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Tired with Hep C? Avoid These 5 Foods!

Nicole Cutler L.Ac. June 17, 2015

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Do you know what common foods are likely to exacerbate fatigue – the most common symptom of Hepatitis C?

As the most frequently reported symptom of Hepatitis C, fatigue saps the energy of a majority of chronic liver infection sufferers. Although there are several valid physiological reasons that being infected with the Hepatitis C virus causes fatigue, being tired can be exacerbated by eating the wrong foods.

As most with this virus are already aware, the liver is responsible for detoxifying the blood – including the purification of everything ingested. The food we eat can either support or hamper the liver’s detox duties. As such, individuals with Hepatitis C can impact the course of their illness with their daily food choices. Fatigue adds another layer of culpability to the foods we choose to eat. Besides potentially aiding or impairing liver detoxification, certain foods can also drain energy levels.

Hepatitis C and Fatigue

Fatigue has been reported in nearly 70 percent of individuals with chronic Hepatitis C, making it this virus’ most frequent extrahepatic (outside of the liver) manifestation. Although there are many possible reasons those with Hepatitis C tire easily, two of the most likely physiological explanations include:

  1. Cytokines – Those with the Hepatitis C virus have demonstrated an increase in cytokines in their bloodstream. Cytokines are a key part of the immune response, which typically leads to fatigue similar to having the flu.
  2. Glucose Impairment – The liver helps break down carbohydrates into glucose, store that glucose, and release it when quick energy is needed. A liver burdened with Hepatitis C may have a reduced ability to produce glucose and less space to store it.

People with more advanced stages of Hepatitis C – especially those with permanent scarring of the liver – are more likely to have fatigue than those with a mild case.

Food and the Liver

Saddled with many vital responsibilities, the liver is required for us to live. One of the liver’s most important jobs is to remove toxins from the blood. The liver is the blood’s filter, extracting chemicals, toxins and cellular waste so that our circulation is free and clear of substances that might weigh it down.

Researchers, clinicians and nutritionists have found that some foods assist the liver with detoxification while others contribute to clogging up the liver’s filter.

  • Assisting – Foods that are rich in antioxidants (like brightly colored produce) are ideal for protecting the liver from harm. Antioxidants are substances that neutralize free radicals, molecules that irritate and injure nearby cells.
  • Clogging – Foods that are high in saturated fat (like deep-fried foods) hamper the liver’s ability to detoxify. This is because saturated fat causes an inflammatory reaction in liver cells and can cause injury – reducing the quantity of functioning, detoxifying, liver cells.

Page 1 2, Hangover Hacks You Can Hang Your Hat On, Retrieved March 1, 2015, Dr. Joseph Mercola, 2015., 5 Foods That Fight Fatigue, Nikki Jong, Retrieved February 25, 2015, Caring, Inc., 2015., The Food That Makes You Feel Tired and Lazy, Laura Kenney, Retrieved February 25, 2015 Harpo, Inc., 2015., Fighting Chronic Fatigue Syndrome with a Natural Energy Diet, Wyatt Myers, Retrieved February 25, 2015, Everyday Health Media, LLC, 2015., Foods that Beat Fatigue, Brian Krans, Retrieved February 25, 2015, Healthline Networks, Inc., 2015., Hepatitis C and Fatigue, Peter Hauser, MD, Retrieved March 1, 2015, Hepatitis C Support Project, 2015., 10 Foods to Make You Sleepy, Ellen Michaud and Julie Bain, Retrieved February 25, 2015, The Reader’s Digest Association, Inc., 2015., Hepatitis C and Fatigue, Retrieved February 25, 2015, WebMD, LLC, 2015., 6 Foods that Are Making You Tired, Jenna Birch, Retrieved February 25, 2015, Rodale Inc., 2015.

Roked, Sohere, The Tiredness Cure: How to Beat Fatigue and Feel Great for Good, Random House, Croydon, UK, 2014; 66.



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  • Batôt Marie Francoise

    hi. I’m a French citizen and we’re a good group here to know about fatigues and food and we are a good number also to have found what can help. i can share with you on my name talking about me only:
    Vegan diet is the best one for people having H C
    a cure of raw veg mix juice is about the best you can find to regenerate. I was mixing: carrots, beet roots, black radish, turmeric, parsley and lemon. having that during the morning slowly little by little instead of my breakfast. Amazing results: no more fatigue!!! Helas my mixer broke and it cost me too much to buy an other one and it ‘s costly to make the juces too since one should use only organic veggies
    Voila to end up with the diet one litre of desmodium every day
    All the best

  • Annie

    I have had Hep C for about 21 years. I found out in 2003. I know ALOT of people that have it. My ex-husband died 3 years ago because his turned into cancer, bless his heart. The past 2 years I keep seeing billboards and commercials about new drugs. I know the treatment with interferon is supposed to be brutal. I decided to go to the Dr. to see what he has to offer. I take 3 Ribavirin pills in the morning. At night I take 2 more and one pill of another called Solvaldi. I went back to the Dr. after 2 months of treatment (I have to be in treatment 6 months, I have genotype 3) and he said he couldn’t see any trace of the virus in my blood! I am thrilled! I love to drink alcohol and of course I can’t now. I have been sober 8 months! I have never been sober without help. This time I prayed to God to help me abstain! The best thing about this is NO SIDE EFFECTS!!! A little tired but that’s it! Please get treatment! These new drugs have a 90% cure rate! God bless you and GOOD LUCK!!!

    • cindy

      ..hi Annie!

      .I’m Cindy I have a hep c but I don’t know what genotype I have! I want to be free with hep c but I don’t have any idea about the medicine price!! And if I can afford coz I don’t have good job to support my treatment everyday!! I just wanna ask In two months of your treatment how much did it cost you?? Thanks Annie!! Hope to hear from u soon

      • Annie

        I paid with my insurance but a lot of people the company will pay for it, It is over 1000.00 a pill, the whole treatment for 6 months is 200 thousand dollars. Get your primary doctor to give you a referral to a liver specialist because you have to have a test to find out how far along you are. Don’t worry about the cost right now. Get to the specialist and he will help you get the meds, sometimes for free.

      • trickofthetail

        It’s Robert, Hi All, Diagnosed w/ c in 1985. My Dr in NY said don’t drink so I didn’t. I believe that made a world of difference as a friend diagnosed at the same time just had a liver transplant. My Genotype is 2B and never treated before. I should get my meds. Sofosbuvir and daclastivir within a month and the virus will clear. You must know your genotype so that you take the correct combo. treatment. You can never know when you got the virus to many personal questions would have to be asked. As far as sex the Chief at NY Hosp. Cornell Med. Ctr told me there is a less than 1% chance of transmission through sex and only if there is a blood exchange. I’ve had plenty of years to research. My Meds $1,500. fed ex to my door.

    • teresa

      Annie, I seen a doctor in 2011 who didnt want to treat me, he said it wasnt that bad and because I was on anti-depressants I would get more depressed. I was also super fatigued and he said hep c doesn’t cause fatigue, when other doctors told me it does. Well now im even worse I can barely make it through the day! Im on medicaid. Do you know if medicaid will pay for this treatment? I want to see another doctor. Thanks Teresa

      • Annie

        Yes Medicaid does pay for it. your Dr. works with the company that makes the drug to get it approved. I was turned down twice before I was approved. Whoever that Dr. is needs to go back to school. Hep C does cause fatigue, it’s one of the biggest symptoms. I am on Zoloft and the treatment doesn’t make me more depressed. They have new drugs to treat it now, you just take some pills twice a day. The cure rate with these drugs is 90 to 95 percent! It’s just amazing! I went to my Dr. in January and was on treatment by March. See another Doctor until you find one that will help you. Don’t give up and do it as soon as possible! This is your life. I have seen 2 people pass away one year before the new drugs came out. Believe me, you don’t want to go that way! I will say a prayer for you and Good luck!!!

    • nauman

      Hi Annie and others . I was diagnosed in 1999 and am also genotype 3 . Am currently stage 4 cirrhosis and will be starting sfosbuvir with interferon and ribavirin for 3 months in august this year . The Canadian Government with one of its affiliate insurers has approved treatment for 3 months. I had gone through interferon and ribavirin treatment in 2008 for 6 months but the virus came back. I hope this treatment works this time . Will update later. Good luck all. 🙂

      • Annie

        Good luck! Wish you the best!

  • Willie Dee

    I just been diagnosed but my gastroenterologist says he doesn’t know how long I’ve been infected. So how do you know how long??

    • lusphij

      Blood transfusions before 1990 were not screened for the hcv virus. Blood to blood is the usual method of contagion so any intravenous drug use with a possibility of sharing needles or water are other strong candidates for infection. I think there is a very small risk of infection through sexual practice, but just search hepatitis central for more accurate information.

  • Orewele Goodluck

    Just wanna express my moment of joy for been cured from the deadly HEPATITIS B..
    i have been infected with the Disease over 3 years and already lost hope cos i have already tried so many ANTI VIRAL treatment…. one day while making more research online, i came across a tesimony of a patients Dr Lamano cured from GENITAL HERPES. and i decided to give the said DR a call cos he information was online too..
    We both talked and he agreed on helping me out… He prepared the CURE in portion and requires my Home Address for the D.H.L to deliver the medicine to me and i recieved the Portion after 4 Working Days….
    The cure was prepared from Herbs and he instructed me on how to take it…
    well, henced im cured now i decided to write a review on this so others with similar issues can also give a trial.
    his email is [email protected] or call him on +2349054870144