C- Reactive Protein Test: What? Why this Increase? How to Control it Naturally?

by Somya Agrawal

What is C-reactive protein (CRP)?

C-reactive protein (CRP) was identified by Tillett and Francis in 1930. CRP is a substance produced by the liver in response to inflammation in the body. It is part of the body’s immune response to infection, injury, or any other inflammatory process. CRP levels rise rapidly within a few hours after the onset of inflammation and can be measured through a blood test.

CRP is a marker of inflammation and can be used to diagnose and monitor diseases associated with inflammation, such as infections, autoimmune disorders, certain cancers, and cardiovascular diseases. High levels of CRP in the blood may indicate an acute or chronic inflammatory condition, while low levels are generally associated with a normal, healthy state.

Why is a C-reactive protein test done?

A C-reactive protein (CRP) test is done to measure the level of inflammation in the body. It is a non-specific marker of inflammation, meaning it does not indicate the specific cause of inflammation but rather shows that there is some sort of inflammation occurring.

The test is usually done to:

A C-reactive protein (CRP) test is done to measure the level of inflammation in the body.
  1. Diagnose and monitor infections: An elevated CRP level may indicate the presence of an infection, such as a bacterial or viral infection. Monitoring the CRP level can help track the effectiveness of treatment.
  1. Identify and monitor inflammatory conditions: CRP levels are often elevated in various inflammatory conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, or inflammatory bowel disease. Monitoring CRP levels can help assess disease activity and response to treatment.
  1. Assess the risk of cardiovascular diseases: High levels of CRP have been associated with an increased risk of developing heart diseases, such as heart attack or stroke. It can be used as a marker to evaluate an individual’s risk and to guide further preventative measures or treatments.
  1. Evaluate the response to therapy: CRP levels can be measured before and after a treatment or surgery to assess the effectiveness of therapy or the presence of any complications.

It is important to note that a CRP test alone is not sufficient to diagnose or confirm a specific disease. It is usually used in combination with other tests and medical evaluations to provide a more comprehensive picture of a person’s health.

Causes of Increased CRP Levels in the body

There are several potential causes for increased C-reactive protein (CRP) levels in food, although it is important to note that CRP is actually a marker of inflammation in the body and is not directly present in food. However, certain dietary factors can contribute to an overall pro-inflammatory state in the body, leading to increased CRP levels.

1. High saturated fat and trans fat intake: Consuming a diet high in saturated and trans fats, commonly found in processed and fried foods, can increase systemic inflammation and lead to elevated CRP levels.

2. High intake of refined carbohydrates: Foods that are high in refined carbohydrates, such as white bread, pasta, and sugary snacks, can cause spikes in blood sugar levels and promote inflammation, potentially leading to increased CRP levels.

3. Excessive sugar consumption: Diets high in added sugars, such as sugary beverages and processed foods, have been associated with increased inflammation markers including CRP.

4. Processed and fried foods: Processed and fried foods often contain high levels of unhealthy fats, added sugars, and preservatives, all of which can contribute to inflammation and elevated CRP levels.

5. Lack of fruits and vegetables: Diets low in fruits and vegetables, which are rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds, can result in chronic low-grade inflammation and increased CRP levels.

6. Excessive alcohol consumption: Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol can increase inflammation in the body and lead to elevated CRP levels.

It is worth noting that individual responses to dietary factors may vary, and the impact of specific foods on CRP levels can be influenced by various factors including genetics, overall diet quality, and lifestyle choices.

What are the Symptoms of High CRP in the Body?

Common symptoms of high CRP levels include:

  • Fever: Infections and inflammatory conditions can trigger a fever.
  • Fatigue: Chronic inflammation can cause ongoing fatigue and lack of energy.
  • Pain and Swelling: Inflammation can lead to pain, swelling, and tenderness in the affected area.
  • Joint Stiffness: Conditions like rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis can cause stiffness and reduced range of motion in the joints.
  • Headaches: Inflammatory conditions, such as certain types of vasculitis, can cause headaches.
  • Muscle Aches: Inflammation in the muscles can lead to muscle pain.
  • Skin rashes: Inflammatory skin conditions like dermatitis or psoriasis may cause rashes.
  • Weight Loss: Chronic inflammation can lead to unintentional weight loss.
  • Breathing Difficulty: Inflammation in the airways or lungs can simply cause respiratory symptoms like wheezing or shortness of breath.
  • Gastrointestinal Complaints: Inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract can cause symptoms like abdominal pain, diarrhoea, or blood in the stool.

Please note that the nutritional values may vary depending on the variety of potato and how it is cooked or prepared.

How to lower C-reactive protein Naturally?

C-reactive protein (CRP) is a substance produced by the liver in response to inflammation in the body. High levels of CRP are often associated with an increased risk of certain diseases, particularly cardiovascular diseases. Lowering CRP levels can be beneficial for overall health. Here are some ways to lower C-reactive protein:

Lose weight: Obesity is associated with increased inflammation and higher CRP levels. Losing weight, especially abdominal fat, can help lower CRP. A healthy diet and regular diet can help in effective weight management.

Quit smoking: Smoking increases inflammation in the body, leading to higher CRP levels. Quitting smoking can significantly reduce CRP levels and improve overall health.

GUT Friendly: The dietary fiber content present in potatoes can help regulate bowel movements and prevent irregular bowel movements. It also promotes the growth of healthy gut bacteria.

Eat an anti-inflammatory diet: Incorporate foods into your diet that have anti-inflammatory properties, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and fatty fish. Avoid or limit junk or processed foods, sugar-loaded beverages, and foods that are high in trans and saturated fats (LDL).

Consume omega-3 fatty acids: Include sources of omega-3 fatty acids in your diet, such as fatty fish (salmon, mackerel, sardines), flaxseeds, chia seeds, and walnuts. Omega-3 fatty acids have anti-inflammatory properties and can help lower CRP levels.

Limit alcohol consumption: Excessive alcohol consumption can increase inflammation and raise CRP levels. Hence. Its recommended to avoid or limit alcohol consumption as much as possible.

Manage stress: Chronic stress can lead to increased inflammation and CRP levels. Practice stress management techniques such as meditation, deep breathing exercises, yoga, or any other activities that help you relax.

Get enough sleep: Poor sleep quality or lack of sleep can contribute to inflammation and elevated CRP levels. To promote overall health and wellness, an adult should indulge in sound, quality sleep for 7-8 hours every night.

Medication: In some cases, medication may be prescribed by a healthcare professional to help lower CRP levels. However, lifestyle changes should still be the primary focus and medication should be seen as an adjunct to these changes.

Best Foods to Lower High CRP Levels

Fatty Fish: Fish like salmon, mackerel, sardines, and trout are rich omega-3 fatty acids and have anti-inflammatory properties.

Berries: Blueberries, strawberries, and cherries are high in antioxidants and bioactive compounds that can help fight inflammation.

Leafy Greens: Spinach, kale, and other dark leafy greens contain high levels of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals which have anti-inflammatory effects.

Turmeric: The active compound in turmeric, called curcumin, has potent anti-inflammatory properties.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil: This oil contains beneficial compounds that can reduce inflammation in the body.

Nuts: Walnuts, almonds, and other nuts provide healthy fats and antioxidants that help combat inflammation.

Green Tea: Contains polyphenols and antioxidants that have been linked to reduced inflammation.

Garlic: Known for its anti-inflammatory properties, garlic also supports the immune system.

Whole Grains: Whole grains like brown rice, oats, and quinoa are rich in fiber and can help reduce inflammation in the body.

Yogurt: Probiotics found in yogurt and other fermented foods can have anti-inflammatory effects.

It’s important to note that a well balanced diet, alongside regular physical activity and managing stress levels, plays a crucial role in maintaining overall health and reducing inflammation in the body. However, If you have high CRP levels or any health concerns, it’s always best to consult with a healthcare professional for personalised advice and guidance.

Summing Up

C-reactive protein (CRP) is a protein produced in the liver in response to inflammation in the body. It is commonly used as a marker of inflammation and is often measured in blood tests. CRP levels rise rapidly and significantly during infection, injury, or other inflammatory conditions.

While CRP is a useful marker for inflammation, it does not indicate the specific cause or location of the inflammation. CRP is often measured in conjunction with other tests to help diagnose conditions such as infections, autoimmune diseases, and cardiovascular diseases.