Sunday, November 22, 2009

Hepatitis Supplements and Diet

These are the supplements, diet and exercise regimen that I am on, along with taking 3 mg of Low Dose Naltrexone for controlling my Hepatitis C virus. It is based on Dr. Berkson's original protocol of using ALA (Alpha-Lipoic-Acid), Selenium, and Silymarin (Milk Thistle) to treat his patients with liver disease.

The 3 basic antioxidants there were used in this report are Alpha-Lipoic Acid (thioctic acid), Silymarin (milk thistle) and Selenium (selenomethionine). The Alpha-Lipoic Acid product was manufactured by Asta Medica at Frankfurt Am Main, Germany. The Silymarin was a product distributed by NOW Foods of Bloomingdale, Illinois, and the Selenium was encapsulated by Metabolic Maintenance Products Inc., of Sisters, Oregon.  Note, this is an old study prior to the newer interferons and protease inhibitors.

Berkson Clinical Study

Dr. Berkson put me on 3 mg. of Low Dose Naltrexone back in February of 2009. I am also taking the "triple antioxidants" along with other supplements that he and my own CAM doctor believe is right for me. I use primarily Metabolic Maintenance, BlueBonnet Nutrition and Now Brands, especially for the ALA, as the best source is European.

UPDATE - 2013-2014 -   Now taking the Jarrow Alpha-Lipoic-Sustain as my integrative doctor insisted - I have had much better results in all liver and other tests using this formula though the above are all great.



ALA -  I take 300 mg. two times daily with food - some folks take it without food but if you have problems with your blood sugar levels, ALA can lower them, so it is probably better to take with food.  At Dr. Berkson's clinic, they would make sure that you had eaten something prior to the IV ALA treatments - which are, of course, different than oral supplementation.  However, with the Jarrow ALA Sustain, you can get by with one dose once your enyzmes have normalized.

B-Complex - It is also very important to take a B Complex along with ALA as the ALA will use up the B vitamins in the body. I use Bluebonnet B Complex - I also take additional Biotin, B-12, and Pantothenic Acid (B5) as a vitamin diagnostic test showed that I have low levels of those 3 B vitamins.

From Dr. Berkson's book "

"User's Guide to the B Complex Vitamins"

"Both ALA and the B vitamins are essential in helping the cells mitochondria make energy. When mitochondria function correctly, they require a number of enzymes.

ALA is the major key that turns on these enzymes. thiamine, niacin, riboflavin, biotin, and other B-complex vitamins are also involved in this system of enzymatic processes and becove depleted as the mitochondria produce energy. Therefore, if a person supplements with ALA, he or she must also take at least on B-complex capsule with it. In other words, since ALA revs up mitochondrial activity and uses up B vitamins in the process, there's a chance a person can become deficient in many key B vitamins without proper supplementation."

Selenium - 200 Mcg. in two doses - and try not to exceed 400 Mcg. daily - take into consideration if any of your other supplements contain Selenium as well.  Also, foods such as brazil nuts contain high amounts of selenium, so use caution if you eat a lot of foods that contain selenium.

Silymarin (milk thistle) - 600-900 mg daily     I have been using the Pharma Thistle Gold brand lately - very cost efficient and works well.

Vitamin D-3 is very important as well. My doctor regularly tests me and says that levels should be at least above 50 and optimally around 75. I am taking from 2,000 to 8,000 IU daily as my levels are not ideal. Most people with liver disorders, particularly with Hepatitis C, are deficient in Vitamin D.

Ideally, I like to take other supplements that help support the methylation cycle, which in turn helps boost glutathione levels that are crucial for the liver and overall cellular growth. NAC, SAMe, Taurine, Whey protein (mixed in a daily fruit smoothie), help the cycle. I can't always afford all of these supplements, but always try and have the "triple antioxidant's and B Complex on board, as well as an iron-free daily vitamin. Digestive enzymes are also very beneficial and help the entire digestive cycle.

I also use a great deal of L-Lysine, an amino acid, which helps control the various Herpes viruses that I have. Grapefruit seed extract is very beneficial for viral infections and yeast - I take the GSE for a couple of months and then switch over to Olive Leaf extract.

IP-6 is important as it helps keep ferritin levels down.  I usually take one or two 500 mg. capsules twice daily - note, it is very important to take IP-6 away from any other supplements or food for at least a half hour to an hour.  I find that if I wake up during the night to use the restroom, I will take one dose then.  The Jarrow formula works very well and is very inexpensive compared to others.

I've found that iHerb has very inexpensive prices on most supplements (but not Metabolic Maintenance) - Use this code to get $5.00 off your first order: KOV896

iHerb has Metabolic Maintenance at variable prices. This site has Metabolic Maintenance products at lower prices - but they do not ship as fast:

My Health-Store

Or just go to

Diet is very important with any type of liver disease. When you consider that everything that you eat is processed by the liver, it makes all the more sense to pay attention to your diet. Organic foods contain a lot less harmful elements than those produced in mass, or those that have been genetically engineered. Avoid processed foods, particularly those with gluten (the protein found in wheat and barley), and fried, greasy foods. Many people with immune disorders also cannot tolerate dairy products or are lactose intolerant. Avoid "fake" foods - like margarine or MSG. I like to use Stevia instead of sugar or any of the artificial sweeteners like Splenda.  And newer research indicates that going low carb, high fat might be very beneficial, particularly in those with fatty liver and insulin resistance.

One of my favorite bloggers is George Henderson and one of his best posts is:

Hepatitis C in 5 Words or Less

A Hep C protocol should protect against the following aspects of HCV infection:

Oxidative stress (liver damage, diabetes, inflammation) – Hep C depletes antioxidants, low antioxidant levels are associated with poor outcomes. The combination of oxidative stress and hypomethylation is the preventable cause of hepatitis, fibrosis, and cirrhosis.

Some genotypes also promote the accumulation of iron, which increases oxidative stress exponentially. Genetics, iron fortified foods, and poor liver function can also add to iron loads, which should be kept in the 30-80 ferritin range.

Treatment – mixed antioxidants, silymarin, polyphenols.

Hypomethylation (steatosis, fatigue, depression) – Hep C depresses methylation, which allows fats to accumulate and decreases energy output. Methylation is the process needed to supply creatine, phosphatidylcholine, carnitine, co-enzyme Q10, glycine, melatonin, adrenaline, cholesterol and steroids; methylation also inactivates histamine and niacinamide, and helps with detoxification. Methylation also plays a role in DNA synthesis and in regulating the expression of genes and the activity of proteins. All methylation in the body is carried out by the SAMe form of methionine, except for the methylation of methionine itself, which requires B12, folic acid, and betaine. Hypomethylation (deficient methylation) in Hep C is largely due to inhibition of vitamin B12 by oxidative stress, the poor absorption of B12 and folate when stomach acid is inadequate, and anorexia and nausea limiting intake of foods rich in methionine. So-called low fat foods that are low in high-quality protein and essential fats and high in carbohydrates are especially problematic - the liver synthesises fats from carbohydrates in any case. Cooked fats and hydrolysed fats should be avoided, omega-6 EFAs and PUFAs - most vegetable oils - and saturated fats minimised, while fatty fish (omega 3 EFAs) and extra virgin olive oil (monunsaturated omega 9 fatty acid) should be eaten whenever possible.

Treatment – l-methionine, B12, folic acid, phosphatidylcholine (lecithin), carnitine.

Immunosuppression (HCV replication, co-infections, allergies) – Hep C interferes, both directly, and via oxidative stress, with immune function, allowing co-infections and autoimmune syndromes to develop. Increased levels of interferons during illness can bring about gluten and other allergies in previously tolerant individuals.

Treatment – selenium, zinc, vitamin A, vitamin C, cordyceps, astragalus, garlic.

Inflammation (other inflammatory conditions, liver damage, mood disorders) – Hep C increases production of pro-inflammatory cytokines, which can promote fibrosis, and prostaglandins, which strip essential fatty acids from cell membranes, causing pain and mood changes. Inflammation and oxidative stress are closely related. Similar processes are involved in PMS, bipolar disorders, psychosis etc. so it is not surprising that moods, emotions and perceptions can be affected by Hep C. Inflammatory cytokines can also trigger sensitivity to complex proteins such as gluten (wheat, rye, barley) and casein (cow's milk), which then become an additional cause of inflammatory disease.

Treatment – magnesium, vitamin D, ginkgo, EPA and DHA, evening primrose oil.

Coagulation (liver damage, inflammation) – rapid coagulation (clotting time) is associated with fibrosis, thinner blood with better outcomes. Blood clots often become a focus of inflammation, leading to fibrosis. Most anti-fibrotics and anti-inflammatories are anticoagulants; for example:

Treatment – ginkgo, vitamin E, fish oil, garlic

Detoxification (liver damage) - Exotoxins and endotoxins requiring phase 1 and phase 2 detox – drugs, toxins, pollutants, cholesterol and steroids - must be processed by liver and kidneys. Many of the phase 2 reactions use glutathione, glycine and taurine, levels of which are reduced in Hep C, and pantothenic acid (B5) as acetylCoASH, which instead becomes tied up with unprocessed fats in steatosis. Glycine production is inhibited by hypomethylation. Improperly metabolized toxins can add to oxidative stress, damaging the liver, or inhibit enzymes, impairing liver function.

Treatment – sulfur amino acids, B vitamins, broccoli sprouts, whey protein


Fresh vegetables and fruits - lean meats - brown rice, gluten-free grains such as quinoa - avoidance of processed or "fast food".  Eat several small meals as opposed to a few heavy ones as it is easier for the liver to digest.   Here is more:

New, also from George Henderson - thank you George!  Glad I found you again!

 High-Fat Hep C Diet


Nutrition And The Liver

Video - Foods to avoid when living with Hepatitis C

Easy Fruit SmoothieFresh fruit - strawberries, pineapple, banana - half fresh and half frozen - add juice -   - Add whey protein(gluten-free!) for more punch


I maintain a strict gluten and dairy free diet - most folks with Hep C or liver disorders (or really just about any disease) have problems or sensitivities to the proteins in these food sources.  A great resource is called
"The Gluten File"  Check out the page on "Liver Disease"  for many studies and abstracts.  One study is:

Celiac disease in patients with severe liver disease: gluten-free diet may reverse hepatic failure.

BACKGROUND & AIMS: Mild liver abnormalities are common in patients with celiac disease and usually resolve with a gluten-free diet. We investigated the occurrence of celiac disease in patients with severe liver failure.

METHODS: Four patients with untreated celiac disease and severe liver disease are described. Further, the occurrence of celiac disease was studied in 185 adults with previous liver transplantation using serum immunoglobulin A endomysial and tissue transglutaminase antibodies in screening.

RESULTS: Of the 4 patients with severe liver disease and celiac disease, 1 had congenital liver fibrosis, 1 had massive hepatic steatosis, and 2 had progressive hepatitis without apparent origin. Three were even remitted for consideration of liver transplantation. Hepatic dysfunction reversed in all cases when a gluten-free diet was adopted. In the transplantation group, 8 patients (4.3%) had celiac disease. Six cases were detected before the operation: 3 had primary biliary cirrhosis, 1 had autoimmune hepatitis, 1 had primary sclerosing cholangitis, and 1 had congenital liver fibrosis. Only 1 patient had maintained a long-term strict gluten-free diet. Screening found 2 cases of celiac disease, 1 with autoimmune hepatitis and 1 with secondary sclerosing cholangitis.

CONCLUSIONS: The possible presence of celiac disease should be investigated in patients with severe liver disease. Dietary treatment may prevent progression to hepatic failure, even in cases in which liver transplantation is considered.

PMID: 11910339 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

If you have undergone interferon treatment, chances are that it triggered gluten intolerance or full blown celiac disease:

Silent celiac disease in chronic hepatitis C: impact of interferon treatment on the disease onset and clinical outcome.

Unmasking of coeliac disease on interferon treatment for hepatitis c

A 45-year-old woman with chronic hepatitis C, contracted 25 years previously from intravenous drug use, was referred to our hepatitis C clinic by her general practitioner. She was noted to have persistently elevated serum transaminases, with alanine transaminase of 158 U/L (normal < 34) and aspartate aminotransferase of 92 U/L (normal < 31), but was clinically well. She had an albumin of 34 g/L (normal 36–48), bilirubin of 17 µmol/L (normal < 18) and International Normalized Ratio of 1.3. A normal sized liver but coarse echotexture with no mass lesions was noted on abdominal ultrasound. There were no signs of portal hypertension on examination or on ultrasound.

She had an upper gastrointestinal endoscopy done 4 years prior to investigate transient mild diarrhoea in which small bowel biopsies were taken. On histological examination, the villi appeared slightly short and broad, and there was some branching of crypts, but no characteristic degenerative or inflammatory changes of coeliac disease was seen.

As there were no contraindications to anti-viral therapy, she was commenced on pegylated interferon alpha (180 µg subcutaneously, weekly) and ribavirin (400 mg twice a day). She initially tolerated treatment well, but after 12 weeks developed abdominal pain and bloating, nausea, vomiting and watery diarrhoea. She was provided a course of oral metronidazole, which did not improve her symptoms. As it was felt that these symptoms were due to the interferon treatment, her interferon dose was gradually reduced to 90 µg/week, and she was provided with loperamide.

Despite this, her symptoms progressively worsened and by week 20 of treatment, she was noted to be anaemic with a haemoglobin level of 97 g/L (normal 115–165) and ferritin of 7 µg/L (normal 18–464). She was also folate deficient with a serum folate of 4.5 nmol/L (normal > 6.8) and had a bilirubin of 17 µmol/L and albumin of 30 g/L. As she had genotype 1 with evidence of cirrhosis and was managing treatment relatively well, we decided to continue antiviral treatment despite her symptoms to complete a 48-week course. She continued to have four to six episodes of watery diarrhoea a day and by completion of therapy, her weight had dropped from 67.2 to 57.8 kg. Of note there was no fever, no haematemesis, no melaena and no per rectum bleeding.

She was reviewed 12 weeks post treatment, when she was noted to have a negative hepatitis C RNA PCR, but her liver function tests remained abnormal with alanine transaminase of 51 U/L and aspartate aminotransferase of 81 U/L. As abdominal bloating, nausea, lethargy and diarrhoea were persistent, she had a repeat upper gastrointestinal endoscopy. Small bowel biopsies this time revealed striking total villous atrophy and marked crypt elongation with prominent epithelial lymphocytosis consistent with untreated coeliac disease. Her anti-gliadin and anti-endomysial IgA were also positive.

She was commenced on a gluten-free diet with resolution of both symptoms and liver function tests over 3 months. Further small bowel biopsies were taken 9 months after commencement of gluten-free diet showed preserved villous architecture with no significant acute inflammatory process. Repeat anti-gliadin and anti-endomysial antibodies at this time were also negative. Twelve months after completion of interferon and ribavirin treatment, she remains hepatitis C PCR negative.

Hepatitis C is associated with a myriad of autoimmune conditions including autoimmune thyroiditis1 and Sjogren's syndrome.2 More recently, coeliac disease as well as dermatitis herpetiformis have also been associated with hepatitis C.3 In addition, hepatitis C is associated with autoantibody production. Antinuclear antibodies, rheumatoid factor, anti-cardiolipin antibodies, smooth muscle antibodies, or anti-thyroid antibodies are detected in 40–65% of patients, but usually in low titre.4 Additionally, both coeliac disease and hepatitis C are common and so any coexistence may simply be a conjunction of two common conditions.

In this patient, the chronic hypertransaminaesemia was attributed to hepatitis C. However, the alanine aminotransferase remained high despite the clearance of hepatitis C, and did not normalize until a gluten-free diet was instituted. Thus occult coeliac disease may have been the cause. She probably had pre-existing subclinical coeliac disease, which only became symptomatic upon treatment with interferon. It has been noted that coeliac disease may be associated with nonspecific mild chronic elevation in serum aminotransferase levels in 40% of patients,13 and adherence to a gluten-free diet results in normalization of these abnormalities. Coeliac disease can cause progressive hepatitis and hepatic steatosis without apparent reason. Even if a patient has severe liver disease as a result of untreated coeliac disease, a gluten-free diet may reverse liver failure.14

We recommend that all patients be screened for coeliac disease prior to anti-viral treatment. The coeliac autoantibodies should be checked and if any suggestive symptoms are present or if antibodies are positive, upper gastrointestinal endoscopy with small bowel biopsies should be considered.

Weight loss and diarrhoea are common side effects of interferon therapy, but marked weight loss or excessive diarrhoea should prompt a search for coeliac disease, as the activation of silent coeliac disease during interferon treatment is common. Symptoms often subside after interferon withdrawal.

The investigation of chronic transaminitis should include coeliac serology as coeliac disease can cause liver disease.

The prevalence of celiac autoantibodies in hepatitis patients

Celiac disease has been associated with other autoimmune disorders such as autoimmune hepatitis, moreover it is known that T cell mediated immune response to dietary gluten and released cytokines are important for the entheropathy seen in celiac disease. We investigated celiac autoantibodies in patients with autoimmune hepatitis (AIH), and chronic hepatitis B (CHB).Sera from 84 patients with Autoimmune Hepatitis (AIH) type 1 and 88 patients with Chronic Hepatitis B (CHB) were tested for Immunoglobulin A and G antibodies to Gliadin, Immunoglobulin A antibodies to tissue transglutaminase using enzyme immunoassay, and Immunoglobulin A anti-endomysial antibodies by both indirect immunofluorescence, and enzyme immunoassay. The patients positive for anti-endomysial antibodies and/or anti tissue transglutaminase antibodies were considered for deuodenal biopsy. The study was approved by Research Center for Gastroenterology and Liver Disease Ethics Committee and all patients gave their written informed consent to participate.Immunoglobulin A anti-endomysial and Immunoglobulin A anti-gliadin antibodies were positive in two out of 84 patients with AIH. Moreover, Immunoglobulin A anti-gliadin antibodies were positive in another patient who was also positive for anti tissue transglutaminase antibodies. Tissue transglutaminase antibodies were positive in eight (9.1%) of 88 patients with CHB, two of which were also positive for anti-endomysial antibodies. One of the patients with CHB was only positive for anti-endomysial antibodies.

Compared with the general population, the prevalence of celiac autoantibodies in CHB and AIH patients is relatively high, and it is noteworthy that most positive patients were asymptomatic for celiac disease. We suggest screening for celiac disease before and during treatment in patients with viral and autoimmune hepatitis.

PMID: 20952805 [PubMed - in process]

I'll also reference George Henderson again here - he says it so well - thank you George!

Gluten and Casein as Factors responsible for the Characteristic Diseases of Chronic Hepatitis C

Not everyone exposed to HCV develops a chronic infection. The rate of natural clearance is unknown, because most people are not aware they are infected until the condition becomes chronic. One known factor in chronic infection with viral hepatitis (A&B) is selenium deficiency in malnourished populations. Celiac disease, the most easily diagnosed form of gluten toxicity, is known to cause selenium deficiency in well-fed populations. Celiac also causes a general deficiency of many antioxidants, protein, and minerals and vitamins. There is a strong association between HCV and celiac disease in many populations tested. There is an even stronger association between interferon-alpha treatment and celiac disease. Interferon-alpha is the cytokine that triggers celiac disease naturally.

Celiac disease is only the easiest to diagnose of the gluten sensitivity syndromes. It results in destruction of the intestinal cell vilii, damage which can be detected on biopsy.

Even so celiac is seriously underdiagnosed. It is likely that anyone in New Zealand with the symptoms of celiac disease, who is HCV positive, will be told that their symptoms are due to hepatitis C. Testing for Celiac will happen slowly and most likely not at all, unless the patient insists, and testing for other forms of gluten sensitivity is unlikely. Milder forms of gluten sensitivity might only disrupt those gut receptors responsible for functions such as immune regulation (especially endorphin receptors), mineral transport, or absorption of specific vitamins. Antibodies may form to the proline-rich gluten, gliadin and casein sequences released by peptide digestion which enter the bloodstream, which then attack the proline-rich collagenous tissues, promoting diseases such as liver fibrosis and rheumatoid arthritis.

It so happens that the auto-immune symptoms associated with celiac and gluten sensitivity diseases, including liver and gall-bladder disease, and which usually resolve slowly on a strict gluten and dairy-free diet, are essentially identical to the various syndromes seen in chronic Hep C, especially during or after interferon-alpha treatment.

Syndromes caused by gluten in celiac disease include:

- fibrosis and cirrhosis of the liver
- gall bladder obstruction
- insulin resistance
- thyroiditis
- sicca syndrome (dry eyes and mouth)
- vasculitis
- brain fog (poor memory, confusion)
- depression
- fibromyalgia
- fatigue
- optic neuritis
- deficiencies of selenium, magnesium, zinc, chromium
- deficiencies of fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, K)
- deficiency of those vitamins converted in the intestines (including folate, B6)
- anaemia
- thrombocytopenic purpurea (low platelets due to autoimmunity)
- GI disturbance; diarrhea, steatorrhea

These symptoms are aggravated by the nutrient deficiencies, especially antioxidant, magnesium, and chromium deficiencies, associated with gluten sensitivity. In fact, the symptoms of both Hep C and celiac disease are often partially, but significantly, relived by supplementation of these nutrients, especially when anti-inflammatory botanicals (curcumin, grape seed, ginkgo, milk thistle etc) are added. Other treatments effective against Hep C have obvious links to gluten sensitivity; for example, low dose naltrexone may exert its beneficial effects on cancer, autoimmune disease, and viral immunity by repairing damage done to endorphin receptors by gluten and casein digests. Similarly, enzyme therapy for cancers may work by promoting the complete digestion of gluten and casein exorphins, and the ketogenic diet for cancer may work by eliminating grains and lowering insulin levels (and hence inflammation), rather than merely by depriving cancer cells of glucose.

Exorphins are chemicals found in protein digests (the peptides produced by pepsin digestion of food proteins) which have an affinity for endorphin receptors. Endorphins are the messengers of emotion, and gluten sensitivity is very often found in schizophrenia, autism, ADHD, Aspergers, and the various mood disorders. However, the endorphin system also regulates the immune system, and defects of endorphins and endorphin receptors are associated with cancers and autoimmune disease, as well as AIDS. Endorphins also regulate gut motility; the well-known constipating effect of cheese is an opioid effect. Even people who have no gluten antibodies and no leaky gut (which allows gluten digests to enter the bloodstream in especially large doses) are influenced by the opioid effect of exorphins at the local, gut level.

Diagnosing non-celiac gluten and casein sensitivity without exclusion diets is difficult, if not impossible. Commonly in New Zealand a scratch test for gluten is the doctor’s first choice. This is worse than useless, because we are not talking about an allergy to gluten at all (though these do exist). When gluten, milk and maize are digested in the stomach (by pepsin and hydrochloric acid) a variety of peptides are released. The exact combination of peptides that might appear in the gut varies with the individual, the state of his digestion, and the strain of wheat, milk or maize consumed. Gliadomorphin is a characteristic wheat exorphin; beta-casomorphin-7 is thought to be the most toxic milk exorphin; and the maize exorphins have not yet been identified.

Autoimmune reaction to antigenic peptides is not the only way in which exorphins can harm us, so the current insistence on immunological testing seems limited. Also, current tests do not include antibodies to every possible peptide digest of gluten; this would probably be impossible.

Luckily, no-one needs to eat grains. Our ancestors got along in better health without them for millions of years. Grain consumption is a comparatively recent phenomenon in human history; very recent indeed in some cases; in Northern Europe and in colonized Oceania it is a habit of mere centuries, if that. In parts of the world where grain-eating goes back longest, for example the eastern Mediterranean, there is a higher rate of adaptation. This does not mean that individuals adapted to grains; individuals died young or became sterile if they lacked the more grain-adapted genes, in order that the race might adapt. But this still does not rule out the diseases of later life. Study of remains of grain-dependent societies, such as Rome and ancient Egypt, show that so-called “modern” diseases such as arthritis and cancer were prolific there. It is trendy to think that such disease results from technology; radiation, pesticides, food processing; and that it can be prevented with an organic vegetarian diet. The sad truth is that in most cases wheat and milk - even organic wheat and milk – products of the older agricultural revolution – are doing more harm than those traces of the modern industrial revolution that we cannot avoid. If our immune systems and our detox enzymes cannot cope with some new agricultural chemical, the most likely reason is the disruption they have received from the old agricultural chemicals – gluten and casein. It was also agriculture, not food processing, that first placed man in a guilty relationship with his food. Pre-agricultural man killed to eat and took from the forest, and had rituals that made peace with the animals and the plants. He took from these bounteous gods, not from captive creatures. Agricultural man kills for money, pays others to kill for him, and burns down the forest to plant his cash crops. If this was original sin, then the wages of sin have indeed been death.

It is customary to blame lead piping for the decline of Rome. The Roman people were highly wheat-addicted; they would riot for bread; “Bread and Circuses” was the formula for keeping them happy; they were so addicted that the state found it more convenient to supply bread for free (like a methadone clinic for the opiate of the people). Today the state oversees the addition of gluten, milk and maize to an ever-widening range of foods, so that a mere bread shortage is not likely to cause withdrawals. This is probably not intentional; addicts tend to assume that everyone wants to share their habit. In the case of Rome, wheat and lead may have had a synergistic toxicity. Both lead poisoning and wheat consumption tend to reduce iron and zinc absorption. This is why celiac children are often of short stature. The Romans would have become increasingly incapable of sensible planning and come to lack the stern old Roman self-control. We know that a decreasing birthrate of “true born” Romans eventually led to the conscription of barbarian armies and the opening up of Roman citizenship. Today gluten, and the antioxidant deficiency it causes, is a major cause of infertility.

Research has been done into the links between gluten sensitivity and Hep C, showing a strong association (especially after interferon therapy). There is also a strong association between Hep C and lymphoma (a cancer of the lymph glands). Lymphoma is the characteristic cancer caused by gluten; celiacs have a 30x elevated risk of lymphoma. To date no-one seems to have tested a strict gluten- and dairy-free diet for chronic Hep C or post-interferon toxicity, but a great many people with Hep C who take their health seriously have gone gluten free, often without knowing of the links between the two conditions, but motivated by their own well-being when avoiding gluten. There is no nutritional need that can only be met by grains; nuts and seeds, for example, supply the same amino acids, fats and vitamins in greater concentration (for example, sunflower and sesame seeds are superior sources of methionine and vitamin E), while legumes are rich in complex carbohydrates.

Gluten is also a cause of insulin resistance, and everyone who develops liver fibrosis has some degree of insulin resistance. Gluten itself causes a four-fold rise in insulin levels (unusual for a protein). The cure for insulin resistance is two-fold; a high-protein, low-carb diet (the Paleolithic diet is the most natural version of this diet) and replacement of the nutrients depleted by gluten which are essential for the function of insulin receptors; chromium, magnesium and the antioxidant minerals and vitamins.

Gluten also seems to cause amino acid deficiencies, including some of the very amino acids which wheat is supposed to supply, methionine and cysteine. Gluten is very much an anti-nutrient once one is sensitive to it.

Dangerous Grains by James Braly M.D. and Ron Hoggan M.A.

On milk, exorphins, and beta-casomorphin-7 (BCM7):

The Devil in the Milk by Keith Woodford

On endorphin receptors and AIDS:

Molecules of Emotion by Candace B. Pert

Read more:


hopeful geranium said...

One thing I would change if I was writing that today; I think that gluten sensetivity is more a cause than an effect of Hep C symptoms. And, I no longer think saturated fat is an issue; high levels of PUFAs in the diet are associated with fibrosis (except for omega 3), monounsaturated fats tend to prevent fibrosis, and saturated fats are neutral. Healthy oils such as olive oil are relatively high in mono-U and saturated fats and low in PUFAs.
I buy astragalus and cordyceps from chinese supermarkets, salvia and ganoderma from chinese herbalists; these are the main antifibrotic and immune-boosting herbs.
Insulin resistance is a precondition of fibrosis; it's good to see you take extra biotin as biotin and chromium are essential for insulin sensitivity. I follow the pattern of the Eade's Protein Power diet (q.v.) to lower insulin and glucose levels.

Nola Chris said...

Hi George,

So glad that you added on to your great "hep c in 5 words.." - I have sent it to many folks, including my integrative doc - who agreed with all of it!

I agree about gluten sensitivity being behind many hcv symptoms - though I did test positive on the HLA DQ genetic test. Before I went gluten free, I had severe fibromyalgia and horrible IBD - to the point where I could not leave the house in the mornings - I also had chemical sensitivities. My former docs insisted that all of these symptoms were due to HCV. However, once I changed my diet, all of these problems got 90% better - the IBD is totally gone and I occasionally get some fibro stuff - some days when the wind blows from the south, I can smell the oil from the Gulf mess - but not anything like it used to be - when I had to hold my breath going on the aisles at the grocery store that had bug spray or detergent - that's all gone.

Both my doctor and Dr. Berkson are big on B vitamins. I had the Spectracell test:

It showed that I was low in biotin and B5, B12, which I take extra supplementation besides the B complex as well. I've been fortunate that I have not had problems with my insulin/glucose.

Thanks again - you are my hero!

hopeful geranium said...

Chris, what do you think of this?
One source of confusion relates to the question that, if the virus requires Se, why is it that a deficiency of Se appears to be associated with increased viral replication, and Se supplementation inhibits the virus (section 2.5), rather than “feeding” the virus? This is best understood by analogy to a classical example of a nutrient effect on viral replication: the well-documented induction of retrovirus expression in cells cultured in arginine-deficient media. Note that arginine is an essential component of most viral proteins. Thus, paradoxically, in this case also viral replication appears to be triggered by a deficiency of something the virus requires. This would most likely involve some sort of repressor type of mechanism, analogous to known situations in bacteria, like the famous tryptophan repressor. Based on the data that I have reviewed here, it seems quite possible that viruses like HIV and coxsackie B3 may respond to Se deficiency by a mechanism analogous to that involved in this arginine effect.
I thought this might interest you because lysine therapy for HHV is supposed to work by suppressing arginine; but I've never found that supplementing arginine made HHV e-appear, nor that lysine got rid of it. In fact, since taking arginine, I've not had a single flare-up. There are other reasons to take lysine, it's good for immune function and inflammation, but the lysine-arginine-HHV theory seems to be unproven at best. Many healthy foods are richer sources of arginine than chocolate and peanuts; arginine is only one of many essential factors in viral replication; arginine is used by all fast-replicating cells, including immune cells; arginine helps alkalise the body and removes ammonia from the liver; arginine supplies nitric oxide, which is anti-fibrotic.
In my own opinion, based on my experience and attempts to verify it by looking at the research, the lysine-arginine theory of HHV is probably just a runaway myth (like the idea that saturated fat is harmful). Some people are quite possibly lysine-deficient (especially vegetarians and anorexics, same diff.) and this may be where the benefits of lysine come from.

hopeful geranium said...

To me, the chemical sensitivity shows low B5. You use B5 and glycine to detoxify phenols, which are common components of pollutants, preservatives (sodium benzoate) and salicylates. Glycine is a byproduct of methylation, and a breakdown product of choline and betaine, as well as a major amino acid in protein; so low B5 and low methylation could easily produce chemical overload from polution others can handle. A diet relatively high in glycine (5% of calories) is itself hepatoprotective, antifibrotic, antiinflammatory. Gelatine is a good source of glycine. Biotin is a very underrated vitamin; it's essential for insulin sensitivity, fat metabolism, and is used up in viral replication (or any DNA-RNA multiplication). Lipoic acid increases demand for biotin and thiamine. I really like biotin myself, it's a vitamin I notice.
I'm sending people to your blog to illustrate how gluten and HCV can be linked, and how good LDN is, so they don't have to take my word for it. As far as I know, you're the first person to make the link in a blog, you beat me to it!

Nola Chris said...

As for the lysine, I've been taking it since the late 80's as I found that it helped my own HHV outbreaks - and if I stopped taking it, I would have one. I agree about the arginine - I don't really supplement with it, but I don't have problems when I eat arginine rich foods.

The selenium research is interesting - there is so much of it - I'm looking at a page that has at least 20 abstracts - this one might offer some explanation:

Acquired tolerance of hepatocellular carcinoma cells to selenium deficiency: a selective survival mechanism?

I always wonder why people are deficient of things......Selenium and other deficiencies, including b vitamins can be caused by celiac/leaky gut, among other reasons -

"Selenium deficiency is a risk factor, due to the malabsorption, in celiac disease (CD) because the inflammatory damage affects the small intestine; this deficiency can modulate SeP genes expression, with consequent reiteration of inflammation and increase of mucosal damage."

Selenium deficiency has been linked to so much:

"Se supplementation appears to enhance the immune response. Se appears to be a key nutrient in counteracting certain viral infections; thus, in a Se-deficient host the benign coxsackie virus becomes virulent, causing heart damage, the influenza virus causes more serious lung pathology and HIV infection progresses more rapidly to AIDS.

Of course, I'm a "gluten nazi" and am starting to blame one's diet for everything - don't encourage me to post more about it!......I have about 25 articles that I've been meaning to add to the blog about gluten and the liver - including the classic:

Celiac disease in patients with severe liver disease: gluten-free diet may reverse hepatic failure.

"Of the 4 patients with severe liver disease and celiac disease, 1had congenital liver fibrosis, 1 had massive hepatic steatosis, and 2 had progressive hepatitis without apparent origin. Three were even remitted for consideration of liver transplantation. Hepatic dysfunction reversed in all cases when a gluten-free diet was adopted. Dietary treatment may prevent progression to hepatic failure, even in cases in which liver transplantation is considered."

Chemical sensitivity and B5 - again, once I went gf, it just about went away.... However, since I have been out of almost all supplements for almost a month due to my current financial nightmare, I have noticed an increase in some of my symptoms - and not eating much either. I'm hoping to be able to buy the crucial ones soon and am sure that I'll get back on track....

And you are right about ALA and the B vitamins - Dr. Berkson also wrote a lesser known book -

"User's Guide to the B Complex Vitamins"

"Both ALA and the B vitamins are essential in helping the cells miochondria make energy. When mitochondria function correctly, they require a number of enzymes.

ALA is the major key that turns on these enzymes. thiamine, niacin, riboflavin, biotin, and other B-complex vitamins are also involved in this system of enzymatic processes and becove depleted as the mitochondria produce energy. Therefore, if a person supplements with ALA, he or she must also take at least on B-complex capsule with it. In other words, since ALA revs up mitochondrial activity and uses up B vitamins in the process, there's a chance a person can become deficient in many key B vitamins without proper supplementation.

Thanks so much for the observations - and it's hard to believe that I beat you to anything - you've been way ahead of the pack for many years - and written some great posts!

Craig Richaredson said...

Thank You for the valuable info, I've followed most of these protocols and it probably saved my livelihood, if not my life. I was almost 60 years old when I found out I have (or had if it's gone permanently) HCV genotype 1a. I researched and prayed and followed Lloyd Wrights book/regimes starting in 7/15 pretty well and it made a very noticeable difference, but/and did the Harvoni in 6/16 because I got scared and was not getting "well enough quick enough for my comfort, and didn't know how long I would have insurance that would cover it" and I was having a hard time doing everything he suggested consistently. Following Lloyd Wrights regimes, I went from a viral load of 14.6 million down to 5.1 million (doctor said "impossible", but the tests don't lie)and had to stop the licorice portion of the program, cause it seemed to raise my blood pressure, then a month or two later my AST and ALT almost tripled and I got scared, and did 3 months of Harvoni (but the doctor orderd 6 months and his staff messed up & only ordered 3 months) . Now I'm redoubling my efforts to follow what you both suggest to hopefully reverse my fibrosis which is F3 and slightly increased over the last 11 months.

Oh ya your article on celiac has "celiac" spelled wrong through about half of the article i.e. "coeliac"

Nola Chris said...

Did they test your viral load after 3 months of Harvoni?
Lloyd has a good protocol. My viral load dropped from 1.5 million to 48,000 after using Low Dose Naltrexone.

I did two months of Harvoni and am now free of any detectable hcv virus. I continue to use LDN every other day. Been using it since 2009.

I have been wheat free for 7 years.

BTW Coeliac is the British spelling.

Good luck!

Craig Richaredson said...

Thank You for responding & support! Yea still undetected, I started Harvoni at age 60 on 6/10/16 (after doing about 10 months of Lloyd's program & 6 months wheat free ) WISH I HAD BEEN DOING LDN after seeing your results, learned about it 3 months ago and want to know where I can get some without having to deal with/pay another doctor (if possible)? I was undetected at 1st month, re-tested when completed 3rd month and just had one that would be at 11 months - but looks like fibrosis has progressed, but the numbers seem better. Started back up on Lloyds suggestions after finishing 3 mo. of Harvoni. But feel crappy and spacey most of the time, can't handle big projects or social stress, etc. but still trying to play about 8 hours of live music per week (craigrison on youtube), and work about 12 hours at a real job (for an incredible lady who created a store for healing )


106-279 (mg/dL)

43-212 (mg/dL)

94-176 (mg/dL)

0.2-1.2 (mg/dL)

3-70 (U/L)

ALT 13
9-46 (U/L)

106-279 (mg/dL)

43-212 (mg/dL)

94-176 (mg/dL)

0.2-1.2 (mg/dL)

GGT 43
3-70 (U/L)

AST 70
ALT 131
Ferriten 422

but it could have been worse cause on 05/17/2016 liver panel showed
AST 361
ALT 603
Ferriten 704

which was almost triple of the test 3 months earlier, and I didn't get a fibroTest, but just the difference in ALT might have brought it up to F4 .. - BUT, I've never had any real liver abdominal pain except for a mild burning that comes and goes under my right ribcage. I've gained about 7 pounds of mostly muscle (I would often joke that "I had lost my ass.." , and now I can sit on hard surfaces with out complaining after 1 minute.

I have a really nice cat too (although she has no tail, broke it and had to get it surgically removed, so she looks like a tabby cat trying to imitate a manx ;)

Thanks for your time, I got to get the LDN ASAP , i'm in L.A. 90260.

Craig Richaredson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Craig Richaredson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Craig Rison said...

Thanks for letting me know "Coeliac" is the British spelling. Still virus free AND I Have another very good RARE thing happening that my county Liver doctor has never seen - someone over 60 years old reversing advanced fibrosis, when I was almost 62 years old my FibroTest™ on 11/28/2017 was at 0.71 on 09/25/2018 is down to 0.61 (I turned 62 on 12/01/2017) . I attribute most of this to r-ala, HIGH QUALITY fish oil, No junk food or sugar, only occasional organic steel cut oats and highly aerobic workouts 2~3 times a week (live music performance including vocals). Didn't ever get the LDN, but have been doing a lot of supps. to help with cognetive and now my "brain fog" seems to be almost completely gone - stated lots of CERAGEN, Cognizine, NAC and Taurine to mention just a few.. and of course focused Prayer

(Oh ya, I had 3 copies of the same previous post, so I deleted 2 of them sorry for causing confusion.)