I recently attended a Dr. Whitaker conference (my family is strong in the belief of natural medicine), and we got the opportunity to ask him about possible treatment options for AIH. He mentioned MSM (methylsulfonylmethane) as a favorable treatment for auto-immune diseases that helps control inflammation. Anyone heard of it?
MSM is promoted as a natural source of sulfur by the supplement and health food industry, suggesting that people are deficient in sulfur intake. However, protein in the diet is an abundant source of sulfur, which is contained in the amino acids methionine and cysteine. MSM is sold as a dietary supplement that is marketed with a variety of claims and is commonly used (often in combination with glucosamine and/or chondroitin) for helping to treat or prevent osteoarthritis. U.S. Retail sales of MSM as a single ingredient in dietary supplements amounted to $115 million in 2003. The biochemical effects of supplemental methylsulfonylmethane are poorly understood. Some researchers have suggested that MSM has anti-inflammatory effects (Morton et al. 1986; Childs, 1994; Murav'ev et al., 1991). Any health effects of dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) may be mediated, at least in part, by MSM (Williams et al, 1966; Kocsis et al, 1975). Stanley W. Jacob, M.D., of the Oregon Health and Science University, claims to have used MSM to treat over 18,000 patients with a variety of ailments (Jacob & Appleton, 2003).
MSM is the primary metabolite of DMSO in humans.
Evidence from clinical trials
Clinical evidence for the usefulness of MSM is limited to animal studies and four published clinical studies in humans. These pilot studies of MSM have suggested some benefits, particularly for treatment of osteoarthritis. Further studies would be needed to test the usefulness of the chemical as a medical therapy.
Osteoarthritis: After several reports that MSM helped arthritis in animal models, a double-blind, placebo-controlled study suggested that 1500 mg per day MSM (alone or in combination with glucosamine sulfate) was helpful in relieving symptoms of knee osteoarthritis (Usha and Naidu 2004). Kim et al. then conducted a double-blind clinical trial of MSM for treatment of patients with osteoarthritis of the knee. Twenty-five patients took 6 g/day MSM and 25 patients took a placebo for 12 weeks. Ten patients did not complete the study, and intention to treat analysis was performed. Patients who took MSM had significantly reduced pain and improved physical functioning, without major adverse events (Kim et al). No evidence of a more general anti-inflammatory effect was found, as there were no significant changes in two measures of systemic inflammation: C-reactive protein level and erythrocyte sedimentation rate. The authors cautioned that this short pilot study did not address the long-term safety and usefulness of MSM, but suggested that physicians should consider its use for certain osteoarthritis patients, and that long-term studies should be conducted (Kim et al. 2006).
Seasonal Allergic Rhinitis: Barrager et al. evaluated the efficacy of MSM for hayfever (Barrager et al, 2002). Twenty-five subjects consumed 2,600 mg of MSM per day for 30 days, and a significant improvement in symptoms was observed compared to those taking a placebo. However, the study was not blinded. Also, no significant changes were observed in two indicators of inflammation (C-reactive protein and immunoglobulin E levels). The authors suggest that MSM is safe for short-term use and recommend that a larger, double-blind study be performed to establish its usefulness in treating symptoms of seasonal allergic rhinitis.
Interstitial cystitis: In 1978, the FDA approved dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) for instillation into the bladder as a treatment for interstitial cystitis. Since DMSO is metabolized to MSM by the body, it is possible that MSM is the active ingredient in DMSO treatments (Childs 1994).
Snoring: Blum & Blum conducted a randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled clinical trial of an MSM-containing throat spray for snoring (Blum & Blum, 2004).
If you have been diagnosed with AIH, I hope you've begun conventional treatment by now. AIH is nothing to play around with. Only conventional treatment, which is the use of immunosuppressants such as Prednisone and Imuran, has proved effective. The mortality rate for untreated AIH is 50% in two years, 90% in ten years. Those who respond to conventional treatment have a statistical normal life expectancy.
Yes I have been with conventional treatment since 2005, as soon as my ALTs were elevated and before they finally figured out the diagnosis. However, I have had many allergic reactions to the Imuran and others and therefore had to withstand numerous cycles of high-dose Prednisone tapers to get back to normal liver functions before attempting another medication. I have now been through 7 different types of medication, half of them not even commonly used for AIH but used for Lupus and R.A. They have tried to stack me on 3 to 4 meds together at some times in order to have contraindicated intentional symptoms to make some meds more potent because simply adding a higher dosage would have been toxic. I was simply entertaining the idea of something natural that might be able to control the inflammation enough so that I am not a constant lab rat in attempt to find a toxic medication that will work well enough. My ALTs at peak elevation have never topped over 600 which is far lower than many others I see on here who have extremely high elevations they are being treated for.
I am going in for my second liver biopsy so we have something to compare the first one to. It was done 7 years ago and I have been on low dose azathioprine and prednisone ever since. When I try to go off I flare a bit so we have just never tried it. I now have a new doc (other left gastro field) that I am not as thrilled with and he just so wants another biopsy. I have been reluctant to do another my levels are decent and I feel good.
I would just love to hear from someone else in this world who has autoimmune hepatitis too.
just found out i have AIH in May 2010. started on 60mg of prednisone. my billiruben, alt, sed rates have been good up to September. i went to a level of 20mg of prednisone. decided to go back to work, because i had the energy and body was feeling good. shoulnt have done that. did my blood test and my levels had gone up. the doctor increased me to 25mg of prednisone. the side effects of the prednizone on me are moon face, hump neck,irritability and it has also given me diabetes. i am 55 years old female. have any of you tried any herba lalternatives? just reading up onDMSO and MSM
I was Dx with AIH May 2010, ast 1550 and jaundice, just got back from Bermuda, everyone thought I had the prefect tan except my eyes were yellow
I was introduced to the best liver doctor he is brillant. Of course he wanted to put me on high dose prednisone and imuran or low prednisone high imuran. I knew I had to do something to bring down the inflammation, I suggested starting with 30mg prednisone with out the Imuran. he went along me but insisted labs every 2 weeks. I started the 30mgs of pred and I also contacted Sandra Cabot (Aussie MD). I purchased her products. Started 30mg pred and Sandra Cabots Livertone Plus, MSM and Energy Design and with in a few weeks my alt 56 and all other followed """"YAHOO"". I weened down 1mg at a time to 3mg and unfortunately enyzmes started to elevate, had to go back up to 5mg pred.
I am constantly trying to ween down from 5mg.
I was om 3mgs last week but I could feel enzymes were elevating again so I went back up to 5mg (3 days ago), had my labs done today alt 91, ast 60 bili 1.8
I need to slow down, stay on 5mg until enzymes are within normal limits, stay there for a while then ween down 0.5mgs and stay there for a while then ween another 0.5mgs and stay there for awhile and so on.
I am not currently using Sandra Cabot's products anymore, I am now following The Autoimmunity Bible and Norton Protocol, may want to google this ebook, very interested.
I can't stand prednisone, need to get rid of it!!!! My OBGYN is also is a Alternative MD, I am always bouncing ideas off of her. My liver doctor always know what I am doing. I am trying to teach him western medicine HA-HA
i am down to 10mg now. i know my doc is trying to come to 5. last week my ggt was 91. did u get diabetes with the prednisone? well i did. started a herbal sugar blocker called gymnema sylvestre in november. now i am not taking any medication for diabetes. i still monitor my sugar levels every day.
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