What is Hepatitis C and why are baby boomers particularly at risk?Hepatitis C is a blood borne disease that takes root in your liver. There, it roils your liver’s ability to detoxify your body (your liver’s primary function), causing significant inflammation, which can lead to cancer, cirrhosis, and liver failure. Hepatitis C doesn’t have a long list of warning signs. And its symptoms are pretty not specific:
- Acute infection
- Loss of appetite or nausea
- Abdominal pain
- Dark urine
Treatment Can Cure Hepatitis CYou can cure hepatitis C. Yes, I said cure. Early detection and preventative care are the keys. So first things first: get tested. Get tested if you think you have it. Get tested if you’re not sure if you have it. And certainly get tested if you were born between 1945 and 1965. If you test positive, I strongly urge that you do the following to stop further liver damage:
- Avoid sugar. Any sugar not used for short-term energy becomes dangerous triglycerides stored in your liver. Breads and starches eaten during the evening are frequent culprits.
- It improves your body’s efficiency and helps clean out toxins.
- Drink more water. Your whole body needs it. It plays a crucial role in flushing out toxins through your urine, which takes some heavy lifting from your liver.
- Eliminate processed foods. They’re among the gravest threats to your liver because they require it to work overtime to remove the battery of toxins. This is especially the case when you eat a lot of processed food in one sitting.
- Avoid alcohol. It’s a prime driver of liver problems.
- Give your liver time off with a cleansing fast once or twice a week. Just 12 to 24 hours of only water or juice will help it repair and rejuvenate.
- Limit common OTC drugs, such as acetaminophen, that can damage your liver
- Milk thistle: Its active ingredient is a flavonoid called silymarin, which has potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. It also protects the liver and other organs against toxins. It’s been a viable alternative to mainstream pain relievers such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) that cause liver damage in high doses. Other studies link milk thistle with improved liver function and increased survival rates among people with chronic hepatitis. I recommend 200 mg three times daily.
- Curcumin: The anti-inflammatory, anti-septic and antioxidant properties of curcumin make it a natural hepatitis C fighter. I recommend 500 mg twice daily.
- Phosphatidylcholine: Phosphatidylcholine is found naturally in eggs, soybeans, mustard, sunflowers, and other foods. It’s been shown to help reduce lipids that can lead to a fatty liver while repairing and healing the liver. A supplement can ensure you are getting enough of this valuable, liver-healing nutrient. I recommend 900 IU daily.
- Dandelion: Dandelion is a natural diuretic that increases the amount and frequency of urine leaving your body. The thinking: the more you urinate, the more toxins leave your body, which means less stress on your liver.
How to Prevent the Spread of Hepatitis CUnfortunately, there is no vaccine for hepatitis C. For now – and maybe forever – it’s up to you to prevent the spread of it. Again, this is where early detection and testing is critical. Learning you have it is bad news, no doubt. But finding out years from now that you may have spread it to others is far worse. Preventing others from getting it in the first place is by far the most effective way to contain this silent epidemic. In addition to living a healthy lifestyle, you can prevent others from getting hepatitis C by taking the following precautions:
- Do not share your personal items (i.e. razor, toothbrush, and nail clippers).
- Do not share needles if you use intravenous drugs such as epi-pens or insulin needles.
- Practice safer sex.
- Encourage your sexual partner or partners to get tested.
How You Treat Your Hepatitis C Could Save Others’ LivesHepatitis C is very different from other forms of hepatitis in that it can be cured. It’s unfortunate if you got hepatitis C unknowingly, but a silver lining is that you can play a major role in preventing the spread of it. Perhaps even the elimination of it. Yes, you can save lives by shining a light on this silent epidemic, prioritizing your hepatitis C treatment, and taking preventative precautions.
- “Hepatitis C: Why People Born From 1945 to 1965 Should Get Tested.” Centers for Disease Control. Last Updated October 2016.
- “Find a Vitamin or Supplement: Milk Thistle” Published NA. Last accessed July 5, 2018.
- Cutler, Nicole. “Is Vitamin E Wise for Liver Health?” Liver Support. Published May 19th, 2010.
- McDermott, Annette. “What Is Phosphatidylcholine and How Is It Used?” Reviewed October 5, 2017. Last accessed July 5, 2018.