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Atherosclerotic Plaques fueled by Glucose?

That what a small study from 2002 implied:

Conclusions— This study demonstrates that atherosclerotic plaque inflammation can be imaged with 18FDG-PET, and that symptomatic, unstable plaques accumulate more 18FDG than asymptomatic lesions.

The FDG-PET scan, as described here previously in a post titled “Cancer Loves Sugar“, is a process that a radioactively tagged glucose molecule is injected and then interpreted on a scan that can tell high glucose utilizing areas. Many cancers are tracked using this method, but this work in plaques leads us to look more broadly at treatment and prevention strategies.

The summary is that the most unstable, or ready to cause cardiovascular problems, utilize glucose at a higher rate compared to more stable plaques. If this is the case, then that points us to utilize some of the glucose-lowering tools deployed in cancer and weight loss cases (which have worked well here and here in the past).

The cause and role of cholesterol in atherosclerotic plaques is an ongoing debate, a very lively one I might add. Some believe LDL (bad cholesterol) is causative, whereas others say it is not a big player. We won’t solve that debate here, but what is well accepted is that there are many factors. Inflammation, however, is well accepted as a contributory factor. Using this information, it gives us an opportunity to leverage glucose-lowering strategies that not only do not have side effect for most but improve many other performance metrics, such as cognition. Cyclical ketogenic diets, done right, are a great strategy. However, done right is the key. Please reach out if would like a partner in implementation of this and/or other health optimization services!

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