The JUPITER study has sparked a lot of discussion about c-reactive protein, or CRP.
If we follow the line of reasoning that prompted this study, reducing CRP may correlate with reduction of cardiovascular events. Thus, in the JUPITER study, Crestor 20 mg per day reduced cardiovascular events by nearly half.
From a CRP perspective, starting values were 4.2 mg/dl in the Crestor group of the trial, 4.3 mg/dl in the placebo group. After 24 months, CRP in the Crestor group was 2.2 mg/dl, 3.5 mg/dl in the placebo group, representing a 37% reduction.
Now, in our Track Your Plaque program--an experience that has yielded the virtual ELIMINATION of cardiovascular events--we aim for a CRP level of 1.0 mg/dl or less, ideally 0.5 mg/dl or less. The majority of people achieve these ambitious levels. In fact, it is a rare person who does not.
How do we achieve dramatic reductions in CRP? We use:
--Weight loss through elimination of wheat and cornstarch--This yields impressive reductions.
--Vitamin D--I have no doubt whatsoever of vitamin D's capacity to exert potent anti-inflammatory effects. I am not entirely sure why this happens (enhanced sensitivity to insulin, reduced expression of tissue inflammatory proteins like matrix metalloproteinase and others, etc.), but the effect is profound.
--Elimination of junk foods--like candies, cookies, pretzels, rice cakes, potato chips, etc.
--Exercise--Amplifies the benefits of diet on CRP reduction.
--Not allowing saturated fats to dominate--Yes, yes, I know. The demonization of saturated fat conversation has been largely replaced by the Taubesian saturated fat has not been confidently linked to heart disease conversation. But controlled feeding studies, in which a single component of diet is manipulated (e.g., saturated vs. monounsaturated vs. polyunsaturated fat) have clearly shown that saturated fats do activate several factors in the inflammatory response.
--Fish oil--Though I am a firm believer in the huge benefits of omega-3 fatty acid supplementation/restoration, the anti-inflammatory effect is modest from a CRP perspective. However, there are anti-inflammatory benefits beyond that of simple CRP (via normalization of eicosanoid metabolism and other pathways).
--Weight loss--A BIG effect. Weight loss drops CRP like a stone. The CRP-reducing effect is especially large if achieved via carbohydrate reduction.
Of course, this is much more complicated than taking a pill. But it is effective to achieve health benefits outside of cardiovascular risk, is enormously useful as part of a weight loss effort, and doesn't cost $1400 per year like Crestor.
In short, if CRP reduction is the goal, it certainly does not have to involve Crestor.