Inflammation is a natural process that is important in the maintenance of good health. Our ability to mount an inflammatory response helps us fight infections and we do this continuously. When inflammation becomes excessive and self perpetuating it can damage our organs and tissues. This is a final common pathway of most chronic diseases including heart and artery disease (arteriosclerosis), neurodegenerative diseases (dementias and Parkinson’s disease) and cancers.
Oxidation-reduction reactions are the chemical reactions of our body. They are integral to every biochemical process. When there is an imbalance in these reactions “oxidative stress” can occur. This results in injury to the components of our cells, loss of proper function and inflammation.
Inflammation and oxidation are reciprocal processes that are both the consequence of each other and the initiator of each other. When in balance, we are healthy. When out of balance either acute and or chronic health problems develop.
C Reactive Protein (CRP) is one of many markers of inflammation. It is made in the liver and the peripheral tissues. When there is an acute injury or infection there can be a sudden rise in CRP. Chronic disease processes produce a persistent elevation of CRP. Over the last decade it has become apparent that chronic inflammation is an important back ground process in arteriosclerosis and its consequences (heart attack, heart failure, stroke, dementia and kidney failure). CRP has become a useful tool in measuring for chronic inflammation.
It is important to realize that acute problems such as infections, surgery or trauma may elevate CRP. Elevations from such conditions may take up to 3 months to return to a baseline level. It is important to measure CRP serially to determine whether an elevation reflects an acute intercurrent condition or a chronic inflammation
Medical scientists know that approximately 50% of coronary artery disease (heart attack and angina) can be accounted for by abnormalities in cholesterol and LDL. The other contributing factors include hypertension (high blood pressure), Diabetes (poor blood sugar control), inflammation (as measured by CRP), tobacco use, thrombophilia (blood that is too sticky) and blood viscosity (blood that is too thick).
When inflammation is controlled the beneficial effects of statin drugs in reducing the risk of heart attack and stroke are amplified. It has been shown that improving or normalizing CRP will improve the benefit of statin drugs by another 30%.
The observation has been made that when the LDL cholesterol can be brought down to 70 or less and when CRP is 2.0 or less arteriosclerosis can be halted.
Strategies to lower CRP:
There is no prescription medication with a direct indication for lowering CRP. The observation has been made that statin medications (Crestor, Lipitor and Zocor) can lower CRP. This probably is a result of the reduction of LDL which when oxidized causes inflammation in the endothelium (the inner lining of the blood vessels).
Aspirin does not lower CRP directly. It reduces inflammation and reduces the effects of elevated CRP in individuals who are aspirin responsive. Not all people respond to aspirin.
Dietary measures that reduce inflammation:
Calorie restriction and weight loss will reduce inflammation in the body.
A low glycemic index diet will reduce insulin resistance. A reduction in insulin resistance will lower inflammatory markers such as CRP. See the information on glucose/insulin balance on our website.
A diet low in saturated and trans fatty acids and high in monounsaturated and poly unsaturated fat will reduce inflammation. This means reducing consumption of red meat and processed foods and increasing consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables, legumes, nuts and seeds, and sea foods.
The modified Mediterranean diet and medical food products that are utilized in the Therapeutic Life Style Care (TLC) Program will help to reduce inflammation and lower CRP.
Supplemental Products that will reduce inflammation:
There are a variety of natural products that will reduce inflammation in the body:
- Herbal Products: curcumin, ginger, Boswellia, Devils Claw
- Nutritional Products: Fish oil, Enzymes (Wobenzyme)
- Vitamins and Minerals: A, C, E; Selenium
- Non-Vitamin Antioxidants: Lipoic Acid, Pycnogenol, Resveratrol
- Essential Fatty Acids (Fish Oil)
Detoxification will help to reduce inflammation. Please see the information on our Web site.
It is also important to look for chronic infections that can be treated. Such infections include sinusitis, bronchitis, chronic bowel infections (dysbiosis), prostatitis, cystitis and gynecological infections.
It is best to work out a therapeutic program with your practitioner.