Ever looked at your blood test results and felt like you’d been asked to decipher The Da Vinci Code? Yep, us too. All of these numbers and scientific words with 25 letters can be super confusing—not to mention alarming! It’s always a relief when your GP goes through the results with you and in most cases, tells you you’re fine.
But there’s one part of your blood test your doc probably hasn’t discussed with you. It’s called your CRP levels or C-Reactive Protein and it’s often tested to determine your risk of cancer or heart disease. However, it could also shed some light into why you’re gaining weight!
What is C-Reactive Protein?
C-Reactive Protein is the substance that’s created when your body undergoes periods of excessive inflammation. The role of the C-Reactive Protein is to float through the bloodstream and help your immune system destroy dead cells in the body.
For this reason, your C-Reactive Protein levels are a great indicator of your inflammation levels. So, if your C-Reactive Protein levels are on the high side, it could be a sign that your body isn’t working as well as it should be—which can lead to weight gain and digestive issues.
When there’s excessive inflammation, the body is going to use most of its time and resources trying to deal with that. In doing so, the body’s protective mechanisms can slow metabolism, increase the tendency to store calories as fat, and ramp up your appetite. When we have excess fat, that in itself is inflammatory. Excess body fat produces inflammatory compounds, which can further encourage the body to store fat and produce even more inflammatory compounds.
-Angela Fitch, M.D via Women’s Health
Not all doctors test your C-Reactive Protein levels and if they do, they’ll probably only mention it if yours are high enough to put you at risk of disease. One of the reasons behind this is that the test doesn’t actually reveal the root cause of the inflammation. So, until C-Reactive testing becomes more readily available, it may be worth instead looking at whether lifestyle factors like sleep, stress and a poor diet are putting you at risk of inflammation.