The Silent Bacteria and Atherosclerosis

By Tucson Functional Medicine on January 31, 2022 0 Comments

Is it possible that a species of bacteria that commonly causes colds, sinus infections, bronchitis, asthma, or pneumonia can also be a silent cause of atherosclerosis?

Atherosclerosis (also known as arteriosclerotic vascular disease or ASVD) is a specific form of arteriosclerosis in which an artery wall thickens. Many people are familiar with the common term, hardening of the arteries.

Atherosclerosis is the leading cause of heart attacks, stroke, and peripheral vascular disease.

The bacteria linked to heart disease is chlamydia pneumonia. 

Chlamydia Pneumoniae

Medical research has shown that this bacteria can live quietly in the body for decades without causing problems.

Unfortunately, we also now know that chlamydia pneumonia is a cause of a silent infection leading to coronary arterial inflammation.

In one breakthrough study, chlamydia pneumonia was found in 79% of people with carotid artery plaque vs. 4% in people with no plaque!

Chlamydia pneumoniae was found in 79% of people with carotid artery plaque vs. 4% in people with no plaque! 

Even though medical research has shown the existence of this bacteria and arterial inflammation, many cardiologists do not check to see if chlamydia pneumoniae is present.

Three inflammatory lab markers should be part of any cardiovascular work-up. These include fibrinogen, C-reactive protein (high sensitivity), and ferritin. In the event any of these markers are elevated, you should do some detective work and see if chlamydia pneumoniae is present. In addition, I recommend measuring the chlamydia antibodies by PCR at any commercial medical lab to establish that there is indeed an infection.

The best treatment is azithromycin 500 mg twice a day (on an empty stomach) for 3-5 days 1-2 times a month for six months. 

I also would recommend consulting with your functional medicine practitioner for natural botanical treatments.

After the treatment, recheck to see if the inflammatory markers have come down and repeat the chlamydia antibodies. Then, of course, don’t forget to re-introduce probiotics to replace what the antibiotics have destroyed.



Bachmaier K, et al., Chlamydia infections and heart disease linked through antigenic mimicry, Sci, 5406; 283: 1335-39. Feb 26. 1999

Linnanmaki E, et al., Chlamydia pneumoniae—Specific Circulating Immune Complexes in Patients with Chronic Coronary Heart Disease, Circulation, 87:1130-30 4, 1993

Muhlestein JB, et al., Increased incidence of Chlamydia species within the coronary arteries of patients with symptomatic atherosclerotic versus other forms of cardiovascular disease, J Am Coll Cardiol, 27:1555-61, 1996

Gupta S, et al., The effect of azithromycin in post-myocardial infarction patients with elevated Chlamydia pneumoniae antibody titers, J Am Coll Cardiol, 29:209 a, 1997

Gupta S, et al., Elevated Chlamydia pneumoniae antibodies, cardiovascular events, and azithromycin in male survivors of myocardial infarction, Circulation, 96:404-07, 1997

Vojdani A, A look at infectious agents as a possible causative factor in cardiovascular disease: part II Lab Med, 4; 34: 5-9, April 2003

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