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California State University, Dominguez Hills
University of Wisconsin, Parkside
Created: January 17, 2005
Latest Update: January 17, 2005

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Index of Topics on Site C-Reactive Protein and Heart Health
On January 17, 2005 there were lots of letters to the editor in the NY Times on "Inflammation and Heart Disease," at p. A 20. Most of the letters were from pissed off doctors who had known about C-Reactive Protein, which is an indicator of inflammation in the body. They knew that inflammation could increase the risk of heart attack, and that there are relatively simple nutritional ways to lower the inflammation.

Dr. Douglas Jutte, M.D., a "research fellow in the Robert Wood Johnson Health and Society Scholar Program at U.C. San Francisco-U.C. Berkeley, had this to say:

"The finding that lowering C-reactive protein levels reduces the chances of heart attack is important news for the millions of Americans at elevated risk for cardiac disease. But it is imperative to remember that treating those with high CRP levels does nothing to slow the constantly swelling numbers of new high-risk patients in this country of overfed, underexercised and stressed-out citizens.

"The goal of the medical community should be helping Americans avoid medications rather than writing prescriptions for more expensive new drugs. Health care dollars spent on pills are health care dollars no longer available to combat the fundamental causes of preventable disease. "

He's right, you know. The real problem here is that we've eaten foods we shouldn't have because they marketed them to us and they tasted good. We wore ourselves up on the fast track so we could have more of what they marketed to us, and we found it comforting to have so much more because they marketed that as "success." We grew larger in size, but were sure that was an indication of improved dietary conditions that made us grow taller and bigger and stronger, and we supplemented that with drugs if nature didn't suffice.

Then they sprang the news that lots of what they'd been marketing to us was toxic in the effect it had on our bodies and our children's bodies. We lamented and tried to change, but change is difficult. And so we voiced our frustration at those who had marketed such "bad" things. But it wasn't "our fault." WE didn't know.

Wake up time! If we continue to deny our ability to change, continue to tell "them" they should correct it, which they will do when they finally run out of the toxic products already on the shelves, and complain that we're too tired to change, which we are, we're the ones that are going to die. It doesn't matter whose fault it is. We're the ones who need to take responsibility for what we as a society failed to take responsibility for all these years. Our kids are not just bigger and stronger. They're fat. So are we. With all our different metabolisms, and all our different beautiful body shapes, we're eating trans fat that our bodies can't absorb; we're gobbling sugar; we're not taking time to shop and cook; we're counting on MacDonald's or the local restaurant, which isn't really any better.

Accountability begins at home. We need to take care of ourselves. We need to be aware that our eating and working habits are not good for us. And together, we need to change them. Corporations this Fall finally recognized that encouraging employees to come in sick was exposing all their healthy empoloyees to the same illnesses. Not every corporation has been so smart. We need to use our answerability skillfully and collectively to make those who fail to "get it" start to "get it." No, that doesn't mean being nasty to the one who comes in sick. It means finding the one brave enough to talk for the group and telling the supervisor collectively that the sick one needs to go home and stay until well for the sake of all the other workers and the profits of the company as well. It takes skills of communication to make that kind of answerability work in making our voices heard. We need to be accountable to each other that we will develop our very different skills and put them together to make our voices effective in governance decisions.

One of the skills of effective answerability is information. Not all of us will have the same skills in researching sources for information. We need to locate those who do, and encourage them to share those skills with us. For example, try a google search on nutrition "C-reactive protein". This was the second website that popped up, and the first one that seemed to focus on nutrition, which is what I wanted to know about, since many of the letters to the editor had spoken of nutritional ways to lower inflammation:

Reduction of C-reactive protein levels through use of a multivitamin. From C-reactive protein on Website of Anti-Aging Research. CAUTION: There are many websites on the Internet. Many are designed to sell the products they believe or say they believe will be of benefit to you. Check the authority of the website! The article I chose here is published in the American Journal of Medicine, 2003. Recent, and a reputable journal. Don't believe every article you see, regardless of who wrote it and who published it. Follow the money! Bias can be expected where someone is making a profit. The information may still be true. Or it may not. But if marketing is involved, it's not wise to take their word for it.

Am J Med. 2003 Dec 15;115(9):702-7.
Church TS, Earnest CP, Wood KA, Kampert JB.

The Cooper Institute, Dallas, Texas 75230, USA.

PURPOSE: Elevated C-reactive protein levels are associated with the risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes. We examined whether multivitamins reduce C-reactive protein levels. METHODS: We performed a post hoc subgroup analysis of a 6-month, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Patients (n = 87; mean age, 53 years) for whom frozen plasma samples were available; who did not have an inflammatory condition at baseline; and who were not hospitalized, taking antibiotics, smoking, or starting statin therapy during the study were included. C-reactive protein and plasma vitamin levels were measured at baseline and 6 months. RESULTS: At 6 months, C-reactive protein levels were significantly lower in the multivitamin group than in the placebo group (between-group difference = -0.91 mg/L; 95% confidence interval: -1.52 to -0.30; P= 0.005). The reduction in C-reactive protein levels was most evident in patients who had elevated levels (> or =1.0 mg/L) at baseline. Of the six vitamins measured (C, E, B(6), B(12), folate, and beta carotene), only vitamin B(6) (baseline: r = -0.31, P= 0.003; 6 months: r = -0.29, P= 0.006) and vitamin C (baseline: r = -0.25, P= 0.02) were inversely associated with C-reactive protein level. CONCLUSION: In a post hoc analysis of a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study, multivitamin use was associated with lower C-reactive protein levels. Other similarly formulated multivitamins may yield comparable results."

For instructions on how to make sense of this: Understanding Research Abstracts and Their Statistics In plain English.

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