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3 Hep C Treatment Side Effects Aided by Probiotics

Nicole Cutler L.Ac. October 9, 2013

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Discover how probiotics can minimize the Hepatitis C treatment side effects of fatigue, nausea and low appetite.
3 Hep C Treatment Side Effects Aided by Probiotics

Millions of folks sidelined with chronic Hepatitis C can benefit from the recent pharmaceutical improvements in treating this stubborn liver virus. Unfortunately, many taking Hepatitis C medications are burdened with the side effects of fatigue, low appetite and nausea. According to healthcare experts, each of these side effects can be reduced by fortifying the gastrointestinal system; a feat that is attainable by supplementing with a high quality, high potency probiotic blend.

Eliminating Hepatitis C has proven to be an enormous feat – both because combinations of potent, new medications have a limited success rate and because persevering through treatment typically means enduring some challenging side effects. There are dozens of side effects known to plague those on Hepatitis C therapy that can lead to:

  • reduced drug dosages
  • impairment to therapy adherence
  • reduction in treatment success rate

As such, managing Hepatitis C drugs’ side effects is a major factor in achieving a successful therapeutic result.

About Probiotics

The human digestive tract contains billions of bacteria and other microorganisms – probiotics included. Known as beneficial bacteria, probiotics help maintain balance in the gut by reducing the growth of harmful bacteria, keeping the intestines healthy, assisting in food digestion and supporting immune function.

Found in certain foods and dietary supplements, probiotics are traditionally used to restore digestive health after taking antibiotics or to help someone having stomach or intestinal problems. However, supplementing with probiotics can help a wide range of health complaints because of their ability to fortify the gastrointestinal and immune systems.

Fatigue

Although fatigue is likely the most common side effect experienced by individuals on combination therapy for Hepatitis C, it can have many different causes. One reason people get so tired while fighting this virus is a nutrient insufficiency. This might be due to:

  • Low Appetite – this occurs when a person’s aversion to food prevents them from consuming the food needed for adequate nutrition.
  • Poor Digestion and Absorption – this occurs when a person is eating enough healthful foods, but their body is not able to break it down and extract the necessary nutrients to create fuel.
  • Red Blood Cell Shortage – Without ample red blood cells, the body has a hard time getting the nutrition it needs to create energy.

Since probiotics restock the intestinal tract with desirable living bacteria, they help with the digestion and absorption of necessary nutrients. In addition, improving the health of the intestinal tract also supports the spleen’s ability to manufacture new red blood cells.

Nausea and Low Appetite

Patients who are treated with interferon (one of the Hepatitis C drugs) often complain of a lack of appetite, nausea and feeling full soon after starting to eat. When hindered, the digestive system’s role in breaking down food and extracting its important nutrients can lead to an accumulation in the stomach. Such an accumulation eliminates hunger, causes abdominal distention (fullness) and may easily lead to nausea.

Probiotics aid food metabolism, an action that reduces the likelihood of food stagnation – thus improving appetite and reducing nausea.

More About Probiotics

In addition to digestion and immune-related drug side effects, there is more reason to consider probiotic supplementation with Hepatitis C.

  • As published in the July 2005 edition of the Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology, manipulation of intestinal flora should be considered as a possible adjunctive therapy in chronic liver disease with cirrhosis. Those with liver cirrhosis often have an imbalance of intestinal bacteria flora to begin with, making them more susceptible to fatigue, nausea and low appetite. In addition, probiotics reduce bacterial endotoxins that further challenge the liver.
  • As published in an April 2013 edition of the journal The New Microbiologica, Taiwanese researchers found one strain of probiotics (Lactobacilli) helped to reduce pathogenic infections and chronic inflammation. Since those with chronic Hepatitis C are continually battling a pathogenic infection and inflammation, supplementing with probiotics is ideal.
  • Based on a presentation at the 2013 EASL International Liver Congress by Delhi researchers, hepatic encephalopathy occurs when a damaged liver is no longer able to carry out its essential processing and filtering functions. This allows toxins such as ammonia, produced by some types of gut bacteria, to build up in the body. Their analysis indicated that by improving gut flora, probiotics were effective in reducing hepatic encephalopathy.

Super Probiotics

Finding a potent, effective probiotic supplement presents a challenge for many who don’t know what to look for. The best probiotics offer:

  1. A high quantity of living cells
  2. A combination of probiotic strains
  3. An ability to survive stomach acid
  4. Inclusion of prebiotics to support probiotic growth

Upon comparing probiotic supplements, some will stand out far beyond the others in these four categories. Use Super Probiotics as a baseline for this comparison, as few will come close to this supplement’s properties. Super Probiotics contains:

  • 5 billion living cells per capsule
  • 8 different probiotic strains
  • Bio-enhanced Acid Resistant Strains (BEARS) – making it able to withstand the acidic conditions in the stomach during digestion
  • Prebiotic blend consisting of FOS (food source for probiotics) and FiberAid®, a natural, patented prebiotic from Lonza®

Whether or not you choose Super Probiotics to help mitigate the fatigue, nausea and low appetite related to Hepatitis C treatment, probiotics are well known to support the digestive and immune systems. In addition to probiotics’ benefits to someone with chronic liver disease, those struggling with the Hepatitis C drug side effects of fatigue, nausea and low appetite may have a greater chance of treatment success by including probiotics into their routine.

References:

http://www.hepatitiscentral.com/mt/archives/2010/12/could_probiotic.html, Could Probiotics Help Those with Hepatitis C?, Nicole Cutler, L.Ac., Retrieved September 30, 2013, Hepatitis-Central, 2013.

http://www.hepatitis.va.gov/provider/reviews/treatment-side-effects.asp#S4X, Interferon and Ribavirin Side Effects: Gastrointestinal, Retrieved October 5, 2013, US Department of Veteran Affairs, 2013.

http://www.hivandhepatitis.com/hepatitis-c/hepatitis-c-topics/hcv-disease-progression/4118-easl-2013-probiotics-may-help-manage-hepatic-encephalopathy-in-patients-with-cirrhosis, EASL 2013: Probiotics May Help Manage Hepatic Encephalopathy in Patients with Cirrhosis, Liz Highleyman, Retrieved September 30, 2013, hivandhepatitis.com, 2013.

http://www.naturalwellness.com/nwupdate/probiotics-and-chronic-fatigue-syndrome/, Probiotics and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Nicole Cutler, L.Ac., Retrieved October 6, 2013, Natural Wellness, 2013.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23197979, Nutrition therapy for liver diseases based on the status of nutritional intake, Yasutake K, et al, Retrieved October 6, 2013, Gastroenterology Research and Practice, November 2012.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23686123, Potential of probiotic strains to modulate the inflammatory responses of epithelial and immune cells in vitro, Hsieh PS, et al, Retrieved October 6, 2013, The New Microbiologica, April 2013.

http://www.webmd.com/digestive-disorders/features/what-are-probiotics, What Are Probiotics?, Peter Jaret, Retrieved October 6, 2013, WebMD, LLC, 2013.

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