Clinical Trials using a Vegan Diet

C-Reactive Protein

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. Updated July 17, 2019. Accessed September 27, 2019.

2. High-sensitivity C-reactive Protein (hs-CRP). Lab Tests Online. 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.