Nutritional and Supplement Treatments for Hepatitis in Los Angeles, CA
Whether it's caused by a viral infection, autoimmune dysfunction, medications, dietary toxins, illegal drugs, or alcohol, liver inflammation (hepatitis) must be diagnosed and treated early to avoid long-term complications.
Once you've identified the symptoms - like appetite loss, fatigue, and joint aches - and the cause, you may decide to forgo the potential side effects of hepatitis medications, as the most common treatment with interferon and ribavirin fails to clear the virus in around 50% of hepatitis patients.
For decades, evidence-based nutritional and supplement regimens have been treating the liver inflammation of hepatitis A, hepatitis B, hepatitis C, hepatitis D, hepatitis E, autoimmune hepatitis, and alcoholic hepatitis.
Eating the prescribed types and amounts of foods and taking the prescribed type and dose of vitamins is crucial – a damaged or inflamed liver can't handle vitamin overload. In fact, ingesting too many or the wrong kind of supplements can cause more damage.7
Everybody tolerates and processes supplements differently. Supplement manufacturing and packaging can affect strength and purity. Supplements may present contraindications with one another, and/or with other medical conditions and treatments. Always consult your health care professional when choosing this treatment option.
Nutrition for Hepatitis Patients
The first step in managing any liver disease is to eat smaller meals. A damaged liver can't store as much glycogen, a chemical used for immediate energy. Eating small, frequent, carbohydrate-rich meals provides your body with the energy it needs to replace its glycogen reserves.
The nutrients and minerals in the following foods go beyond quelling symptoms – they address the cause of inflammation on a cellular, biochemical level and aim to prevent potential complications of hepatitis:
The antioxidant-rich fatty acids in avocados offer potent liver injury suppressing activity. A Japanese study recently demonstrated that avocados caused a significant decrease in the enzyme activity of D-galactosamine, a powerful liver toxin.2
Leafy Green Vegetables
Spinach, kale, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, and cabbage are all rich in these regenerative vitamins and minerals:
- vitamin K: this helps to revive the nutrient absorption that liver damage interferes with; it also produces prothrombin and other blood-clotting factors
- folate (vitamin B9): folic acid helps form red blood cells and plays a role in protein metabolism, helping to reduce blood homocysteine levels
- vitamin A: regulates cellular reproduction and differentiation
- iron: decreases fatty acid composition in the liver
- sulfur: the sulfur in kale helps break down toxins, alleviating chronic inflammation
Oats, brown rice, bulgur, whole rye, whole wheat, and barley are rich in complex carbohydrates. Hepatitis C interferes with blood sugar regulation and frequently causes insulin resistance – these robust carbohydrates reduce the burden of insulin resistance.
Omega-fatty acid-rich fish (salmon, mackerel, tuna, sardines), skinless chicken or turkey, and other poultry that's rich in protein helps repair severely inflamed tissues.
Various beans contain protein and antioxidants which combat free radicals and help the liver process food.
Anthocyanin and other color-related antioxidants in sweet potatoes are valued for their anti-inflammatory properties, which can protect you from hepatitis C complications.
The anthocyanins found in blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, tart cherries, and cranberries are one of the most recognized sources for disrupting the sustained, pro-inflammatory state caused by hepatitis C.
Kelp is rich in the complex carbohydrate fucoidan, which has anti-inflammatory, anti-tumor and anti-oxidative properties. Try to consume organic kelp harvested from unpolluted seas.
Virgin olive oil is rich in polyphenols that protect against inflammation. Olive oil is also filled with monounsaturated fat, which is least likely to promote liver inflammation.
Soy protein reduces the buildup of liver fat and lowers biomarkers linked with liver damage in hepatitis C patients. Side effects include constipation and nausea.
Soy is not for patients with hypothyroidism, hay fever, kidney disease or stones, asthma, cystic fibrosis, diabetes, endometrial or urinary bladder cancer, or milk allergy. Soy has contraindications with many pharmaceutical medications changed by the liver.
Green tea contains high-powered antioxidants called catechins. Drinking green tea daily can also increase your liver function through potent anti-inflammatory flavonoids.
When your body digests caffeine, it produces a chemical called paraxanthine which slows the growth of liver scar tissue.
Egg yolk, soybeans, and peanuts provide a robust source of phosphatidylcholine, the most abundant of our phospholipids (specialized fat molecules that function as key building blocks for our cell membranes).
Foods to avoid with liver disease:
- processed sugar (cookies and soda): they're extremely difficult for the liver to process
- saturated fat (butter, fatty meats): if you eat too much high-calorie, greasy fat, you'll gain weight and fat will build up in your liver, increasing your risk of fatty liver disease
- salt: salt keeps fluids in your blood vessels
- red meat: difficult for your body to break down, and can cause bloating
- gluten: highly inflammatory; can cause bloating
- hydrogenated vegetable oils (canola, soy, and corn): refined oil is difficult to process
Liver health supplements
Even some traditional healthcare conglomerates now recommend these supplements, which must be taken under the supervision and monitoring of a professional healthcare provider:
This naturally occurring amino acid has been researched for many years. Studies demonstrated that L-carnitine supplements helped regulate mitochondrial dysfunction (which gives free reign to free radicals and can cause liver cancer). This crucial amino acid protects mitochondrial function in liver cells.3
L-carnitine improves efficacy of the drug entecavir, as well as interferon-alpha and ribavirin treatment (which on its own has a 50% efficacy rate) in hepatitis B patients. It cannot be taken by children or seizure patients. Side effects include nausea, vomiting, heartburn, diarrhea, and seizures. Not to be combined with the blood-clot slowing drugs or thyroid hormone.
It's been well established that SAMe restores glutathione and decreases dangerous levels of bilirubin and AST enzyme in chronic hepatitis patients. It can be taken via oral supplement or intravenously. Studies have demonstrated that SAMe therapy exhibited therapeutic efficacy in advanced-stage hepatitis B and liver cancer patients.4
Side effects include gas, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, dry mouth, headache, anorexia, sweating, dizziness, or anxiety. Do not take if you have bipolar disorder, Parkinson's, or Lesch-Nyhan syndrome. Do not take with anti-depressants, dextromethorphan, levodopa, meperidine, pentazocine, and tramadol.
Hepatitis A Supplement: phosphatidylcholine
The most abundant of our phospholipids (major components of our cell membranes), phosphatidylcholine produces important signaling molecules. It helps build and maintain our cell lining. The highest concentrations of this phospholipid are found in our brain, heart, and liver, which is why replenishing it in damaged tissue is imperative.
Hepatitis B & C supplement: whey protein
An excellent source of sulfur-rich cysteine and methionine, whey protein can improve glutathione levels and lower inflammation in hepatitis B and C patients. High doses can cause increased bowel movements, nausea, thirst, bloating, cramps, reduced appetite, fatigue, and headache. Not to be taken with levodopa, alendronate, or antibiotics.
Hepatitis C supplements
Hepatitis C patients should avoid large doses of iron, as they already have elevated iron levels which can damage their organs. Vitamin C should also be avoided, as it aids iron absorption.
These supplements have successfully treated some hepatitis C infections:
This protein, found in cow and human milk, can prevent Hepatitis C infection. Studies have also demonstrated that hepatitis C patients respond to cow lactoferrin. 5 Diarrhea is a side effect, and very high doses may cause skin rash, loss of appetite, fatigue, chills, and constipation.
The liver is the body's main storage center for vitamin B12, and liver disease depletes this important vitamin. Research has demonstrated that patients who carried type 1 strain of hepatitis C were able to clear the virus by adding vitamin B12 to interferon treatment.
Vitamin B-12 is not for patients with an allergy to cobalt or cobalamin, Leber's disease, or those with abnormal red blood cells (megaloblastic anemia) or high numbers of red blood cells (polycythemia vera).
Alcoholic Hepatitis Supplements
This cell membrane antioxidant acts as a scavenger of free radicals, protecting against liver damage. In a study published by the New England Journal of Medicine, both the patients who took pioglitazone and those who took vitamin E had improved blood levels of liver cell-injury markers and reduced liver fat levels and inflammation. However, only vitamin E produced significant improvements in the appearance of liver tissue on biopsies.6
Excessive doses of vitamin E can cause nausea, diarrhea, headache, blurred vision, rash, bruising, and bleeding. This vitamin is not for patients with a history of stroke, bleeding disorders, retinitis pigmentosa, heart attack, diabetes, angioplasty, or prostate cancer. Do not take with chemotherapy, anticoagulants, cyclosporine, niacin, and warfarin.
This powerful antioxidant has been shown to decrease the amount of liver scar tissue and enhance the effects of other antioxidants. This acid is not for children, diabetics or thyroid disease patients. Do not take while undergoing chemotherapy.
Pyruvate dehydrogenase kinase (PDK)
This mitochondrial enzyme promotes aerobic glycolysis (the breakdown of glucose molecules) and has been shown to control hepatitis C virus replication. Not for patients who have cardiomyopathy, diarrhea, or IBS.
Autoimmune Hepatitis Supplement: NAC
The amino acid N-Acetyl cysteine (NAC) is an antidote for acetaminophen poisoning, the most common cause of acute liver failure (which can result from autoimmune hepatitis). NAC replenishes glutathione, which detoxifies the toxic metabolite in acetaminophen.
Side effects include nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea or constipation. Not for patients with asthma, bleeding disorders, or acetylcysteine allergy, as well as those who've recently had surgery. Do not take with nitroglycerin and activated charcoal. One study suggests that using Herbalife and Hydroxycut weight-loss products may trigger autoimmune hepatitis.7
Reserve Your Appointment
Nutritional and supplemental therapy can biochemically treat your liver inflammation and potentially regenerate your damaged liver cells. To learn more, find a nutritionist or hepatitis supplementation specialist near you by calling (424) 365-1800 or contact Dr. Jeremy Fischer online today.
2. Kawagishi, Hirokazu, et. al. “Liver Injury Suppressing Compounds from Avocado (Persea Americana).” Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. 49.5 (2001):2215−2221. Web. 16 Oct. 2018.
3. Chang B, Nishikawa M, Nishiguchi S, Inoue M. L-carnitine inhibits hepatocarcinogenesis via protection of mitochondria. Int J Cancer. 2004 Oct 21
4. Tao Guo, Yukun He. Feasibility and Efficay of S-Adenosyl-L-methionine in Patients with HBV-Related HCC with Different BCLC Stages. Gastroenterol Res Prac. 2016
5. K, Tanaka, et al. “Lactoferrin inhibits hepatitis C virus viremia in patients with chronic hepatitis C: a pilot study.” Japanese journal of cancer research: Gan 90.4 (1999):367-371. Web. 17 Oct. 2018.
6. Sanyal, Arun J, et al. “Pioglitazone, vitamin E, or placebo for nonalcoholic steatohepatitis.” The New England Journal of Medicine 362 (2010):1675-1685. Web. 16 Oct. 2018.
7. Cavalcante, Lourianne Nascimento, et al. “Dietary Supplements as a Possible Trigger of Autoimmune Hepatitis.” Crimson Publishers (2018). Web. 27 August, 2018.
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