C-reactive protein (CRP) is a marker of inflammation. A high sensitivity CRP (hsCRP) test detects lower levels of CRP, which is useful because chronic CRP in the blood is a risk factor for heart disease (1, 2). Elevated hsCRP is common among people with heart disease and reducing hsCRP can reduce the risk for cardiovascular events (3).
A randomized trial published in 2018 investigated the impact on hsCRP of a vegan diet versus a diet recommended by the American Heart Association (AHA). The AHA diet is low in saturated and trans fats, and high in fruits and vegetables (4). The trial lasted over 8 weeks among a sample of 100 adults with coronary artery disease (mostly white men) (3).
The vegan diet resulted in a significant 32% lower mean hsCRP compared with the AHA diet. Weight change, glycemic markers, and lipid levels did not differ significantly between the diet groups. There was a non-significant decrease in LDL among those following the vegan diet.
It’s not clear what aspect of a vegan diet resulted in a lower hsCRP.
1. Heart Diseases. MedlinePlus. https://medlineplus.gov/heartdiseases.html. Updated July 17, 2019. Accessed September 27, 2019.
2. High-sensitivity C-reactive Protein (hs-CRP). Lab Tests Online. https://labtestsonline.org/tests/high-sensitivity-c-reactive-protein-hs-crp. Updated September 23, 2019. Accessed September 27, 2019.
3. Shah B, Newman JD, Woolf K, Ganguzza L, Guo Y, Allen N, Zhong J, Fisher EA, Slater J. Anti-Inflammatory Effects of a Vegan Diet Versus the American Heart Association-Recommended Diet in Coronary Artery Disease Trial. J Am Heart Assoc. 2018 Dec 4;7(23):e011367.
4. Shah B, Ganguzza L, Slater J,et al. The effect of a Vegan versus AHA DiEt in Coronary Artery Disease (EVADE CAD) trial: study design and rationale. Contemp Clin Trials Commun. 2017;8:90–98.