C-reactive protein (CRP) is a globular protein that increases in the serum as a response to injury or inflammation. It turns out to be a good predictor for cardiovascular disease. A study appearing in the Journal of the American Nutraceutical Association (2005;8(1):43-44), involving more than 27,000 women, found that CRP was a better predictor of cardiovascular disease than LDL (bad) cholesterol.

High CRP levels are actually associated with increased mortality from all causes. A CRP level greater than 3 mg/L in men was found to increase the likelihood of death by nearly two-fold, according to research appearing in Clinical Chemistry (2008 Feb;54(2):335-42). The high CRP levels increased the likelihood of heart attack by a factor of 2.15 and increased the likelihood of cancer by a factor of 1.65.

A recent study appearing in Free Radical Biology and Medicine (Oct 10, 2008) randomly assigned 396 non-smokers to receive either vitamin C, vitamin E or a placebo. Vitamin C lowered CRP in the subjects with elevated CRP, but not in those with normal CRP levels.

Improving the diet and other nutrients can also lower CRP. A cross-sectional study appearing in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (2006; 84(1): 223-9) looked at 971 Japanese men and women over the age of 70, their intake of omega-3 fatty acids and the effect omega-3 consumption had on CRP levels. The results suggest that high intake of omega-3 fatty acids may be associated with low CRP levels. Consumption of fruits and vegetables can also lower CRP levels. According to research appearing in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition  (63, 1345-1352 (November 2009)) CRP levels were inversely associated with the consumption of fruits and vegetables. In the same study, consumption of vitamins C, E and fiber were also negatively associated with CRP levels.C