This question comes from a friend who had a health scare that landed her in the emergency room in a great deal of pain. She has had Hepatitis B since birth and she explains it best in this quote:
My HBV viral load was at 15,500. The liver specialist said that drug therapy is prescribed for values over 10,000.
Once again, a whole food plant-based diet saves the day! She managed to get her HBV levels down to 1880 in 90 days. This is considered in the low range being under 2000 IU/mL.
This is awesome and quite an achievement and just what she said she would do. There is no cure for HBV and to keep off the meds, she would have to stick to a WFPB (whole food plant-based) diet.
So, the question is, what can we all do to support our overworked livers.
Through my experience, it is not what we ADD but what we SUBTRACT has the best benefit for the body. Which she had certainly proven in those 90 days of WFPB compliance (whole food plant-based).
By cleaning up her diet so dramatically, she gave her liver the much-needed break to get back in balance. Once she started to add in 'artificial foods' the recovering liver couldn't keep up.
Chronic HBV is very serious stuff and well out of my scope of practice. I suggested that she make an appointment with a plant-based doctor who specializes in the liver.
In the meantime, according to my nutritional pathology book here are the recommendations for supporting the liver.
WHAT TO ADD:
SPECIFICALLY FOR VIRUSES ADD:
Antiviral foods such as:
• Citrus fruits, especially lemons and limes.
• The onion family: onions, garlic, leeks, shallots, chives which are high in sulfur.
• Green leafy herbs: mint, parsley, coriander, basil, thyme and oregano. • Medicinal mushrooms. • Sea vegetables (seaweeds)
For the complete list and article go to: sandracabot.com/anti-viral-foods/
Okay. That's the good news. No we go on to the lists that you intuitively know are not health promoting and, of course, bad for your liver.
FOODS TO AVOID:
THE PRO-INFLAMMATORY FOODS ARE:
Really look at these lists. The foods to avoid for liver health are also pro-inflammatory foods.
EVERYTHING on it is EXACTLY what I recommend you add and avoid in my book BREAK THE CYCLE. So, you can lose extra fat, you can reduce inflammation and you can support your liver. All you have to do is follow my book.
SUPPLEMENTATION FOR LIVER SUPPORT:
Even though lots of Holistic Nutritionists like to push supplementation, I am not one of them. I think it is better to spend your money on organic whole plant foods to heal your body.
However, I will mention two of them for special circumstances.
1. A High Dose Vitamin C Treatment can help clear jaundice.
2. Vitamin B12, given intramuscularly.
3. Folic acid to shorten recovery time.
The lifestyle treatment for anything about the liver are Castor Oil Packs. I did this a couple of times. It is messy but does seem to help. I used saran wrap and my husband wrapped me up like a mummy. Here's a great article on how to do it: https://wellnessmama.com/35671/castor-oil-packs/
Finally, I don't like to recommend botanicals/adaptogens in an article. I don't know your medical history. I don't know what other meds you are on. These types of herbs can counteract your medication or may give you a negative reaction.
But there is one thing that we all can benefit from and that is dandelion root. It is high in vitamins, minerals and very high in antioxidant carotenoids. It is particularly good at enhancing the flow of bile.
I hope this helps. I am sure there are lots of us who would like to know about the best ways to support our overworked and underappreciated livers. BH was kind enough to offer to help and relate her journey in more detail for anyone who is suffering. If you have more questions for my friend BH, you can contact me and I will pass on your contact information.