A Public Health Crisis
With more than 200 million people around the world deemed to be infected with the Hepatitis C Virus, (HCV) it is one of the greatest public health epidemics of our time. Because symptoms often do not become apparent for many years after initial infection, HCV has been dubbed as a ‘silent epidemic.
It is only since 1990 that a test has been available to confirm an HCV infection. Early detection is important, to avoid more serious liver disease.
Many people unknowingly have this virus, because the symptoms can take several decades to emerge. If you’re one of the lucky 25 per cent, the virus will disappear without treatment and you may never know you had it. The other 75 per cent can progress to more serious liver disease.
For many years, the medical treatment for HCV was to use interferon, designed to stimulate the immune system by encouraging killer T cells to attack the virus. However, because interferon’s side effects include flu-like symptoms, nausea, diarrhoea, depression, mood changes and anxiety, it can deter sufferers from receiving this treatment. Recent years have seen development of drugs which are more effective at combatting HCV.
There are also other medical treatments for HCV. Many sufferers are now living healthy lives after being treated with Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA) – a naturally occurring nutrient in the body, which has been scientifically verified. Case studies show that lipoic acid can be successfully used for liver disease. Doctor Burt Berkson of the Integrative Medicine Centre in Las Cruces New Mexico, pioneered the use of ALA in treatment programmes that combine conventional medicine, vitamin and herbal supplements, dietary changes, healthy lifestyle practices, and ALA. He uses a ‘triple antioxidant’ approach to the treatment of hepatitis C and has achieved impressive results helping many patients with life-threatening liver disease survive, using a therapy involving three antioxidants; Lipoic Acid, Silymarin (the herb Milk Thistle) and Selenium which help to avoid the need for liver transplants. Three of his successfully treated patients appear in Good News for People with Bad News. Doctor Berkson has authored The Alpha Lipoid Acid Breakthrough where he describes in simple, easy to understand language the action of ALA and other nutrients.
Patients with liver disease from any cause, could benefit from knowing about ALA. Integrative doctors around the world use it, so it is accessible to most people who need it. If you can’t access such a doctor, you can start a nutrient regime yourself, based on information from the links here, until you find a health professional. It is crucial for any such treatment to be monitored by a medical doctor, to know if the treatment is effective or not, and be adjusted as needed.