Today I wanted to share a common test that can be done to show your own inflammation status.
There is a blood test called CRP or C reactive protein, it can also be called high sensitive CRP or hs-CRP and this is a measure of inflammation in the body.
How Does C Reactive Protien Show Inflammation In The Body?
When out body is producing various inflammatory molecules they go into the bloodstream and from the bloodstream they travel into the liver. On the other side of this process the liver produces CRP so it gives us a measure of inflammation in the body.
CRP is a strong predictor of cardiovascular conditions and has also been shown to be present in conditions like cancer, type 2 diabetes, autoimmune conditions, inflammatory bowel disease, and it’s also a common marker that’s tested if you have some kind of severe acute infection.
CRP is also frequently present in obesity because obesity itself is a state of low grade systemic inflammation. I talked about this in episode number 32 of the podcast, where we covered the fact that fat cells are not dormant cells that just sit there but produce many pro-inflammatory molecules in the body. Have a listen to that episode if you haven’t already because it’s really interesting.
The C Reactive Protein Test
This CRP test is not a test that is commonly ordered by your doctor unless you have other risk factors or your suffering an acute infection, but you can ask to get it done if you want to.
The test can’t tell you where the inflammation comes from or what is causing it so it’s not really diagnostic but it can be used to test acute and chronic inflammation and measure risk for conditions like heart disease. Like I said the test is most often used for inflammatory bowel disease, autoimmune conditions and arthritis, particularly rheumatoid to detect flare ups.
In the blood CRP is normally low but with increased systemic inflammation the levels can obviously increase.
It should be noted that CRP levels can also be elevated in the later stages of pregnancy as well as with use of birth control pills or hormone replacement therapy like with estrogen. It can also be slightly increased with age.
Normal C Reactive Protein Levels
Normal concentration in healthy human blood is usually lower than 5 mg/L. For the hsCRP it is 0.2-3mg/L.
A test result showing a CRP level greater than 8 mg/L is a sign of serious inflammation or infection.
According to the American Heart Association the values for calculating hsCRP in relation to cardiovascular risk are :
• low risk hs-CRP level is lower than 1.0mg/L
• average risk if your levels are between 1.0 and 3.0 mg/L
• high risk for cardiovascular disease if your hs-CRP level is higher than 3.0 mg/L
Even though lots of studies do show a strong association between CRP levels and cardiovascular disease, keep in mind that these risk levels aren’t a definitive measure of your risk because there’s still speculation around how predictive CRP really is.
Although this C reactive protein test isn’t something you’d necessarily get done it’s interesting to know that you can, particularly if you have health conditions of concern because having even moderatly high CRP levels can contribute to ill health.
Anyway I hope you find this useful. If you have questions or would like to continue the conversation please leave your comments below 🙂
Nutritionist & Health Coach