Two nutrients cut heart disease risk

Research suggests that people with elevated levels of C-reactive protein (CRP) are at an increased risk for hypertension and cardiovascular disease. CRP is a marker of inflammation in the body. Two recent studies highlight a connection between nutrients and CRP, suggesting that the risk of cardiovascular disease can be lowered by ensuring adequate intakes.

In a study from Medical University of South Carolina, researchers tried to determine whether magnesium is associated with C-reactive protein (CRP) levels. Looking at data from a National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, the researchers found that 68% of Americans consume less than the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of magnesium, and 19% consumed less than 50% of the RDA. They also report that adults who consumed less than the RDA of magnesium were up to 1.75 times more likely to have elevated CRP than adults who consumed more than or equal to the RDA. This stat increased to 2.24 times more likely if the adult was 40 years or older and overweight.

In another study, US researchers found that L-arginine, an amino acid found in nuts and fish, is associated with lower risk of heart disease. Using the Third National Health Nutrition and Examination Survey for their analysis, the researchers found the likelihood of having a high level of CRP was 34.8% in those with the lowest intake of L-arginine, and only 18.4% in those with the highest intake.

Sources: J Am Coll Nutr. 2005 Jun;24(3):166-71; Nutrition. 2005 Feb;21(2):125-30