I'm new here and have a couple in-depth questions. Maybe I should break it into two posts? But-- they are interconnected!
I just got a Hepatitis C diagnosis from my doctor. No idea how I got it and could have had it for years.
I also have had hashimoto's for years. Maybe they're connected.
I've been on a paleo diet for about 7 months--which I started cos I had high hopes of curing my hypothyroidism with diet and lifestyle (no alkie, plus more sleep!!!). While on that journey the bloodtest revealed Hep C. Rats!!
1) I'm wondering if anyone has any experience with supporting the liver with particular Paleo tips. (I'm on milk thistle, alpha lipoic acid, schizandra berry.)
2) Since going Paleo I've gained about 12 unwanted pounds!! (Some's muscle from starting a heavy weight lifting program at the same time & eating lots of protein but there's def some stubb chubb on my middle.) It could be the increase in dietary fat that made me gain weight and I'm starting to suspect it's connected to my liver which has slightly elevated levels--not super high. Does anyone have some tips on helping fat loss along particularly for a slightly strained liver?
I feel good and everyone says I look healthy and youthful for being 43. I was basically on an almost-paleo diet for 2 years prior to my switch to full paleo. Been gluten-frei for 5 years.
Thanks in advance
asked byladyp (561)
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on March 30, 2011
at 05:04 AM
This is the wife of this user...
First of all sorry to hear about your diagnosis. I work in medical research dealing directly with new drugs/drug combinations for Hep C. It is an awful disease and I'm glad you are concerned for your health and the diet you are on. I can not give any medical advice, though I will say milk thistle is great for people with Hep c. The good news is that if your disease is in an early stage you probably haven't developed cirosis of the liver which can eventually lead to liver cancer. Although Hep C is a nasty viral disease there are effective treatments like the standard of care, Peg Interferon and Ribavirin. The good news is that many of the new medications being developed are working extremely well at lowering viral count to undetectable levels and effectively curing the disease. Even patients who have been resistant to treatment are seeing results with newer study drugs. I have heard many different people saying that with the improvements in treatment being made Hep C will be virtually cured within the next 5 years. Even if you don't have insurance and you live near a major city or research hospital I would encourage you to look at possibly becoming a member of an investigatory medical trial, as patient expenses are usually fully covered by the institution conducting the trial. Stage 3 trials are the safest to participate in as these are the ones conducted before a drug can be approved by the FDA. In either case I wish you well and want you to know there is hope for ridding yourself of this awful disease.
on March 21, 2011
at 11:01 PM
I was planning on asking a similar question to this in the next week, since I also had bloodwork revealing HCV recently. I do have some ideas on where I could have picked it up, but it doesn't really make it any easier. The nurse practitioner I am seeing seemed really optimistic since my enzyme levels are pretty good, I'm relatively young, I'm not an alcoholic/drug user, and I'm a woman, which are all positives when it comes to Hep C progression. I'll know more specifics when I get my viral load test results on Thursday. I wanted to give a "hi, you aren't alone" wave. Since diagnosis I have become really frustrated with the dietary advice presented in all the literature I was given. It makes zero sense to me that a low-fat/high carb diet would be appropriate for a Hep C patient since the same literature warns of increased risk of diabetes and NAFLD--two conditions that are certainly made worse (if not caused) by such a diet. Not to mention recommending an inflammatory diet for a chronic inflammatory condition. WTF? It just seems like a gross case of fat makes you fat and fat in your liver must come from fat so cut out fat. Ugh. I'm sure you've also come to the conclusion that info out there about diet and hepatitis is woefully inadequate. I have found a few things that I've found helpful recently, though.
A list of common nutrient deficiencies in Hep C patients. Eating paleo obviously gives us a huge leg up on SAD eaters in terms of preventing these deficiencies. My takeaway from this is to be more vigilant about maximizing nutrient dense foods and looking for ways to up anything in this list I may be falling short in (for instance, I started taking a vitamin e supplement since I get next to none from my diet). Everything I've read so far about nutritive therapies for Hep C has a real chicken/egg feel to it. Is liver disease advancing because of vitamin/mineral deficiency or does advancing liver disease make us more prone to vitamin/mineral deficiency? I'm sure there are elements of both, but I'm erring more on the side of the former for overall general health and in the hopes I can prevent any further liver damage.
The connection between gut health and liver disease. I'm definitely taking more probiotics and eating more cultured foods, as well as drinking more bone broths to promote gut healing. One thing I am eating every day are some lacto-femented beets--for the probiotics, vitamins/minerals, and their high level of betaine which shows promise in promoting liver health.
When the liver under performs, hormonal balance can get out of whack. There can be a buildup of certain hormones (estrogen, for example) or poor conversion. Thyroid problems are common. This could be why you are putting on weight--the possible specific connection to paleo is best left to someone who understands metabolic stuff better than me.
A big deal seems to be made about iron overload and HCV. I've seen vegetarian diets recommended more than once as a way to counteract the effect. This study suggests that is relatively rare. Also, as a woman who menstruates, I need to worry way less about hemochromatosis in general.
I can't offer any liver supp recommendations. Milk thistle gives me horrible digestive problems and I am trying to cut back on supplements in general to reduce strain on my liver. (Another friggin' conundrum!)
Long story short, I think we are both in an exceedingly good place for keeping this at bay. Good luck! If you want to communicate off board let me know and I'll give you my e-mail.
on January 11, 2012
at 11:22 PM
I don't know how useful I can be to you -- I'm also doing the waving,"Hi! Me too!" and giving my opinion on things mentioned before. I have some ideas about how I may have gotten hep c. I may have had it for 43 years. My liver enzymes are minimally elevated by the numbers, but 'perfect' according to my specialist; a biopsy last year revealed minimal liver damage, and my viral load is about 20 million -- at the time I first got my diagnosis, I had never heard of a viral load over 100,000!. Fortunately, viral load is considered the least important part.
I take Chinese herbs and like them. I saw an acupuncturist for about a year after my diagnosis. I eat lots of probiotic foods and agree that beet kvaas is a great thing to make -- beets themselves are considered a great food for the liver, and artichokes. Dandelion is good for some people, not for others, according to my acupuncturist and aryuvedic doctor (can you tell I live in California?) I take alpha-lipoic acid and milk thistle. I've been eating micro-algae (spirulina and chlorella) for almost thirty years and I think that's the 'secret' of my liver health though it could have nothing to do with that. My liver cells are part of a research project here in San Francisco.
My advice is to pay attention to your body and try to hear its messages about what makes sense for your health; this is a practice over time. The best part of my diagnosis was that it gave me a reason to be more mindful about my health and to experiment; I knew I had a potentially fatal disease, but I wasn't anywhere close to death's door.
I came to Paleo just by paying closer attention to my dietary needs the last few years since my diagnosis. 'They' told me not to eat red meat, and to absolutely not ever consider indulging my desire for liver, and I followed that advice for a couple of years, but I feel in tune with myself enough now to eat them anyway- both those feel really good when I eat them, though I am very careful about quality. Moderation in all things (except alcohol -- avoid that like the plague!), trust your body.
My liver specialist also says new and better treatments are on the way. I'm not holding my breath, because I'm leery of medications, but it does feel good to know that more options will be available to the community at large.
I can't say anything about your thyroid -- several of the docs I've seen looks suspiciously at mine and I suspect there's a connection between hep c and thyroid, but I can't confirm.
Feel free to email me if you want. I've been deep in research for several years on this.
on October 14, 2011
at 08:08 AM
I did 72 weeks of treatment, from 09/07 to 02/09. Successfully. I'm here if you have any questions or need support.