Liver disease is serious and requires treatment and regular monitoring by a liver specialist. A liver specialist is known as a hepatologist and you need to be referred by your family doctor or general practitioner. Over nearly 40 years of practicing medicine I have seen many patients develop severe liver disease, which sadly could have been prevented by early detection and early referral to a hepatologist. There needs to be more awareness of liver disease so that patients can be treated early so that we can prevent cirrhosis, liver failure and liver cancer. Make sure you have your liver function checked annually with a blood test.
I have presented my ideas on how to help those with liver diseases using nutritional medicine, which I have been using for many years with good success rates. However my recommendations do not replace the care of your own doctor and you should remain under the care of your own doctor whilst using nutritional therapies.
If you have any questions you may contact my naturopaths on 623 3343232 or email us at [email protected]
Hepatitis is a general term used to describe inflammation of the liver. This means that there are too many inflammatory chemicals being produced in the liver, which damages the liver cells (hepatocytes). Your doctor will be able to diagnose hepatitis, even of a mild degree, by doing a blood test to check the level of liver enzymes. If the liver enzymes are elevated this means you have some degree of liver inflammation occurring.
What causes Hepatitis?
Hepatitis can be caused by excessive alcohol, toxic chemicals, some medications, autoimmune diseases, excess iron or copper, diseases of the biliary system and viral infections.
Hepatitis A is known as infectious hepatitis and is easily spread through food or liquids, cutlery, bed linen and skin exposed to feces contaminated with the virus. Transmission can be avoided by adopting high standards of personal hygiene especially in the preparation of food. International travellers are at risk of catching hepatitis A and should consider preventative vaccination. While travelling, drink only boiled or bottled carbonated water and avoid eating raw fish and shellfish, and use disinfectant soaps for the hands.
The hepatitis A virus attacks the liver cells producing an acute illness with symptoms of nausea, loss of appetite, vomiting, fatigue, fever and jaundice. This illness usually lasts for several weeks and resolves quickly once the virus is cleared from the body. In those who are run down to start with there may be a longer or relapsing illness and this occurs in around 15% of cases. However unlike hepatitis B or C, a chronic illness does not develop from the hepatitis A virus, and once the virus is cleared from the body a permanent immunity is acquired. The hepatitis A virus does not cause cirrhosis.
There is a vaccine, which is highly effective in preventing hepatitis A. In those recently exposed to hepatitis A, an injection of gamma globulin can reduce the risk of infection if given within 24 hours of exposure.
General Measures in those with hepatitis A
Minimize the use of all medications, especially liver toxins such as alcohol, analgesic drugs (especially acetaminophen, paracetamol and narcotics) and anti- inflammatory drugs. Avoid using household and workplace chemicals such as insecticides, pesticides, chlorine, bleach, paints, glues and solvents.
Fifty percent of your diet should consist of raw and cooked vegetables and fruits. Dressings can be made with organic vinegars (balsamic, apple cider vinegar etc) and cold pressed olive oil.
Drink one or two glasses of raw vegetable juices daily.
Eat cruciferous vegetables including broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, kale, cabbage, bok choy and watercress as well as garlic and onions to help the detoxification ability of the liver.
Recommended supplements to support your liver function whilst you are recovering
A good liver tonic containing milk thistle combined with all B group vitamins, taurine and selenium.
Dr Cabot’s famous Liver Healing soup recipe
- 8 cups water
- 2 – 3 tablespoons of cold pressed olive oil
- 2 potatoes, chopped
- 3 tomatoes, chopped
- 2 carrots, chopped
- 2 beets, chopped
- 2 stalks of celery (including the tops), chopped
- 1 large red onion, chopped
- 1 inch finely chopped and peeled ginger
- 1 clove garlic, minced (optional)
- 1 bunch sliced kale or beet greens
- 2-3 fresh artichoke hearts
- 2 cups shiitake mushrooms, fresh or reconstituted, sliced
- 1 whole reishi mushroom (remove when cooked)
- L cup arame or wakame seaweed, chopped
- 1 cup cooked beans or lentils
Add small amounts of celery seed, turmeric, pepper and miso (or tamari) to taste.
In a large saucepan add the oil and bring to a moderate – high heat.
Add the celery (plus tops), ginger, turmeric, tomato, potato, carrots, beets, onions, celery seed and garlic and some pepper. Stir continuously so the vegetables do not stick to the bottom.
When the vegetables begin to brown, carefully add the water. Bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer.
Add the seaweed, mushrooms, artichoke hearts, lentils/beans and stir. Simmer for about 2 hours.
Add the kale and beet greens15 minutes before you serve. Remove the reishi mushrooms. Stir in the miso/tamari to taste.
Serve alone or with a side salad.
These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any diseases.