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Alternative Liver Detoxifiers other than Milk Thistle
Jan 22, 2003

I fully understand the concern about mixing Milk Thistle (sylamarin) with certian HIV meds since some of these both share the 450 cytochrome pathway in the liver for meatbolism. I have had success using phosphadytal choline (in Lectithin) and Thioctic Acid (alpha-lipoic acid) as liver detoxifiers. Do you specifically know of any potential harmful interactions of these 2 over the counter remedies with those HIV meds using the 450 cytochrome pathway. Of course, I have discussed this with my doctor who recommends against milk thistle but seems ok with the other 2 products. The reason i ask if you KNOW of any problems is that there seems to be a bias here against alterntative therapies which I believe may effectively complement (not replace) western medicine. For example, a questioner asked about the potential benefit of using grape seed extract (a phenomenal antioxidant in the phytocycothan family) and the response was something to the effect of "im not aware of any benefit"...I have been positive 21 years now without a single OI and I believe it to be a combination of the luck of the draw, but more likely the phenonemal amounts of antioxidants I have been taking for 21+ years. Don't get me wrong, what you are doing is great and deserves applause, but you do owe it to your clients to be proactive and research (through PubMed at least) questions asked about alternative therapies. For example, lack of selenium has been demonstrated to be one of the strongest predictors of those who will progress to full blown AIDS and yet most docs even in SF mention nothing of this to their patients nor do they recommend that those taking Retrovir supplemnt with vitamin E to mimimizs the risk of bone marrow damage/suppression despite ample evidence in the medical journals.

Sorry if this sounds like a soapbox statement rather than a question, but it would be sad if this wonderful venue became nothing more than a Dr. Phil show where he gives 2 minutes to a woman with multiple personalities. You owe it to your clients to be as well or better informed than they are.

Now, about my question please...THANKS!!! :)

Response from Dr. Henry

Thanks for your thoughtful comments. In this forum I frequently refer readers to sources of information about alternative therapies (i.e. Jon Kaiser's book Healing HIV or the website).

We often have minimal drug interaction information pertaining to use of HIV drugs and even big name prescription drugs (where at least there may be a financial motivation to check for interactions). Usually interaction information for alternatives and HIV drugs is even more scant. Well known concerns have been raised about St John's wort and grapefruit juice and protease inhibitors. To my knowledge I am unaware of good published data on any interactions between lecithin and/or alpha-lipoic acid and antiretrovirals. If you come across anything-please post a note on this site! Both of the antioxidants you are using are popular and widely used for a range of indications. The literature on their efficacy in humans is still limited--more research is needed but funding is sadly lacking inthe alternative medicine arena. KH

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