This brief lifestyle intervention, including a vegan diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains and various legumes, nuts and seeds, significantly improved health risk factors and reduced systemic inflammation as measured by circulating CRP. The degree of improvement was associated with baseline CRP such that higher levels predicted greater decreases. The interaction between gender and baseline CRP was significant and showed that males with higher baseline CRP levels appeared to have a more robust decrease in CRP due to the intervention than did their female counterparts. It is likely that the vegetable and high fiber content of a vegan diet reduces CRP in the presences of obesity. Neither the quantity of exercise nor the length of stay was significant predictors of CRP reduction. Additionally, those participants who had a vegan diet prior to the intervention had the lowest CRP risk coming into the program. Direct measure of body fat composition, estrogen and other inflammatory mediators such as IL-6 and TNF-alpha would enhance current understanding of the specific mechanisms of CRP reduction related to lifestyle interventions.
Keywords: CRP; Inflammation; Lifestyle intervention; Vegan diet.
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