Life Extension Update Exclusive
Study confirms CRP as strong predictor of death from coronary artery disease
A study published in the August, 2006 issue of the journal Atherosclerosis reaffirmed the value of testing for C-reactive protein (CRP) to assess the risk of fatal and nonfatal coronary artery disease (CAD).
Elevated serum C-reactive protein is a marker of inflammation that has emerged as a strong independent risk factor for heart attack in both healthy patients and those with heart disease. However, the finding of an epidemiologic study published in the April 1, 2004 issue of New England Journal of Medicine of only a moderate relationship between CRP and heart disease risk has caused some health care authorities to question routine CRP assessment.
In the current study, researchers in The Netherlands in collaboration with Cambridge University researchers conducted a case-control study of 1,108 men and women who developed coronary artery disease matched with 2,164 controls who did not develop the disease while enrolled in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition. The participants, who resided in Norfolk, England, completed health and lifestyle questionnaires, and blood samples were obtained during clinic visits upon enrollment between 1993 and 1997. Hospital admissions over the average six year follow-up period identified participants who developed or died from CAD.
Not surprisingly, the researchers found a greater likeliness of smoking and diabetes among subjects who developed coronary artery disease. C-reactive protein levels were demonstrated to be a predictor of CAD, particularly fatal disease. Among those whose CRP levels were among the top one-fourth of participants, there was a 66 percent increased adjusted risk of developing coronary artery disease compared to the risk experienced by those whose levels were in the lowest fourth. When fatal coronary artery disease risk was separately examined, it was found to be nearly three times greater among participants whose levels were in the top fourth of CRP levels than those whose levels were lowest, making CRP a more predictive risk factor than even smoking and diabetes among this group.
The authors note that New England Journal of Medicine study was initiated in 1967 in Iceland, and remark that CRP values were lower among its participants than those currently found in Western populations. “We observed that in a population with risk factor levels representative for contemporary Western populations, CRP levels were among the strongest predictors of future CAD, and definitely not weaker than traditional cardiovascular risk factors. Second, our results indicate that the predictive value of CRP plasma levels may be stronger for CAD mortality than for total CAD incidence,” the authors conclude.
The pathological consequences of inflammation are well-documented in the medical literature (Willard et al. 1999; Hogan et al. 2001). Regrettably, the dangers of systemic inflammation continue to be ignored, even though proven ways exist to reverse this process.
For those who have multiple degenerative diseases, the cytokine profile blood test and the C-reactive protein blood test are highly recommended. This may be done through your own physician or the Life Extension Foundation. If your cytokine test reveals excess levels of cytokines such as TNF-a, IL-1(b), or both, nutritional supplementation, dietary modifications, and low-cost prescription medications such as PTX are advised.
The following supplements are suggested:
- The docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) fraction of fish oil may be the most effective nonprescription supplement to suppress pro-inflammatory cytokines. Gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) is a precursor of PGE1, a potent anti-inflammatory agent. A product called Super EPA/DHA provides 1400 mg of EPA and 1000 mg of DHA in 4 capsules.
- DHEA is a hormone that decreases with age. DHEA has been shown to suppress IL-6, an inflammatory cytokine that often increases as people age. Typical doses of DHEA are 25-50 mg daily, although some people take 100 mg daily. Refer to the DHEA Replacement protocol for suggested blood tests to safely and optimally use DHEA.
- Nettle leaf has been shown to suppress the proinflammatory cytokine TNF-a. Take 1000 mg daily.
- Vitamin E and N-acetyl-cysteine (NAC) are protective antioxidants with anti-inflammatory properties. Vitamin E that contains gamma-tocopherol and tocotrienols provides the most broad-spectrum protection. Take 1 capsule daily of Gamma E Tocopherols with Sesame Lignans and Tocotrienols with Sesame Lignans. NAC is an amino acid with antiviral and liver protectant properties. One 600 mg capsule daily is recommended.
- Vitamin K helps reduce levels of IL-6, a pro-inflammatory messenger. Vitamin K also helps in the treatment of osteoporosis by regulating calcium and promoting bone calcification. One 10 mg capsule daily is recommended for prevention purposes. Do not take vitamin K if you are taking Coumadin or some other type of anticoagulant medicine.
- Consuming at least 1000 mg per day of carnosine and/or 300 mg of the European drug aminoguanidine can inhibit pathological glycation reactions in the body.
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