Plasmalogen Loss Drives Coronary Artery Disease

April 26, 2021

Plasmalogen Loss Drives Coronary Artery Disease

At last, we are down to the basic, basic biology and understanding of how coronary artery works! Dr. Dayan Goodenowe in his discovery and development of plasmalogens in human disease has opened a door of understanding that finally is creating a construct we can wrap our brains around and bring understanding to the very core of human illness. This is like the Unified Theory of particle physics. It's all about the balance of your "redox" capacity and health down at the molecular level. Let me see if I can explain it in understandable language and how that relates to your arteries in your heart.

You first have to start with the "endothelium" of your arteries. That is the inner cell layer surrounding every artery. It is pretty stupid. It only has three jobs. One: constrict or squeeze in. (We call that high blood pressure or endothelial dysfunction). Two: it relaxes. (This is normal blood pressure and that's good - healthy, optimal.). Three: it can call for help. It has millions of TLR's (tiny little radars) that are constantly monitoring to see if you have been invaded by germs. Ok, and all of that depends on the endothelium being intact. By intact, I mean all the cells are tightly connected to each other. The very first step in coronary artery disease is the advent of "leaky endothelium". That is caused by hydrogen peroxide being released from a variety of sources. There is good proof on this account in that we can see the damaging effect of homocysteine being broken down to uric acid and making peroxide on the way. And blood tests of higher uric acid and higher homocysteine both correlate, sure enough, with more artery disease.


Well, what happens when you get that leaky endothelium? Ah! That's when oxidized LDLs can wiggle their way into the wall of the arteries. That starts the accumulation of more LDLs and the generation of foam cells. Eventually, that plaque builds up and plugs arteries up, causing a heart attack, or the plaque ruptures and gunk flows downstream and causes trouble there. This is how strokes get started.

How do we know plasmalogens are involved? Multiple studies from a variety of sources have demonstrated this effect. A very elegant publication on dialysis patients showed that those who died from heart disease had much lower plasmalogens than those who didn't. Plasmalogen levels are a pretty good indicator of "oxidative stress" and low levels are dangerous.  Low plasmalogens, you get a heart attack!  High plasmalogens, you don't.  Simple. That's one.

Another great study was in Atherosclerosis in 2017. In that study, they showed that folks with peripheral vascular disease have very high risk of heart attacks in the next few months, and that risk is proportionate to how low their plasmalogen levels are. Doing an angioplasty on or bypass surgery on your narrowed arteries doesn't fix the "endothelial dysfunction". Repairing your plasmalogens does! This is huge!

We can go on! Another study from another angle, also in the journal, Atherosclerosis from 2015, looked at HDLs, high-density lipoproteins. They are meant to be protective against heart attacks. They exert their effect partially by protecting those precious "endothelial cells" lining your arteries from dying through the process called apoptosis. With low plasmalogens, they don't protect them from apoptosis.

You can have an angioplasty of every artery in your body but you haven't reversed the disease, you have only repaired the short-term symptom.  Come back in 6 months for a second angioplasty.  Fix the plasmalogens and you have gotten to the core disease process.  Then, you don't come back.  Fixing blocked arteries is big business and big bucks, and doesn't really work. Fixing plasmalogens is cheap compared to one angioplasty, and it works.

The basic disease is the loss of plasmalogen "redox" capacity, the ability to soak up and neutralize reactive oxygen species by that precious vinyl-ether bond built into the plasmalogen. What causes the depletion of plasmalogens? Ah, there is the mystery of modern civilization.  In biochemical terms, it's loading too much NADPH into the mitochondria and leaking out too many reactive oxygen species.  In lay terms that we understand it means too many calories, too much sugar, too little exercise, too many environmental toxins, too little sleep, not enough exercise......If you want to go down that rabbit hole, read Biochem Biophys Acta article on Aging Peroxisomes and how they make less catalase. Less catalase means more hydrogen peroxide floating around in your blood. What does that do? If you get that right, I've succeeded in introducing you to this topic. ............(Did you get it?) Catalase breaks up hydrogen peroxide and thereby protects the lining of your arteries from getting leaky. What do plasmalogens do? They are the fatty acid molecules in every membrane that have the ability to soak up damaging "oxidants". But they get used up when can't make them as fast as we use them up.

www.What will Work for me. I'm getting older which means like it or not, my peroxisomes are not as robust as they used to be. I'm walking every day. I'm doing intermittent fasting and avoiding sugar as best I can. But darn it, this last week I had a birthday and I had a little cake. Life happens. But I am taking Dr. Goodenowe's Plasmalogen replacement supplements every day. My bet is that this keeps me away from the cardiologist's angioplasty suite. Fish oil is one of the key building blocks of these precious plasmalogens. That's why you want sufficient fish oil in your diet. But old peroxisomes, where plasmalogens are made, remain old and less functional. You can't un-age them, yet. You can take plasmalogen replacement therapy.  That should be a slam dunk.

References: Nephrol Dial Trans, Atherosclerosis 2017, Atherosclerosis 2015, Biochem Biophys Acta, Biochemical J,

Pop Quiz

1. What is "endothelial dysfunction"?                     Answer: The first step towards artery disease with fatty lipids being deposited as the end marker. You get a leaky endothelium with the subsequent ability of oxidized LDL's to seep in.

2. What is the root cause of it?                           Answer: Too much hydrogen peroxide in your arteries, caused by insufficient catalase to neutralize it.

3. Where does catalase come from?                         Answer: It is an enzyme made in your peroxisomes. Your peroxisomes are in every cell of your body, right next to your mitochondria. Their job is to make plasmalogens and catalase, and feed mitochondria their basic, preferred fuel of fatty acids.

4. What's the best way to fix the disease called "heart attack or stroke"?                     Answer: If you are having those, the best treatment is to immediately go to a hospital and repair the damage that's happening ASAP. But that is just symptom repair. The long-term cure is to fix your plasmalogens.

5. Is this the end of coronary artery disease?                   Answer: Are you kidding? The power of the sugar lobby, the couch potato lobby, the trans fat, the pesticide, the toxin, the .......