Vitamins & Other Nutrients That Remove Arterial Plaque

author avatar Dr. Eric Berg 08/31/2023

It’s clear that having a nutritious diet is essential to maintain healthy arteries. But did you know that some nutrients can prevent arterial plaque and lower your risk of coronary artery disease?

Plaque buildup is a natural response to arterial damage. However, coronary artery calcification can cause stiff arteries and high blood pressure, significantly increasing the risk of coronary heart disease, cardiac arrest, and stroke.

Vitamin K2, vitamin D3, magnesium, and phytic acid are powerful nutrients that can help reduce the plaque in your arteries.

Let's take a deeper look at these four powerful nutrients and why they support a healthy cardiovascular system.

Atherosclerosis illustration

What is plaque?

Arterial plaque, also known as atherosclerotic plaque, is a buildup of cholesterol, proteins, and calcium in the walls of major arteries. This buildup can cause the blood vessels to harden and become less flexible, leading to atherosclerosis and an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. 

Arterial plaque formation stiffens and narrows blood vessels, reducing blood flow and interfering with the oxygen supply to vital organs and tissues. Continuous plaque buildup can cause arterial blockage, significantly increasing the risk of heart attacks and stroke.

Risk factors for developing arterial plaque include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking, diabetes, obesity, and a family history of heart disease.

Conventional treatment for arterial plaque consists of dietary changes, increased physical activity, quitting smoking, and medication to manage cardiovascular risk factors, including high blood pressure or elevated cholesterol levels.

In some cases, surgery may be necessary to remove or bypass the plaque to restore blood flow and lower blood pressure.

Watch the video below to learn more about the steps you can take to decalcify your arteries. 

What causes plaque in your arteries?

Arterial plaque formation is a natural response to damaged blood vessels. Factors including smoking, elevated insulin levels, excessive alcohol, and chronic inflammation can injure the lining of arteries and lead to lesions and leaks.  

The immune system reacts to tissue damage and triggers the repair of the affected blood vessel. Your immune response involves using cholesterol and protein deposits to heal the damaged blood vessel wall. 

Cholesterol and protein deposits form plaque similar to scar tissue, leading to stiff blood vessels that lower the body’s ability to regulate blood pressure. 

Arterial plaque also accumulates calcium and other substances naturally present in the blood. Plaque calcification narrows blood vessels, impedes normal cardiovascular function, and increases the risk of cardiovascular disease. 

Cholesterol plays a vital role in healing damaged arteries. However, elevated levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol—in particular, small dense LDL cholesterol (sdLDL-c)—have been found to accelerate plaque buildup and trigger inflammation in the arterial wall. This causes more tissue damage and subsequently worsening plaque formation.

In contrast, research suggests that high-density lipoprotein (HDL), known as good cholesterol, can reduce plaque buildup and lowers inflammation within arterial walls. Blood vessels

Four nutrients that help remove arterial plaque

Research suggests that the ketogenic diet positively affects cardiovascular health and lowers several risk factors of plaque formation, including obesity, insulin resistance, and imbalanced cholesterol levels.

While a nutritious dietary pattern plays a vital role in preventing arterial calcification, there are powerful nutrients that you can take to support healthy arteries and prevent atherosclerosis. 

Here are four nutrients that reduce your risk of clogged arteries.  

1. Vitamin K2

Vitamin K2 is an essential vitamin involved in bone health and blood clotting and has been found to reduce arterial plaque calcification. 

This fat-soluble vitamin activates a group of proteins that bind calcium into bone rather than releasing it into the bloodstream. This supports healthy calcium blood levels and directly reduces calcium deposition into arterial plaque. 

A review of several randomized controlled trials found that regularly supplementing vitamin K2 in combination with Vitamin D3 reduces coronary artery calcification progression and improves the flow of oxygen-rich blood to tissues and organs.


2. Vitamin D3

Vitamin D3 has potent anti-inflammatory properties, and according to the National Library of Medicine - National Center for Biotechnology information research suggests that vitamin D inhibits coronary artery calcification by protecting the lining of blood vessels from inflammatory damage and injury.

While HDL cholesterol is essential in repairing damaged blood vessel linings, LDL cholesterol depositions cause oxidation and inflammation creating more blood vessel damage and triggering a vicious cycle of plaque formation and arterial inflammation. 

Vitamin D suppresses inflammatory cytokines, a group of proteins linked to LDL oxidation, plaque calcification, and the stiffening of blood vessels. 

It’s important to note that vitamin D stimulates intestinal calcium absorption, which increases calcium blood levels and can contribute to arterial calcification. 

Therefore, combining vitamin D3 with vitamin K2 is always recommended to promote healthy calcium balance and lower the risk of calcium deposition in arterial plaque. 

Watch the video below to learn how vitamin D3 supports healthy blood vessels. 

3. Magnesium

Magnesium is an essential mineral that protects cardiovascular health by disrupting the movement of calcium into cells and by lowering calcium concentrations in the blood. 

Magnesium protects against adverse effects of calcium by significantly reducing the accumulation of calcium in arterial plaque, and supplementation with magnesium has been shown to dissolve calcium depositions in the lining of blood vessels.  

In addition, magnesium is crucial for the relaxation of muscles. Stiff arteries can lead to high blood pressure and are at increased risk of injury and plaque formation. 

Magnesium relaxes the smooth muscles of blood vessels, widening arteries and improving arterial flexibility, which supports cardiovascular health and lowers heart disease risk. 

4. Phytic acid 

Inositol hexaphosphate, also known as phytic acid, is a natural compound and powerful antioxidant. While this phytochemical is found in many plant foods, seeds and nuts have the highest phytic acid content.

Evidence suggests that phytic acid is a potent inhibitor of plaque calcification and lowers the risk of atherosclerosis. 

Phytic acid is a mineral chelator that easily binds to calcium. This calcium-binding prevents calcium from accumulating in tissues which inhibits the calcification of arterial plaque.

Cholesterol plaque illustration

Key takeaways

The calcification of arterial plaques significantly increases the risk of hypertension, heart disease, ischemic stroke, and heart failure.

Lowering inflammation, balancing calcium levels, and maintaining healthy cholesterol levels have been found to reduce arterial plaque formation and promote cardiovascular health. 

Supplementing vitamin D3 combined with vitamin K2, ensuring optimal magnesium levels, and increasing phytic acid intake are practical steps to support healthy blood vessels and lower the risk of arterial plaque.  


1. What is artery plaque?

Arterial plaque is a cholesterol buildup within the walls of arteries, the blood vessels that carry oxygen-rich blood throughout the body. Over time, these plaques accumulate calcium and other substances, which cause stiff and narrow blood vessels and limit blood flow. Arterial plaque can lead to serious health issues, including heart disease, stroke, and heart failure.

2. What vitamins help open clogged arteries?

Vitamins D3 and K2 work in synergy to support healthy calcium balance, reducing the risk of arterial calcification and the narrowing of blood vessels.

In addition, vitamin D3’s potent anti-inflammatory properties protect arteries from inflammation and injury, slowing arterial plaque development and supporting cardiovascular health.

3. Can anything reverse plaque buildup in arteries?

Beneficial lifestyle changes—including eating healthy, intermittent fasting, and physical activity—have been shown to slow down and even reverse arterial plaque buildup.

While more research is needed to confirm the role of magnesium regarding arterial plaque, there is evidence that magnesium can reduce and even dissolve calcified plaque.

4. What vitamins remove plaque?

There is evidence that vitamin D3 can reduce plaque formation and may, in some cases, even remove arterial plaque. 

If combined with vitamin K2, vitamin D3 can inhibit arterial calcium deposition and reduce LDL oxidation linked to accelerated plaque formation and the narrowing of blood vessels.

5. Which vitamin stops calcium plaque in arteries and the heart?

Vitamin K2 redirects calcium from the bloodstream to bones, reducing calcium deposition into plaque. 

Although technically not vitamins, magnesium and phytic acid can block the accumulation of calcium in tissues, which may prevent the calcification of organs and arterial walls.  

6. Can calcium supplements cause arterial stiffness?

Research has found a link between high supplemental calcium intake and an increased risk of arterial stiffness, particularly in postmenopausal women. It’s believed that excess calcium in the bloodstream can accumulate in arterial walls, leading to arterial hardening and loss of flexibility. 

7. Are calcium supplements bad for your heart?

Taking large amounts of calcium supplementation may increase the risk of calcium deposits in blood vessel walls. This can lead to rigid and narrow blood vessels, increasing blood pressure and putting an excessive burden on the heart to pump oxygen-rich blood throughout the body.

Calcified blood vessels significantly increase the risk of stroke, heart disease, and heart failure.  

8. Why should I take vitamin K2 with vitamin D3?

Vitamin D3 increases the intestinal absorption of calcium which raises calcium blood concentrations. Vitamin K2 redirects excessive calcium into bone tissues, promoting healthy blood calcium levels and lowering the risk of calcium deposition in arterial walls. 


9. What are the best vitamins that remove plaque from arteries?

Vitamins D3 and K2 support heart health by protecting blood vessels from inflammation and lowering the risk of calcium accumulation in arteries. 

Vitamin C has been found beneficial for cardiovascular health and can protect arteries from plaque formation by inhibiting the oxidation of LDL cholesterol-containing plaques linked to an increased risk of heart disease and stroke.   

10. Which herbs can stop the calcification of arterial plaques? 

Several herbal supplements, including artichoke leaf extract, red yeast extract, and aged garlic extract, are advertised as heart disease medicine. However, research has yet to establish if these herbal extracts yield any benefits for cardiovascular health or reduce the formation of arterial plaque.

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