By John M. Burgstiner Founder/President of Logos Nutritionals, LLC
It is estimated that million Americans are
infected with hepatitis C (HCV), a blood borne virus that attacks the liver of
its host, and many of them are not even aware of it. The U.S. spent nearly six billion
dollars in 1997 for the treatment of HCV, and the costs have continued to
skyrocket.The mainstream treatments
that are available are expensive, only marginally effective and loaded with
nasty side effects.The horizon is
littered with bewildered hep C patients, newly diagnosed - often taken from
blissful ignorance (asymptomatic) to shock and horror in a moment's notice -
who are asking the dreaded question, should I undergo "The Treatment" ?
According to the many natural
practitioners who oppose "treatment" of HCV with harsh and
expensive drugs, it is technically not the chemical interferons that do the
acute damage; it is the body's massive inflammatory response to the drugs.
The long term damage may be related to the undermining of a patient's baseline
immunity, which makes them more susceptible to opportunistic infections and
often to flare ups of the virus that are worse the second time around.
Often the first test
recommended to a hepatitis C patient is a liver biopsy.Although a liver biopsy is certainly the most
definitive way to confirm the patient's genotype and determine the level of
deterioration of liver tissue, it is a perilous and invasive procedure that
further traumatizes and inflames the liver.
Natural practitioners prefer
to monitor blood studies, particularly liver transaminase enzyme levels, which
are generally elevated when significant liver tissue damage is taking place. Physicians
also typically monitor the level of viral replication that is taking place in
the blood, commonly referred to as the viral load and measured by a test called
a PCR - RNA. These and other markers can help reveal how well a patient
is dealing with the virus without inflicting further harm or adding stress to
an already challenged organ.
The natural approach to
treating HCV - or any other chronic illness for that matter - involves
strengthening and balancing the immune system, internal cleansing of the body,
reducing systemic inflammation and the promotion of healthy metabolic
pathways.A foundational, comprehensive
nutritional support protocol is needed to support the body's ability to absorb
and assimilate nutrients and eliminate toxins and wastes.
Natural treatment of hepatitis
C typically addresses stress management, regular exercise and a healthy
diet consisting chiefly of the foods that were given through the wisdom of our
Creator to sustain us. Dietary protein is often limited to reduce stress
on the liver, although some protein is needed for liver tissue regeneration. Any
underlying nutritional deficits are identified and treated, as are any
secondary infections which can further burden and compromise the immune system. At its best, natural
treatment also takes into consideration that being made in the triune image of
God, we must address the trinity of our nature (mind, body and spirit) if we
wish to be made whole.
There are numerous natural
medicines and techniques that are employed in treating viral infections like hep
C, from herbal antivirals such as cat's claw to hydrogen peroxide to intravenous
vitamin C or photoluminescence therapy.In
addition to antiviral strategies to keep the viral load down, various herbs and
nutrients are given to help protect the liver and encourage regeneration of liver
tissue. Milk thistle, dandelion, turmeric, schizandra, artichoke and blupeurum
have all been shown to have powerful liver protective properties. Whatever the
threat, however, there is no more fundamental a way to support and restore the
immune system than to support the master gland of immunity, the thymus gland.
Persons diagnosed with
hepatitis of any kind should always be screened for iron overload to rule
out hemochromatosis, a very common genetic disorder that prevents
elimination of dietary iron. The combination of viral hepatitis and
hemochromatosis is extremely dangerous because the virus thrives in an iron
rich environment and high iron levels are toxic to the liver in the first
place.Diagnosis of the genetic disorder
is confirmed by the presence of both elevated serum iron levels and a high
transferrin saturation percentage. Natural treatment of iron overload involves periodic
phlebotomies (therapeutic blood-letting), often along with the administration
of inositol hexaphosphate (IP6), a commercially available oral iron binding
A diagnosis of infection with
hepatitis C is not a death sentence. It is, however, a wake up call to
begin to treat one's temple with care and respect, and to seek to understand how
our daily choices impact our quality of life. The ancient Hebrew prophet
Hosea lamented that "my people perish for lack of knowledge." (Hosea
4:6) In today's information age, knowledge is more accessible than
ever before, but one needs considerable discernment to separate the wheat from
As natural health
seekers, we need to ask for and receive wisdom and understanding from God
as to how the enemy attempts to steal away our health and vitality, for there
is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death(Proverbs 14:12). Recognizing that you
are a target of lies and a prisoner of your habits and choices is the first
step towards transforming your health.
The apostle Paul urged us to "not be conformed to the patterns of this world, but be
transformed by the renewing of your minds" (Romans 12:2). That means much
more than don't drink, smoke and cuss. We must learn to
"present our bodies as living sacrifices, holy and acceptable to
God, which is our reasonable service" (Romans 12:1). That means
abstaining from fast, fried or processed foods, sodas, refined sugar and flour,
chemical sweeteners and preservatives, hydrogenated oils, trans fats, and most
certainly with an HCV challenged liver, alcohol. It means limiting protein
intake and exposure to chemical or emotional toxicity, hormones,
antibiotics and pesticides.
We must remember that
virtually everything that enters our body, whether by mouth, nose, lungs, or
skin must be processed by the liver. Other than the brain, it is far and
away the most critical of all internal organs in terms of systems
management. The liver is intimately involved in the metabolism of fat,
sugar, protein and hormones. Foods, toxins, even our thoughts have a
profound effect on the liver, so we must guard our liver well in our daily choices...
all the more so if we are dealing with a chronic illness like hepatitis C.
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* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.