Arginine and C-Reactive Protein

The Durk Pearson & Sandy Shaw®
Life Extension NewsTM
Volume 8 No. 4 • October 2005

Arginine and C-Reactive Protein

Like many other diseases of aging, atherosclerosis is an inflammatory disease.1 C-reactive protein, an inflammatory marker, is a commonly measured risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Some ways to reduce C-reactive protein levels include high-fiber diets2 and supplements of vitamin E, DHEA, and fish oil.

A new paper1 now reports that the likelihood of having a high level of CRP (>3.0 mg/L) was lower in individuals with a higher dietary arginine intake. “In the adjusted regression [after correcting for factors associated with CRP], subjects in the highest level (90th percentile) of arginine intake were 30% less likely to have a CRP above 3.0 mg/L than were subjects with a median arginine intake (odds ratio = 0.70, 95% confidence interval = 0.56 to 0.88).” The authors conclude that “Individuals may be able to lower their risk for cardiovascular disease by consuming more arginine-rich foods, such as nuts and fish.”

The study was an analysis of the Third National Health Nutrition and Examination Survey, a national public use dataset collected between 1988 and 1994, which included the 13,401 participants 25 years and older who were part of this study.

As the authors note, “recent research has shown that arginine administration has anti-inflammatory effects,” such as decreasing the formation of clotting factors, reducing blood viscosity, inhibiting oxidative stress, and reducing nonenzymatic glycosylation.3

The authors mention that the differences between the four dose levels of dietary arginine were not very large. They suggest that individuals can increase their daily consumption of arginine by 2.5 g a day by consuming 100 g (3.6 ounces) of walnuts. Unfortunately, nuts contain a lot of fat, which means a lot of calories. The 3.6 ounces of walnuts contain about 630 calories, with about 540 of those calories from fat.


  1. Ross. Atherosclerosis—an inflammatory disease. NEJM 340(2):115-26 (1999).
  2. Ajani et al. Dietary fiber and C-reactive protein: findings from National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey data. J Nutr 134:1181-5 (2004).
  3. Wells et al. Association between dietary arginine and C-reactive protein. Nutrition 21:125-30 (2005).

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