CRP, Diet, and Drugs

Conventional medicine has long used cholesterol levels to determine heart disease risk. Millions and millions of people are prescribed one of the statin drugs (Lipitor, Lovastatin, etc) only because their cholesterol measures over 200. Statins are also said to have anti-inflammatory effects as well, and so are being heralded as wonder drugs for those with heart disease.

However, over the past few years medical researchers have found that another lab marker, called C-reactive protein (CRP) is more predictive of heart disease risk than cholesterol. CRP levels indicate the amount of inflammation happening in the arteries, and heart disease is much more likely in those whose level of inflammation is elevated.

A recent study in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition compared a common statin drug to an anti-inflammatory diet to see which lowered CRP more significantly

The drug companies are not going to happy with the results: the anti-inflammatory diet lowered CRP more profoundly than the statin. The diet consisted of high intake of soy, vegetable, fiber and almonds. The “control” group in the study, which experienced no reduction in their CRP by the end of the study, ate a diet low in saturated fat.

Two important pieces of information come from this study: first, and most obviously, diet trumps drugs in lowering the risk for heart disease. Second, saturated fats appear not to be the dietary monster they are often made out to be, since reducing their intake didn’t have an effect on this significant marker for heart disease risk.

Not only can a good diet lower your risk for heart disease, but it doesn’t have any of the risks associated with statin drugs. There is a growing mountain of evidence that statins have serious and even life-threatening side effects such as nerve pain, cancer, muscle and liver toxicity and others.

If you or someone you know would like a thorough review of your risk for cardiovascular disease, including all the relevant laboratory tests, schedule an appointment with one of the physicians at Nature Cures Clinic. Visit our New Appointment Page or call 503-287-4970.