Hepatitis Management with Diet, Lifestyle Changes, and Supplements

Hepatitis is another term for liver inflammation which is usually caused by a viral infection causing liver inflammation. Viral hepatitis comes from different viruses named Hepatitis A, B, C, D, and E. [1] However, hepatitis may also come from certain drugs and other toxins, such as excess alcohol, and from diseases, especially autoimmune diseases that cause liver inflammation.

Depending on the cause of hepatitis, the severity of symptoms may range from mild and self-limiting to very severe, requiring liver transplantation. 

If the inflammation lasts for less than six months, it is considered acute hepatitis; if lasting longer than six months, it is termed chronic hepatitis. Both are dangerous and should be managed promptly. Acute hepatitis is an inflammatory condition caused by viruses, alcohol, drugs, or toxins and is often self-resolving, although it can cause sudden liver failure. 

Chronic hepatitis will cause liver damage and later liver failure increasing morbidity and mortality if left unmanaged. [2-3] Liver failure happens when the liver cells do not function sufficiently to meet the human body’s physiological needs. [4]

The most common viral forms of hepatitis in the US are hepatitis A, B, and C.

Hepatitis A is transmitted via the oral-fecal route and involves contaminated food or water.  It is a significant public health issue and usually comes from international travel. When infected people return home, they often infect other household members because of the virus’s incubation period when there are no symptoms or very mild ones. [5]

Hepatitis B is transmitted sexually or when people come in contact with infected people’s mucous membranes or body fluids. Also, through transfusion of blood, injection of drugs using shared needles, healthcare workers exposed to infected body fluids, kidney dialysis, or from mother to baby. [6] Globally, hepatitis B-related liver failure is a crucial issue.

Hepatitis C and D transmission are the same as Hepatitis B, although sexual transmission and transmission from mother to baby are less common.

Hepatitis E transmission is usually from feces-contaminated water. [5]

All forms of viral hepatitis cause about 1.4 million deaths yearly, with hepatitis B and C responsible for about 90% of those deaths.

The symptoms of hepatitis include constant fatigue, diarrhea, low-grade fever, loss of appetite, malaise, nausea, vomiting, and jaundice which a well-balanced diet and rest can help manage. Symptoms of hepatitis include weight loss, jaundice, and malnutrition. 

Malnutrition and muscle loss are also common following impaired nutrient production and absorption, inadequate nutritional intake, abnormal liver structure, and functional liver failure. [7] Also, malnutrition further aggravates liver injury, affecting the quality of life and survival time. [8] Enteral (through a tube) or parenteral feeding (intravenously) may be warranted in severe cases in the beginning.

Maintaining a healthy diet and weight should be your goals because these will help you regain the energy levels needed for healing and recovery. Bed rest also supports the healing of the liver tissue.

Here are some dietary tips, lifestyle changes, and supplements to help you manage hepatitis and minimize damage to the liver.

1. Consume Sufficient Food

Malnutrition occurs slowly as liver disease progresses. This is because liver injury gradually leads to damage to intestinal function, which forms a downward spiral leading to more gastrointestinal barrier impairment, leading to more liver damage. When the gastrointestinal barrier function is impaired, common in people with hepatitis B, [9] the intestinal bacteria breed excessively and move past the gastrointestinal barrier into the blood. This leads to liver and other organ damage. [10] 

It is imperative to screen for nutritional risk during the early stages of the disease. [11]

Once screening is done, it is critical to supplement with any lacking nutrients and probiotics to support healthy intestinal function. The probiotics I recommend include ten different microbial strains and at least 100 billion microbes (colony-forming units) in one capsule. It would be best to take a probiotic supplement in the morning daily when suffering from hepatitis. Achieving and maintaining an optimal weight is crucial for healing.

2. Consume a Liver-Friendly Diet

A diet that helps protect your liver is a diet rich in fruits and vegetables that are rich in vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Your diet should also include whole organic grains, nuts, seeds, and plant-based protein sources. Protein is crucial because it can help prevent muscle wasting and helps in the production of albumin in the liver. People with hepatitis need increased levels of protein to support healing. Aim for plant-based proteins that do not have endotoxins that harm the liver, as do animal-based proteins. One gram of plant-based protein per kilogram of body weight per day is recommended, but do not exceed this amount. [12] 

Glutathione in the diet is also crucial. Glutathione is a potent antioxidant capable of preventing liver cell damage caused by free radicals, peroxides, lipid peroxides, and heavy metals. [13-15]

Glutathione is naturally found in asparagus, avocados, carrots, cruciferous vegetables (Brussel sprouts, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, maca), melons, peppers, potatoes, spinach, and squash. You want to consume one or more of these foods daily. You may also get glutathione through direct supplementation of this nutrient; however, this has been proven less effective. However, you can increase glutathione production in your body by supplementing with two other nutrients that support glutathione production. These include alpha-lipoic acid, which increases mitochondrial glutathione levels, and N-acetylcysteine (NAC) because the amino acid cysteine is rate-limiting in the production of glutathione.

Good protein-rich sources of cysteine needed to make albumin and glutathione include lentils, soy products, and peas.

When there is severe malnutrition, patients may need tube feeding or intravenous administration of nutrition if normal nutrition is not possible at the time.

3. Get Enough Bed Rest

Bed rest during the acute phase of hepatitis generally improves the immediate symptoms. There is less hepatic tenderness during rest, while increased size and tenderness of the liver frequently occur with physical activity. [16]

Avoid any vigorous physical activity until the symptoms improve. Please do what you can and rest sufficiently to allow your liver to heal itself.

4. Refuse Alcohol and Liver Toxic Medications 

When alcoholic liver disease leads to acute inflammation, it usually escalates to alcoholic hepatitis. Alcohol impacts the metabolic functioning of the liver, and drinking alcohol when you have hepatitis will aggravate the disease further and potentially result in irreversible liver damage. [17] You want to avoid substances that are hepatotoxic, including alcohol and medications. You should avoid medications like acetaminophen or other chemical substances like smoking that can be hepatotoxic.

5. Limit Salt

High-salt diets have been associated with impaired liver function. Our bodies only need a small amount of salt to function properly. Sodium ions help regulate water movement within body systems and conduct nerve impulses. [18] However, excess salt in the diet can increase premature cell death and reduce cell proliferation in the liver. It’s not enough to quit sprinkling more salt on your dishes. You should also watch sodium content in store-bought processed foods, cured meats, savory snacks, and even bread, rolls, and soups. Pretzels, chips, popcorn, and crackers are some snacks with the highest salt content. See more on this subject in my book “The Ideal Diet For Humans — A Simple Book About Human Nutritional Needs.”

6. Consume Sufficient Carbohydrates But Avoid Highly Refined Sugar Foods and Excess Fats

It is important to get sufficient carbohydrates in your diet from whole grains, potatoes, fruits, and vegetables. When glucose is available, it will restore glycogen reserves in the liver that are protective. Carbohydrates also help meet the energy demands of the disease process and prevent the breakdown of protein for energy, thus ensuring its use for tissue regeneration needed for healing. The diet should supply 65% of total kilocalories as carbohydrates, but since glucose intolerance and hypoglycemia are common in people with liver disease, the amount of carbohydrates in the diet will depend on individual needs. 

You should avoid consuming too many refined sugar and high-fructose corn syrup foods, you’re putting yourself at risk of fatty buildup in the liver. Refined sugar and high fructose corn syrup have a similar biochemical makeup consisting of 50% glucose and 50% fructose molecules. All fructose is metabolized solely in the liver. When not needed for energy due to sufficient glucose, the liver will convert the fructose into fat that will build up in the liver, reducing liver function and leading to liver disease. Therefore, reducing refined sugar and high fructose corn syrup consumption is crucial when suffering from liver disease. Check any product ingredients to see if they contain these sugars. 

Regarding fat consumption, although energy supply depends more on fat as the disease progresses, the diet should incorporate no more than 25% of energy from fat. 

7. Avoid Iron-Rich Foods

Since iron does not readily leave the body, you should watch consumption unless you are a female during menses. Iron overload can induce liver damage as it deposits in liver cells, leading to injury, especially when combined with alcohol consumption. This implies that iron overload in the liver may alter the susceptibility to medications, drugs, or chemicals. [19]

The most iron-rich foods containing readily absorbable heme iron are meat products. Avoiding these products altogether while suffering from liver disease or inflammation is best. You can consume protein through healthier plant-based sources and get sufficient iron for your needs through plant-based iron-rich foods, including green leafy vegetables, cocoa powder, dark chocolate, oatmeal, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds (especially pumpkin, sesame, and squash seeds). 

8. Consume sufficient protein

Protein is essential for building new liver cells and tissues. It also combines with fats to form lipoproteins which help remove the fats preventing excessive fat buildup in the liver that will cause damage.  You should increase protein intake from plant-based sources once you are suffering from hepatitis to 1.0 to 1.2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. 

Supplements and Other Treatments

Treating chronic hepatitis B virus infection is focused on inhibiting viral replication. To do this, see the chapter on viral infections (#91) to receive the best antiviral supplement guidelines. 

You may also get antiviral therapy that may start six months after the viral infection is diagnosed.

You may also want to support your liver with fruits that help the liver regenerate after damage, an incredibly unique ability that this organ has. Clean celery juice taken daily without other fruits or vegetables is very effective in helping the liver self-repair. 

Note that the liver isn’t invincible; therefore, you must manage it before the damage goes beyond repair.

Furthermore, as mentioned previously, you should supplement any deficient or lacking nutrients. Usually, vitamin D is low [12], and zinc, copper, and selenium are also often low in people with hepatitis.

ll references are found at this link: https://bit.ly/guerrillahealthref I keep this list updated. 

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