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C-reactive protein — why it’s bad and how to lower it
Have you heard of CRP, or C-reactive protein? It has become a common blood test run by many doctors.
The test is for CRP or HS-CRP, which stands for high sensitivity CRP. Essentially measuring the same thing…levels of C Reactive Protein.
CRP is a marker of inflammation. It’s particularly useful because it picks up on many different types of inflammation.
High levels of CRP are predictive of cardiovascular disease and other chronic illnesses.
It may be important to lower the levels of C-reactive protein when they are elevated — not just lower them, but eliminate the source of the problem…
And the herbal supplement ginseng may be effective at doing just that.
Researchers at the Nutritional Health Research Center, Lorestan University of Medical Sciences, Khorramabad, Iran did this review of human research.
The journal Complementary Therapies in Medicine published the results.
Ginseng has a number of potent anti-inflammatory effects.
Because of this, many researchers have proposed that ginseng may lower CRP.
But human research has provided conflicting results.
These researchers analyzed information from many different human studies to get a better understanding of ginseng’s effect on CRP.
The researchers identified seven high-quality human studies for analysis. Some of these studies involved more than one experiment.
They combined all of the information gathered in these studies.
In this first analysis, they found that ginseng led to slightly lower levels of CRP overall.
“Results of the trials showed nonsignificant decrease in effects of ginseng supplementation on CRP.”
All of the studies showed similar trends.
The initial analysis was disappointing as the decrease in CRP was very small.
The researchers conducted a second analysis.
This time they only looked at people who had higher levels of C reactive protein.
These results were far more promising.
This analysis showed that ginseng significantly lowered CRP in patients with high CRP levels.
Ginseng is effective at lowering CRP in people whose levels are above 3 mg/dl.
“Ginseng supplementation could significantly reduce CRP in patients with a baseline serum CRP level greater than 3 mg/dl.”
C reactive protein is generally divided into three categories.
- <1.0 is low risk
- 1.0 to 3.0 is intermediate risk
- >3.0 mg/L is high risk for cardiovascular disease
So ginseng could be beneficial for people whose CRP levels indicate they are at high risk for cardiovascular disease.
“Ginseng supplementation can decrease significantly serum CRP levels in patients with elevated serum level of this inflammatory marker.”
Ginseng is often called an adaptogen – meaning it helps people adapt to stress.
In high-stress states, such as elevated CRP, ginseng can have a beneficial effect.
But for healthy people it often has no effect at all.
CRP is not only associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease…
It increases the risk of many other diseases too.
“Increased levels of CRP are associated with higher mortality rates in various cancers including lung, breast and renal cell carcinoma.”
Ginseng contains a number of different components (ginsenosides) that decrease inflammation.
“Ginsenosides are active components of various ginsengs responsible for several pharmacological properties of these medicinal herbs, including anti-inflammatory effects.”
Different types of ginseng contain different amounts of these anti-inflammatory compounds.
Growing conditions can affect the potency of ginseng too.
A lot of the research has pointed towards Korean red ginseng being the most potent form…
It’s also relatively expensive compared to other ginseng supplements.
The results of this analysis led the researchers to conclude that ginseng could be useful for lowering the inflammation caused by CRP.
“The use of this medicinal herb seems a possible strategy for the control of inflammation in patients suffering from this condition.”
Ginseng extracts have proven to be useful for people with type 2 diabetes – which often leads to increased CRP.
“A study on type 2 diabetic patients showed that using standardized extract of ginseng for 8 weeks could significantly decrease CRP levels.”
You should always consult a healthcare practitioner about diagnosing and treating any health-related problems.
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