modifications I made. One was ramipril. I had high blood pressure
I was on an ARB (a related type of blood pressure medications). I switched to an ACE inhibitor. We’ve mentioned that before
we’ll mention that again in other videos. ACE inhibitors, like statins, do more than
what they’re prescribed for. ACE inhibitors are prescribed for high blood
pressure. They actually decrease inflammation. Inflammation
causes arteries to lay down plaque.
Likewise with statins. I think that’s where I made the biggest change. (I’ve made bigger changes since then by getting control of my previously unknown blood sugar problem.) I had
been avoiding (delaying, refusing) taking statins – like most of my patients – because of the side
effects. I went ahead and “bit the bullet” and took the Crestor (rosuvastatin). I took a
very low dose of Crestor – 5 milligrams. (Since getting better control of my blood glucose through dietary carb control, I have dropped the Crestor to 2.5 mg 2 times/week.) I could take a lower dose. The lower
doses impact (decrease) inflammation. They don’t impact (or cause) diabetes at the lower doses. And I think that’s what made the difference. By the way what was the
difference? A year ago my (plaque age) my artery age was 59. A few months ago
my artery age was 52. (2 years ago my artery age was 73 – for a total drop of 21 years in about 2 years.) A few weeks ago, it was 52 so you can’t reverse plaque, right? I don’t believe
that! Thank you This sounds like my major focus is medications. It never was before. And it isn’t now. Please understand my point. Research & experience show that lifestyle is far more important. But sometimes – like when I was unknowingly building plaque with dietary carbs – meds can help.

89 Replies to “How to Reverse 20 years of Arterial Plaque: I Did: Ford Brewer MD MPH”

  1. My Doc switched me from Lozartan (not effective with max dose) to Clonidine for my HTN. Stopped taking ACE inhibitor d/t cough side effect. What are your thoughts on the Clonidine?

  2. I must repeat: Cholesterol is not the problem !!! Its inflammation . Cholesterol is trying to repair your arteries.

  3. Very interesting, indeed cholesterol is not the problem (although there should be the right balance HDL versus LDL) read “the cholesterol Myth”

  4. Ramopril heals you? I thought it just temporarily lowered your pressure without curing the underlying cause.

  5. My dad had horrid artery blockage from early age (multiple heart bypass surgeries plus stints LOTS of cardiac drugs etc from age 40 on…) I am 65 they just ultrasounded my arteries and the tech said "WOW! GREAT arteries!) …I have been taking vitamin d3 and K2 for several YEARS now….coincidence?

  6. Dr. Brewer, I might have missed it but what were your total cholesterol numbers and HDL and LDL while you were on the whole foods plant based diet before you tweaked your regimen with a statin? And what are your numbers now after you have added a statin?

  7. he mentions niacin but then says he didn't think it helped. and, I used to love oily fish but recent information about farmed salmon conditions and wild fish consuming plastics has really put me off.

  8. Well either way, I’ve got an appointment this week, and I think I’ll be bring this up since both family sides have a history of congestive heart.

  9. Hi Dr. Brewer, can you please tell me what dose of niacin you are taking? I have LP(a) and taking 10 mg of rosuvastatin mainly for the anti inflammatory impact as my LDL is well control by diet. I would like to see if I can drop the LP(a) with a niacin supplement.

  10. My dad took statins and they nearly put him in a wheelchair. It takes many people months to get back to walking anything like they normally did before.

  11. Here's how to remove plaque in your arteries: REMOVE SUGAR. Go on a keto diet eating this: avocado, green drink (powdered and 5g of carbs) and sea/mineral salt TWICE a day (breakfast, dinner) for 6 to 9 days at a time. This diet is fast-mimicking (your body will think your full blown fasting). Doing keto at first will yield a symptom that's called keto flu characterized by low energy/lethargy. To combat this take a b vitamin complex through out the day, I recommend the company Standard Process (search Amazon) and these ESSENTIAL supplements from them: Cataplex B, Cardio-Plus, and Cyruta (the last one is like roto-rooter for the arteries). After doing fast-mimicking for 6 or 9 (athletes do 9) you take a day off and consume no more than 100g of carbs in the form of vegetables as well as "keto approved" foods. Think fat in terms of fuel folks. STOP eating sugar. IT IS KILLING YOU

  12. I like much of what Dr. B is saying, however I can't see how anyone could miss the obvious fact that his atherosclerosis was caused by his plant-based diet.

  13. Ford Brewer this was in 2017. Can you tell us an update of these results in 2019. I would love to learn more.

  14. What of more natural methods as many meds. my body does not tolerate well. In other words foods or dietary changes.

  15. Doctor did you hear of a Christian minister who spoke of his NDE after a heart attack? He spoke of a gene responsible for strokes. Please Google or search on YouTube.

  16. In reference to cholestrol and statins my understanding is its about the protein particle size i think called homocysiene. Doctors do not ook at this. I read a book on The Cholesterol Hoax by Dr. Sherry Rogers explaing this. There is a problem i have famial cholesterol and ive tried every holistic approach i know of for twenty years even after my coronary. To no avail i just had 3 more serious blockages fixed and a pacemaker which is a separate issue. Im now on repatha which lowered my cholesterol substantially for the first time since i was diagnosed in my 20's. Im 67 now. So im was very interested in what Dr. Brewer and others have to say.I
    My brother died at 31, my father 51 and my siser has had triple bi-pass surgery.

  17. Excellent – you may never know the number of people you have saved from an early grave or stroke issues. Thank you.

  18. I'm on a statin for really high cholesterol and warfarin because I had heart surgery when I was 20 to fix a congenital defect. I have a mechanical heart valve. If cholesterol is produced to repair arteries, maybe my high cholesterol is due to my aorta being permanently replaced with a poly carbon valve. Thoughts? Am I able to take niacin and coq10? Omega 3?

  19. Go from a plant based diet to adding meat, should improve health every time. Limit a bunch of those vegetables you’ve been eating, and you might not need all those supplements.

  20. I’m sure you’re familiar with Dr Caldwell Esselstyn’s work?💚 chronically impaired circulation is a systemic disease that is a dietary problem that demands a dietary solution. Consider the low fat vegan diet and Say no to the fish and get your omega 3s from the source that fish get it-Plants. But the main focus must be eating low fat vegan Whole Foods, which drastically reduces cholesterol intake and raises fiber intake. JUST TRY THIS and your LDL will drop, CRP will drop, atherosclerosis will disappear and you’ll have an artery age of a 20 year old 😉 not a 52 year old.

  21. Thank you Dr. Brewer for the information you disperse on your videos.  Your sacrifice in becoming a preventative MD speaks volumes for your integrity.  Again, thank you

  22. High cholesterol is not an issue at all keep you hdl up and also your triglycerides should not be too low either low TR is linked too people with Alzheimer’s 🙈cholesterol is a necessary fuel for your body it’s better too have it high then too low ! and you know what doctors always said lower your cholesterol 🙈🙈bad choice inflammation is the cause not cholesterol by high carb diets and sugar healthy fats like canned sardines in olive oil best food you can eat !

  23. I thought this channel showed promise. I saw the Vitamin K2 video and I thought by the end of this video Apple Cider Vinegar, Ceyenne, Tumerric and Lemon would be mentioned but no. Big Pharma and their poisons were. Just following protocol hey Doc.

  24. Thanks for the valuable info! How many mg do you recommend in Niacin for a triglyceride level of 200. Total cholesterol of 170 and 103 LDL cholesterol .? Thank you

  25. Since turmeric is a strong anti-inflammatory and possible vasodilator, wouldn't it be a good idea to get this into our system to fight heart disease?

  26. Dr. Brewer the cardiologist that explains cardiovascular disease probably better than anyone on YouTube including my cardiologist makes it easy to understand , direct and to the point by explaining and using his own condition that some of us may be facing tells us in plain English What he did to reverse his condition that A lot of people are dealing with, I will be Subscribing to his site

  27. What is the most common chronic inflammation in the human body.? Gum disease. See your dental hygienist/ dentist / periodontist regularly.

  28. My friend just told me that she took Red Yeast Rice. She dropped 89 points the first month of taking it. You can get it in the vitamin section of any drug store or Walmart. I took 3 types of statins and had to stop. Then they put me on Repatha . It’s a shot every two weeks. My joints were in #10 pain. I thought I was going crippled. Finally got off of it. Now I’m taking the red yeast rice. Niacin and cholestoff. I will be going soon for a blood test to see how it has effected my cholesterol levels. BTW I was tested at 405 when I started the shots.

  29. Glad to see your score is much better now but why to vit K2mk7? I just started on it because of my Cat scan calcium score of 611 which is severe at age 66. My dr. also put me on a high does statin at 80mg. The heart dr is running a battery of test on me next week. I also have changed to a keto diet. No sugar, no sweets, no wheat, etc. Hope to see some good results. My internist told me that the high does of Atorvastatin will smooth out the calcium in my arteries. Thanks, Ray

  30. Confused! How does Crestor and diet reduce plaque, without turning stable plaque into soft/liquid plaque, leading to clot. I thought the best we could hope for was to stabilize plaque via Creator, and not add to it via diet??? Terrified of clot….. have Atherosclerosis and on low-dose aspirin and Pravastatin, 20ml

  31. So you are recommending statins??? Bummer, there are so many other natural ways to fight inflammation… very disappointed to hear that.

  32. Can anyone tell me about the diet plan and what kind of exercise is better for 60yrs old. My dad has 30-40% blockage and I’m worried

  33. I am a peso-vegetarian …mainly veggies and fish/ shell fish. Petty good on health food. Well recently my cholesterol went up because of the shell fish. I stop eating all meat and ate fish and still got high blood pressure. Well I thought I was treating my body good. I do not want to do anymore meds. I hope this helps.

  34. Best CVD indicator. Do CAC scan, it'll cost you about $100 , note US Medical Insurance won't pay for this gold standard test. Best $100 you'll ever spend as it'll give you a baseline to gauge your Arterial Plaque going forward.

  35. My parents are late in age and I've been on the whole food-plant based diet. They won't switch to get better and live long. They have typical ailments of people in the later years on the standard American diet. I am very sad, Dr. Brewer. They don't believe the hype. However, I am doing well. I found and implemented the message.

    I am far better having LDL at 65 and then off bp med and bp is normal. No tachycardia, hr is < 75. I am so happy about that. I need my parents to live longer because they are family! Best wishes.

  36. We must wake up to the fact that we are living in a world bathed in chemicals. Many of them promote inflammation in humans. No one dares talk about this but this is a fact. Only a handful have even been thoroughly tested for health effects in humans. There is a wealth of info in environmental health research for those who wish to investigate.

  37. Here the Remedy(check out Ivor Cummings):

    Niacin
    Megadosing vit K2 mk4 and mk7. (check out k koncentrate website)
    topical magnesium….. lots daily.
    selenium yeast form. selenoexcel 600mcg day
    low dose astaxanthin
    vitamin D3 (balance with K2)
    vit C
    berberine and/or metformin
    Lots of sunlight
    Carnivore diet….. or strict 0 carb keto. Don't overdo plants.
    no stimulants or stress…. cortisol = insulin/glucose.
    Weight lifting/ daily air squats/Mercola's NO exercise.
    Turn off wifi, mobile phones and block blue light at night.

    Done….. problem solved.

  38. There’s a lot of Niacin in watermelon as well. You make me feel good about my freshly pressed watermelon juice, (I’m aware of the sugar content, I never juice it but I need to rehydrate… stomach flu!)

  39. Hey doc, I have high blood pressure at 21, we where doing tests in my bio class and mine was the highest at 146/90 mm hg my heart rate was 89 beats per minute resting. I was very surprise. How can I reduce this? I’m fit, and I’m actually quite skinny so I’m very confused. I have not tested to see if my arteries are fine but I will soon.

    Thanks in advance.

  40. But why take Crestor for cholesterol management? There’s Red Yeast Rice and GugulLipid. (And of course some minor diet changes.). I lowered my cholesterol by 40 points in less than 2 months. My doctor was blown away to say the least. Ironically, when I told her what I used she paused and said: “I don’t know anything about those. I can’t recommend it.” Red Yeast Rice is a natural statin. But like all statins, you must take COQ10 because that becomes depleted. After I normalized I’ve never needed to take anything. I’m 52 and have never taken an RX. Just eat right and stay SLIM!

  41. Monika Torda

    10 months ago

    2 glasses upon waking (helps activate internal organs)

    1 glass 30 mins before meal (helps digestion)

    1 glass before a bath (lowers blood pressure)

    1 glass before bed (avoids heart attack & stroke, muscle cramping)

  42. That’s Texas fried food that plaques up your arteries.. it’s common throughout the south with a fried diet that’s been generational in design.
    But now we are smart-eaters- heck- even 7-11 sells bananas!

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