Friday, October 19, 2007

Hepatitis C

What is Hepatitis C?
Hepatotropic virus also known as Hepatitis C (HVC) is an inflammation of the liver, usually caused by a viral infection and the most serious form of hepatitis. The liver is responsible to break down waste products in your blood. If the liver is inflamed, tender, and enlarged, it becomes unable to function normally. As a result, waste that would normally be filtered out by the liver builds up in the body. Therefore certain nutrients are not processed and stored.

What are the different types of Hepatitis?
Hepatitis is classified according to the virus that causes the condition. There are 3 leading types: Hepatitis A, B, and C. In addition, there are less common types known as Hepatitis D, E, and G. All are contagious to some extent.

What are the symptoms?
Symptoms include fever, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, headache, loss of appetite, muscle aches, joint pains, drowsiness, dark urine, light colored stools, abdominal discomfort, jaundice (yellowing of the skin due to an accumulation of bilirubin) and elevated alanine transaminase (ALT) liver enzyme levels in the blood.

How do you get Hepatitis C? Causes? Risk Factor?
Nearly 4 million Americans are infected with HVC. It is usually spread through direct contact with an infected person’s blood. It is hereditary and can be passed on from a mother to her unborn baby. An infected person cannot pass the virus by kissing, touching, holding hands, coughing, sneezing, or using public toilets. You may be at risk for HVC if you shared needles for intravenous drug use, used non-sterile equipment, had frequent exposure to blood products, or used an infected person’s toothbrush, razor, or other item that had blood on it.

Nutrition Intervention for Hepatitis C
If you have Hepatitis, it is crucial to eat healthy and exercise regularly.

  • Artichoke increases the effectiveness of the liver function.
  • Beets promote the regeneration of liver cells.
  • Burdock and dandelion are important for cleansing the liver and the bloodstream.
  • Licorice is effective in treating viral hepatitis due to antiviral activity.
    Caution: Do not use this herb on a daily basis for more than 7 days in a row; stay away from it altogether if you have high blood pressure.
  • Have milk thistle extract 200-400 mgs 3 times daily. It contains silymarin (a flavonoid that has been shown to aid in healing and rebuilding the liver).


  • Include artichokes in your diet. Artichokes protect the liver.
  • Have more greens, eat spinach, swiss chard, kale, bok choy and drink 100% vegetable juice (refrigerated at Whole foods or Trader Joes – 100% vegetables, has 2 grams dietary fiber per serving).
  • Stay clear from fried foods, sugar, highly processed foods, raw fish, shellfish, chemicals, food additives, and eat predominately vegetarian protein (e.g., beans and grains, fish, low fat dairy) rather than high saturated fat animal proteins (e.g., beef, chicken, turkey, lamb).
  • Get plenty of rest.
  • Leave the alcohol alone, including medicines containing alcohol.

    Questions to address your doctor
    Talk to your doctor if you are taking over-the-counter medications. Some medicines contain acetaminophen (Tylenol) that may cause liver damage due to the breakdown by the liver.

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