Are Dietary Supplements Effective Against Hepatitis C?

Some dietary and herbal supplements may have adverse effects on people with hepatitis C.

Are Dietary Supplements Effective Against Hepatitis C?

By Hepatitis Connect Staff Published at October 11 Views 646

Managing hepatitis C is a matter of taking good care of your overall health, and taking medicine your doctor may prescribe if it becomes chronic. The National Institutes of Health says a healthy diet is an important part of your self-care, among other practices. But dietary supplements are generally not recommended for hepatitis C patients.

More harm than good

Despite persistent anecdotes and claims, there is no clinical evidence to show that any dietary supplement is effective against hepatitis C. Beyond that, dietary supplements are not always safe. According to the New York State Attorney General's Office (AGNY), most herbal supplements not as rigidly regulated as prescription medicines, and what you buy may not always be what you get.

An investigation by AGNY revealed that in four major United States retail chains, only 21 percent of supplements analyzed contained the claimed amount of the substance on their labels. The other 79 percent had fillers such as rice, pine, wheat, primrose, and more, which could pose threats to people with allergies.

In another study reported by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, researchers collected traditional Chinese medicines and found that 32 percent of the supplements contained heavy metals including arsenic and mercury, or, illegally, active ingredients found in prescription drugs. The supplements’ labels did not identify these ingredients. The authors expressed concern that such tainted herbal and dietary supplements might sometimes lead to acute liver failure or other harmful effects.

Tips to keep in mind

If you have hepatitis C and you’re considering dietary supplements, remember these points:

Always consult your doctor before using any supplements and make sure your doctor knows about any supplements you’re taking. Some may interfere with your medicine.

Do not replace conventional medical treatments for hepatitis C with supplements.

The active extract of milk thistle, silymarin, is the most popular supplement taken by people with liver disease. But research has failed to show that it works.

Some dietary supplements may have serious side effects. Colloidal silver, often advertised as a cure-all, may cause irreversible harm.

Helpful home remedies

In addition to eating a healthy, balanced diet, Mayo Clinic recommends avoiding alcohol, which may worsen liver disease, as well as medicines that may lead to liver damage.

How do you manage hepatitis C? Have you adjusted your lifestyle and seen results? Add your comment below.

For more:

HCV Patient Assistance Programs for Hepatitis C Treatment
With More Americans Dying From HCV Than From HIV, Affordable Treatment Needed
CDC Hepatitis C Testing Recommendations + Links To CDC HCV Resources & Information

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