A new study researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, shows that vitamin C can lower your levels of C-reactive protein (CRP).
The U of C-B study, which will be published in the journal Free Radical Biology and Medicine, shows that for healthy, non-smoking adults with an elevated level of CRP, a daily dose of vitamin C lowered levels of the inflammation biomarker after two months compared with those who took a placebo.
The researchers said that for people with elevated CRP levels, the amount of CRP reduction achieved by taking vitamin C supplements in this study is comparable to that in many other studies of cholesterol-lowering drugs called statins.
They noted that several larger statin trials lowered CRP levels by about 0.2 milligrams per liter; in this latest study, vitamin C lowered CRP by 0.25 milligrams per liter.
“This finding of an effect of vitamin C is important because it shows in a carefully conducted randomized, controlled trial that for people with moderately elevated levels of inflammation, vitamin C may be able to reduce CRP as much as statins have done in other studies.”
Vitamin C / CRP / Inflammation & Obesity
This study also found a strong link between obesity and elevated levels of CRP.
The researchers found that elevated levels of CRP were found in:
- 25% of the normal-weight people test subjects
- 50% of the overweight subjects, and
- A whopping 75% of the obese test subjects participants.
“The low-grade inflammation that characterizes obesity is believed to contribute to a number of disorders, including atherosclerosis and insulin resistance,” said Nina Holland, co-investigator on the study.
And it’s not just the scientists expressing concern over CRP.
The American Heart Association and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that clinicians measure CRP levels in patients who have a moderately elevated risk of cardiovascular problems, as determined by other established risk factors such as high cholesterol levels and smoking.
“Major studies have found that the level of CRP in the body predicts future risk of cardiovascular disease, including myocardial infarction, stroke and peripheral artery disease, as well as diabetes. Some believe CRP to be as important a predictor of future heart problems as high levels of LDL and low levels of HDL cholesterol.”
What To Do If You’re Worried
Obviously, talk to your doctor.
But keep in mind that your doctor may not want to test for CRP. Most still just want to look at your levels of cholesterol. But it is possible to have high CRP and normal levels of cholesterol.
I would suggest that you print out this article and bring it along to your appointment, but somehow I don’t see many medical professionals listening to little ole’ me.
Instead, print out this Q & A about CRP that the Cleveland Clinic put together.
Here is a more clinical look at the CRP test itself.
How To Prevent / Reduce CRP & Inflammation
According to the Cleveland Clinic:
Inflammation should be treated by lifestyle change, such as:
- losing weight,
- controlling diabetes,
- stopping smoking,
- controlling high blood pressure, and
- reducing alcohol intake.
- Antithrombotic medications such as aspirin or clopidogrel may provide protection.
- Cholesterol-lowering statin drugs and ACE inhibitors may also reduce CRP.
- Your doctor will prescribe the correct medications and dosage to treat your condition.
And if you don’t want to wait for your doctor to prescribe the correct medications, you can investigate dietary solutions such as:
- Omega 3 fatty acids
- Holy Basil
- Green tea
- Medicinal Mushrooms
- And of course Vitamin C
You may also want to take a look at the new book by Dr. Barry Sears – Toxic Fat
- The One Diet That May Actually Save Your Life
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- Why Are Omega 3s Better Than Statins?
- Omega 6 Bad…Omega 3 Good