What Is Hepatitis

Hepatitis is the swelling of the liver.  There are five primary Hepatitis viruses, classified as types A, B, C, D, and E.  Those five strains are of primary concern because they can lead to potential outbreaks and, in the case of B and C, lead to the development of conditions such as cirrhosis, liver cancer, or fibrosis.  While all of the Hepatitis viruses affect the liver, they are not the same.  Some cases of Hepatitis can be acute (short-lived), while others can be chronic (never going away).  Below, you can see the difference between the various strains. 

Hepatitis A: This is present in feces of infected people and is typically transmitted via consumption of contaminated food or water.  Sometimes Hep A can spread through certain sexual practices, but this is not the primary way it spreads.  There are safe and effective vaccinations that prevent you from getting Hep A. 

Hepatitis B: This is transmitted through exposure to infected blood, semen, or other bodily fluids.  It is most commonly passed by sharing needles, blood transfusions (this is very rare though), and during childbirth if the mother is infected with the virus.  

Hepatitis C: This is also transmitted through exposure to infected blood.  It can be passed sexually, but this is much less common than the ways listed above in the Hep B description.  There is no vaccine for Hep C. 

Hepatitis D: The only people who develop Hep D are people who are infected with the Hep B virus.  Those who get infected with both Hep B and Hep D can experience a worse outcome, but there are safe vaccines that can help prevent against Hep B and Hep D. 

Hepatitis E: This virus is most commonly transmitted through contaminated food or water sources.  Hep E outbreaks are common in developing parts of the world, where food and water sources are more likely to be contaminated.  While safe vaccines to prevent Hep E have been developed, they are not widely available at this time. 

Signs Of Hepatitis

Hepatitis is typically characterized by symptoms such as jaundice, abdominal and gastric discomfort, and dark urine (which is also a sign of severe acidosis).  The time between exposure to the virus and the initial symptoms is called the incubation period.  This period can vary depending on the type of virus that is contracted.  Hep A symptoms may take 15-45 days to develop, while Hep B symptoms may take 45-150 days to develop.  Hep C symptoms typically take about two weeks to six months to surface.  Hepatitis patients may have few or no symptoms, but those who do may experience the following. 

  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Tiredness
  • Abdominal pain
  • Vomiting
  • Dark urine
  • Light colored stools
  • Jaundice
What Causes Hepatitis

There are several causes of Hepatitis, one of the common ones being excessive alcohol consumption.  This can lead to liver inflammation and damage, and this condition is occasionally referred to as Alcohol Hepatitis.  Sometimes the immune system will mistake the liver as a threat and begins attacking it.  This results in ongoing inflammation, which can inhibit proper liver function.  This autoimmune disorder is three times more common in women than it is in men.  Depending on the virus, Hepatitis is typically spread through contaminated food or water, or via infected blood.  Common causes are listed below:

  • Chemically induced (due to drug or alcohol abuse)
  • Inherited Hepatitis (caused by Wilson's disease or alpha-1-antitrypsin deficiency)
  • Autoimmune Hepatitis
  • Exposure to poison (or to excessive amounts of environmental toxins)
  • Eating contaminated food or water
  • Sharing needles
  • During childbirth (if the mother has the virus)

Dherbs Approach...adjusting your diet is always key!

Natural Remedies
  • It is beneficial to avoid all foods and drinks that cause inflammation because these foods can worsen liver damage, especially in those who have Hep B.  Avoid consuming sugar, refined oils, dairy products, meat, meat products, refined carbohydrates, and processed foods with additives.  It is also best to avoid over-the-counter drugs and drinking alcohol, as those things cause inflammation as well.
  • For those with Hep C, traditional Chinese medicine can be a great natural solution.  This system of healthcare, which has been around for over 2,000 years, combines th e practices of acupuncture, massage, exercise, heat therapy, meditation, and healthy nutrition.  A lot of Hep C patients turn to Chinese medicine and drastically improve their condition, normalizing liver enzyme levels and repairing liver damage.
  • Try milk thistle, which helps to benefit and support the liver.  It is a known detox agent that works to rebuild liver cells.  The active ingredients help to reduce free radical production and oxidative stress.  This herb even helps to inhibit the binding of toxins in liver cells.  This can herb has been used to help naturally treat both acute and chronic Hepatitis disease.
  • Make sure that you are doing your best to eat food from clean sources.  This can apply to where you purchase food, or if you are traveling in a developing part of the world, where the cleanliness of food and water sources may be questionable.
  • It is important to eat a healthy and balanced diet for people with Hepatitis, especially those with Hep B.  It is beneficial to eat anti-inflammatory foods and foods that help to reduce oxidative stress in the body.  Some great liver-cleansing foods to eat include root vegetables (carrots, sweet potatoes, beets, & squash), fresh fruit (especially berries), fresh herbs (parsley, oregano, & ginger), and probiotics (kombucha, kimchi, or fermented vegetables).
  • Since vomiting or nausea can be symptoms of Hepatitis B, it may be beneficial to eat a larger breakfast and go lighter for lunch and dinner.  You can also add one or two drops of peppermint essential oil to an 8oz. glass of water and drink that to get rid of nausea.
  • To inhibit the virus from spreading, it is paramount to reduce stress levels.  Try to avoid strenuous activities, especially if you are already weak or fatigued.  You may benefit from natural stress-relieving techniques such as walking outside, taking a warm bath, or dropping lavender essential oil in a diffuser and inhaling the aroma.
Things you should eat
  • Leafy Greens (spinach, kale, arugula, collard greens)
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Cauliflower
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Parsley
  • Basil
  • Oregano
  • Ginger
  • Carrots
  • Beets
  • Butternut Squash
  • Blueberries
  • Goji Berries
  • Citrus Fruit (oranges, lemons, limes, & grapefruit)
  • Coconut Oil
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Walnuts
  • Flaxseeds
  • Chia Seeds
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