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5 Foods and Supplements to Reduce Hepatitis C-Related Fatigue

Nicole Cutler L.Ac. March 11, 2015

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Always tired? Take control of your fatigue with these five solutions for improving energy levels!
5 Foods and Supplements to Reduce Fatigue from Hepatitis C

Fatigue is a common and debilitating symptom for many people with Hepatitis C – making energy management a top priority. When it comes to self-help, there are at least a dozen aspects of reducing fatigue that are valid and useful. Included in the myriad of options for boosting energy levels is eating the right foods and taking the right supplements. This practical guide will outline five top foods and supplements to help restore the vigor that Hepatitis C is known to zap.

Fatigue is highly subjective and hard to quantify, making it a challenging symptom to contend with. Most frequently, fatigue is described as inclusive of the following:

Moderate to severe fatigue is not to be trivialized, as profound exhaustion affects every single area of one’s life. In fact, one of the symptoms that qualify people for Hepatitis C treatment funding is debilitating fatigue. Because current treatment is very expensive and some insurance companies (including Medicaid/Medicare) are restricting Hepatitis C treatment to those with the most severe form, ignoring severe Hepatitis C-related fatigue is senseless. Communicating about your energy levels to your doctor may help you get the medical care needed. In addition, taking charge of your own energy restoration via your daily consumption habits is empowering and worthwhile.

Feeling tired when managing the Hepatitis C virus is not merely an emotional consequence of this burdensome illness; there are physiological components of this fatigue. Two of those physiological elements include:

  1. The Hepatitis C virus increases the presence of the body’s cytokines, a key part of the immune response, which can lead to fatigue similar to having the flu.
  2. Normally, the liver helps extract glucose from carbohydrates, stores the glucose and releases it to provide fuel for a burst of energy. A liver hampered by Hepatitis C may have a reduced ability to produce glucose and less space to store it.

When living with Hepatitis C, there are many aspects of fatigue that can be addressed with lifestyle modifications. A small sampling of approaches include:

  • Exercising regularly
  • Improving sleep routine
  • Enlisting psychological support
  • Hydrating properly
  • Reducing stress – In the article “Why Meditation May Help Hepatitis C,” you will learn about stress and how meditation can help reduce it.
  • Avoiding caffeine overload

In addition to the lifestyle approaches to reduce fatigue listed above, including several or all of the five foods and supplements below can help improve energy levels:

  1. High-fiber, high grain cereal – According to Lisa Moskovitz, RD, founder of The NY Nutrition Group, “High-fiber, whole grain cereals slow the release of glucose into the bloodstream which ultimately translates to more consistent energy levels throughout the day.” Moskovitz suggests finding a cereal with at least 5 grams of fiber per serving and eating with skim milk or nonfat Greek Yogurt for extra protein.
  2. Astragalus – Considered to be an adaptogen, astragalus boosts the immune system and protects against stress and disease. Astragalus root has a long history of use in Traditional Chinese Medicine to increase metabolism, stamina, strength and vitality. Because of its long history of traditional and clinical use, astragalus is considered to be safe. However, it may increase the risk of bleeding, so caution is advised to those with bleeding disorders or those taking drugs that may increase the risk of bleeding. Astragalus is a primary ingredient in Immune System Support, a comprehensive supplement that boosts energy levels by strengthening immunity.
  3. Eggs – Eggs do not cause surges in blood sugar and insulin, making the protein in eggs a steady and sustained source of energy. Eggs are rich in protein and nutrients including thiamin, riboflavin, folate, Vitamin B12 and B6 – the B vitamins that are essential for energy production. In addition, eggs are rich in leucine, an essential amino acid that helps the body use energy and helps muscles recover after exercise.
  4. NT Factor®  – NT Factor® is a nutrient complex containing phosphoglycolipids which facilitates the functioning, nourishment and rebuilding of cell membranes. Known as lipid replacement therapy, NT Factor® helps prevent and repair mitochondrial cell membrane damage. On a cellular level, energy is manufactured in the mitochondria, and protecting this structure’s boundaries can increase energy levels by 33 to 40 percent. Fatigue Relief Plus® combines NT Factor® with a potent form of milk thistle, making it ideal for those with Hepatitis C to protect their liver and their liver’s mitochondria. Read more about lipid replacement therapy in the article “Fatigue, Hepatitis C and Mitochondria.”
  5. Goji berries – Also used in Chinese medicine for thousands of years, goji berries are known to increase energy levels. Otherwise known as wolfberries, this bright orange-red fruit can be eaten raw, cooked or dried (like raisins) and are used in trail mix, herbal teas, juices and medicines. Besides being beneficial to the liver, goji berries increase blood flow – which helps oxygenate the cells and tissues of the body. This slightly sweet and slightly sour member of the nightshade family is safe, but may increase the risk of bleeding, so caution is advised to those with bleeding disorders or those taking drugs that may increase the risk of bleeding.

Fatigue stemming from the Hepatitis C virus is the most frequently reported symptom of this chronic liver infection. Many affected can feel hopelessly exhausted. However, anyone struggling in silence may have more power over their fatigue than realized.

First, it is important to discuss this hard-to-quantify symptom with a physician to help receive any warranted medical care. Then, start learning about the lifestyle modifications that can help reinstate your energy levels. Of particular note, consider including these five, fatigue-busting foods and supplements to banish sleepiness and restore stamina.

Editor’s Note: Always check with your physician before adding a new supplement to your healthcare routine.

http://herbs.lovetoknow.com/7_Top_Herbs_for_Energy, 7 Top Herbs for Energy, Kathleen Roberts, Retrieved February 22, 2015, lovetoknow.com, 2015.

http://www.hcvadvocate.org/hepatitis/factsheets_pdf/Fatigue_guide.pdf, Managing HCV – A Guide to Managing and Understanding Fatigue, Alan Franciscus, Retrieved February 22, 2015, Hepatitis C Support Project, 2015.

http://www.hepatitiscentral.com/news/four_ways_to_be/, Four Ways to Beat Hepatitis Fatigue, Nicole Cutler, L.Ac., Retrieved February 22, 2015, Hepatitis Central, 2015.

http://www.hepmag.com/articles/fighting_fatigue_2502_24525.shtml, Fatigue: Hep C’s Partner in Crime, Benjamin Ryan, Retrieved February 22, 2015, Smart + Strong, 2015.

http://www.hivandhepatitis.com/hepatitis-c/hepatitis-c-topics/hcv-treatment/4659-easl-2014-sustained-response-to-treatment-reduces-fatigue-in-hepatitis-c-patients, EASL 2014: Sustained Response to Treatment Reduces Fatigue in Hepatitis C Patients, Liz Highleyman, Retrieved February 22, 2015, hivandhepatitis.com, 2015.

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/139231.php, Eggs Pack Protein, Power, Strength And Energy Say Food and Sports Scientists, Retrieved February 222, 2015, MediLexicon International, Ltd, 2015.

http://www.mensfitness.com/nutrition/what-to-eat/top-10-energy-boosting-foods-and-drinks, Top 10 Energy-Boosting Foods and Drinks, Bari Lieberman, Retrieved February 22, 2015, Weider Publications, LLC, 2015.

http://www.sharecare.com/health/hepatitis/article/living-with-hep-c-fatigue, Living with Hep C Fatigue, Beth Carson, Retrieved February 22, 2015, Sharecare, Inc, 2015.

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HepatitisCentral.com provides information regarding hepatitis and liver disease. Comments are available to the community in order to discuss these topics and obtain answers to questions through community members. The Editors at HepatitisCentral.com will not be responding to questions or comments posed in article comments.

  • Roberson

    We think he has had a recent bout with bleeding ulcer. Anything he can eat instead of goji berries or astraglus?