Vitamin C Puts Out the Fire of Inflammation

A new study researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, shows that vitamin C can lower your levels of C-reactive protein (CRP).

[box type=”important”]C-reactive protein is a central biomarker of inflammation that has been shown to be a powerful predictor of heart disease and diabetes. [/box]

A study, published in the journal Free Radical Biology and Medicine,  shows that for healthy, non-smoking adults with an elevated level of CRP, a daily dose of vitamin C lowered levels of the inflammation biomarker after two months compared with those who took a placebo.

inflammation Vitamin C Puts Out the Fire of Inflammation

  • The researchers said that for people with elevated CRP levels, the amount of CRP reduction achieved by taking vitamin C supplements in this study is comparable to that in many other studies of cholesterol-lowering drugs called statins.
  • They noted that several larger statin trials lowered CRP levels by about 0.2 milligrams per liter; in this latest study, vitamin C lowered CRP by 0.25 milligrams per liter.
  • “This finding of an effect of vitamin C is important because it shows in a carefully conducted randomized, controlled trial that for people with moderately elevated levels of inflammation, vitamin C may be able to reduce CRP as much as statins have done in other studies.”

Vitamin C / CRP / Inflammation & Obesity

The researchers also found that elevated levels of CRP were found in:

  • 25% of the normal-weight people test subjects
  • 50% of the overweight subjects, and
  • A whopping 75% of the obese test subjects participants.

“The low-grade inflammation that characterizes obesity is believed to contribute to a number of disorders, including atherosclerosis and insulin resistance,” said Nina Holland, co-investigator on the study.

And it’s not just the scientists expressing concern over CRP.

The American Heart Association and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that clinicians measure CRP levels in patients who have a moderately elevated risk of cardiovascular problems, as determined by other established risk factors such as high cholesterol levels and smoking.

“Major studies have found that the level of CRP in the body predicts future risk of cardiovascular disease, including myocardial infarction, stroke and peripheral artery disease, as well as diabetes. Some believe CRP to be as important a predictor of future heart problems as high levels of LDL and low levels of HDL cholesterol.”

What To Do If You’re Worried

  • Obviously, talk to your doctor.
  • But keep in mind that your doctor may not want to test for CRP. Most still just want to look at your levels of cholesterol. But it is possible to have high CRP and normal levels of cholesterol.
  • I would suggest that you print out this article and bring it along to your appointment, but somehow I don’t see many medical professionals listening to little ole’ me.

Instead, print out this Q & A about CRP that the Cleveland Clinic put together.

Here is a more clinical look at the CRP test itself.

How To Prevent / Reduce CRP & Inflammation

According to the Cleveland Clinic:

Inflammation should be treated by lifestyle change, such as:

  • losing weight,
  • exercising,
  • controlling diabetes,
  • stopping smoking,
  • controlling high blood pressure, and
  • reducing alcohol intake.
  • Antithrombotic medications such as aspirin or clopidogrel may provide protection.
  • Cholesterol-lowering statin drugs and ACE inhibitors may also reduce CRP.
  • Your doctor will prescribe the correct medications and dosage to treat your condition.

And if you don’t want to wait for your doctor to prescribe the correct medications, you can investigate dietary solutions such as:

For even more info on natural solutions to inflammation / CRP, take a look at some of the work done by Dr. James Duke. His book, “Beyond Aspirin” is a good place to start.

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Doug Robb is a personal trainer, a fitness blogger and author, a competitive athlete, a social media nerd and a student of nutrition and exercise science. Since 2008, Doug has brought his real-world experience online via his health & fitness blog, Health Habits.


  1. Vitamin shop

    June 8, 2010 at 4:30 pm

    wow. i know that vitamin c is vital to our health but i didn’t know that it can contribute so much. thanks for putting up this blog. i’m going to be giving some of the prevention/reduction of crp and inflammation a try.

  2. Henry

    June 5, 2010 at 7:25 pm

    Great stuff! Keep bringing it!

  3. Hayden Bennett

    May 19, 2010 at 8:12 pm

    my uncle got stomach ulcers because he took a lot of Aspirin to take care of his high blood pressure.*”

  4. Pingback: Obesity, Diabetes, Insulin Resistance and Vitamin K « Healthhabits

  5. Dr Dan

    November 20, 2008 at 5:17 am

    I just read that LDL cholesterol and C reactive protein levels tend to be quite linked, so high levels of one means high levels in the other.

  6. rainmaniam

    November 18, 2008 at 2:43 pm

    I know that there’s been a push to get CRP studies from one of our local cardiologist group. This seems like a great find for preventive care.

  7. James Hubbard, M.D., M.P.H.

    November 18, 2008 at 11:10 am

    Good advice. I expect a lot of CRP studies in the future. As you know the most recent one is regarding statins.
    The most cost effective and side-effect free way is to get it down naturally following your advice.

  8. Steve Parker, M.D.

    November 17, 2008 at 6:45 pm

    Regular consumption of dark chocolate is also associated with lower levels of CRP. See “Journal of Nutrition,” vol. 138: 1939-1945, a few months ago.