Autoimmune Hepatitis: What to do when your immune system attacks your liver

When most people think of hepatitis, they think of the viral infections known as hepatitis A, B or C.  These liver infections are very common; however hepatitis can be caused by a variety of other factors.  The term hepatitis simply means inflammation of the liver. Sometimes the immune system can attack a person's own liver cells and this is called autoimmune hepatitis.

Autoimmune hepatitis may not cause any symptoms or may cause symptoms including fatigue, indigestion, insomnia, abdominal discomfort and itchy skin.  This condition is more likely to occur in people with other autoimmune diseases, particularly thyroid conditions, celiac disease, vitiligo, ulcerative colitis and Sjogren’s syndrome. There is a lot of life saving information about autoimmune disease in my book titled Healing Autoimmune Disease: A plan to help your immune system and reduce inflammation.

Your liver does an enormous number of important jobs in your body, and is the second largest organ in your body (your skin is your largest organ).  Therefore autoimmune hepatitis can have a profound negative impact on your health.

Autoimmune hepatitis may present with elevated liver enzymes in a blood test for liver function.  People with this condition also produce auto-antibodies against liver cells and high levels of a protein called gamma-globulin; these can both be checked via a blood test.  Autoimmune hepatitis most commonly develops during adolescence or early adulthood.  The most common medical treatment involves use of oral steroids (prednisone) and immuno-suppressant drugs.  These drugs can be very effective for reducing inflammation in the liver, but they can have terrible side effects if they are taken long term. The bio-identical hormone called Pregnenolone in a dose of 100 mg capsules taken twice daily may be very helpful and is safe.

My recommendations for autoimmune hepatitis

  • Gluten and dairy products should be eliminated from the diet.  These foods raise inflammation in the body and promote auto-antibody production.  Other foods that promote inflammation and should be minimised include sugar and alcohol.  The diet should be based on vegetables, fruits, seeds and nuts, protein and good fats.  Suitable sources of protein include fish, poultry, eggs, meat, nuts and seeds.  Good fats are found in foods such as avocados, hemp seeds, chia seeds, extra virgin olive oil, macadamia nut oil and coconut oil, along with the fat from pastured animals and wild caught fish. Fermented foods such as kefir, kombucha, coconut yogurt, kim chi and sauerkraut can improve immune function.
  • Drink raw vegetable juices regularly.  Juices are an extremely concentrated and easy to digest source of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.  There are specific juices for liver health and the immune system in my book Raw Juices Can Save Your Life.
  • Take a good quality liver tonic such as Livatone powder. This can be added to your vegetable juice or smoothie or stirred into a little water.  The herb St Mary’s thistle (milk thistle) helps to protect liver cells from harm and also helps to repair liver cells.
  • Vitamin D deficiency is extremely common among people with autoimmune disease and people with liver disease.  Ask your doctor for a vitamin D blood test and your blood level should be between 40 and 60 ng/mL. Vitamin D is essential to reduce chronic inflammation and you cannot afford to be deficient in it.
  • Selenium is very effective for reducing inflammation in the liver and reducing the production of destructive auto-antibodies by your immune system.  It is also helpful for increasing energy and reducing fatigue, which is a common problem among people with liver disease.  I highly recommend the leading selenium formula called Selenomune in a dose of 1 capsule daily - see Selenomune Designer Energy capsules
  • MSM and Vitamin C powder 1 teaspoon daily can help your liver to function better and reduce scar tissue.

These recommendations are natural ways for helping the liver and immune system.  Please do not discontinue taking any prescription medication without discussing the matter with your doctor.

The above statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease.