Connect with us

Thai Life

Excuse Buster: Problems of chronic inflammation

Legacy Phuket Gazette



PHUKET: Last week I described an important test I often recommend to clients called HbA1c. As I wrote, this test is one marker for identifying blood sugar issues and a person’s tendency toward diabetes, but it is also now seen to be related to many conditions – including dementia and even cancer. Sugar strikes again.

As a nutritionist, I spend my time assisting clients in changing some of their unhealthy diet habits, involving such things as sugar and processed foods (especially refined carbohydrates) and bad fats. Each of these contributes to inflammation in the body. According to many medical experts, chronic inflammation (as opposed to acute inflammation like that associated with localized injury such as tennis elbow), lies at the root of many diseases including heart disease.

Chronic or systemic inflammation occurs when larger areas have been irritated and damaged for an extended period of time, including internal organs and tissue like the gut. Although the idea that inflammation was related to heart disease initially emerged in the late 1800s, it was sidelined in favor of the ‘cholesterol or lipid hypothesis’. That’s why lipid profiles are still the most commonly used series of tests to assess the risk of heart disease. These tests include:

– Total cholesterol
– LDL (known as bad cholesterol)
– HDL (known as good cholesterol)
– Triglycerides

However, recently the “inflammation hypothesis” has resurfaced and many scientists believe inflammation is a primary causative factor in many chronic diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease, cancer and degenerative brain disease.

One excellent test to assess the amount of inflammation is high sensitive C-reactive protein hs-CRP.
C-reactive protein (CRP) is produced by the liver. This protein was discovered in 1930, and could be isolated from the blood of patients with a specific type of pneumonia. Later it was discovered that elevated CRP-levels can be measured in blood in response to inflammation.

The difference between CRP and hs-CRP is contained in the “hs” abbreviation; “high sensitivity”. CRP is traditionally measured down to concentrations of 3-5 mg/L, whereas hs-CRP measures down to concentrations around 0.3 mg/L. This improved sensitivity allows hs-CRP to be used to detect low levels of chronic inflammation.

Studies supporting the use of hs-CRP as a marker for heart disease

The Physician’s Health Study (PHS) in 1997 evaluated 22,000 initially healthy men. Baseline levels of hs-CRP were significantly higher among those who subsequently went on to have a heart attack or stroke compared to those who did not. The results indicated that the predictive value of hs-CRP was independent of other risk factors such as blood cholesterol and smoking.

In the WHS (Women’s Health Study), LDL-C was compared with hs-CRP in almost 28,000 healthy women who were followed for eight years. After correction for other risk factors, hs-CRP was found to be a stronger predictor of cardiovascular events than LDL-C. Women in the high hs-CRP and low LDL-C group were at greater risk than the subgroup with low hs-CRP and high LDL-C levels. However, screening for both markers provided a better predictive value than either test alone.

So that’s why many physicians today will look at the traditional cholesterol markers, along with hs-CRP, to get a better overview of a client’s potential risk for heart disease.

What Is the Ideal Level of hs-CRP?

According to Dr. Mark Hyman, head of the institute of functional medicine, it’s important to aim for an hs-CRP score below 1mg/L (not 3 as most labs suggest). But be careful; this measure will also dramatically change (perhaps going over 10) when the person is suffering an acute inflammation like a serious cold or flu, so don’t test when sick.

What to do if you are highly inflamed

Eat a clean, plant-based diet and include good fats at all meals like olive oil, avocados, and omega 3s with small portions of protein, especially those high in the omega 3s (seafood). Keep sugar, bad fats, and processed foods, including the refined high carbohydrate grains, as low as possible.

Craig Burton is a Certified Sports Nutritionist (CISSN) with a Bachelor of Science degree (Sports Science) and a National Academy of Sports Medicine (PES) certification.

Digital subscribers may download the full newspaper, this week and every week, by clicking here.

Keep checking the Phuket Gazette, join our Facebook fan page or follow us on Twitter @PhuketGazette for the latest news updates.

— Craig Burton


Want more Thailand news from the Thaiger family?

📱 Download our app on Android or iOS for instant updates on your mobile
📝️ Join the conversation on Thaiger Talk - discuss news & life in our Thailand forums
📧 Subscribe to our daily email newsletter
👍 Like/Follow us on Facebook
🔔 Subscribe to or Join our YouTube channel for daily video updates


Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Coronavirus (Covid-19)20 mins ago

30 million baht added to vaccine side effects compensation fund

Coronavirus (Covid-19)1 hour ago

Plan for 16-week gap between AstraZeneca vaccines dropped

Coronavirus (Covid-19)2 hours ago

CCSA: 120 day reopening will proceed with conditions

Phuket Sandbox July 1st


Thaiger is getting behind local businesses for the restart of tourism in July - up to 50% discounts across all advertising packages in June!

Sponsored by image

Tourism3 hours ago

Sandbox latest, CCSA says all regions reopening must reach 70% local vaccination

Coronavirus (Covid-19)6 hours ago

Covid UPDATE Saturday: 3,667 new infections and 32 deaths

Politics7 hours ago

Thamanat elected to role of head ‘fixer’ in Palang Pracharat party

Expats16 hours ago

List: China has over 50% of all foreign-owned condos in Thailand

Coronavirus (Covid-19)18 hours ago

Government plans 10 million vaccines for July

World21 hours ago

Thailand News Today | Vaccine deaths investigation, PM heads to Phuket, BMA extends vendor licences | June 18

Thailand22 hours ago

1 million AstraZeneca doses arrive, Anutin says “more” on the way

Drugs22 hours ago

1.2 tonnes of methamphetamine and heroin seized near Malaysian border

Coronavirus (Covid-19)22 hours ago

Pattaya bars plead for government help

Thailand22 hours ago

Colour-coded zoning revised, restrictions to ease nationwide

Transport23 hours ago

Department of Land Transport will reopen, issue licenses

Best of23 hours ago

Top 8 Things to do in Chiang Mai

Thailand4 months ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism4 months ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket4 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism4 months ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand4 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism4 months ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Southern floods, Face mask fines, Thai Air Asia woes | January 8