Peter Hibberd, M.D., is a doctor whose advice is based on more than 28 years of hospital outpatient and inpatient experience. He is an experienced emergency medicine physician, surgeon, and consultant. Dr. Hibberd is certified by the American Board of Emergency Medicine. He is also a fellow and active member of the American Academy of Family Physicians, an active member of the American College of Emergency Physicians, and a member and fellow of the American Academy of Emergency Medicine. Dr. Hibberd has earned numerous national and international professional certifications, memberships, and awards.

Can Supplements Help Hepatitis C?

Tuesday, 08 June 2010 05:44 PM

Question: My 65-year-old wife was diagnosed with hepatitis C about a year and a half ago. She underwent about eight months of what should have been a 12 month program of Interferon and Ribaferon. She had to stop the program because her blood counts went too low, and she was told that she has some liver damage. Is there any natural supplement that might promote the restoration of her liver?

Dr. Hibberd's Answer:
Hepatitis C is a difficult virus to predict. It seems some patients do very well while others do not. Unchecked, this virus will destroy your liver and your life, and antiviral treatment has been shown to be very effective at promoting remission and reducing relapses.
In the past, biopsies were often needed to correctly evaluate the stage of the disease. Although still useful, we now have alternative serum markers that are useful to guide treatment.
Our liver is a detoxifying organ, and is responsible for the breakdown of metabolic byproducts as well as medications. Loading your body with supplements will usually simply increase the load on an already impaired liver and is not usually recommended. Many so-called supplements have labels for "liver health" or "kidney health." These claims are bogus and misleading, though they are permitted since they are labeled as dietary supplements and not drugs that are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration.
The FDA’s overview of prescription medications and health claims for their use has greatly improved the safety and purity of medications prescribed by medical professionals today.

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