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Ways To Lower C Reactive Protein (CRP)
1) Address Any Underlying Health Conditions
CRP’s job is to increase in response to infection, tissue damage and inflammation. So it doesn’t come as a surprise that many different conditions can increase CRP.
That’s why if your CRP is elevated, the most important thing is to work with your doctor to find out what’s increasing your CRP and to treat any underlying conditions.
Discuss the additional lifestyle changes listed below with your doctor. None of these strategies should ever be done in place of what your doctor recommends or prescribes!
Regular physical activity can help decrease CRP.
In a meta-analysis of 20 studies involving 1,400 people with heart disease, CRP levels decreased after exercise. People who were worse off when they started saw greater reductions in CRP.
The amount of exercise needed to lower CRP levels is relatively modest. Scientists have made an estimate that the total energy expenditure needed was 368 – 1,050 calories/week
However, CRP levels can also increase after exercise when the exercise is stressful and causes tissue damage. CRP levels, in this case, will depend on the duration, intensity, type of exercise, and the distance traveled by an individual. CRP increases more in exercises with more distance traveled (endurance exercise).
The exercise of all-out intensity and relatively short duration, no matter what type, does not elicit a significant change in CRP for the 1-hour to 5-hour period of rest following the exercise.
One study found that after a marathon (42.195 Km) CRP levels were unchanged, they increased by 3.4X the next day, and after four days were back to original levels.
On the other hand, the CRP level after an ultra-marathon (200 km) increased 40 times and it remained at the same level up to six days after the race.
3) Weight Loss
In those who are overweight and obese, weight loss and fat reduction were reduced CRP levels.
One study found that the odds of achieving desirable CRP levels more than doubled with 5% loss of total body weight and fat mass.
Some studies suggest that total, rather than regional, fat loss are better predictors of change in inflammatory burden.
Other studies, however, indicate that fat stored in the abdomen and thigh muscles are associated with higher levels of CRP independent of total fat mass, suggesting that greater reduction of fat in these regions may be associated with greater improvement in CRP levels.
4) Balanced Diet
Healthier diets are independently associated with lower CRP levels, suggesting that diet is associated with systemic inflammation.
Diets high in fiber and rich in fruits and vegetables are associated with lower CRP levels, while a Western diet and diets high in fat, sugar, and refined grains can increase CRP.
High dietary fiber intake, in particular, has been associated with lower CRP levels
In one study, participants received a 45% fat 1,000 Kcal Mediterranean-like meal (monounsaturated 61% of fat) or a Western-like meal (saturated 57% of fat). The Mediterranean-like meal resulted in a decrease in CRP 2 hours after eating.
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Elevated CRP levels in the blood are a sign of inflammation
When c-reactive protein (CRP) is high, it’s a sign of inflammation in the body. What constitutes a “high” level varies from person to person, but a reading of 2 milligrams per liter or above is often considered a dangerous CRP level and puts you at risk for a heart attack.
In addition to being associated with coronary artery disease (CAD), CRP is also related to complications from COVID-19, arthritis, and other conditions.
This article explains what it means for your c-reactive protein to be elevated. It explains CRP blood tests, possible causes for high CRP levels, and the medication and lifestyle changes that may be used to treat it.
CRP Blood Tests
Healthcare providers don’t routinely test CRP like they do other things. Most experts do not recommend doing so, including the United States Preventive Services Task Force.
You may have your CRP levels checked if your healthcare provider thinks you could have an infection or another inflammation-causing condition. And if you don’t have any obvious symptoms, a high CRP level might take you by surprise.
The CRP produced in the liver is a response to the activity of white blood cells that fight infection and inflammation in the body. Their heightened activity causes more CRP to be made, making it a biomarker for inflammation that can be detected by a blood test.
In most healthy adults, the c-reactive protein normal range is 0.3 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) or less, but with autoimmune conditions such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, that may be the case even if inflammation is present. Other values include:
Between 0.3 mg/dL and 1.0 mg/dL, considered mildly elevated
Between 1 mg/dL and 10 mg/dL, considered moderately elevated
Above 10 mg/dL, considered to be highly elevated
The hs-CRP Test
A high-sensitivity CRP (hs-CRP) test is a slightly different blood test. It measures very low amounts of CRP, with a focus on cardiac risk and prevention of heart-related disease. The American College of Cardiology and American Heart Association consider a level of 2 mg/L and above to be a possible risk factor for heart attacks
What Elevated CRP Levels Mean
When CRP levels remain elevated for a long time, it can indicate chronic inflammation of the blood vessels. This type of low-grade inflammation contributes to the deposit of fat and other substances in the artery walls, a condition called atherosclerosis.
This build-up can narrow the arteries that feed the heart blood, causing coronary artery disease (CAD). Over time, heart attack, stroke, or heart failure can occur. This is true even for those with elevated CRP levels who have no obvious symptoms or signs of active inflammation.
Inflammation is an important contributor to atherosclerosis and elevated CRP is associated with an increased risk of CAD. A study of 376 people found that 210 of them diagnosed with CAD all had elevated CRP levels when compared with 166 people who did not have CAD.
The CRP level increased in step with the degree of blood vessel damage evaluated by coronary angiography, an imaging test used to visualize blood flow through the heart.
What CRP Level Is Dangerously High?
Whether a CRP level is dangerous will depend on the type of c-reactive protein test used, your individual medical history, and the suspected cause of inflammation. Your healthcare provider can best explain the test results to you. In general, anything above 1 mg/dL is elevated and may require intervention. The higher the level, the more likely you will need a diagnosis and treatment for its cause.
Addressing Your Risk Factors
A number of risk factors may contribute to CRP levels, and there may be benefits to taking steps to reduce your CRP levels. Treatment aimed at lowering CRP levels may reduce cardiovascular risk, but researchers are still working to understand these relationships.
Elevated CRP levels are almost always associated with other risk factors for heart disease, including:
- Inactive lifestyle
- High cholesterol
- High blood pressure
- Metabolic syndrome (a combination of high blood pressure, high blood sugar, abnormal lipid levels, and excess abdominal fat)
Talk to your healthcare provider about your heart disease risk factors and what can be done to address them and your CRP levels.
This may involve habit changes, weight loss efforts, and/or medication.
Elevated CRP is associated with increased risk of heart disease. While it’s uncertain how much reducing CRP itself can help, elevated levels are a sign that you likely have other risk factors that need to be addressed with aggressive measures.
The links above are affiliate links, so I receive a small commission every time you use them to purchase a product. The content contained in this video, and its accompanying description, is not intended to replace viewers’ relationships with their own medical practitioner. Always speak with your doctor regarding the content of this channel, and especially before using any products, services, or devices discussed on this channel or website.