Friday, January 30, 2009

The relation between CRP, inflammation & heart disease & importance of EXERCISE:

A recent story in The New York Times revealed the “newly discovered” importance of C-reactive protein (CRP). Apparently, a drug company-sponsored study showed that people who had high CRP levels had fewer heart attacks and strokes when taking statins (cholesterol-lowering drugs). However statins increase risk of heart disease by robbing you of the heart critical nutrient CoQ10.
CRP level is important. CRP measures inflammation in your body. Inflammation is the real cause of heart disease. Tests that can measure CRP to detect heart disease & this test is recommended annually. Healthy people have less than one unit. Four units or above can indicate heart disease. Inflammation comes from stress or damage to your blood vessels when they don’t get the nutrients they need. They can get cracked and weak, and the body responds by sending plaque to repair the damage. Continuous lack of nutrients can cause this plaque to build up – leading to heart attack or stroke.

One may not really need statin drugs to protect from high CRP levels. To lower the CRP levels in your blood – lower the inflammation in your body. One of the best ways to lower CRP is to exercise. Studies clearly show that people who went from couch slouching to exercising lowered their CRP as much as 30%.1 To get the most benefit in the least amount of time, exercise efficiently.
Traditional cardio exercises aren’t the most effective to lower CRP. To lower your CRP level in the shortest amount of time, try PACE of DR. ALSEARs (PACE Program walks you through, step-by-step, a revolutionary way to better heart health in 10 minutes a day). If you don’t have my PACE program, here’s a simple exercise you can do (of course check with your doctor/ cardiac physiotherapist/ exercise physiologist if you haven’t been exercising for a while):

1. Instead of a slow, steady pace on a bicycle or treadmill, try going 80% of your maximum for 2 minutes.

2. Rest for 1 minute

3. Go at 90% for another two minutes

4. Rest for 1 minute

5. Go at 100% for 1 minute

6. Recover

That’s it! This exertion/rest cycle is much more effective than traditional cardio and will burn fat and build your heart and lung strength (and lower your inflammation) much faster.

1 Church T, Barlow CE, Earnest CP, Association between cardiorespiratory fitness and C-reactive protein in men. Arteriosclerosis and Thrombosis: Journal of Vascular Biology.2002 Nov 1;22(11):1869-1879

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