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coinfection drug regime - herbal supplement interactions
Apr 18, 2003

Hi, my fiance Sean has been dutifully and successfully treating his HIV with Fortivase and Combivir since 1996. We are beginning an additional aggressive herbal regime to treat escalating HCV levels. Can you recommend a resource that decribes current herbal supplement interactions and contraindications for HCV herbs use? We are having a difficult time finding current , detailed help. Thank you!

Response from Mr. Vergel

I just want to make sure that you know that herbal/vitamin supplementation is not a treatment for Hep C but a complement to standard Peg-Interferon/Ribavirin therapy. The most commonly used supplements for liver health in the community are:

1- The herb known as Milk Thistle, or Silymarin is the most powerful supplement used for liver repair. The Chinese have used it for thousands of years to repair liver cirrhosis. Each package has its own recommended dose per day. There is some contradictory data that shows a potential interaction between milk thistle and protease imhibitors, so have yoru fiance talk to his doctor about this.

2-N-acetyl cysteine (NAC), 1 gram a day. This is what doctors use for Tylenol poisoning too. NAC feeds the glutathione peroxidase system, an important antioxidant system in the body.

3. The amino acid L-Glutamine, 5 grams/day also helps liver repair.

4. There are also reports that Glycyrrhizin, extracted from licorice, also lowers liver enzymes. If you need to try taking this, be careful of your dose. {Too much can cause thinning of blood, and increase blood pressure.}

Have your fiance talk to his doctor about this or any other supplement he may be taking.

For more information about Hep C, visit http://www.thebody.com/treat/hepatit_c.html



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