Friday, October 1, 2010

HCV/Vitamin E Repairs Liver Injury

Hepatitis C and Vitamins

If you have hepatitis C, vitamins (such as vitamins A and K) may actually make your liver disease worse. People with hepatitis C should not take supplements of vitamin K and should avoid doses of vitamin D that are greater than 2,000 IU.
At high doses, vitamin E can thin the blood, so people with hepatitis C should not take doses greater than 400 IU. It's important to avoid high doses of these -- and other -- vitamins if you have hepatitis C. Vitamins in large doses can cause additional harm to the liver.

Vitamin E is an antioxidant responsible for proper functioning of the immune system and for maintaining healthy eyes and skin. It is actually a group of fat soluble compounds known as tocopherols (i.e., alpha tocopherol and gamma tocopherol). Gamma tocopherol accounts for approximately 75% of dietary vitamin E.

Vitamin E rich foods include nuts, cereals, beans, eggs, cold-pressed oils, and assorted fruits and vegetables. Because vitamin E is a fat soluble vitamin, it requires the presence of fat for proper absorption. Daily dietary intake of the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of vitamin E is recommended for optimum health.

Vitamin E is absorbed by the gastrointestinal system and stored in tissues and organs throughout the body. Certain health conditions may cause vitamin E depletion, including liver disease, celiac disease, and cystic fibrosis. Patients with end-stage renal disease (kidney failure) who are undergoing chronic dialysis treatment may be at risk for vitamin E deficiency. These patients frequently receive intravenous infusions of iron supplements which can act against vitamin E.

Vitamin E deficiency can cause fatigue, concentration problems, weakened immune system, anemia, and low thyroid levels. It may also cause vision problems and irritability. Low serum (or blood) levels of vitamin E have also been linked to major depression.

General use
Vitamin E is necessary for optimal immune system functioning, healthy eyes, and cell protection throughout the body. It has also been linked to the prevention of a number of diseases.

The therapeutic benefits of vitamin E include:
Cancer prevention. Vitamin E is a known antioxidant, and has been associated with a reduced risk of gastrointestinal, cervical, prostate, lung, and possibly breast cancer.

Immune system protection.

Various studies have shown that vitamin E supplementation, particularly in elderly patients, boosts immune system function. Older patients have demonstrated improved immune response, increased resistance to infections, and higher antibody production. Vitamin E has also been used with some success to slow disease progression in HIV-positive patients.
Eye disease prevention. Clinical studies on vitamin E have shown that supplementation significantly reduces the risk for cataracts and for macular degeneration, particularly among women.

Memory loss prevention. Vitamin E deficiency has been linked to poor performance on memory tests in some elderly individuals.

Alzheimer's disease treatment.

In a study performed at Columbia University, researchers found that Alzheimer's patients who took daily supplements of vitamin E maintained normal functioning longer than patients who took a placebo.

Liver disease treatment.

Vitamin E may protect the liver against disease.
Diabetes treatment. Vitamin E may help diabetic patients process insulin more effectively.
Pain relief. Vitamin E acts as both an anti-inflammatory and analgesic (or pain reliever).

Studies have indicated it may be useful for treatment of arthritis pain in some individuals.
Parkinson's disease prevention.

Other benefits of vitamin E are less clear cut, and have been called into question with conflicting study results or because of a lack of controlled studies to support them,

Vitamin E Repairs Liver Injury
By Maureen Williams

(June 3, 2010)—

Alcohol is not the only danger our livers face day to day: insulin resistance, a common condition in which blood sugar isn’t used properly in the body, can trigger a condition known as nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. First evidenced by fat deposits forming in liver cells, severe cases cause inflammation and scarring, called steatohepatitis, which can eventually progress to cirrhosis and liver failure.Taking steps to improve insulin sensitivity and the way the body uses carbohydrates can help reverse the damaging effects of nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, and now a new study has found that vitamin E supplements may reduce fatty deposits and inflammation in people with this disease as well.Rescuing the liverThe study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, included 247 people with nonalcoholic steatohepatitis.

They were randomly assigned to receive 800 IU of vitamin E per day, 30 mg of a medication used to increase insulin sensitivity (pioglitazone) per day, or placebo for 96 weeks. They underwent liver biopsies at the beginning and end of the trial and were monitored for 24 weeks after the end of treatment.

The findings were as follows:

• Steatohepatitis improved in both the vitamin E and medication groups compared with placebo, but the difference between medication and placebo was not statistically significant.

• Medication and supplement reduced fatty deposits and inflammation in both treatment groups compared with placebo.

• Liver function tests improved in both treatment groups.

• Insulin resistance improved only in the medication group, but this group also experienced an average weight gain of 4.7 kg (10.3 pounds) that was not lost after stopping the medication.Repairing the liver with vitamin E

Although the exact cause of nonalcoholic steatohepatitis is not fully understood, insulin resistance and obesity clearly play a role.

The primary finding of this study—“vitamin E was superior to placebo for the treatment of nonalcoholic steatohepatitis in adults without diabetes” —suggests that oxidative damage might also contribute to liver cell injury in people with this condition.

Taking steps to improve metabolism and to reduce cell damage caused by unstable compounds in the environment may be the best way to reverse nonalcoholic steatohepatitis:

• Stick to a low-glycemic-load diet. This type of diet has the best effect on blood sugar control, insulin sensitivity, and weight loss. Researchers have found that people with steatohepatitis can reduce liver injury through diet and weight loss.

• Exercise regularly. Physical activity improves insulin sensitivity and carbohydrate metabolism, and facilitates weight loss.

• Aim for gradual weight loss (about 1 to 2 pounds per week). There is some evidence that rapid weight loss may actually worsen fatty liver disease.

• Eat foods high in vitamin E, especially nuts and seeds. Not only are these the richest sources of vitamin E, they also have low glycemic loads and protect against cardiovascular disease.

• Consider adding a vitamin E supplement. Add 800 IU of vitamin E per day to help protect your liver.

(NEJM 2010;18:1675–85)Maureen Williams, ND, received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania and her Doctorate of Naturopathic Medicine from Bastyr University in Seattle, WA. She has a private practice on Cortes Island in British Columbia, Canada, and has done extensive work with traditional herbal medicine in Guatemala and Honduras. Dr. Williams is a regular contributor to Healthnotes Newswire.Copyright © 2010 Aisle7. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of the Aisle7® content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Aisle7. Healthnotes Newswire is for educational or informational purposes only, and is not intended to diagnose or provide treatment for any condition. If you have any concerns about your own health, you should always consult with a healthcare professional. Aisle7 shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.

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