Association between diet, lifestyle, metabolic cardiovascular risk factors, and plasma C-reactive protein levels

Metabolism. 2004 Nov;53(11):1436-42. doi: 10.1016/j.metabol.2004.06.010.


Increased C-reactive protein (CRP) levels have been associated with several of the components of the metabolic syndrome, but the direct influence of diet and lifestyle factors on CRP levels remains largely unknown. The purpose of the present study was to investigate the association between CRP and diet and lifestyle factors. Plasma CRP levels were determined by a highly sensitive enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) in 760 participants in the beta-Blocker Cholesterol-Lowering Asymptomatic Plaque Study (BCAPS). In accordance with previous findings, increased levels of CRP were associated with high body mass index (BMI) (P = .012), triglycerides (P = .001), systolic blood pressure (P = .019), cholesterol/high-density lipoprotein (HDL) ratio (P = .009), and low HDL cholesterol (P = .001). CRP was also increased in smokers (P = .023) and in subjects with a low vitamin C intake (P = .018). When men and women were analyzed together, there were no significant associations between CRP and dietary intake of total calories, total fat, saturated fat, monounsaturated fat, polyunsaturated fat, n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, n-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids, fiber, vitamin E, carotene, or selen, or in physical activity. However, in the female subgroup weak inverse relations were observed between CRP and the intake of total fat (r = -0.13, P = .011), saturated fat (r = -0.13, P = .011), monounsaturated fat (r = -0.13, P = .010), polyunsaturated fat (r = -0.14, P = .007), and n-3 PUFA (r = -0.14, P = .004). Stratified factor analyses in smoking subgroups, obese, and in under-reporters of energy, largely confirmed the results although in male never-smokers a combination of high fiber vitamin C/beta carotene intake was associated with low CRP levels. These observations suggest that CRP levels are only marginally associated with individual dietary and lifestyle factors. Surprisingly, a higher intake of fat tended to be associated with lower CRP values among women.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alcohol Drinking
  • C-Reactive Protein / metabolism*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / etiology*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / metabolism
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Dietary Fats / administration & dosage
  • Educational Status
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Factor Analysis, Statistical
  • Feeding Behavior*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Life Style*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motor Activity
  • Obesity / complications
  • Risk Factors
  • Smoking / adverse effects


  • Dietary Fats
  • C-Reactive Protein