Vitamin C May Lower C-Reactive Protein, an Important Biomarker for Inflammation

C-Reactive Protein May Impact Heart Disease, Arthritis and Dementia

Vitamin C supplements can normalize elevated blood levels of C-Reactive Protein. C-Reactive Protein (CRP) is a biomarker for inflammation. Since C-Reactive Protein indicates how much inflammation is occurring in the body, the ultimate effect of Vitamin C is to decrease inflammation. According to Science Daily, research shows that inflammation is at work in many diseases, including heart disease, immune system disease, diabetes, obesity and dementia.

Vitamin C, statin drugs, and elevated blood levels of C-Reactive Protein

In a study published in Free Radical Biology and Medicine, scientists found that supplemental Vitamin C treatment lowered CRP levels, but only when CRP was elevated in the first place. C-Reactive Protein is considered elevated when blood levels are 1 mg/liter or higher.

Gladys Block, professor emeritus at University of California, Berkeley, and lead author, states, "Common sense suggests, and our study confirms, that biomarkers are only likely to be reduced if they are not already low."

For those people who did respond to Vitamin C treatment, however, the reduction in CRP was significant. After two months of treatment with Vitamin C supplements, C-Reactive Protein levels decreased by about 0.25 mg/l. Block notes that "several larger statin (drug) trials lowered CPR by about 0.2 mg/l." Thus, Block said, "Vitamin C may be able to reduce CRP as much as statins."

C-Reactive Protein and disease activity

The UC, Berkeley study noted that C-Reactive Protein is "a powerful predictor of heart disease and diabetes" and is strongly linked to obesity. Another scientist on the study, Nina Holland, stated, "The low-grade inflammation that characterizes obesity is believed to contribute to a number of disorders, including atherosclerosis and insulin resistance."

The Linus Pauling Institute reports that elevated C-Reactive Protein levels are associated with hypertension (high blood pressure) and stroke.

Rheumatology reports that radiological progression of joint destruction in Rheumatoid Arthritis is "less likely when ESR (erythrocyte sedimentation rate) and CPR are controlled." In a separate study, elevated C-Reactive Protein in Rheumatoid Arthritis patients caused microvascular dysfunction.

Ingenta research on the effectiveness of Etanercept (brand name: Enbrel) demonstrated that elevated CRP was associated strongly with flare-ups of skin disease in persons with psoriasis.

In Early Inflammation and Dementia, scientists found that elevated C-Reactive Protein is related to dementias, including Alzheimer's disease. Using CRP, and other biomarkers of inflammation, researchers stated these cerebral disease "processes are measurable long before clinical symptoms appear."

How much Vitamin C did study participants take?

Participants in the UC, Berkeley study, which found supplemental Vitamin C lowered elevated C-Reactive Protein levels more than statin drugs, took 1,000 mg of Vitamin C per day, for two months. The researchers thought it was safe for most people to take even twice that amount of Vitamin C on a daily basis.

Vitamin C supplements can decrease inflammation

C-Reactive Protein is a biomarker for the inflammation that occurs in many diseases. Supplemental Vitamin C may lower elevated CRP levels. Ultimately, Vitamin C may lower inflammation, wherever it occurs in the body.

More B. A. Rogers: Top Five Uncomplicated Foods to Increase HDL "Good" Cholesterol and Coffee May Improve Alzheimer's Symptoms and Memory Loss.


"Vitamin C Lowers Levels Of Inflammation Biomarker Considered Predictor Of Heart Disease," Science Daily.

Weijian Zhang, M.D., Ph.D., "The Role of Lipoic Acid in Inflammation and Atherosclerosis," Linus Pauling Institute, Oregon State University.

P. T. Dawes, et al., "Rheumatoid Arthritis: Treatment Which Controls the C-Reactive Protein and Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate Reduces Radiological Progression," Rheumatology, Oxford Journals.

B. Galarraga, et al. "C-reactive protein: the underlying cause of microvascular dysfunction in rheumatoid arthritis," Rheumatology, Oxford Journals.

B. Strober, et al. "Effects of etanercept on C-reactive protein levels in psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis," IngentaConnect.

Reinhold Schmidt, M.D., et al., "Early inflammation and dementia: A 25-year follow-up of the Honolulu-Asia Aging Study," Annals of Neurology, Wiley InterScience.

Published by B.A. Rogers

Rogers grew up in Tampa, Florida, and lives with her husband, two kids, a dog and a cat near the coastal wildlands of North Carolina. As a writer, whether of fiction, information or op-eds, she views her cr...  View profile

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  • Akbar 12/5/2012

    vitamin for reduce esr