There is one simple test you need to ask your doctor for. It’s called CRP, otherwise known as C-reactive protein and it could literally save your life!
CRP has long been used as a marker of inflammation in the body. High CRP levels are found in practically every known inflammatory state. Even if you have no symptoms of disease, elevated CRP levels may signal an increased risk for practically all degenerative disorders, including cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes and more (1-3).
The good thing is, you can test it and take the right steps to lower your CRP if it is high. Being proactive with your health and taking preventative measures is the best way to decrease your chances for developing chronic disease and inflammation.
So what exactly is CRP? It’s a “marker” for inflammation and is manufactured throughout the body and found in immune cells, the liver and fat cells.
Typically, your CRP levels will be high during an acute infection or injury. This is a good thing as certain inflammatory molecules help speed the healing process and work to destroy any invading organisms.
However, when CRP is chronically elevated it can contribute to destructive chronic inflammation. CRP can help in determining the status of known inflammatory disorders, such as rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease, cardiovascular disease and inflammatory bowel disorders (4-6).
In fact, in one study, women with the highest CRP levels had a 16-fold risk for developing diabetes compared with those at the lowest levels (7). Kinda scary right?
CRP is also associated with other cardiovascular related conditions such as high blood pressure and atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) (8).
What about weight? Unfortunately, most individuals who are overweight tend to produce more inflammatory compounds. Abdominal fat produces what’s called – pro-inflammatory cytokines, which leads to higher levels of CRP and increases your risk for developing disease.
As you can see, CRP can determine a lot about your health, disease and inflammation.
So what can you do about it?
First, you need to get your levels checked.
I have all of my clients get this test done. In fact, I run a full blood panel for all of my clients who work with me. This way I can not only see their levels of CRP, but other things such as vitamin D, glucose, cholesterol, liver enzymes and detoxification, etc, all of which help me to design the right meal plan and suggest the right supplements.
Secondly, you need to know what your levels should be at.
Optimal CRP levels for everyone to strive for are under 0.55 mg/L in men and under 1.0 mg/L in women. I’ve had clients in my practice with levels as high as 15. Through diet and with the right supplementation, these levels dropped significantly.
Although these levels are the optimal range, most standard labs follow the ranges below:
- The “lowest risk” range is less than 1.0 mg/L
- “Average risk” is 1.0 to 3.0 mg/L
- The “highest risk” category is greater than3.0 mg/L
Considering CRP is so closely related to cardiovascular risk and cancer, I’m sure you’re wondering what you can do to lower it. Well, there are a few very important things you can do right now, such as:
1. Exercise – this alone can help to lower CRP levels, especially with those suffering with heart disease or any type of cardiovascular related condition (9). This doesn’t mean you need to hit the gym 7 days a week at an all out intensity, but something as simple as walking can be extremely helpful. Combined with some strength training, you can help prevent heart disease and slash your risk of cancer, diabetes and lower inflammation. I’d say that’s a win-win!
2. Diet – well of course this matters! Considering that type 2 diabetes can be managed with diet alone, it’s safe to say that what you eat is pretty darn important. Quality is what matters here, so do your absolute best to avoid GMO foods and antibiotic and hormone induced animal products. And if you currently have diabetes or are pre-diabetic, I work specifically with clients to help them reverse their disease. If this is something you’d like to heal, let me know how I can help by filling out my online application here.
When it comes to quality and your diet, know this – cows eat grass, not grains. Grain fed cows contain more omega 6 fatty acids, which are PRO-inflammatory. We want to avoid this!
Simply choosing more pasture raised and grass fed meats will ensure you are getting more ANTI-inflammatory compounds. Also, load up (and by load up, I mean ALOT) on vegetables. Incorporate a variety of raw and cooked vegetables. Snack on raw carrots, cucumbers and celery throughout the day, enjoy a large salad with mixed greens, arugula and spinach at lunch topped with some wild salmon or organic chicken breast. For dinner, roast some broccoli, brussel sprouts and cauliflower in some tamari or coconut aminos with onion and garlic powder. It’s simple, delicious and incredibly effective at managing inflammation and preventing disease.
3. Supplement – There are some very effective anti-inflammatory supplements you can include in your regime. In fact, 2 of these supplements are actual herbs and you can use them in your cooking:
- Turmeric – contains the active compound curcumin, which lowered CRP by a huge 6.4 mg/L in a meta-analysis of 6 studies of patients with elevated CRP levels (10). You can simply add some turmeric to your scrambled eggs in the morning or to a smoothie. But if your CRP levels are really high, you’ll probably want to take a concentrated dose by supplementing with it. I personally like AOR Curcumin-95.
- Ginger – another amazing spice that can be added to smoothies, sautés and used in marinades, ginger helped reduce CRP levels in diabetic adults (11). This is a powerful anti-inflammatory herb and amazing when combined with cinnamon, another incredible spice great for managing blood sugar. You can simply add both of these to your morning smoothie. I like using Simply Organic Herbs and Spices.
- Magnesium – probably one of the most important minerals, this is one supplement that all of my clients benefit from. From managing PMS symptoms, to inflammation, to sleep, detoxification and stress, magnesium serves many important functions in the body. In fact, magnesium is essential in building and maintaining strong bones. It’s needed to help drive calcium into your bone (along with boron, vitamin D, zinc and many other minerals). I recommend Magnesium Bisglycinate from Can-Prev. In fact, many heart disease patients have very low levels of magnesium and too high levels of calcium in their blood.
- Probiotics – probiotics are simply bacteria. We are made up of bacteria and much of that bacteria lives and thrives in our gut. If your gut flora is high in ‘bad’ bacteria, which can happen from eating too much sugar, packaged foods, alcohol and stress, then these bad bacteria can take over causing gastrointestinal issues, digestive issues and effect mineral and nutrient absorption. It is vital to ensure you have lots of good bacteria, which you can get from eating things like kim chi and sauerkraut, or by taking a daily probiotic. I personally love Progressive HCP 70.
You can take charge of your health and prevent disease by simply incorporating these lifestyle and diet recommendations today! Get your CRP levels checked and make it a point to do something about it if it happens to be high.
We can work together to lower your CRP, inflammation and get you to your desired weight with the right meal plan, supplements and lifestyle adjustments.
If you’re interested in working together and looking for a customized and individualized plan for your health, fill out my online application and I’ll be in touch to set up a complimentary call to discuss your health history and goals in more detail.
In the meantime, be sure to check out the success stories and before and afters of my clients by clicking here.