Excess Fat Outside Your Arteries Causes Coronary Artery Disease

By: Byron J. Richards, Board Certified Clinical Nutritionist
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Over the past four years I have extensively reported on the rather stunning finding that fat accumulating on the outside of your arteries is a primary cause, if not the primary cause, of coronary artery disease.  In a clever series of experiments, researchers induced this type of fat to form around the arteries of mice.  Then they transplanted the problematic fat around the carotid arteries of healthy mice, at which point the healthy mice quickly developed coronary artery disease.

I call this “fat in all the wrong places.”  You actually have a layer of perivascular fat around your arteries that is part of the structure and insulation for your arteries.  When you gain weight your body tries to store the extra calories in your white adipose tissue.  After a while your white adipose tissue can’t tolerate the extent of the abuse. Then your liver starts storing excess fat in direct proportion to your waistline expanding. Once that defense mechanism is overloaded fat begins to accumulate in all the wrong places, marbleizing your muscles, kidneys, pancreas, heart, and many other places.  One such place an unfortunate swelling in size occurs is in the perivascular fat around your arteries.  This now swollen fat sends massive inflammatory signals into your arteries causing them to shrink and build up plaque.

You can read more about this in my earlier articles: A Whole New Meaning of Fatty Arteries, Circulatory Health and Baby Fat Cells, How Your Heart Gets Fat, Fat Outside Your Arteries is the Major Cause of Cardiovascular Disease, and Fat Build Up On the Outside of the Heart Predicts Problems in Arteries.

The good news is that as you engage the process of weight loss your body tends to clear out fat from the wrong places first, including the fat around your arteries.  This is one reason why the risk for heart disease drops when people lose 20 percent of the fat they need to lose – and the risk stays low as long as people consistently keep heading in the right direction. 

It doesn’t take rocket science to know whether or not you have a problem.  Cardio imaging scans have demonstrated that if the measurement of your waistline (in inches) multiplied by two is greater than your height (in inches) then you are accumulating fat in all the wrong places.  The greater the size of your waistline, the larger the problem.  The more years you have been in that condition, the greater the amount of problematic fat you accumulate, along with the risk for clogging your arteries.  This is one reason why public health officials are sounding alarm bells about weight problems in our younger people – it is a methodical path to disease at an early age.

In addition to losing weight, nutrients that aid in the metabolism of fat while protecting your body from inflammation coming out of fat are helpful tools to consider.  Top nutrient support includes DHA, tocotrienol E, quercetin, pantethine, acetyl-l-carnitine, and Q10 – there are many others.


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