If you have cardiovascular problems or you’ve recently experienced a virus or urinary infection that could cause inflammation, have your doctor check your C-reactive protein (CRP) levels. CRP can be detected when there is inflammation resulting from trauma or infection (including pneumonia, herpes, chlamydia, and possibly even a viral infection that simulates a cold). A simple blood test is as accurate as cholesterol and homocysteine screening in predicting a person’s risk of heart attack and stroke.
Once you have this test done, what should you do?
Some researchers believe you should take antibiotics to inhibit inflammation. I feel that more research is needed on anti-inflammatories before we begin foisting antibiotics on patients. Research shows that estrogen therapy is associated with favorable lipid and oxidation levels, which also seem to assuage inflammation. But if you’re not postmenopausal and want to lower your protein, your best natural approach to combat CRP is to take immune-boosting supplements. My top recommendations are:
- CoQ10 is one of the best nutrients available for promoting the immune system. Take 100–200 mg daily or 2–4 softgels.
- Beta glucan, a yeast-based nutrient, scavenges for free radicals. There is no toxicity or side effects with this nutrient. Take 10–20 mg daily for one month on, one week off, for three months' duration.
- Bromelain. This enzyme from the pineapple plant reduces inflammation and acts as an antibiotic. Take 100–500 mg daily. Note: Allergic reactions, although rare, can occur.
- Ginger root/ginger tea. Ginger promotes an anti-inflammatory response and is a great substitute for aspirin, which many people can’t tolerate.
- Fish oil helps prevent blood clots and combats inflammation. I recommend 1–2 g daily.
- Lose weight. CRP loves fat cells. Lose weight and you lose inflammation as well. (For great weight loss ideas, see my healthy heart nutrition tips found here in other blog entries.) For more information on healthy heart nutrition, visit www.drsinatra.com.