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What is atherosclerosis?

The word "atherosclerosis" comes from the Greek words "athero" ("pasta") and "sclerosis" ("hardness"). That is why the condition is also called "hardening of the arteries".

Arteriosclerosis is a condition in which cholesterol, calcium and other substances, collectively referred to as plaque, block your blood vessels. This blocks the bloodflow to your vital organs, especially the heart.

Atherosclerosis is a complex condition that usually begins early in life and progresses as people age. Most people experience the complications of having arteriosclerosis in middle age. 

However, the starting stages can already start during childhood. Studies have shown that children from 10 to 14 years old can show the early stages of atherosclerosis.

The disease starts slowly and progresses over time. If you have high cholesterol, the excess cholesterol will eventually begin to collect on your vascular walls. The body then responds to the build-up by sending white blood cells to attack the cholesterol, just as they would attack a bacterial infection. 

Aderverkalking tegengaan | artherosclerose

The cells die after eating cholesterol and the dead cells also begin to collect in the artery. This leads to inflammation. If the inflammation lasts longer, scars will occur. 

In this phase, plaque formation begins as fat cells (cholesterol), calcium and other waste products attach themselves to the inside of the artery wall, which eventually hardens.

If more and more plaque adheres, the artery wall becomes narrower and narrower, which means that the blood cannot reach the areas it needs to reach.

What causes arteriosclerosis?

Researchers do not know exactly how or why it starts. It is believed that plaque starts to build up in arteries after the inner wall has been damaged. The most common causes of this damage are:

  • High cholesterol. When bad cholesterol or LDL passes the damaged endothelium, the cholesterol enters the wall of the artery. This causes your white blood cells to flow in to digest the LDL.
  • Poor diet
  • High blood pressure
  • Smoking cigarettes 
  • Drinking a lot of alcohol
  • Not enough exercise
  • Genetic predisposition

Improve bloodflow

What are the risks of atherosclerosis?

The blood vessels carry oxygen-rich blood and nutrients to all organs such as your heart, liver, skin, brain and kidneys. If the vessels become blocked, the relevant organs do not receive the necessary "fuel" to function optimally. 

Atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries, leads to many health problems, including stroke, heart attack, kidney disease and dementia. 

There is also a higher risk that when a blood clot from another part of the body breaks, it can get stuck in a narrow artery and cut off the blood flow completely, potentially causing a heart attack or stroke.

Aderverkalking tegengaan | artherosclerose

                                 Facts on veins

These are the diseases associated with atherosclerosis:

Heart disease. When plaque accumulates in your coronary arteries (the large blood vessels that carry blood to your heart), you are at increased risk of a heart attack.

Carotid artery disease. When plaque accumulates in the large blood vessels on either side of your neck (the carotid arteries that carry blood to your brain), you are at greater risk of having a stroke.

Peripheral vascular disease. When plaque accumulates in the large arteries that carry blood to your arms and legs, it can cause pain and numbness and even lead to serious infections.

Kidney disease. When plaque accumulates in the large arteries that carry blood to your kidneys, they cannot work properly. If your kidneys do not function well, they cannot remove waste from your body, which can lead to serious complications.


If you have symptoms, such as a weak pulse near a large artery, lower blood pressure near an arm or leg, or signs of an aneurysm, your doctor may notice these during a regular physical examination. Results of a blood test can tell the doctor if you have high cholesterol.

Other tests include:

  • An ultrasound, computed tomography (CT) scan or magnetic resonance angiography (MRA) allows doctors to look inside the arteries and tell how severe the blockages are.
  • Ankle-arm index. The blood pressure in your ankle is compared to your arm. If there is an unusual difference, this may indicate peripheral vascular disease.
  • Stress test. Doctors can monitor your heart and breathing while you exercise, such as cycling on an exercise bike or walking briskly on a treadmill. Because exercise makes your heart work harder, it can help doctors discover a problem.

How can you prevent arteriosclerosis?

You can prevent arteriosclerosis to ensure that your body produces enough nitric oxide in your veins.

Dr. Ignaro Nobel prize Winner explains in this video how your own body helps you to get and keep your arteries healthy through your own body's defense mechanism "Nitric Oxide".

Stop arteriosclerosis by making sure your vascular system produces more nitric oxide.

The signal wonder molecule nitric oxide helps remove incipient plaque formation on the endothelium.

Klick here: Explaining the important function of nitric oxide for the cardiovascular system.

Recover-Me provides the fuel for the production of nitric oxide in the vessels.     Order now


Video from the Nobel-Institute. 

In this video the Nobel-Institute explains why the discovery of nitric oxide in your arteries is so extraordinary and how you can increase your nitric oxide levels in your arteries.

Aderverkalking tegengaan | artherosclerose
Aderverkalking tegengaan | artherosclerose
Aderverkalking tegengaan | artherosclerose

Exercise regularly

Regular exercise can help fight arteriosclerosis by reducing the amount of fat in your blood, lowering your blood pressure and cholesterol and keeping your weight under control. 

It is never too late to start exercising. Brisk walking, swimming and cycling are good choices. Aim for 30 to 60 minutes a day with moderate cardio.

Adjust your diet. 

High levels of cholesterol are not the only risk factor in developing atherosclerosis, but they are an important contributor.

There are two types of cholesterol.

  • Low density lipoprotein (LDL) is also called 'bad' cholesterol
  • High density lipoprotein (HDL) is known as 'good' cholesterol. 
The aim in treating cholesterol and related problems is to keep LDL low and increase HDL.

Total cholesterol must be lower than 200 milligrams per deciliter (mg / dL)

  1. LDL cholesterol must be lower than 100 mg / dL
  2. HDL cholesterol must be higher than 60 mg / dL.
  3. The more you reduce the level of LDL, the more likely it is that your plaque will stop growing.

    Lower high cholesterol

Food that lowers "bad" cholesterol and increases "good":


Eat healthy fats. Olive oil, avocado and nuts are healthy options. 

Eat more fiber. Increase the consumption of whole grains and take 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day.

Lose weight and maintain a healthy weight.

Eat leaner meat.. Grass-fed beef and chicken or turkey breast are good examples. 

Limit your alcohol intake. Drinking regularly can increase your blood pressure, contribute to weight gain and disrupt restful sleep.

Stop smoking. Smoking reduces the amount of good cholesterol (high-density lipoprotein or HDL) that you have and may raise your blood pressure, resulting in increased pressure on your blood vessels. Lose weight and maintain your healthy weight. 

Maintain normal blood pressure.

High blood pressure

Niacine is also known as vitamin B-3. It is found in foods such as liver, chicken, tuna and salmon. Your doctor may recommend niacin supplements to help lower your cholesterol, as this may increase your "good" cholesterol levels by more than 30 percent. 

It can also lower triglycerides, another type of fat that increases your risk of heart disease. Niacin supplements can make your skin red and spiky, and they can cause nausea. The daily recommended amount of niacin is 16 mg for men. 

It is 14 mg for most women, 17 mg for breastfeeding women and 18 mg for pregnant women. Do not take more than the recommended amount without first talking to your doctor.

  • Avoid trans fats and limit saturated fats. These are usually found in processed foods and both cause that your body produces more cholesterol. 
  • Limit your sodium intake. Too much sodium in your diet can contribute to high blood pressure.

  • Plaque can build up in the blood vessels when people develop atherosclerosis or high cholesterol. 
  • If this plaque continues to grow, it can block blood flow.
  • Nitric oxide is our natural way of literally protecting ourselves from cardiovascular disease.
  • Dr Ignarro, Nobel Laureate, said: "The benefits of nitric oxide are numerous, especially for the cardiovascular system, but it also affects other systems."

  • Nitric oxide keeps your blood vessels healthy by increasing blood flow. What happens is that nitric oxide ensures that all the organs in the body get the right amount of blood, and therefore the nutrients and oxygen they need.
Nitric Oxide explained
  • As mentioned, the endothelium needs L-Arginine to produce nitric oxide. 
  • After the age of 23, the body barely produces and absorbs L-arginine. 
  • If you only take a supplement of L-arginine, your body will not absorb it sufficiently. 
  • Recover-Me is a unique formula of amino acids in the right proportions combined with a unique carrier, which optimises the production of nitric oxide in the body.
Order now

Surgery may be required if the symptoms of the arteriosclerosis are severe.

 Atherosclerosis surgery options are:

  1. Bypass surgery reroutes blood flow around a narrowed or obstructed artery by using a healthy blood conduit from another part of the body or an artificial tube.
  2. Thrombolytic therapy is the medical practice of injecting medication into a blocked artery to dissolve the clot blocking blood flow.
  3. Angioplasty and percutaneous coronary intervention, in which a catheter and balloon are used to dilate the artery; a stent is occasionally implanted to maintain the artery's new, expanded diameter.
  4. Atherectomy is a procedure in which plaque is removed from an artery using a catheter fitted with a cutting blade.
  5. Endarterectomy, in which your artery's fatty deposits are surgically removed.
  6. Coronary Artery Stenosis occurs when the heart's coronary arteries become narrowed and unable to provide adequate blood, oxygen, and nutrients. Most of the time, the culprit is plaques made up of cholesterol. These deposits cause arterial narrowing, reducing blood flow to the heart. In extreme cases, this can lead to a heart attack.

What is atherosclerosis?

With atherosclerosis, your arteries become narrower. Fatty substances in the blood can stick to the inner wall of a vein and accumulate. We call such a blockage 'plaque'. Normally, our body clears this plaque unless it becomes too much, it then settles into the blood vessel wall. 

Gradually, this plaque becomes an impenetrable hard lump that begins to stiffen the vessel wall, this is the beginning of arteriosclerosis. As the artery becomes further clogged, part of your body may not receive enough blood.

The plaque in the vein may also rupture, leading to a blood clot and the blood vessel becoming completely occluded.

Another risk of arteriosclerosis is sagging of the vessel wall where the vessel wall dilates and may rupture, resulting in internal bleeding.

What causes arteriosclerosis?

Besides hereditary factors, an unhealthy lifestyle contributes to the cause of arteriosclerosis.

  • A diet high in saturated fats encourages high (LDL) cholesterol.
  • Smoking constricts blood vessels and increases blood pressure in the veins.
  • High blood pressure can cause damage in the vessel wall so that fats   and calcium can deposit on it (arteriosclerosis)   and the blood vessels can become narrower.   can become narrower.
  • Severe obesity because of the risk of high blood pressure and diabetes.
  • Little physical activity
  • Diabetes increases the risk of damage to the blood vessel wall. 

Arteriosclerosis in the legs

Arteriosclerosis can lead to narrowing of the leg arteries. The blood supply to the legs then decreases, the leg muscles get less oxygen, which leads to pain when walking. These are the symptoms of clogged veins in the legs.

Arteriosclerosis in the legs  develop slowly. At first, you don't notice much of it. At rest, the legs still get enough oxygen. Gradually, you develop symptoms when walking, cycling or running. The muscles turn sour, so to speak. 

You will notice this by a stabbing pain and cramps in the legs. By standing still, for example in front of a shop window, the pain disappears. The condition is therefore also known as shop-window legs.

How to prevent arteriosclerosis

Working against the causes of arteriosclerosis largely prevents arteriosclerosis.

  1. Ensure good cholesterol levels, especially low LDL.
  2. Exercise regularly e.g. walk at least 30 minutes a day.
  3. Eat healthy food with plenty of fruit and vegetables and unsaturated fats. 
  4. Do not smoke. 
  5. Make sure your blood pressure is good.
  6. Take care not to become overweight.

Which kind of food cleans your veins?

  • Garlic:  is by far the best food to clean the veins. It lowers levels of bad cholesterol. Fish oil: contains omega 3 fatty acids which the body needs for optimal functioning.
  • Omega 3 fatty acids : unclog the veins. They are found in the following types of fish: sardines, herring, tuna, mackerel and salmon.
  • Cherries and blueberries:  are packed with antioxidants such as vitamins E and C that fight inflammation in the veins.Tomatoes: Due to high amounts of antioxidants in the form of lycopene, it is harder for bad cholesterol to stick to artery walls.
  • Oatmeal: A study by Tufts University in Boston (US) shows that oatmeal makes it more difficult for cholesterol to stick to artery walls.
  • Turmeric: contains the component curcumin which consists of polyphenols. More than 30 studies conducted around the world show that curcumin protects the cardiovascular system from damage. Curcumin reduces blockages in the arteries and helps prevent them.
  • Cayenne pepper: contains the substance capsaicin. Capsaicin boosts blood flow to tissues by stimulating the release of nitric oxide and other blood vessel dilating substances. Research shows that cayenne pepper not only increases blood circulation, it also makes blood vessels stronger and reduces plaque build-up in veins.
  • Pomegranate seeds: are high in polyphenols (antioxidants) and nitrates, these have a powerful vasodilating effect and promote blood flow.
  • Onions: due to flavonoids, improve blood circulation by dilating veins and vessels.
  • Green leafy vegetables:  contain nitrates that are converted in your body into nitric oxide which is a powerful vasodilator. Nitric oxide increases good HDLcholesterol which has the ability to lower bad LDLcholesterol.

Arteriosclerosis and nitric oxide

Nitric oxide(NO) is essential in bringing about vasodilation.NO(nitric oxide) is produced by the inner layer of the veins from Arginine. This discovery was made by 3 American pharmacologists and their research was honored with the Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine in 1998.

In people with atherosclerosis, or arteriosclerosis, the release of NO is reduced while the contraction of the smooth muscle cells in the vessel wall, i.e. vasoconstriction, is increased

A lack of NO increases the permeability of the endothelium (the inner layer of the vein wall). This allows monocytes and lipoproteins to more easily invade the cell wall and form plaques.(1)

Reduced NO production is often a consequence of reduced production. From the age of 23, NO production slowly decreases. This may be due to a reduced supply of the amino acid arginine. We need arginine to produce NO. As we get older, we absorb arginine more slowly.

To be able to absorb arginine properly, Recover-Me has developed a special formula, a powder with specific ingredients to maximize the absorption of arginine and a noticeably increased production of NO.

After thousands of studies, we now know that NO is involved not only in vasodilation but also in communication between cells in the immuno-inflammatory system and in the central nervous system.

1. Verhaar MC. Assessment and pharmacological modulation of endothelial function in humans. Dissertation, April 14, 1999, Utrecht. Chapter 1.

What are the symptoms of hardening of the arteries?

Arteriosclerosis, also known as hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis), usually has no symptoms in its early stages. 

However, over time, the build-up of fat, cholesterol and other substances can cause the arteries to narrow and harden, which can reduce blood flow to different parts of the body and cause various symptoms, including:

  1. Shortness of breath on exertion.
  2. Chest pain or pain in the arms, neck, jaw or back.
  3. Tiredness.
  4. Dizziness or fainting.
  5. Raised blood pressure.   
  6. Increased heart rate.
  7. Kidney problems.
  8. Erection problems (in men).
It is important to be aware of these symptoms and to seek medical advice if in doubt.

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