Hepatitis: The New Epidemic

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Hepatitis: The New Epidemic

Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver caused by a viral infection. The liver becomes tender and enlarged and is unable to function normally. Therefore, toxins that would normally be filtered out by the liver build up in the body, and certain nutrients are not processed and stored.

The symptoms of hepatitis include fever, weakness, nausea, vomiting, headache, appetite loss, muscle aches, joint pains, drowsiness, dark urine, light-colored stools, abdominal comfort and often, jaundice (yellowing of the skin) and elevated liver enzymes in the blood. Flu-like symptoms may be mild or severe.

There are different types of hepatitis, classified according to the virus that causes the condition. In the last 15 years, scientists have identified the viruses responsible for three leading types of the disease, including hepatitis A, B and C. There are other less common types known as hepatitis E, non-A and non-B hepatitis. All are contagious.

Hepatitis A is also known as infectious hepatitis. It is easily spread through person-to-person contact and contact with food, clothing, bed linen and other items. It is contagious between two to three weeks before and one week after jaundice appears. After a bout with hepatitis A, the individual develops an immunity to it.

Hepatitis B, also referred to as serum hepatitis, is spread through contact with infected blood (used needles, transfusions) and some forms of sexual activity. It is estimated that up to five per cent of all North Americans and as many as 85 per cent of homosexual men are infected with hepatitis B. However, most hepatitis B infections come and go unrecognized. In about 10 per cent of cases, the disease becomes chronic, scarring the liver and making it more vulnerable to cancer. It's the ninth leading cause of death in the United States.

Hepatitis C accounts for 20 to 40 per cent of all hepatitis and 90 to 95 per cent of hepatitis contracted through blood transfusions. Tests can now detect antibodies against hepatitis C in donated blood, but an infected person may take up to six months to develop the antibodies, so it is still impossible to identify all infected blood. Hepatitis C can also be contracted through intravenous drug use, sexual contact and broken skin or mucous membranes.

In addition to the various types of viral hepatitis, there is a form of the disease called toxic hepatitis which can be caused by exposure to chemicals, principally the injection, ingestion or absorption of toxins through the skin. Chlorinated hydrocarbons and arsenic are examples of severe hepatotoxic agents. In toxic hepatitis the amount of exposure to the toxin determines the extent of liver damage.

Diet Recommendations

- Eat a raw vegetable and fruit diet for two to four weeks. Start this diet with a cleansing fast.

- I include artichokes in the diet. They protect the liver. Artichoke extract is also available.

- Drink "green drinks," carrot juice and beet juice.

- Drink only steam-distilled water.

- Do not consume alcohol.

- Avoid all fats, sugar and highly processed food.

- Avoid all raw fish and shellfish. Also avoid chemicals and food additives.

- Get plenty of bed rest.

- Use a chlorophyll enema three times a week. Use one pint and retain it for 15 minutes.

- Apply warm castor oil packs over the liver area. Place castor oil in pan and heat on medium. Dip in a piece of cheesecloth in oil until it's saturated. Apply the cloth to the upper right abdomen and cover it with a large piece of plastic. Place a heating pad over the plastic to keep the pack warm.

- Keep a person with hepatitis A in isolation to avoid spreading the infection. Wash hands and all clothing often. Their clothing and bed linens need to be washed thoroughly.

Healing Herbs

- Burdock and dandelion are important in cleansing the liver and bloodstream.

- Studies have shown licorice to be effective in treating chronic active hepatitis, due to its well documented antiviral activity.

- Milk thistle extract contains silymarin, a flavonoid that has been shown to aid in healing and rebuilding the liver. It can be taken in capsule or alcohol-free form. Take 200 to 400 mg three times a day.

- Other herbs beneficial for hepatitis include black radish, goldenseal, green tea, red clover and yellow dock.

- Do not take goldenseal internally on a daily basis for more than one week at a time, or use it during pregnancy. Use it with caution if you are allergic to ragweed.

Supplemental Nutrients

Raw liver extract or desiccated liver

Promotes liver function.

Coenzyme Q(10)

Counteracts immunosuppresion and enhances tissue oxygenation.

Dimethylglycine (DMG)

Improves cellular oxygen concentration.

Lecithin granules/capsules

Protects cells of the liver and is a fat mobilizer.

Acidophilus

Needed for normal liver function and proper digestion.

Superoxide dismutase

Powerful antioxidants that neutralize damaging superoxide free radicals, and improve liver function.

Multivitamin with B-complex

All B vitamins are essential for normal liver function. Injections (under a doctor's supervision) may be necessary, especially of B(12) and folic acid.

Choline and inositol Vitamin C with bioflavonoids

A powerful antiviral agent. Studies show improvement quickly with high doses.

Raw pancreas glandular

Aids in digestion and pancreatic function.

Calcium and magnesium

Essential for blood clotting. Do not use bone meal.

Essential fatty acids

Primrose oil and salmon oil are good sources. Important source of essential lipids.

Multienzyme complex with betaine hydrochloride

Important for proper digestion.

Vitamin E

A potent antioxidant.

Vitamin A

If you are pregnant, do not exceed 10,000 IU daily. Use emulsion form for easier assimilation. Avoid using beta-carotene or capsule forms of vitamin A until healing is complete.

Maitake, shiitake or reishi

To boost the immune system and fighting viral infection.

Recommended Reading:

Prescription for Nutritional Healing, 2nd Ed.

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by J Balch/P Balch 608pp (sc) $26.95

Juice Fasting and Detoxification

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by S Myerowitz 151pp (sc) $13.50

Canadian Health Reform Products Ltd.

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By James Balch

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