Tired with Hep C? Avoid These 5 Foods!
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:
- 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.
- 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.
Foods that Cause Fatigue
Going even further with what may be harmful to liver cells, certain foods actually cause or aggravate fatigue. Especially if you are struggling with tiredness due to Hepatitis C infection, make sure to avoid these five foods that increase your likelihood of feeling sleepy:
- White Bread – A carbohydrate that is practically devoid of fiber, white bread is considered to be a high-glycemic food. High glycemic foods are broken down into sugars quickly, providing a quick, short burst of energy. Unfortunately, that quick spike in blood sugar is followed by low blood sugar, which causes fatigue, anxiety and more carbohydrate cravings.
- Red Meat – The high fat content of red meat like steaks and hamburgers can also aggravate fatigue. It takes a lot of energy to break down red meat, so your body’s energy is redirected towards digestion – leaving little for staying alert.
- Alcohol – Most with Hepatitis C know to avoid alcohol, but may not realize that even a little can make fatigue worse. Alcohol inhibits glutamine, a natural stimulant in your body. Besides feeling tired right away, the inhibition of glutamine is frequently followed by glutamine rebound – which is known to make fatigue even worse.
- Candy – Many office workers keep a bowl of candy on their desk to help give them energy when they get too sleepy. While such sugary treats may provide a quick burst of alertness, it won’t last long. Orexin, a chemical in your brain that helps you feel alert and awake, is known to decrease after sugar consumption.
- French Fries – A seemingly innocuous, tasty, savory snack, French fries will foster fatigue. First, French fries are very high on the glycemic index, meaning that this carbohydrate will break down into glucose quickly then cause a blood sugar crash. In addition, fries are laden with grease, which clogs up the liver’s detoxification system and makes it harder to store and release energy.
Although the short list above may appear to be obvious items to avoid when caring for a compromised liver, an astonishing number of Americans consume at least three or four of these fatigue-inducing foods every day. To help lead you back on an energetic path, make sure not to sabotage your energy-seeking efforts. Avoid white bread, red meat, alcohol, candy and French fries to help diminish the fatigue those with Hepatitis C must frequently overcome.
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