Reducing C-Reactive Protein by Increasing Dietary Fiber

The Durk Pearson & Sandy Shaw®
Life Extension NewsTM
Volume 8 No. 2 • April 2005

Reducing C-Reactive Protein by Increasing Dietary Fiber

Elevated levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), a molecule associated with inflammation, are found in, inter alia, heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, gastrointestinal cancer, chronic kidney failure,1 and possibly sudden cardiac death.2

A recent paper3 reports that, using data on 3920 subjects aged 20 years or older in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (1999–2000), “the odds ratio (OR) for increased CRP concentration (>3.0 mg/L) was 0.49 (95% CI 0.37–0.65; P for trend <0.001) for the highest quintile of fiber intake compared with the lowest. There was a slight weakening of the relationship after adjustment for age, gender, race, education, smoking, physical activity, body mass index, total energy, and fat intake.

Decreased dietary fiber intake has been reported to be an important risk factor for cardiovascular disease, but the mechanism (or even whether dietary fiber is just a marker for something else) is unknown.3 Hence, the establishment of an anti-inflammatory property for dietary fiber would be very important. Note: This study didn’t report data on the separate effects of soluble and insoluble fiber.

One possible mechanism for an inflammatory modulating effect of dietary fiber is through its influence on the composition of the resident intestinal microflora, which are known to help maintain gut homeostasis by balancing proinflammatory and anti-inflammatory responses in the gut.4 The maintenance of a healthy gut microflora may provide protection against GI disorders, such as infection-induced diarrhea, inflammatory bowel disease, and even cancer.5


  1. Menon et al. Relationship between C-reactive protein, albumin, and cardiovascular disease in patients with chronic kidney disease. Am J Kidney Dis 42:44-52 (2003).
  2. Albert et al. Prospective study of C-reactive protein, homocysteine, and plasma lipid levels as predictors of sudden cardiac death. Circulation 105:2595-9 (2002).
  3. Ajani et al. Dietary fiber and C-reactive protein: findings from National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey data. J Nutr 134:1181-5 (2004).
  4. Mohamadzadeh et al. Lactobacilli activate human dendritic cells that skew T cells toward T helper 1 polarization. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 102(8):2880-5 (2005).
  5. Puupponen-Pimia et al. Development of functional ingredients for gut health. Trends Food Sci Technol 13:3-11 (2002).

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