What is a high C-reactive protein level? How to lower CRP (2024)

Inflammation is your body’s natural response to infection or injury. It is a component of the immune system that helps defend against foreign invaders (e.g., bacteria, viruses, pathogens) and repair damaged tissue. When there is inflammation in the body, the liver produces a higher level of a substance called C-reactive protein (CRP). A high-sensitivity CRP (hs-CRP) blood test measures levels of this protein, and elevated hs-CRP levels can be indicative of inflammation.

Wondering what “elevated” looks like in your inflammation test results? CRP is measured in milligrams per liter (mg/L). For most people, results that are equal to or higher than 8 mg/L or 10 mg/L are considered high.

What does a high CRP level mean?

High CRP levels may be a sign of chronic inflammation, in which the inflammatory response persists over long periods of time. This type of ongoing inflammation is linked to several health conditions, including heart disease, diabetes, cancer and autoimmune disorders like rheumatoid arthritis. Elevated CRP levels alone do not diagnose a specific disease, but they can indicate an increased disease risk that should be evaluated further by a healthcare provider. Common reasons for measuring hs-CRP include monitoring infections, assessing cardiovascular risk or diagnosing immune conditions.

How to lower high CRP levels: Focus on your risk factors

Since hs-CRP levels reflect the level of inflammation in the body, most ways to lower high CRP levels are focused on reducing underlying causes of inflammation. Making lifestyle changes to reduce inflammation is in your control, but other contributing factors (like autoimmune diseases) may need medical intervention. Due to their effect on inflammatory pathways, some medications may cause a reduction in CRP, such as:

  • Statins (commonly used for high cholesterol)
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) (e.g., ibuprofen and aspirin)
  • Corticosteroids (typically used to treat rheumatologic conditions like arthritis)
  • Metformin (commonly used to treat type 2 diabetes)
  • Vitamin or herbal supplements (e.g., fish oil, anti-inflammatory spices like turmeric and ginger)

There are also several ways that may help reduce high CRP levels naturally:

Eat anti-inflammatory foods

Certain foods are linked to higher levels of inflammation. Limiting or avoiding inflammatory foods like refined carbohydrates, fried foods, red meat and processed meat can help reduce CRP. Instead, focus on eating more anti-inflammatory foods like leafy greens, nuts, fatty fish and whole grains. Over time, an anti-inflammatory diet full of fruits, vegetables and fiber can help lower CRP levels.

Exercise regularly

In the short term, intense exercise like weightlifting or a long run might spike CRP levels. (That’s why it’s important not to exercise immediately before testing your CRP levels.) But in the long term, regular physical activity can have anti-inflammatory effects on the body. Exercise not only helps reduce body fat (which contributes to inflammation), but it can also help the body increase its production of hormones that fight inflammation.

Aim for 30 minutes of moderate exercise at least five days per week. This could include brisk walking, swimming, cycling or other cardio exercises that get your heart rate up. Strength training with weights two to three times a week also has anti-inflammatory health benefits.

Manage your weight

When your body is carrying excess weight, the surplus of macronutrients in the adipose tissues (i.e., body fat) can contribute to inflammatory effects in the body, causing the liver to produce more CRP. In other words, the more fat your body is carrying, the higher your risk of chronic inflammation and high CRP levels.

Losing even a modest amount of weight can help lower inflammation and CRP. Focus on diet and exercise for safe, sustainable weight loss.

Avoid or quit smoking

Smoking triggers inflammation and damages blood vessels, raising your risk of several serious health conditions, including cancer, lung disease and heart disease, among others.

Giving up smoking can help lower CRP levels and inflammation. However, research shows that CRP levels may remain high long-term for those who quit smoking compared to those who have never smoked cigarettes.

Limit alcohol

Drinking heavily promotes inflammation. Moderate your alcohol consumption by limiting yourself to one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men. Give yourself alcohol-free days each week to allow your body to recover.

Manage stress

Chronic stress takes a toll on the body and can raise inflammation. Make time for relaxing activities like meditation, yoga or deep breathing. Spend time doing hobbies you enjoy. Get enough sleep and connect with family, friends and other people within your support system. Managing stress can help control inflammatory responses.

The key to lowering inflammation is being proactive about your health. Get your CRP levels tested so that you know your baseline and talk to your doctor about your results to make sure you understand them and to see if additional evaluation or intervention is needed.

What is a high C-reactive protein level? How to lower CRP (2024)


What is a high C-reactive protein level? How to lower CRP? ›

There's no doubt that the very best way to lower CRP is through exercise, weight loss, and dietary control; of course, those are all proven already to lower vascular risk.

How can I lower my C reactive protein quickly? ›

Limiting or avoiding inflammatory foods like refined carbohydrates, fried foods, red meat and processed meat can help reduce CRP. Instead, focus on eating more anti-inflammatory foods like leafy greens, nuts, fatty fish and whole grains.

Which vitamin helps in lowering C reactive protein CRP? ›

Vitamin C treatment reduces elevated C-reactive protein.

How fast can CRP be reduced? ›

How Quickly Can You Lower CRP Levels? You can observe a decline in your CRP levels within two to three weeks of adhering to the lifestyle changes mentioned above. However, how quickly CRP decreases ultimately depends on several factors, such as its cause and course of treatment.

Which food reduces CRP levels? ›

Dietary Solutions

Incorporate Anti-inflammatory Spices into Your Diet: Spices such as turmeric, ginger, and cinnamon can have natural anti-inflammatory properties. These are some of the best foods to reduce CRP levels.

What medications are used to lower C-reactive protein levels? ›

Cyclooxygenase inhibitors (aspirin, rofecoxib, celecoxib), platelet aggregation inhibitors (clopidogrel, abciximab), lipid lowering agents (statins, ezetimibe, fenofibrate, niacin, diets), beta-adrenoreceptor antagonists and antioxidants (vitamin E), as well as angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors (ramipril, ...

What are the 10 worst foods for inflammation? ›

Inflammatory Foods
  • Red meat, such as steak and hamburgers.
  • Processed meat, such as bologna, bacon, sausage and lunchmeat.
  • Commercial baked goods such as snack cakes, pies, cookies and brownies.
  • Bread and pasta made with white flour.
  • Deep fried items such as French fries, fried chicken and donuts.

Can you reverse a high C-reactive protein? ›

There's no doubt that the very best way to lower CRP is through exercise, weight loss, and dietary control; of course, those are all proven already to lower vascular risk. There is a paper that came out in February comparing the Atkins diet, the Zone diet, the Weight Watchers diet, and the Ornish diet.

How much vitamin C to reduce C-reactive protein? ›

Numerous studies have been conducted on the possible effect of vitamin C on inflammation biomarkers including CRP in different populations [19, 20, 21]. For instance, previous trial on active and passive smokers, showed a significant reduction in CRP level following treatment with 500 mg/day of vitamin C [19].

Does turmeric reduce C-reactive protein? ›

The study team also analyzed data from eight previous studies and confirmed that curcumin had shown a significant reduction of CRP concentrations in a total of 281 patients.

Does walking reduce CRP levels? ›

Exercise has an anti‐inflammatory effect which can reduce systemic inflammation and CRP levels. In agreement to this, the present study also saw a decrease in CRP levels following both modes of walking.

What to do if C-reactive protein is high? ›

What's the Treatment for High C-Reactive Protein?
  1. Eat a heart-healthy diet.
  2. Get your high cholesterol down.
  3. Keep your weight where it should be.
  4. Exercise regularly.
  5. If you have diabetes or high blood pressure, manage it.
  6. If you smoke or use tobacco in another way, quit.
  7. If you drink alcohol, do so responsibly.
Feb 19, 2024

What is an alarming CRP? ›

Generally, a CRP level of less than 10 mg/L is considered normal. CRP levels between 10 and 100 mg/L indicate mild to moderate inflammation, while levels above 100 mg/L indicate severe inflammation.

What is the #1 best drink to reduce inflammation? ›

What is the #1 best drink to reduce inflammation?
  • baking soda and water.
  • parsley and ginger green juice.
  • lemon and turmeric tonic.
  • bone broth.
  • functional food smoothie.
  • matcha tea.
  • greens and berry smoothie.

What is the number one food that kills inflammation? ›

1. Avocados. Avocados are often sought after for their creamy texture and satiating taste. But they are also powerhouses when it comes to fighting inflammation.

What foods flush out inflammation? ›

Anti-inflammatory foods
  • tomatoes.
  • olive oil.
  • green leafy vegetables, such as spinach, kale, and collards.
  • nuts like almonds and walnuts.
  • fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, tuna, and sardines.
  • fruits such as strawberries, blueberries, cherries, and oranges.
Mar 26, 2024

How long does it take for CRP levels to go down? ›

After the bacterial trigger for inflammation is eliminated, CRP levels decrease quickly, with a half-life of about 19 hours. Given its physiological behaviour in bacterial infections, CRP use has been proposed to guide initiation and duration of antibiotic therapy.

What is the most common cause of high C-reactive protein? ›

Significantly elevated CRP levels tend to occur with severe infections, such as bacterial or fungal infections. Bacterial infection is responsible for about 90% of the cases involving CRP levels higher than 50 mg/l.

Does fasting reduce C-reactive protein? ›

Ramadan fasting has been shown to reduce high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP) levels significantly in patients with metabolic syndrome (4) and to improve oxidative stress.

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