HEPATITIS C: General Recommendations
Hepatitis C can be a persistent, serious problem, but there are alternative treatments that can often help. All patients must follow the instructions of their physicians and use medications as prescribed for their particular case. Conventional treatments for the disease often do help, at times, considerably.
Hepatitis C is technically an RNA virus (as opposed to a DNA type virus), whose existence only in recent years has come to light. When I was in medical school during the 1980’s, my professors knew there was a form of hepatitis other than the classic and well described hepatitis A and hepatitis B, which had been dubbed “Non-A non-B.” Hepatitis A comes from contaminated water, food and restaurant employees who don’t wash their hands after going to the bathroom. Hepatitis B, potentially more serious than A, was associated at the time with blood transfusions. During the late 1980’s scientists realized that there were several such “Non-A non-B” forms of the disease, including C, D, E, and others as well.
Though our understanding of Hep C is recent, of course the disease is hardly new. Blood samples of WWII veterans were examined after Hep C had been identified, and many had evidence of the virus, though often the carriers appeared not to have been ill with the disease.
Hep C is transmitted via the intravenous route, often, until testing for it became commonplace, from contaminated transfusions and blood products. I have a patient who contracted Hep C from a shot of immunoglobulin, ironically given as prophylaxis against Hep B in the 1980’s.
For those who develop an acute viral syndrome, Hep C tends to be far more persistent than A or B. 99% of those with A recover completely, 90% of those with B recover, but for those with Hep C, 80-90% of those who go through an acute syndrome stay infected with the virus.
The most widely used conventional treatments, interferon and ribavarin, can produce diminished viral loads, even to zero, in many cases but not all. The virus may reactivate after a quiet time after treatment. Ribavarin blocks iron utilization by the virus, and essentially kills it, while interferon stimulates immune responses against the virus.
Patients with active Hep C need the virus controlled, and the damage caused by the virus stabilized and hopefully reversed. Hepatitis virus, by definition – the prefix Hep refers to “liver” – means inflammation of the liver. All hepatitis viruses, whether they be A. B. C. D. etc. infect the liver cells, or hepatocytes primarily, often killing them and in severe or chronic cases provoking widespread scarification in the liver (cirrhosis). Scientists estimate that up to 20% of those with chronic hepatitis C develop cirrhosis within 10-20 years after initial infection.
I find in my practice, the single most important anti-viral substance is a product I developed called thymus (click to buy), which as the name not too subtly suggests, consists of freeze dried raw beef thymus, prepared from specially raised animals from New Zealand, which has the strictest laws I know of for the raising of commercial cattle. The thymus gland sits in the chest and controls the entire immune system. For example, T cells, lymphocytes which help us fight viruses, funguses and cancer, must go through a maturing process under the direction of the thymus.
As a general philosophy, I believe that properly activated and nudged in the right direction, our bodies have the capability to fight off most infections, including chronic viral infections such as Hep C. This thymus product, taken orally in large doses, stimulates and normalizes the thymus gland, always stressed to the maximum with any chronic infection, and helps it mobilize the body’s own resources against the virus. It works very well.
Of course, I never use single supplements, but a whole program of individualized diet, individualized supplement programs, and detoxification routines. But for any chronic virus illness, thymus is my number one choice.
I sometimes use a spleen supplement; the spleen, which sits in the left side of the abdomen, acts as a filter for the blood, removing abnormal cells as well as infectious organisms. My spleen supplement stimulates this gland and helps it perform its blood clearing responsibilities smoothly and efficiently.
I use vitamin C, but never intravenously. Though I am a conventionally trained medical doctor and researcher, who during my formal training prescribed intravenous drugs on a daily, sometimes hourly basis. Once I went into my current line of work, I found intravenous preparations no longer for the most part necessary. Yes, of course, a patient with advanced pancreatic cancer and an infected plastic stent sitting in the biliary tree needs intravenous antibiotics by the ton, but for routine treatment, I find with the properly designed dietary, supplement and detoxification program, oral formulations do the trick.
I am aware of the smart researchers who have used and promoted the use of high dose vitamin C. I knew the late Fred Klenner, of Reidsville, North Carolina, who first used high dose IV C against polio, successfully, in 1948, and in years after proposed IV C as an all-purpose anti-viral and antibiotic. Indeed, it does have powerful anti-infective qualities in high dose IV, but I just find, with our program, the IV route unnecessary.
I find milk thistle important, not only to help regenerate liver cells, but for an anti-viral effect. I always use this herb in my patients with any form of liver disease. I also keep doses of vit A to a minimum – though it has many useful functions, including immune enhancement, even in moderate doses, the vitamin can make an already inflamed liver worse.
In addition to milk thistle, for liver repair, I like lipoic acid and N-Acetyl cysteine, though again, I never use the IV forms. Dr. Berkson in New Mexico is perhaps the world’s expert in the use of these nutrients for liver repair, and he utilizes, I know, an intravenous preparation. I find the oral forms work more slowly but quite well over time and eliminate the need for IV sessions. In a very acute, life or death situation, Dr. Berkson’s recommendations for IV treatment can be life-saving, I agree.
I find detoxification essential for any patient with any serious problem. For patients with Hep C. the coffee enemas, as controversial as they may be, are critical. Coffee enemas actually come out of the conventional medical literature and were routinely used in hospitals during the first half of the 20th century. No one was sure how they worked, but patients with a variety of problems seemed to respond positively, in a way unrelated to any “caffeine high.” I suspect that a variety of substances in coffee, including but not limited to caffeine, stimulate the sacral parasympathetic nerves, and through a reflex arc, stimulate in turn liver function and enhance liver efficiency. I myself have done coffee enemas daily since I was a second-year medical student in 1981, find they provided enormous benefits to my health, and nearly all my patients report the same. For patients with compromised liver function particularly, I find them essential, often helping to lower elevated liver function tests quickly.
I also recommend for all patients, including those with hepatitis, my famed liver flush, a five day procedure that also helps stimulate the liver into more efficient activity. It works well, despite its “folkish” roots.
By Nicholas Gonzalez, M.D.