Lowering Inflammation Naturally

A picture of CRP from 1B09.

One of the most plausible reasons to give statins, despite significant side effects like severe muscle pain (rhabdomyolysis), impotence , cognitive impairment, neuropathies and 9% increases in type 2 diabetes, is to lower inflammation.  Cholesterol, which is higher when the body is inflamed, is the body’s bandage for irritated arteries, preventing us from bleeding out if those arterial walls give way.  While cholesterol is correlated with heart disease, inflammation is the real culprit.

Inflammation is caused by elevated blood sugar, allergy, disease or injury and it causes sudden increases in C-Reactive Protein, an inflammatory marker which is the fastest and is the most reliable indicator of clinical disease and its severity. Testing blood levels  of C-Reactive Protein gauges the inflammation level of the body which is correlated with heart disease.  Agents that lower C-Reactive Protein (CRP) frequently lower cholesterol, but you do not want to lower the cholesterol without lowering the inflammation.

The statins deplete the Coenzyme Q10, the body’s own anti-inflammatory compound, leading to muscle weakness, pain, brain fog and

Plants contain many compounds called polyphenols, which have been shown to reduce inflammation and hereby to increase resistance to disease. Examples of such polyphenols are isothiocyanates in cabbage and broccoli, epigallocatechin in green tee, capsaicin in chili peppers, chalones, rutin and naringenin in apples, resveratrol in red wine, Japanese knotweed and fresh peanuts and curcumin/curcuminoids in turmeric.

Fish Oil

Fish Oil causes reductions in CRP.  Consuming 2 grams daily in divided doses, yielding 960 mg/d of EPA and 600 mg/d of DHA can lower CRP.  After 6 months of fish oil treatment  CRP  in patients with end stage renal failure went from 16 mg/dL to 10.22 mg/dL.

Vitamin D

When we have low Vitamin D, the cholesterol we make or consume is not properly processed.  Vitamin D inhibits the uptake of cholesterol by cells called macrophages due to its signaling mechanism.  When the macrophages become clogged with cholesterol, they become foam cells, one of the first markers of atherosclerosis.  They cluster and form plaques in the blood vessels, especially at sites of inflammation.   It is worse in diabetics because they typically have inflamed blood vessels from excessive blood insulin and blood sugar, and inflammation attracts macrophages.

Coffee

You might think that coffee would be inflammatory, or at least bad for those who suffer from inflammation.  But coffee is far more than caffeine and it actually is anti-inflammatory thanks to compounds like chlorogenic acid (also in blueberries), flavanoids and magnesium which relaxes blood vessels.  In fact in a recent test of the statin drug Crestor, CRP was reduced by less than 10%, the amount CRP is reduced by a cup of coffee when taken by diabetic women. The more coffee, the lower the CRP.  A couple of cups of coffee then could reduce inflammation more than a statin and would leave sexual functioning and vitamin absorption intact.

Statins/Red Yeast Rice Extract
Statin drugs and Red Yeast Rice Extract, the natural prototype of statins, have been found to significantly reduce CRP. In one long-term (5 year) study, treatment with the statin drug Pravastatin resulted in an overall 38% reduction in mean CRP levels, and a 54% reduction in coronary artery disease

Dietary Fiber

Fiber lowers inflammation but not for the obese, according to a meta study.  In the presence of weight loss and modified saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat intakes, significantly lower CRP concentrations ranging from 25-54% are seen with increased dietary fiber consumption (3.3 g/MJ or more).  The exact mechanisms may involve the effect of fiber on weight loss, and/or changes in the actions of insulin, glucose, adiponectin, interleukin-6, free fatty acids or triglycerides.

Vitamin B6
Scientists from Tufts University in Boston reported that low levels of vitamin B6 are associated with higher levels of C-Reactive Protein.

Gum Gugul

Guggul is the sap of a bush similar to myrrh.  Gugulipid is a natural cholesterol regulating product made from it.  A recent article in  JAMA, was apparently designed to discredit beneficial effects of gugulipid on cholesterol.  Only 20% of the people who took it had lowered cholesterol.  The effects on CRP were not even mentioned in the abstract.  Buried in the data was the fact that gugulipid consumption resulted in an overall lowering of CRP of nearly 30 percent:

Nonlipid Effects

There was no significant effect of guggulipid on weight or onlevels of TSH. A secondary analysis of hs-CRP on all 83 participantswho completed the study found that HDG reduced median levelsof hs-CRP by 29% compared with a 25% increase in the group receivingplacebo….


Turmeric

Ginger

Enzymes

See Also:
Cholesterol: Unfairly Vilified?
Niacin Outperforms Drug At Cholesterol Lowering
Coffee Beats Statins In Reducing Diabetes Inflammation
Limit Carbohydrates Rather Than Fats To Prevent Heart Disease
Low Vitamin D tied to Diabetic Cardiovascular Disease

References:

Dean, Ward C-Reactive Protein
Biomarker and Cardiovascular Risk Factor-What to do About It

Wilson, Duff  Risks Seen in Cholesterol Drug Use in Healthy People New York Times

Curcumin from Turmeric Spice Found to Help Fight Cancer, Reduces Chronic Inflammation

Bengmark S, Mesa MD, Gil A. Plant-derived health: the effects of turmeric and curcuminoids.Nutr Hosp. 2009 May-Jun;24(3):273-81. Review.PMID: 19721899

Bowden, RG. et. al.  Fish oil supplementation lowers C-reactive protein levels independent of triglyceride reduction in patients with end-stage renal disease. Nutr Clin Pract. 2009 Aug-Sep;24(4):508-12. Epub 2009 May 21.

Cohen, Jay.  Statin Side Effects: Do Doctors Take Patients Complaints Seriously? Medicationsense.com

Devaraj, S., and Jialal, I. Alpha tocopherol supplementation decreases serum C-Reactive Protein and Monocyte interleukin 6 levels in normal volunteers and type 2 diabetic patients. Free Radical Biology and Medicine, 2000, 29: 8, 790-792.

Deodhar, S.D. C-Reactive Protein: The best laboratory indicator available for monitoring disease activity. Cleveland Clinic J. Medicine, 1989, 56: 2, 126-129.

Friso, S., Jacques, P., Wilson, P., Rosenberg, I., and Selhub, J. Low circulating Vitamin B6 is associated with elevation of the inflammation marker C-Reactive Protein independently of plasma homocysteine levels. Circulation, 2001, 103: 2788.

Jurenka JS. Anti-inflammatory properties of curcumin, a major constituent of Curcuma longa: a review of preclinical and clinical research. Altern Med Rev. 2009 Jun;14(2):141-53. Review. Erratum in: Altern Med Rev. 2009 Sep;14(3):277. PMID: 19594223

Kaczmarek P, et. al.  The influence of simvastatin on selected inflammatory markers in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Pol Arch Med Wewn. 2010;120(1-2):11-7.

Kushner, I. C-Reactive Protein and the Acute Phase Response. Hospital Practice, 1990, March 30, 13-28.

Kushner, I. C-reactive protein elevation can be caused by conditions other than inflammation and may reflect biologic aging.  Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine, 2001, 68: 6, 535-540.

Patel, V., Robbins, M. and Topol, E. C-reactive protein: A “Golden Marker” for inflammation and coronary artery disease. Cleveland Clinic J Medicine, 2001, 68: 6, 521-534.

Pasceri, V., Willerson, J., Yeh, E. Direct proinflammatory effect of C reactive protein on human endothelial cells. Circulation, 2000, 102:2165-2168.

Ridker, P., Hennekens, C., Buring, J., and Rifai, N. C-Reactive Protein and other markers of inflammation in the prediction of cardiovascular disease in women. New England J Med, 2000, 342: 836-43.

Ridker, P., Rifai, N., Pfefer, M., Sacks, F., Braunwald, E. Long term effects of pravastatin on plasma concentration of C-reactive protein. Circulation, 1999, 100: 230-235.

Ridker, P., Cushman, M., Stampfer, M., Tracy, R., Hennekens, C. Inflammation, aspirin, and the risk of cardiovascular disease in apparently healthy men. N Engl J Med, 1997, 336: 973-979.

Szapary PO, Wolfe ML, Bloedon LT, Cucchiara AJ, DerMarderosian AH, Cirigliano MD, Rader DJ. Guggulipid for the treatment of hypercholesterolemia: a randomized controlled trial. JAMA. 2003 Aug 13;290(6):765-72.

Tomassi, S., Carluccio, E., and Bentifoglio, M, et al. C reactive protein as a marker for cardiac ischemic events in the year after a first, uncomplicated myocardial infarction. Am J. Cardiol, 1999, 83: 1595-1599.

Cichoke A. Enzymes hasten pain relief. Nutrition Science News. Feb. 2001.

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