C-Reactive Protein – More Info

C-reactive protein is a valuable marker for heart disease, diabetes and metabolic syndrome.

High sensitivity C-Reactive Protein (hsCRP) is produced in the liver in response to inflammation, so this test can measure the extent of chronic inflammation in the body and more specifically, in the heart. Recent studies demonstrate that a CRP reading above normal range may be a more important indicator than high cholesterol in predicting heart attack and stroke. Obesity and insulin resistance affect cells in ways that increase inflammation, so CRP readings can be used to detect inflammation early, before it leads to chronic disease.

High Sensitivity C-Reactive Protein (hs-CRP)
C-reactive protein (CRP) is an established marker of inflammation and has recently been suggested to be an important contributor to pro-inflammatory and pro-thrombotic elements of CVD risk. Extremely high CRP levels are seen in acute inflammatory states, but the small elevations that are indicative of the pro-inflammatory and pro-thrombotic states implicated in the metabolic syndrome require high sensitivity assays, and are thus referred to as hs-CRP levels. These high sensitivity assays have recently been developed for use with blood spots.

What Causes High CRP Levels?
Overweight, obese, insulin resistant and diabetic individuals typically have elevated CRP levels.

Studies have shown correlations between elevated CRP and increased risk of future heart attacks, ischemic stroke, and peripheral arterial disease.

Elevated CRP levels have been found to predict the development of type 2 diabetes.

Increased CRP levels, which correlate inversely with insulin sensitivity, have been found in individuals with polycystic ovarian syndrome and may be a marker of early cardiovascular risk in these women.

What Lowers CRP Levels?
Lifestyle changes such as aerobic exercise, weight loss, healthy diet and smoking cessation have been known to lower CRP.

Medications like aspirin and statins can lower CRP levels.

What are Normal Levels of CRP?
Levels below 3.0 mg/L are considered to be normal; 3.1 to 10 mg/L is elevated, in the context of CVD risk, and above 10 mg/L is very high, more likely indicating an acute inflammatory event due to infection or trauma

Purchase a Heart Disease Risk Test that Includes C-Reactive Protein (CRP)


C-Reactive Protein References/Research


Ahmad E, Masoud K, Yadollah M et al. Fruit and vegetable intakes, C-reactive protein, and the metabolic syndrome. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol. 84, No. 6, 1489-1497, December 2006.

Beesley R, Al Serouri A, Filteau SM. Measurement of C-reactive protein in dried blood spots on filter paper. Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg. 2000;94:348-349.

Block G, Jensen CD, Dalvi TB et al. Vitamin C treatment reduces elevated C-reactive protein. Free Radic Biol Med. 2008 Oct 10.

Boulman N, Levy Y, Leiba R, Shachar S, Linn R, Zinder O, Blumenfeld Z. Increased C-reactive protein levels in the polycystic ovary syndrome: a marker of cardiovascular disease. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 2004;89:2160-65.

Butter NL, Hattersley AT, Clark PM. Development of a blood spot assay for insulin. Clin Chim Acta. 2001;310:141-150.

Chun OK, Chung SJ, Claycombe KJ, Song WO, “Serum C-reactive protein concentrations are inversely associated with dietary flavonoid intake in U.S. adults,” J Nutr. 2008 Apr;138(4):753-60.

Church TS, Barlow CE, Earnest CP, Kampert JB, Priest EL, Blair SN. Associations between cardiorespiratory fitness and C-reactive protein in men. Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol 2002;22:1869-76.

Cordon SM, Elborn JS, Hiller EJ, Shale DJ. C-reactive protein measured in dried blood spots from patients with cystic fibrosis. J Immunol Methods 1991;143:69-72.

Dowlati B, Dunhardt PA, Smith MM, Shaheb S, Stuart CA. Quantification of insulin in dried blood spots. J Lab Clin Med 1998;131:370-4.

Deutsch L. Evaluation of the Effect of Neptune Krill Oil on Chronic Inflammation and Arthritic Symptoms. Journal of the American College of Nutrition, Vol. 26, No. 1, 39-48 (2007).

Di Giuseppe R, Di Castelnuovo A, Centritto F et al, “Regular Consumption of Dark Chocolate Is Associated with Low Serum Concentrations of C-Reactive Protein in a Healthy Italian Population,” 2008 American Society for Nutrition J. Nutr. 138:1939-1945, October 2008.

Esmaillzadeh A, Kimiagar M, Mehrabi Y et al, “Fruit and vegetable intakes, C-reactive protein, and the metabolic syndrome,” American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol. 84, No. 6, 1489-1497, December 2006.

Grundy SM, Brewer HB Jr, Cleeman JI, Smith SC Jr, Lenfant C; American Heart Association; National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Definition of metabolic syndrome: Report of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute/American Heart Association conference on scientific issues related to definition. Circulation 2004;109:433-8.

Kausik RK, Cannon CP, Cairns R et al. Relationship Between Uncontrolled Risk Factors and C-Reactive Protein Levels in Patients Receiving Standard or Intensive Statin Therapy for Acute Coronary Syndromes in the PROVE IT-TIMI 22 Trial. Journal of the American College of Cardiology, Vol 46, Issue 8:1417-1424 (18 October 2005).

Madsen T, Skou HA, Hansen VE, Fog L, Christensen JH, Toft E, Schmidt EB. C-reactive protein, dietary n-3 fatty acids, and the extent of coronary artery disease. Am.J Cardiol 2001;88:1139-42.

Marques-Vidal P, Mazoyer E, Bongard V, Gourdy P, Ruidavets JB, Drouet L, Ferrieres J. Prevalence of insulin resistance syndrome in southwestern France and its relationship with inflammatory and hemostatic markers. Diabetes Care 2002;25:1371-7.

McDade TW, Burhop J, Dohnal J. High sensitivity enzyme immunoassay for c-reactive protein in dried blood spots. Clin Chem 2004; 50:652-4.

National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP) Expert Panel on Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of High Blood Cholesterol in Adults (Adult Treatment Panel III). Third Report of the National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP) Expert Panel on Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of High Blood Cholesterol in Adults (Adult Treatment Panel III) final report. Circulation 2002;106:3143-421.

Pradhan AD, Manson JE, Rifai N, Buring JE, Ridker PM. C-reactive protein, interleukin 6, and risk of developing type 2 diabetes mellitus. JAMA 2001;286:327-34.

Ridker PM, Cushman M, Stampfer MJ, Tracy RP, Hennekens CH. Inflammation, aspirin, and the risk of cardiovascular disease in apparently healthy men. New Engl J Med 1997;336:973-9.

Ridker PM, Rifai N, Clearfi eld M, Downs JR, Weis SE, Miles JS, Gotto AM Jr. Measurement of C-reactive protein for the targeting of statin therapy in the primary prevention of acute coronary events. New Engl J Med 2001;344:1959-65.

Shankar A, Li J, Nieto FJ, Klein BE, Klein R. Association between C-reactive protein level and peripheral arterial disease among US adults without cardiovascular disease, diabetes, or hypertension. Am Heart J 2007;154:495-501.

Shields BM, Knight B, Shakespeare L, Babrah J, Powell RJ, Clark PM, Hattersley AT. Determinants of insulin concentrations in healthy 1-week-old babies in the community: applications of a blood spot assay. Early Hum Dev 2006;82:143-8.

Tarkun I, Arslan BC, Canturk Z, Turemen E, Sahin T, Duman C. Endothelial dysfunction in young women with polycystic ovary syndrome: relationship with insulin resistance and low-grade chronic inflammation. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 2004;89:5592-6.

Wang XL, Rainwater DL, Mahaney MC, Stocker R. Cosupplementation with vitamin E and coenzyme Q10 reduces circulating markers of inflammation in baboons. Am J Clin Nutr. 2004 Sep;80(3):649-55.

Watson K. Managing cardiometabolic risk: an evolving approach to patient care. Crit Pathw Cardiol. 2007; 6:5-14.

Reprinted in part with permission of ZRT Laboratory

Post to Twitter