High-fat diets can cause inflammation.
Eating a high-protein diet does not elevate proteins in your blood, but high-fat and high-sugar diets can cause inflammation that increases levels of a specific protein called C-reactive protein. Proteins in the blood also rise as a result of different health issues, from seasonal flu to serious medical conditions.
C-reactive protein is produced as part of the immune response to inflammation and trauma. It then activates other proteins to respond as needed to fight pathogens. Levels in the blood increase as C-reactive protein is produced. Infections from from a cold or flu and medical conditions such as arthritis and Crohn’s disease are common causes of inflammation and increased protein. Exposure to cigarette smoke and whether you exercise and maintain a healthy weight can cause systemic inflammation, because it's your body's normal response to stress. Inflammation is also the healing response to cellular damage. Consuming too much saturated fat and cholesterol damages your arteries, so they become inflamed, and C-reactive protein rises. High levels of C-reactive protein indicate the presence or an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure and Type 2 diabetes.
When your liver is damaged, two proteins are released into the blood: alanine aminotransferase, or ALT, and aspartate transaminase, or AST. Both proteins are enzymes produced in the liver that normally help metabolize amino acids. One of the most common causes of elevated ALT is the accumulation of fat within liver cells caused by high triglycerides, obesity and diabetes. Other illnesses that cause an increase in ALT and AST include cirrhosis from over-consumption of alcohol, hepatitis, autoimmune liver diseases and liver damage from drugs or toxins.
Multiple myeloma is a cancer of the white blood cells in bone marrow. The term myeloma refers to the cancerous cell, and it’s called multiple because it usually occurs in several areas of the bone. These cells normally make antibodies, but once they become cancerous, they begin producing abnormal antibodies, while reducing production of normal antibodies. The abnormal antibodies, which are proteins, are released into the bloodstream. Multiple myeloma results in fractures as the tumors weaken bones and frequent infections from lack of healthy white blood cells to fight pathogens.
Normal proteins in the body become amyloid proteins when their structures change and they form long fibers that interfere with normal functioning. Amyloid proteins are involved in several diseases, most of which result in higher levels of the proteins in the blood. Amyloidosis is a medical condition that occurs when amyloid proteins collect in the heart, kidneys, liver, spleen, stomach and other organs. Sometimes the amyloidosis is caused by other medical conditions, most commonly kidney disease, rheumatoid arthritis and Hodgkin’s disease. Primary amyloidosis is diagnosed when the proteins develop and accumulate in the absence of other diseases. Amyloid proteins are also found in Alzheimer’s disease, but in that case, the levels increase in the cerebrospinal fluid rather than the blood.
Neural Tube Defects
Between the 14th and 22nd weeks of pregnancy, women undergo blood tests to screen for the presence of a protein - alpha-fetoprotein - that’s produced by the baby’s liver in early pregnancy. High levels of alpha-fetoprotein in the mother’s blood may mean that the developing baby has a neural tube defect such as spina bifida. Increased alpha-fetoprotein can also mean that the date of conception was not accurately calculated, because levels of the protein rise and fall during specific weeks of the pregnancy.