Why You Should Measure C-Reactive Protein (CRP)

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In this blog post we’ll help you understand what inflammation is and why you want to measure and monitor your C Reactive Protein (CRP) over time and what you can do to optimize it.  After reading we hope you will know how to measure without spending 100s of dollars and making doctors visits and why CRP could be more important than blood pressure and cholesterol. 

First, to understand inflammation, we have to understand that it is good and helps us resolve injuries and protect our bodies from further damage.  The problem with inflammation is if injuries and damage do not get resolved, the inflammation moves from acute inflammation and turns into chronic inflammation.  This is bad because high inflammation has been linked to almost all  diseases, especially the progressive types such as cancer, diabetes, heart disease, aging, and depression.  Unfortunately, due to our current modern environments and toxins, we can carry around high levels of inflammation in our bodies and the one or two blood tests we take a year may not be enough to make real time decisions and adjustments to optimize your inflammation. 

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So how do you measure and optimize inflammation?  The answer is with the bio marker high sensitivity C Reactive Protein (CRP).  Basically, CRP is mainly produced in the liver in response to inflammation and tissue damage.  In addition to acute injuries CRP shows up in chronic stress or systemic inflammation.  Again, studies (http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/109/21_suppl_1/II-11.long) have shown significant associations of CRP and future cardio vascular risk in apparently healthy people.  If you think you are generally healthy but have high CRP, this can lead to a dangerous false positive. 

What are the optimal ranges for CRP

Typically, the CRP levels above 3 mg/L can increase the risk of heart disease.  To measure your CRP levels, normally you would want the high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP) test, not the CRP test. The hs-CRP test measures CRP in the range from 0.5 to 10 mg/L.

Elevated levels of CRP (>3 mg/L) are associated with cardiovascular event risk (R). The risk of developing cardiovascular disease is quantified as follows (R):

  • Low risk: hs-CRP level under 1.0 mg/L
  • Average risk: between 1.0 and 3.0 mg/L
  • High risk: above 3.0 mg/L
  • Very high risk: 5-10 mg/L
  • Above 10 mg/L – clinically significant inflammatory states (R).

In another study here https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17516213 CRP levels were shown to directly correlate with the disease activity of many inflammatory diseases. 

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The exciting news is you don’t have to wait until you see your doctor each year to understand what your CRP levels are.  You can purchase a take home test as many times as you want to see what changes you are making and how they are affecting your CRP levels.  The test is a simple finger prick with the lancing device and 4 drop of blood onto the testing pad.  After that you let it dry for 30 min and then send it off to the lab where you will have your results back in 7 days. 

 

How You can decrease CRP

 

Sleep

Insufficient sleep has been linked to inflammation. For example, CRP increases with both sleep deprivation and poor self-rated sleep quality in a dose-dependent manner (R).  Therefore ,optimize your sleep environment make sure you are getting quality sleep that minimizes disturbances.  For questions on how to optimize your sleep environment you can read more here.

Cryotherapy

Studies of acute doses of cold has been shown to increase norepinephrine 2 to 3 times in studies of whole body cryotherapy and ice baths.  Norepinephrine production has been liked to reduce inflammation in a fascinating study done by the PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences).  This study sheds light on how norepinephrine (the levels of which are raised by nortryptiline, a norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor), acts as an anti-inflammatory agent in the brain.  The enticing news is you don’t have to jump in an ice lake to get the norepinephrine benefit you can simply do consistent whole body cryotherapy 1-2 times a week. 

Nutrition and Genetics

Understanding what role your genetics play in inflammation is key to understanding what kind of diet you should be on.  For instance,  a keto diet may create more inflammation for an individual who has the APOE4 gene.  This gene has been linked to doing poorly on a high saturated fat diet and should stick to more monounsaturated fat.  Therefore, have your genetics tested and see what genes you may have that can cause higher inflammation depending on your diet. 

 

Photobiomodulation (PBM)

 

Low level light therapy studies lead to increase the oxygen uptake to the cells and increase Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP) production. The remarkable range of medical benefits provided by PBM, has led some to suggest that it may be “too good to be true”. However, one of the most general benefits of PBM that has recently emerged, is its pronounced anti-inflammatory effects. It is not yet completely understood how this relates to inflammation, but the systemic response the PBM therapy has shown a reduction in inflammation.  To someone who struggle with inflammation this can be exciting news due to the many side effects of prescription drugs. 

 

Optimism and Gratitude

 

Having a positive outlook can go a long way.  When you make sure your mind is align with good things it can go along way.  This study  showed pessimism increases Inflammatory markers including CRP.   Another study showed self-rated health was associated with elevated CRP even among apparently healthy individuals (R).

 

Oxygen Training Therapy

 

Oxygen is the natural anti-Inflammatory and in order to recover from an injury you must supply the cells with oxygen.  As we age and as we have injuries and they create inflammation to our cells where they begin to balloon due to the lack of oxygen.  The beauty of this is if we can create more oxygen in our blood plasma it is more likely to carry the oxygen to the distressed cells and allow them to return to their normal pattern.  This is only done through a super oxygen event such as a the hyperbaric chamber or the Live O2 oxygen training system. 

 

At Cryo Recovery we specialize in inflammation reduction.  We believe this is critical and overlooked by our health providers.  We believe it all starts with inflammation and if we can control the inflammation we can impact more lives.