Chronic inflammation is a major player in ill-health. Measuring systemic inflammation through blood tests can be tricky but think about getting hsCRP tested.  Traditional upper limit lab values for high sensitive C-reactive protein (hs CRP) is 3.0. These values reflect chronic inflammation that is associated with many different disease processes. CRP is actually the result of breakdown of inflammatory cytokines. Dr. Russell Jaffe, MD, Ph.D. describes inflammation as repair deficit. The body wants to repair itself however there is a deficit in its ability to establish and maintain homeostasis. Increased or long term inflammation in essence represents increased or long term deficiencies of the factors that are needed for cellular repair and maintain homeostasis.

Dr. Jaffe suggests the physiological value to strive for is 0.5 or less, which may be our goal for functional levels of hsCRP.  This repeatable, simple marker allows you to monitor your systemic inflammation. Remember, hsCRP is not the bad guy, it is merely the reflection of a deeper issue that must be tracked down and addressed. The following come from Dr. Alex Vasquez’s excellent book, Chiropractic and Naturopathic Mastery of Common Clinical Disorders. Generally, any tissue injury or inflammatory process, especially that involves the immune system increased production of IL-6, will result in increased CRP. Elevated values are seen with:

  • Chronic or Acute Infections: Bacterial, fungal, parasitic, viral diseases, and some patients with dysbiosis will have mildly-moderately elevated CRP.
  • Inflammatory bowel disease: Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis (generally higher in CD than UC).
  • Autoimmune disease: Rheumatoid arthritis, polymyalgia rheumatic, giant cell arteritis and polyarteritis nodosa (not always SLE)
  • Acute myocardial infarction or other tissue ischemia
  • Organ transplant rejection: Renal (not cardiac)
  • Trauma: Burns, surgery
  • Obesity: Leads to modest elevations in CRP
  • Coronary artery inflammation/atherosclerosis
  • Pain: tendonitis, fibromyalgia, phlebitis, etc

Other factors which can be ruled out are toxins or the inability to detoxify them, reduced levels of antioxidants or key minerals, immunological food sensitivities or food reactants, or depleted nutritional factors necessary for energy production or metabolic efficiency. Because detoxification is so tied to inflammation consider homocysteine among other things as a marker for detoxification. Excess homocysteine can enhance free radical damage in the artery’s causing plaque formation.

Remember, lab tests are MARKERS of an underlining process. Seek to find the CAUSE and treat that! If interested, we use a simple blood spot test that measures hsCRP:

CRP to Measure Inflammation 1