The Truth about C Reactive Protein and Cholesterol Lowering Drugs
You might disagree, but hear me out on this...
The drug companies know what they want you to think. They want you to think that the only reliable predictor for heart disease is an elevated low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol level, and the best way to decrease your risk to take "statin" drugs such as Zocor and Lipitor. Cholesterol-reducing medications are among the highest-grossing pharmaceutical products ever, so drug companies want to lead you to their medications. But an elevated LDL-cholesterol level is not the only predictor of heart disease. It's not even the best predictor--that honor goes to a little known test that looks for elevated levels of C-reactive protein.
What is C-reactive protein?
C-reactive protein is produced by the body during times of inflammation. Doctors are not exactly sure why some people have elevated C reactive protein and others have normal levels, but they do know that high C reactive protein is linked to higher rates of heart disease, stroke, heart attack, and sudden cardiac death.
Traditional doctors agree that a test for C-reactive protein is a better measure of a person's risk for heart disease than cholesterol. The New England Journal of Medicine reported in November of 2002 that elevated C reactive protein predicts cardiovascular problems better than elevated LDL-cholesterol. The American Heart Association agrees.
How Is Elevated C Reactive Protein Determined?
The test to determine C-reactive protein levels is quite simple. A blood sample is taken, and the sample is analyzed in the laboratory. It's a test that's neither expensive nor invasive.
Even though doctors agree that C-reactive protein is such a powerful predictor for heart disease, the simple test is not often offered to patients. Why? They don't ask for it. Commercial advertising (supported by pharmaceutical companies who make money from lowering people's cholesterol levels) leads patients to ask their doctors to prescribe cholesterol-lowering statin drugs. They rarely ask about C-reactive protein tests and remedies because it's not a big-money business.
What Home Remedies Treat High C Reactive Protein?
Drug companies that sell statin drugs know that they could lose money if people start worrying more about their C-reactive protein levels than they do about their LDL-cholesterol levels. They are quick to point out that studies show that the same drugs used to lower cholesterol will also lower C-reactive protein. However, these drugs are both expensive and dangerous. Muscle reactions have left patients severely disfigured, and even physicians are questioning the wisdom and efficacy of widespread use of statin drugs.
Happily, natural healing offers many ways to keep C-reactive protein levels in the healthy range. These methods can be used to lower elevated C reactive protein, or to maintain good heart health. Even better, natural methods for reducing C-reactive protein have been proven by scientists to be as good as or better than drug therapy at combating C-reactive protein.
Diet--Healthnotes Newswire reported the conclusions of one study that showed that making several positive changes to one's diet could significantly reduce C-reactive protein levels. Adding plant sterols, insoluble fiber, soy protein, and almonds to the low-fat, vegetarian diets of test subjects helped reduce C-reactive protein levels by 28 percent more than a control group fed a low-fat, vegetarian diet.
Other studies have found links between increased consumption of whole grains and reduced C-reactive protein levels. These studies show that subjects who ate more simple carbohydrates had higher C reactive protein levels than subjects who ate more complex carbs.
Supplementation--Vitamin and mineral supplements have also shown to be an inexpensive, effective weapon against C-reactive protein.
Niacin--Niacin is a B-complex vitamin that works so well to lower cholesterol and C-reactive protein that it is regulated by the FDA and available by doctors in prescription strengths. Consumers can also buy high-quality B-complex vitamins, which have many other benefits, from any health food store.
Coenzyme Q10 and Vitamin E--Supplementing with vitamin E will reduce your C-reactive protein levels and enhance your health. Scientists have recently proven that combining vitamin E supplementation with coenzyme Q10 is even more effective, and can reduce C-reactive protein levels by as much as 30 percent.
It's still a good idea to make the diet and lifestyle changes that will lower your LDL-cholesterol levels. Reducing your intake of trans and saturated fats will help you live a longer life. If you're concerned about your risk of coronary disease, though, focus on you C-reactive protein levels. Ask your doctor for a blood test to determine your level of C-reactive protein. If it's high, talk to your physician about using diet and exercise, along with nutritional supplementation, to lower your C-reactive protein levels and your risk of heart disease.
"Comparison of C-Reactive Protein and Low-Density Lipoprotein Cholesterol Levels in the Prediction of First Cardiovascular Events." Paul M. Ridker, M. D., Nader Rifai, Ph. D., Lynda Rose, M. S., Julie E. Buring, Sc. D., and Nancy R. Cook, Sc. D. The New England Journal of Medicine. 347:1557-1565, Nov. 11, 2002.