~ High Fiber Intake Cuts C-Reactive Protein Levels

By Durk Pearson and Sandy Shaw

High dietary fiber intake is associated with lower levels of the cardiovascular risk factor C-reactive protein (CRP), according to data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES).1

CRP is an inflammatory marker associated with elevated risk for heart attack, stroke, peripheral arterial disease, and sudden cardiac death.2 Elevated CRP levels have also been noted in people with rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, and chronic kidney failure.3

Using NHANES data on 3,920 subjects, investigators noted that those with the highest dietary fiber intake had a 51% lower risk of having an elevated CRP level.1 This relationship was slightly weaker after adjusting for age, smoking, physical activity, body mass index, total energy intake, and fat intake.1

Numerous studies have found that dietary fiber may protect against coronary heart disease through various mechanisms such as lowering blood cholesterol and triglycerides, improving high blood pressure, and normalizing postprandial (after-meal) blood glucose levels.4 The finding that dietary fiber helps promote healthy CRP levels suggests that fiber may also protect cardiovascular health through an anti-inflammatory effect.1


1. Ajani UA, Ford ES, Mokdad AH. Dietary fiber and C-reactive protein: findings from national health and nutrition examination survey data. J Nutr. 2004 May;134(5):1181-5.

2. Bassuk SS, Rifai N, Ridker PM. High-sensitivity C-reactive protein: clinical importance. Curr Prob Cardiol. 2004 Aug;29(8):439-93.

3. Available at: http://www.lef.org/magazine/mag2001/mar2001_report_estrogen.html. Accessed May 9, 2005.

4. Lupton JR, Turner ND. Dietary fiber and coronary disease: does the evidence support an association? Curr Atheroscler Rep. 2003 Nov;5(6):500-5

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