I'd like to pass on some results I've had since drinking green tea. When I was first diagnosed with hcv, my liver panels indicated alt=90 and ast=66 so I consider this kind of a baseline. At one point I started taking a bunch of vitamins and supplements which made my enzymes shoot up to alt=167 and ast=105. Pretty sure that was too much to start with all at once so I quit everything and the enzymes started to come down. Alt came down to 121 ast=73. As I mentioned, I quit taking any vitamins or supplements but decided that it probably wouldn't hurt to drink green tea. I was a little concerned though about the extra caffeine since I drink a couple cups of coffee every morning. Since I travel for my work, I don't always have access to a microwave so I usually soak a couple of Liptons Green Tea bags in a 16 oz. bottle of water over night and drink the tea the next day. After a little over a month of doing this, my alt went down to 50 and my ast=36. After another month of drinking green tea, my results yesterday came back with alt=38 and ast=36. I forgot to mention that I usually drank the bottle of green tea right when I get up in the morning.
If you google green tea, there's a ton of info on it as I'm sure you all know. I first read about it's benefits in Andrew Weil's book "Spontaneous Healing" where he discusses the catechins contained in green tea. There's also a Dr. Samuel Wheeler French Jr. at UCLA that's doing research on the catechins contained in green tea. The "Hep C Challenge" booklet also mentions green tea being beneficial to people with hcv.
I know that enzymes and viral load are 2 different animals but I'm curious to see if my VL has gone down from the green tea. Anyone have any opinions? I may have that tested in a couple of months.
I dring Guayaki Yerba Matte heavily about 3 to 5 x weekly on average. Maybe 2 bags a day. My ALT and AST seem to have gone down or stayed stable even though my fatty liver and dependence on sweets and fats is getting worse.
ALT and AST are not baselines hepatitis.
If AST and ALT were baselines for hepatitis, detection and treatment would be much easy. No need for viral load, biopsy, imaging or other blood test. Unfortunately the reality is very different.
Patients with stage 4 liver disease can have normal ALT and AST results. Does this mean they are somehow healthier than patients with higher ALT and AST blood levels?
They have nothing to do with viral load nor the extent of liver disease.
Seeing your viral load go up or down is irrelevant as to if you have chronic hepatitis C or not. You either a person has chronic hepatitis C or they don't. If you have chronic hepatitis C the only known cure is treatment with SOC meds and the two DAAs that are on the market.
With cure rates up to 80% currently I fail to understand the purpose of your posting.
I'm very new to the world of hcv (though I'm pretty sure I have had it for over 30 yrs.) I've read many of your posts and you obviously have way more knowledge on the subject than I do. But I'm now confused. Aren't the alt and ast tests measurements of the rate liver cells are dying? Especially the alt?
I'm grade1/stage1 so isn't it a good thing to keep my enzyme levels low and wait for even better treatments?
alts and asts are only indicators of tissue damage - neither is liver specific - although alts are much more than asts - green tea is beneficial to the body in a number of ways including general liver health - and even with an 80% cure rate for first time treaters theres still damage done to the liver - drink up
Rick. Thanks for your response. Yes, you are in a general sense correct in what you say.
grade1/stage1? Sure you have time to wait new treatments that will come to market in the future. Hopefully they will be more effective, with less side-effects and need shorter duration of time to cure.
When you decide to treat and cure yourself of the virus, your liver will repair itself, so there is no need to worry about your liver in the meantime. It is one of the unique qualities of the organ. Just be sure to treat before your liver has advanced fibrosis.
If you have had chronic hepatitis C for over 30 years, your liver disease is progressing very, very slowly which is great! A number of chronic HCV patients will have stage 4 liver disease after being chronically infected for 20-40 years.
Since you are curious about AST/ALT here are a few things about AST and ALT you may find interesting:
* These tests have meaning (as you said), but they generally cannot be interpreted without clinical information. They are probably most useful to track, or follow a particular problem, but even then they often "bounce around" greatly.
* These numbers are not linear. An AST that is 300 is not twice as bad as 150. An AST of 94 and 80 are essentially the same to a liver specialist.
* These numbers do not always detect all liver disease. Some very patients with severe advanced liver disease will have normal or nearly normal enzyme levels.
I had norm AST and ALT when I had compensated cirrhosis as I mentioned. My current numbers are AST=109, ALT=75. Not too different from some of your results. I have decompensated cirrhosis (ESLD) and liver cancer (HCC). After 40 years of having chronic HCV. (I am your age). As you can see the differences between our liver diseases is vast. Yet our AST and ALT results are not that dissimilar.
My concern with your post (which I now see was jumping to conclusions on my part) was I thought that is was saying that there is no need to do treatment when we can normalize AST and ALT level with tea. I can see this wasn't your intention and I am sorry if I came down too hard on you. My concern is that people will put off treatment because of the side effects or some miracle sure and then one day find out that they have decompensated and can no longer try treatment. I don't want to see anyone go through what myself and some of my friends are going through or have gone through.
A few basics about AST and ALT whch I got from:
Jeff Punch MD
Division of Transplantation
University of Michigan
Aspartate Aminotransferase (AST)
1. AST is a cytoplasmic enzyme in liver, muscle, RBC's and other locations
2. Released from damaged cells; serum levels peak 24-36 hr after injury and normalize at 3-6 days if injury isn't ongoing.
3. Mild-to-moderate (3-10 fold) elevations occur in chronic hepatitis and active cirrhosis.
4. Cardiac and skeletal muscle injury will also produce substantial AST elevations.
Alanine Aminotransferase (ALT)
1. More specific for the liver than AST, but also present in kidney and muscle.
2. Used to confirm that AST elevations are of liver origin (e.g., elevation of both AST and ALT strongly suggest hepatocellular injury).
3. The time course of ALT is similar to AST (though the ratio of the AST and ALT varies with disease and from patient to patient.
1. Viral hepatitis, mononucleosis, and acute hepatotoxicity typically show elevations in ALT that are equal to or greater than AST elevations (AST/ALT less than or equal to 1.0)
2. ALT is elevated to a lesser degree than AST in alcoholic liver disease and cirrhosis, or metastatic tumor to the liver (AST/ALT greater than 1.0)
3. These are rules of thumb--substantial minorities of patients deviate from them.
Are these numbers indicative of liver funtion?
Not really. Unfortunately, they are often called "liver function tests" or "LFT's", but in actuality, they do not measure function per se.
Then how is liver function measured?
Other tests including:
albumin and bilirubin, and prothrombin time are more truly measures of function, but clinical factors must be considered as well.
I hope you found some of this info "food for thought".
I wish you the best of luck when you do decide to treat.
I just read recenty that mate tea is supposedly toxic to the liver (after i had been drinking it everyday since Chrismtas (lol...) I saw in your post that you drink Guayaki Yerba Matte. Is that 'matte' tea the same as 'mate tea'? I have switched to some green tea...but not really my 'cup of tea'. :(
One source was from the doctor I am seeing. Apparently, this is info that is given to all of their patients. I will just list a few of the ones listed under "Herbs that will harm your liver": Licorice, Penny royal, Ma Huan, Green Tea Leaf, Mate (paraquay tea/ilex paraguariensis), mistle toe, nutmeg, Valerian, etc. I will try and contact their office on Monday to verify...especially now that I have switched to green tea....arggghhhhh! I also just finished a book "The First Year: Hepatitis C: An Essential Guide for the Newly Diagnosed" that lists Mate tea and Gordolobo yerba tea as being liver-toxic herbs. I did find some references online but will have to look it up again later. I would welcome any light anyone can share on this!
Here is additional info about liver toxicity from some 'teas '....
Beware of "Nutritional Therapies"
Herbal treatments and alternative liver medicines need to undergo rigorous scientific study before they can be recommended. "Natural" or diet treatments and herbal remedies can be quite dangerous. Plants of the Senecio, Crotalaria and Heliotopium families, plus chaparral, germander, comfrey, mistletoe, skullcap, margosa oil, mate tea, Gordolobo yerba tea, pennyroyal, and Jin Blu Huan are all toxic to the liver.
Yerba Matte is high in antioxidants and can act as a cancer preventative when taken in moderation. http://www.yerbamatecafe.com/yerbamateandcancer.html
People in the US don't normally consume this beverage in the amount and with the concentration that those in SA do. The cancers that are linked. . . head and throat and esophagus etc.. . . were apparently based on studies done in SA in specific ethnic populations and where the style of consumption is quite different than it is in the US. The increased rates are what one would expect when drinking it in the amount and frequency that has been reported esp when pairing it with smoking and drinking alcohol and drinking it very hot through a metal straw. I have not been able to review the studies first hand and your posts do not enlighten further. I definitely believe such over use can injure the esophagus as can other substances that are not taken appropriately or which aggravate an existant condition, such as coffee or chili peppers. As far as the liver is concerned, I think the court is still out on that one.
I use Guayaki Yerba Matte not Gordolobo yerba tea which I think is a different tea entirely. I do agree that one does need to watch their supplements carefully and not believe that, because something is made into a tea, it is benign to the liver.
" I definitely believe such over use can injure the esophagus as can other substances that are not taken appropriately or which aggravate an exisitant condition, such as coffee or chili peppers."
Since, I am no medical professional I can't argue about specifics concerning a person's condition and what may or may not aggravate their condition.
My personal view is we are not all the same and what works for one may not work for others.
However, I feel the idea of coffee and chili peppers as examples of substances which "can aggravate an existant conditon" is an outdated notion being proven over the last few years to be false.
Research shows great benefits of drinking coffee for varying conditions.
Coffee is positively implicated in reducing the risk for Parkinson’s disease, liver cirrhosis, colon cancer,type II diabetes, Alzheimer’s, dementia and even gallstones.
The chili pepper view is mostly, in my opinion, cultural.
My GI in Bangkok told me while I had decompensated cirrhosis, that chilies and turmeric were good for the liver.
Chili Peppers help migraine headaches,fight cancer, lower high blood pressure, protect your heart and can soothe intestinal diseases.
It is hard to combat old notions.
Even with research showing benefits to those on treatment of drinking coffee and obtaining SVR, many doctors still say, "no coffee."
My comments about chili pepper and coffee were referrant to my esophagus damaged by years of gastroesophageal reflux disease not my liver. I have been made aware that an esophagus that is continually in the process of healing and being injured is at heightened risk for developing cancerous cells. I feel that these thoughts from one of my gastros are worth respecting. I certainly don't consider such cautions to be obsolete.
I drink coffee and I drink Yerba Matte and I am not about to stop. However, the major point about my post is that these substances ought to be consumed in moderation by those of us who have vulnerabilities such as I mentioned.
I will just contribute a small comment here. I see a lot of scaremongering about herbs, teas and supplements. I do agree that caution is always advised and that herbs are serious stuff. Most especially when undergoing HCV treatment. In the case of Chinese medicine for example, if you are well advised to find a reputable and experienced practitioner who knows how to source high quality herbs. Sometimes mistakes are made in ingredients from suppliers who fail to properly identify some tricky plant varieties.
I have a problem with these broad warnings about herbs though. They almost never state the level at which the substance is has been shown to be toxic. Almost anything becomes toxic if you have too much. Are we talking teaspoons, tablespoons, or bucket-loads? Once a day, or every 15 minutes?
It is apparently acceptable to temporarily subject your body to the toxicity of drugs like IFN in order to eliminate HCV, even with a risk of lasting side effects. Yet the same logic cannot be applied to herbs? I am not suggesting poisoning yourself with herbs here, just pointing out a contradiction.
I will continue to use my herbs, teas, vitamin D, and a supplement or two in moderation when helpful after checking for toxicity. Thankfully, I have little or no fibrosis. Once in a while, I will use things like arnica and comfrey on my skin, but will not ingest them orally. They really help.
Just saying no need to throw the baby out with the bath water.
i had dr check my liver enzymesNOV 30TH,lab said results would be back within 1 1/2 hours.i am now playing waiting game but i already know i have hcv.i have been in denial where i am a cna and a waitress of small family restaurant.i am new to this site so please explain to me whats the normal average of a liver enzyme test?lab said it would take a couple of weeks to actually get hcv results but i am most certain that i got this from a blood transfusion when i was 9 or a tattoo when i was 16.i am glad coffee is good for liver.BUT dr. has me on zanax for my anxiety and panic disorder.ALSO wanted to add that i look like the greatest picture of health but my legs kill me,my side kills me and my vitals are excellent.i just now told my husband of 12 years.he took it very well.i have always been very careful about my home being bleach-cleaned and no one has ever used my razor.but i feel as though my insides are dying.i am so scared.my husband gave blood twicw in the past 2 years so i do know i have not passed this to him.any help from anybody
how many million people in South-America do drink tea beverages of yerba-mate? I never ever heard of this ilex paraguayensis tea being toxic or anybody drinking this tea in any form being poisened!!! to the contrary: the yerba mate tee is a health-tea!!!! I wonder by whose interest this tea is proclaimed toxic??
There exists a healing plant in Brasil that actually cures HCV within max. 3
months if taken correctly and the bioflavonoide "quercetine" probabely is extracted from that plant.
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