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Case Study Suggests Milk Thistle Is Potent Against Hep C

Nicole Cutler L.Ac. October 19, 2015

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Although merely a single case study, evidence for milk thistle (in the right combination, extract and administration method) confirms this herb’s place in Hepatitis C treatment programs.

Case Study in Liver International

The case study being reviewed was published in a February 2015 edition of the journal Liver International. The US-based study evaluated intravenous silibinin in a 44-year-old woman with Hepatitis C genotype 1 who developed a severe psychiatric adverse reaction to a previous course of pegylated interferon and ribavirin (the antiquated standard of care for Hepatitis C). The experimental treatment consisted of combing the following:

  • 1,200 mg/day of silibinin
  • 1,200 mg/day of ribavirin
  • 6,000 iu/day of Vitamin D

After the first three weeks of treatment, the patient’s viral load led to a prediction of achieving a sustained virologic response (the measurement correlated with a cure) in 34 weeks. Provided with this information, the patient agreed to complete 34 weeks of treatment and was rewarded with a sustained virologic response – without any adverse reactions. The authors concluded that silibinin-based therapy is a treatment option for patients who do not respond to or cannot receive other Hepatitis C drugs.

Page 1 2 3

http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/cam/milkthistle/Patient/page2, Milk Thistle (PDQ®), Retrieved April 12, 2015, National Cancer Institute, 2015.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21605016, Treatment of hepatitis C-virus-reinfection after liver transplant with silibinin in nonresponders to pegylated interferon-based therapy, Eurich D, et al, Retrieved April 12, 2015, Experimental and Clinical Transplantation, February 2011.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25251042, Sustained virological response with intravenous silibinin: individualized IFN-free therapy via real-time modelling of HCV kinetics, Dahari H, et al, Retrieved April 12, 2015, Liver International, February 2015.

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  • marsl

    I can attest that Milk Thistle played a CRUCIAL part in keeping my liver healthy when I had Hep-c I had hep-c since the early 80’s Did Rat Poision inf/riba in 2002 for a few months stopped because of HORRIBLE side effects…. V/L over 18 MILLION!!!! 1st stage fib I did not do any tx but took milk Thistle Quecetin, & Olive leaf until I started Harvoni January 2015 (SVR) in April …. After all of those years without tx my 1st stage fibrosis did not PROGRESS!!!

    • Sandy Robertson

      Agreed. I’m in UK so can’t get Sofusbivir as free healthcare restricts to worst cases cos of cost, and consultant advised against interferon, so had to try something. Milk thistle daily and in few weeks stopped feeling dizzy/sick in mornings, and despite having hep c for decades only have fibrosis not cirrhosis.

    • Sounds like a year and half since you did the Harvoni and are you still free of the virus and was the tx difficult with sides? Last year think I’m stage two and the viral was about 6 million and liver enzymes normal ; My primary still wanted me to do the tx. I have been doing alternative things and then he did a test just said i was greater than 5 million and I was upset he didn’t do the right test to be specific number as I seem to be asymptomatic and not sure if I should do their tx or not. Thanks in advance.

      • marsl

        @Carol A I’m Still free of the virus Harvoni side effects were very MILD headache, itchy skin & insomnia My Dr. gave me xanax for insomnia & i took Aleve for the headaches the headaches stopped halfway through my 12 week tx.. My Dr said to NOT be CONCERNED so much about your V/L it’s your progression of LIVER DAMAGE that counts the most I was asymptomatic of Hep-c since i was first dx in the 80’s YEEESS you should still get treated because you DON’T want your liver disease to PROGRESS!!! GOOD LUCK Keep in touch!!!!

        • Thank you for replying and that’s good to hear. I heard that too and I am stage 2 now so I remember he did tell me same thing about the liver and viral load so how does one know if they are getting liver damage? Do you feel totally different now you don’t have it? I was diagnosed in 93 so I’ve had it a long time but I don’t look like I’m sick. I’m just tired and have chronic pain but that could be from herniated discs and things like that. I never had a hot flash or headache until they talked me into a hysterectomy so that’s why I’m so skeptical. In fact, I had no symptoms of any kind, never took anything until they took out my uterous and the doctor said that really caused my immune system to go crazy and it’s just UNCOMFORTABLE to be in my body now, whether it’s itching, hot flashes, fatigue whatever…depression doesn’t help either.

          • marsl

            @Carol A Some people have symptoms like liver pain with hep-c others like you and me DIDN’T!!! I just use to get tired & fatiqued which is normal for people in general … That’s what’s so SCARY about the disease when you are basically asymptomatic!!!
            You will have to get your Dr. to perform a fibroscan to detect how much liver damage has occurred…Yes you will feel a difference once the virus is cleared. Even though i didn’t have any real symptoms while Hep-c positive I felt an energy return in my system once I was cleared…Like you said other health factors are going on in your life which can be the cause of this chronic pain you are experiencing…DEFINITELY get that Fiberscan to detect any further liver damage!!!..GOOD LUCK!!! Keep in touch!!!

          • Marsi, thank you for that suggestion about the Fibroscan as I would really like to know if I have liver damage. Do you think the viral load is important as last time the doctor did a test that just said I was “greater than I think it was 5 million” The year before I was 6 million but I have been as high as 99 million in 06 and with low liver enzymes, I wanted to wait to be sure about these new drugs. How long have you been cleared and are you saying you didn’t have any bad side effects including long term ones? I just wonder how can it just kill a virus but nothing else?

          • marsl

            @Carol A.. I have been CLEARED going on my 2nd year from Harvoni You MUST HAVE a Fibro Scan from your Doctor to KNOW for SURE about liver DAMAGE!!.. No I DID NOT have BAD SIDE effects from my Harvoni tx…
            I was first treated for Hep-C with Interferon & Ribavirin in 2002 (24 to 48 WEEK tx) These old RAT POISON DRUGS had HORRIFIC SIDE EFFECTS!!! I could NOT TOLLERATE it and STOPPED the tx!!! Harvoni is EXTREMELY TOLLERABLE…. Depending on your liver damage the Harvoni tx can range from a 8, 12, or 24 week tx I only needed a 12 week tx because I had mild stage liver fibrosis….my V/L was 18 MILLION but my liver was not BADLY DAMAGED!!!

          • trotter

            Check w/doctor to see if u need hormone replacement . Having uterus taken out should not affect immune system, but Hepatitis C sure does. The itching could be from Cirrhosis if u have it. Fatigue is biggest symptom of Hep C.

          • I didn’t use to have as much fatigue as I do now. I thought it was just age but maybe it is from the HCV.

        • Just wanted to let you know I saw this reply I assume for a year now… and your advice to not let it progress. I will be looking into this more seriously soon.

          • adam thompson

            @Carol A PLEEEEAZE DO!!!

  • sheila

    I was diagnosed with hep c and alpha 1 ANTI TRYPSIN deficiency and hoped there was someone that could give me their info if you know of anyone going through this. I’m waiting to be placed on the list for liver transplant right now.

  • Christopher

    I was cured almost 2 years ago, but now I have to contend with all of the liver damage that I am left with, i.e. ascites and whatever goes with it. No thanks to the V.A. Hospital; they were no help at all; couldn’t even give me dietary guidelines. Once I got medical insurance I new where to take my liver, and just in time too, since I had 4th stage liver cirrhosis.
    Those airgun injections puts everybody at risk for getting HCV although the V.A. denies ever using them. Therefore no chance of any kind of disability chaims.

  • David Pieper

    More lies and misinformation. Milk thistle is specifically contraindicated with some of the new Direct Acting Antivirals for treating hep C. Studies show it is no more effective than a placebo, which in layman’s terms means IT DOES NOTHING. Save your money.

    • tinfoilhatttt

      Post links or go away…

    • Inc.

      I said that at hep Central and got banned.

    • adam thompson

      @David Pieper BULL$#*T I had been dx with hep-c since the 80’s with mild fibrosis (and slippeped up on my sobriety sometimes) I have been taking Milk-thistle until I got rid of it with Harvoni last year and my fibrosis never progressed past stage one in all those yearsI KNOW Milk thistle helped suppress it …I am back taking Milk thistle post Harvoni tx to keep my liver healthy!!!

      • trotter

        Sometimes you may go for years, decades at a low fibrosis grade. It has been studied and proven Milk Thistle is not effective against Hep C. It may help some symptoms only.

        • adam thompson

          Milk thistle helped suppress it!!!!

          • trotter

            Adam, when on the internet, there are official, proven sites (usually they have “.gov” or “.org” on them. Then, there are sites that sell herbs, vitamins, minerals, etc. I believe a lot of things not strictly medial may help all us.
            I had Hepatitis C for 20 yrs., got diagnosed and it was another 15 yrs. before I finally got Cirrhosis. Not drinking much has more to do w/Fibrosis – Cirrhosis length than milk thistle.
            Look at the headline above, it says one case study “suggests” milk thistle helps some.
            I respect anyone’s idea that gives them hope through this horrid disease, but I also hate to see people suffering w/Hep C that have little money being urged to try something unproven.
            I’m glad u were good for a long time.

          • adam thompson

            Phytosome is the most potent strength!!!

          • marsl

            @trotter I agree with you that Milk Thistle DOES NOT CURE Hep-C…. 12 weeks of Harvoni tx is what CURED ME!!!…But I DEFINITELY BELIEVE that Milk thistle HELPS to SLOW the progression of liver DAMAGE!! You are also right about not drinking is the BEST method to stop the progression PERIOD!! In conjunction with Milk thistle (Phytosome) I also take other supplements R-lipoic acid, Olive leaf, Quercetin, Zinc, Selenium, & Turmeric for liver support!!!!