I just got my CRP test results. Quick back story: When my doctor found out I was taking 10,000 IU of D3 a day, she had several highly agitated cows. So she ordered up a Vitamin D test, plus a C Reactive Protein (CRP) High-Sensitivity test, because I also told her about my joint pain decreasing when I started ZC eating.
The D levels are fine, of course, although she thinks they're too high and wants me to cut back to 2,000 IU/day. I'm not going to do that. My number is 78 ng/mL, and optimal, according to them, is 35-100. She said mine were on the "high end of normal" and that "could be bad." Alrighty, then.
So the real news, though, is the CRP level. 0-3 is the reference range, and mine is 14.6.
It could be a false positive. They're common, or so a quick scan of the literature seems to show. Or infection, or heart disease, or cancer, but I have no symptoms and no lab work that even remotely points in any of those other directions. I do, however, have a history of joint pain and stiffness, elevated ANA (a marker for autoimmune disorders), and show a high Rheumatoid factor in blood work from when I visited the rheumatologist several years ago.
Of course she wants me to change my diet to include healthywholegrains and then get re-tested. That isn't going to happen; I have no interest in becoming fat and achy again just to prove she's wrong about grains (I mean geez, tons of research on diet and inflammation points to gluten as the likeliest culprit; what on earth makes her think a whole wheat sandwich is going to help?)
It's true that I've had some returning joint pain recently, but it seemed to me to be related to my new standing desk, and increased physical activity. Otherwise, I feel fantastic.
(I'm ZC, which is about as LC as it's possible to get, with plenty of pastured eggs and fatty coldwater fish, if that helps.)
So my questions are: Has anyone else here ever seen CRP levels like this? Should I worry? And:does anyone know of any paleo-compliant interventions that might help bring inflammation down?
UPDATE: After a sleepless night arguing with invisible doctors in my head, lol, I called my rheumatologist's office the next day and asked for the test results from my visit years ago. First of all, I was shocked to find out that I went to see him in October 2001! I didn't realize it was that long ago. That was many years before I knew anything about a low-carb diet.
Secondly, here are the blood panel results from that long-ago visit: ANA: positive. SED rate: 33 (ref range is 0-20). RA factor: 61. So all three were positive. This was also surprising to me; I'd vaguely recalled that some of the tests were positive, but certainly didn't know the numbers were so definitive.
This comes close to sealing the deal for me. I've got RA, or some related AI disease(s), and I'm having a flare. I will get my bloodwork re-done, hopefully by my new doctor (I have an appt July 7 with -- get this -- Dr. House), and meanwhile, I'm going to get on with my life and calm down a bit. I'll probably update again after the next round of labs.
asked byRose (11996)
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on June 24, 2011
at 12:02 AM
My read is that you've been leptin resistant and that's shown in your difficulty losing weight. That's why you have to do VLC to lose any weight. You also have autoimmunity: are you sure it's just limited to RA? I would tend to think you're probably hypothyroid. If you have tested high on ANA, ask your endo to follow up and track down the specific autoimmune disease you're testing positive for. RA could be a hunch but RA is comorbid with a few other autoimmune issues.
The CRP is probably elevated because of your RA and other autoimmune diseases. Were you in the middle of an RA attack? If so, it should come down considerably when you're tested another time. I would get it retested. Also, see what other inflammation marker is: what is your sedimentation rate? It's less influenced by episodic and locus-specific inflammation, so it should be either in range or considerably lower than CRP.
Other than that, I'm out of answers other than perhaps trying Dr. Kruse's steps for escaping leptin resistance, starting with a 60g protein breakfast in the morning.
on June 23, 2011
at 10:40 PM
As it's nearly impossible to obtain 25(OH)D levels of 78 ng/mL via sun exposure, there may be risks of which we are not yet aware. Several studies do indicate a (unsuprising) U-shaped curve with benefits in the middle and risks at the extreme ends. While you're not going to have high serum calcium, no one really knows what it means over the long term. Why not try for 50-55 ng/mL? Those are levels that every single expert would support and levels that are achievable with sun exposure (given the right exposure and latitude).
The CRP level is very concerning. It may be worthwhile to consider a couple of things:
1)perhaps a retest is in order. perhaps the test was run wrong.
2)consider infection or other illness lurking. paul jaminet talks a lot about this.
3)consider making carb changes - few informed persons in the scientific paleosphere believe that zero carb is a good idea over the long haul and definitely not a good idea at all unless eating "whole animal" or "nose to tail" including all organs (not just liver) and possibly blood as well. Organ meats have nutrients that muscle meat does not have or has only in minute quantities, including vitamin a, vitamin c, the intensive concentrations of b vitamins...
Pay attention to the increase in joint pain. Something is going on.
on June 24, 2011
at 02:54 AM
When I was having blockages in my coronary artery, my hs-CRP was 13.8. That was about 15 years ago. Last year it was 2.7 - not perfect but much better. I have made so many changes to my lifestyle it would be hard to say exactly why this dropped. It was a slow drop over the years. I am now low carb and paleo. I am due for another check soon.
I think the greatest change came when I stopped eating gluten 8 years ago as that made a huge improvement in my health. I think that gluten had my whole body inflamed. But I also corrected a low B12, low D and low thyroid and got on some other supplements that may be making a difference. I did NOT go on statins.
How long have you been ZC? It makes sense to draw it again but I agree, adding grains is a terrible idea.
on June 23, 2011
at 11:15 PM
Also cut down on inflammatory Omega 6 fats. You might think you're eating true-Paleo but it gets tricky when it comes to animal fats. Not all of them are created equal. You can be eating organic eggs and organic meats from your supermarket but that does not change the fact that the oils trigger inflammation throughout the body. An organic soybean or ear of corn still yeilds the same omega-6 fat molecule. An organic omega-6 molecule is just as lethal as a non-organic omega-6 molecule. It can get confusing in the grocery store. The package might say 'free-range' chicken or 'free range' eggs but those same animals are grown with feeds that contain unnaturally high levels of Omega-6 inflammatory fats in the form of soybean and corn oil. The farm can sprinkle this lethal feed all over a barren pasture and call their livestock 'free range' on the package. Free range just means they're not cooped up all day.
Cottonseed oil, soybean oil, corn oil, generic vegetable oil, sunflower oil, safflower oil - all trigger inflammation. Some food companies drench their nuts in these oils. Check the ingredients on the package.
The best way to avoid all this confusion is to shop for your meats and eggs at a local farmer's market and make sure it's all grass-fed.
on June 23, 2011
at 10:53 PM
High levels of CRP?
So many choices I don't know where to start!
First off, there is no magic pill to lower the level of inflammation in the human body so I can't really point you to just one vitamin, mineral or food substance exclusively. As you know vitamins and minerals often work together to heal the body and help it perform as nature intends. The same goes for phytochemicals from plants. Paleo man and woman gathered and consumed a wide variety of different plant species containing different types of plant chemicals.
You have to load your body with these antioxidants. The more you lower oxidation, the more you can control inflammation whether it has manifested as CRP or some other inflammatory molecule.
3 foods high in antioxidants are blueberries, salmon and green tea. Organic herbal teas are potent and cheap considering their value towards controlling inflammation throughout the body. I prefer a brand called 'Traditional Medicinals'. Pay no attention to the remedies promised on the box. Blend together different mixes to gain the highest amount of biodiversity for the lowest amount of coin.
Another cheap option. I would recommend megadosing with Vitamin C. You mix the powder in with water and it absorbs into cells quickly. It's very inexpensive - $10 - $20 for a 1 month supply.
If you want to get fancy and splurge a little bit...
Try Gojii berry powder in your smoothies or get the berries raw. Another Superfood loaded with antioxidants is Acai berry powder or berries. Also try cacao powder. This stuff can get pricey but you should achieve more drastic results with these Superfoods.
Also, cut down on cooking foods and try to eat more raw foods. Cooking destroys essential amino acids in plant and animal protein which leads to higher levels of CRP.
on April 17, 2015
at 10:09 PM
My last CRP was 17! Five specialists can't decide if I have a neurologic disease or an autoimmune disease or both! But each has said the CRP test is meaningless. I am a 72 year old woman and i am suffering from some malady that has made me almost completely home-bound because of fatigue, weakness and all-over body aches. Not to mention almost daily migraines. Just wish a doctor would get it together and give me a diagnosis. I've been told I don't have heart disease -- this from my PCP as well as the rheumatologists and neurologists; no cardiac referral yet. Guess I'll just have to wait and see.
on July 21, 2013
at 01:38 PM
Wow, your feakin' at 14.6!! I'm at 58. That must mean I 'm the walking dead!
on August 28, 2011
at 02:26 AM
i am new to this gluten free diet. I am eating gluten free now, difficult because I love bread and find most gluten free breads are boring, dry, and disgusting to eat. With the exception of toasted Udi's cinnamon/raisin. However, in reading I find many of you refer to VLC, ZC, etc. These abbreviations I do not know. What do they stand for? Also, I have a rather high crp - 17 to 24, it varies. That was before I started the gluten free diet. I have an appointment with my Primary doctor and will have results next week to see if my crp has decreased since I am eating differently. I would like to know and hear more about eating gluten free. Please respond. Thanks....Adri...
on June 24, 2011
at 02:44 AM
I don't have any insight into this, but I hope this is either a false alarm or, if it's not, that it is easily corrected.
on June 23, 2011
at 11:03 PM
Up your carbs to at least 100g and get another test.
on April 28, 2014
at 05:13 PM
I think some labs might still do CRP tests that are not hs-CRP (high sensitivity) and have very different reference ranges... make sure your results are for hs-CRP so we're all comparing apples to apples.
on April 28, 2014
at 05:10 PM
I think the ranges are very different for hs-CRP (high sensitivity) and (non-hs) CRP tests. When talking about numbers, please make sure you're all comparing apples to apples.
on July 22, 2013
at 04:17 AM
BTW, if you are taking high doses of D3 you should also be supplementing Vitamin K2 in the form of MK7. The Jaminets say that large doses of Vitamin D supplements can cause "improper tissue calicfication" but K2 prevents vitamin D toxicity. Vitamin D also depletes K2, so supplementation may be necessary at high doses of D.
They also say Vitamin K deficiency means that blood won't clot properly, bones don't calcify properly, soft tissues do calcify leading to atherosclerosis and joint disease (perhaps a reason for the return of your pain?) and the combination of adequate D and K2 is good at cancer prevention.
Food sources for K2 are egg yolks, liver, grassfed butter, fermented veggies, and aged cheese.
on May 30, 2013
at 03:40 AM
Rose, Just wondering how you are doing. My husband's CRP was 24.6 in January. 2 months later he got Jaundice and toxic hepitias. After 11 days in the hospital, his symptoms subsided the beginning of April. His CRP was checked again April 4. They were over 50. On April 14 he got a ruptured ulcer (caused by steroids from his first hospital visit) and was operated on to save his life. His CRP has not been checked again, but I am wondering if the high CRP levels could have been an indication that all his ills were coming.