That one item, "no processed foods", provides the biggest and easiest step towards achieving a liver friendly diet. The amounts of sodium in some of the packages is appalling, even for health people. I try to stay away from the crazy fatty foods as well.
And my hep hounded me until I started to drink coffee, lol! I never drank it before, but I figured since the research confirmed my hep's postition, a couple cups a day is now my standard.
Here's an easy start:
I gave up eating meat but I think that one could eat meat in moderation and still have a liver friendly diet
fresh, unprocessed foods are key - fresh veggies, fruits, grains. And coffee seems to be good for one's liver (at least there's that!)
no drinking of course, at all, ever...
Nutrition is not only essential to the health of a patient with cirrhosis but to anyone living with a medical condition. Our minds must not only be strong but our bodies as well. To state that diet and nutrition would not have an impact on liver disease could be gravely false. Why put greater stress on a liver and cause cirrhosis to progress any quicker than it has to by eating fatty foods, processed food chemicals, etc. Patients with cirrhosis have livers that are dealing with enough as it is, why not help create a stronger organ that has a better chance of survival? Is this not in at least some way, controlling the disease? Maybe the word control is too much, what if we say... guiding the disease while building a stronger body.
Now, to say nutrition is a cure or the only treatment, that would be false. I will not say that diet and nutrition are the only treatments but I will say that I feel most people neglect such areas when they are critical to survival of even the fittest. Following doctors’ orders is always important for they are the specialists who guide us, treat us, and care for us. They should be our starting point but we also must take our health into our own hands by learning and sharing. Communities such as this allow us to do just that. Hurrah for Med Help!
Maintaining a healthy diet is critical to those with cirrhosis. Cirrhosis hinders the body’s ability to absorb nutrition so in many cases vitamin supplements are required. A healthy diet will aid your liver in recovery and the effectiveness of that recovery since time is crucial.
The best diet for someone with cirrhosis is very close to the one you needed before you had cirrhosis. Foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains and proteins of proper types and in proper amounts are very appropriate. In addition, it is a good idea to take a daily multivitamin. B-complex and zinc sulfate are often prescribed. You should always consult your gastroenterologist or hepatologist before adding any medications to your diet.
Avoiding medication that metabolize in the liver is also important (such as pain medication, prescription and OTC- over the counter whenever possible) this is to include headache medication as well. Keep in mind everything ingested must be broken down and filtered by the liver so we want to be as careful and helpful as we know how.
Depending on the severity (stage) of your cirrhosis certain foods may need to be avoided or portioned such as “protein” commonly induces symptoms of hepatic encephalopathy (HE) or a low sodium diet may need to be exercised to avoid water retention for those with ascites. Foods with high levels of antioxidants are also very helpful in assisting your body with removing toxins (a function of the liver no longer performed effectively due to cirrhosis)
Though Hector is right in concluding “diet does not control cirrhosis” it can be a very effective way to aid your liver in the best recovery possible meanwhile assisting with the above mention symptoms making day to day life more comfortable. (ie: a person with HE eats a steak is more likely to feel the effects of that high level protein the day following due to the amount of ammonia the liver will produce to break down the proteins and then fail at removing all of the ammonia. The ammonia will then enter the blood stream and reach the brain increasing the severity of symptoms –Hence Hepatic Encephalopathy)
I hope this will in some way help you out, Take care and Welcome to MedHelp!
One more piece of info is that fried foods, barbecued, Baked and roasted foods that are cooked at high temp. for long periods of time release a carcinogen that could speed up the progression.
I am goin to cosult a nutritionist that wants all my labword, biop. report and all test pertaining to my cirrhosis and if I get any more suggestions other than what these good people said I will post it. thnx, Bootcamp
If your cirrhosis is decompensated limit your salt intake.
Read labels. Avoid sodium ( salt) and any additives.
Obviously, no alcohol.
Fresh ideally organic and freshly prepared food is always best. Keep exercising too.
As Hector pointed out, no diet will reverse cirrhosis but eating right can help mitigate the side effects of having cirrhosis.
Rivil, I think the only thing strange about coffee being good for the liver, is that we were all told for so many years that it was bad ;)
It's amazing how much better you will feel with a liver loving diet. If you've not been organically minded, it may take a while for you to get the hang of it. It can seem expensive, but it doesn't have to be.
Plan on spending a bit more time in the kitchen because processed foods contain a lot of sodium. But you know what? Most people love my cooking because it is fresh and full of flavor. And... no carb hangover. haha.
Good luck, Karen :)
A heart health diet is also a liver friendly diet.
Google a heart Smart diet that should give you a start.
Do you know why he has cirrhosis yet? Does he have hepatitis c possibly?
There are new very effective treatments for hep c now available that can help if that is the reason.
Just to add I was diagnosed with cirrhosis in January 2008 and I am still here like you said every one is different.
Just wanted to let you know there is hope.
Best to you both
Hello Debbie and welcome to MedHelp!
There is some really good information in this thread that I think can help you get your energy back up pertaining to your diet. What type of doctor are you seeing? Also was imaging or biopsy used for your diagnosis?
A swollen abdomen is a common side effect of cirrhosis referred to as ascites (water retention). A low sodium diet along with diuretic medication is common treatment for this. This diagnosis can be made with an ultrasound and should be treated right away as it can potentially become life threatening if bacteria should grow. In more severe cases fluid must be drained from the abdomen. This is a more common side effect of "decompensated cirrhosis" so at this point it is diet is critical.
Cirrhosis is divided into stages: Compensated and decompensated.
•Compensated cirrhosis means that the body still functions fairly well despite scarring of the liver. Many people with compensated cirrhosis experience few or no symptoms.
•Decompensated cirrhosis means that the severe scarring of the liver has damaged and disrupted essential body functions. Patients with decompensated cirrhosis develop many serious and life-threatening symptoms and complications.
Read more: http://www.umm.edu/patiented/articles/who_gets_cirrhosis_000075_3.htm#ixzz22QDDhENN
I hope this information will help you out. Please let me know if I can help with anything else. Take care.
I forgot to mention - If you have cirrhosis or liver disease, you should not use vitamin K2 and MK-7. K2 MK-7 stays in your blood for 3 days and can build up and cause toxicity, especially in people with liver damage. MK-7 is found in natto, so avoiding natto might be a good idea.
I eat a vegan diet. I do use some fish oil for inflammation (adds calories also, but could increase bleeding). I eat oats, veggies and flaxseed. I only eat about 300 mg of sodium daily. I eat soft foods, and I try to chew well. I take kyolic garlic capsules and ginger capsules. I take one camu camu capsule daily for natural vitamin C. I don't use multivitamins and in my opinion, no one should use multivitamins - too dangerous. Iron is not the only risk. Don't use vitamin K1 (unless doctor say to) or K2 pills. I do use 1000 IU vitamin D3 and a very low dose vitamin B. I just can't seem to get enough b vitamins from food, so I take the risk. At a low dose, it seems ok. I don't use folic acid though. I currently don't eat legumes, but peas or lentils might be an idea. Squash perhaps. Teff, quinoa, buckwheat etc. Animal protein should be avoided. Protein amount - you can find government guidelines online. I eat about 50-55 grams I think.
You need to see a hepatologist, a liver specialist, not just a regular doctor.
Try to stop eating salt/sodium altogether.
There is a list of doctors recommended for the treatment of hep C by our members on this link.
If you can't find one there, call your closest university or hospital and tell them you need to see a hepatologist.
By the way, I weigh less than 120 lbs. The 300 mg sodium includes the sodium naturally found in my food. I eat a small amount of miso to get most of my daily sodium. Some recommend up to 500 mg sodium, but 300 mg has worked for me. Also, I knew I had mentioned K2 in my first comment, but I had forgot to specifically mention MK-7. Again, don't use MK-7.
I think eating slowly is a good idea. It takes me 30-40 minutes to eat breakfast and 1 hour to eat lunch and 1 hour to eat dinner. I watch TV as I eat and take my time on purpose. I don't snack. I also drink water and coffee slowly. I use organic instant coffee and it takes me an hour to drink 7 ounces in the morning (1 tsp instant coffee). I actually use a watch to drink coffee and water. I take pills in the middle of meals. The slow-eating started when I had periods of bad nausea and loss of appetite and I had to literally force myself to eat. I still have to force myself to eat, but my nausea and anorexia is mostly under control. By the way, avoid 500 calorie a day diets. Avoid undereating and overeating. One reason I say people should not use multivitamins is because multivitamins made my health worse several years ago. A multivitamin just puts more stress on the liver, since a basic diet provides plenty of minerals and vitamin A and K. I get vitamin A from veggies. A multivitamin can cause more liver damage. Most people know, don't use iron pills, but probably avoid even things like Hawaiian spirulina, as I think it's too high in iron and chromium. Non-ocean spirulina might be safer. I'm not recommending spirulina, I'm just saying, be careful of food supplements. But obviously, try to get greens from regular veggies. The government has plenty of information on the RDA/DRI situation. As I stated earlier, I take b-complex at close to the RDA. I feel b-complex might have risks, but I think it's basically safe. B-complex from a healthy diet is the best way to go, but I was not able to get the RDA for B-12 and niacinamide, so I take the b-complex at about the RDA level.
I have been putting spinach into my green shake in the morning. Too much iron?
I have no idea if your spinach is giving you too much iron. Get nutrition data from nutrition data sites online to see where you stand with the RDA. I was just warning about certain pills that have a lot of iron in just 6 small pills, which on top of a regular diet can be too much. By the way, I am using Megafood b complex, although I cut it up and I don't use the whole pill, as I don't need a dose that high. I don't use PABA, choline or inositol. I do use a lecithin softgel with each meal. Maybe a large softgel for one meal and a small softgel with my other meals. I get my lecithin softgels from swanson. They have non-gmo.
Any views on Brewers Yeast? I have been putting it on popcorn instead of salt and butter. Yum....
I was very sick when I wrote my last comments. I was dealing with vitamin K2 MK-7 toxicity and vitamin K2-MK-7 induced liver and kidney damage. I was not really ready to share certain things. MK-7 is now out of my system, so I feel somewhat better. I have had liver disease for 12 years. It started with liver pain problems, but over the years, I made some serious dietary supplement mistakes, so I now have severe liver disease (and I now also have kidney disease). I have scar-like liver pain and overall liver pain problems (and I now also have kidney pain problems). I want to warn people and be clear about certain supplements that gave me further liver damage and also kidney damage. I have had to deal with a lot of extra suffering, because of 4 supplements. If you have liver problems or liver disease (even if you're healthy, think twice), don't take multivitamins (if they contain minerals and certain fat-soluble vitamins), chromium, and vitamin K (K1, MK-4, and super dangerous MK-7). Vitamin K2 MK-7 gave me severe liver damage and severe kidney damage. As I said before, I already had liver disease, but thanks to insidious MK-7, I got more liver damage and also kidney damage - now I have liver pain and kidney pain much of the time. I have had liver pain problems since the beginning of my liver disease, so I didn't realize that some of my liver pain was from MK-7. By the time I realized MK-7 was hurting me, it was too late. I was hoping the MK-7 liver and kidney damage would heal, but it's permanent. Vitamin K2 MK-7 sellers claimed MK-7 was not stored in the liver and therefore MK-7 was safe, so that's one reason I took MK-7. Vitamin K2 MK-7 accumulates and causes liver damage and kidney damage. Chromium supplements gave me a lot of liver damage and some kidney damage. Chromium supplements (all types - yeast, chelates, etc) cause liver damage and kidney damage. Also, chromium-3 can be transformed into the more toxic chromium-6 by oxidizing chemicals in the body. Multivitamins also gave me liver damage. Multivitamins (natural and synthetic) can cause liver damage (and kidney damage), especially if you have liver disease. Take only the amount of vitamin D you need and avoid excess vitamin D. I took too much vitamin D3 for a while and then I got vitamin D toxicity and further liver damage and permanent hypercalcemia. I now wish I had stayed somewhere around 30 ng/mL of vitamin D. Vitamin D3 is the only fat-soluble vitamin I now take. I currently take 1,000 IU of vitamin D3 once daily in the highly absorbable softgel form. MSM sulfur is the only mineral I take. To be clear, avoid minerals and fat-soluble vitamins A (preformed), E, and K (vitamin K1, vitamin K2 MK-4, and extremely dangerous vitamin K2 MK-7), which can build up in your body and cause toxicity and liver damage and kidney damage. Vitamin K2 is made by beneficial bacteria in your intestines. Vitamin K is stored in the body. Vitamin K (K1, K2 MK-7, K2 MK-4) thickens the blood. Vitamin K supplements (especially nasty MK-7) are totally unnecessary. Some sites claim vitamin K supplements are safe, but I found out the hard way that vitamin K supplements are extremely dangerous. As I said before, vitamin K2 MK-7 gave me severe liver and kidney damage and now I have more liver pain and also a lot of kidney pain every day. Vitamin K supplements are dangerous, even if your liver and kidneys are healthy. It might be a good idea to get the vitamin K1 RDA, but I think it's okay to get less than the vitamin K1 RDA, since the body makes vitamin K. The vitamin K RDA is based on vitamin K1, not vitamin K2 MK-7. Humans were meant to eat small amounts of vitamin K1 (not MK-7) from vegetables and other foods. Vitamin K (K1, K2 MK-7, K2 MK-4) supplements can cause liver damage, kidney damage (kidney tubal degeneration), dangerous blood clots, headaches, fatigue, weakness, irritability, dizziness, fainting, anemia, increased perspiration, skin rashes, and skin itching. Vitamin K supplements (K1 and K2) are dangerous to the kidneys (and liver) and should be avoided by all people, especially since many people have less than perfect kidneys, but don't realize it - if your kidneys cannot properly process high levels of vitamin K, then you get vitamin K toxicity and kidney damage. Don't trust any online doctor or anyone who recommends vitamin K2 and claims vitamin K2 (and K1) has no serious risks. Vitamin K2 supplements (and multivitamins) don't fight aging - they speed up aging and destroy your health. I fell for the vitamin K2 (MK-7) scam, and now I'm paying the price. As I mentioned earlier, vitamin K is produced by the body itself and not needed in supplement form. No one needs vitamin K supplements, unless they have a real medical need and they are under medical supervision (if you must take vitamin K for medical reasons, try to use the less toxic vitamin K1). As I mentioned in another post, consider avoiding Hawaiian spirulina, because it's high in chromium (currently about 8 mcg of chromium per tablet - 1 serving exceeds the DRI - the Adequate Intake (AI) for chromium is 20-35 mcg). Certain water-soluble B vitamins are usually safe around the RDA level. I avoid thiamine mononitrate and benfotiamine, because they are fat-soluble forms of thiamine (vitamin B-1). I also avoid synthetic folic acid, synthetic inositol and PABA. I don't eat mushrooms - I don't trust mushrooms, because they made me very sick once (before I got liver disease). I would never eat natto. I currently only use the triglyceride form of fish oil. I don't use ginger extract capsules - I use whole root ginger capsules (fresh freeze-dried and regular) that are tested to contain active ingredients. I use fresh freeze-dried garlic capsules and also aged garlic capsules. I eat brown flax seed for breakfast. I mix 50 grams of organic brown flax seed powder with 117 grams of cold (refrigerated) water and then I let the flax cake stand (and thicken) for 45 minutes. I then spread 6 grams of 2 year barley miso paste on top of the flax cake. I currently eat organic quick rolled oats with organic chocolate (cocoa is high in pyrroloquinoline quinone or PQQ) syrup for lunch and dinner. I use a blood sugar meter and I try to keep my blood sugar under 120 mg/dL. Most of the time my blood sugar is 74-110 mg/dL. I don't eat fruit - fruit makes my blood sugar spike too high (I use camu camu and amla supplements, which have no sugar). I weigh all of my food. I weigh most of my water. I have learned a lot from liver disease (and thanks to MK-7, now also kidney disease) and if I was healthy (I had a healthy liver [and healthy kidneys] for most of my life), I'd still avoid multivitamins, chromium supplements, vitamin K supplements (and natto) and excess vitamin D. For search - multivitamins liver disease, multivitamins liver damage, multivitamins dangerous, multivitamin toxicity, chromium liver disease, chromium metal supplements dangerous, chromium side effects, vitamin D liver disease, liver disease supplements, liver disease diet, kidney disease diet, kidney disease vitamins, vitamin K liver disease, MK-7 toxic, vitamin K2 MK-7 dangerous, vitamin K2 MK-7 liver disease, vitamin K side effects, vitamin K2 MK-7 side effects.
Also steer clear of Vit A which is toxic to the liver AND don't make my dumb mistake by thinking I needed to replace meat protein with raw protein shakes! I thought because it was to be easier to digest it would be good for me! Insult to unjury: energy bars, kefir with extra protein, od walls protein drinks.... Now I sm dealing with Lactulose and the antibiotic whose name I forget begins with an x or z...yup, I have H E! Got rid of the virus and now dealing with more issues than ever before due to an aggressive cirrhosis! I went from hep c stage 1.5 to full out cirrhosis with portal hypertention and an enlarged spleen.
I had no idea I would be dealing with cirrhosis and that it, not the virus now, could affect me so horribly. Diet is therefore hugely important! I hope one day to fell good and think. I'm end of a successful treatment with sovaldi and olysio...now I have to get my diet and symptoms from cirrhosis evened out--this the hardest time I've ever had with any illness or disease and as I understand it, it for the long term. So, fighting depression, control issues, diet, and trying to get healthy is not easy. I think be prepared and learn as much as you can BEFORE any adverse additional diseases and syptoms kick in would be any bodies best bet to a happy healthy life. I hope one day to be there. On my profile page is a link to a PDFs toolkit about cirrhosis that has helped me so much! (Thanks Hector &Lynn for the head's up!)
I also react to all medication, foods and supplements, that's part of life with cirrhosis. Again, education is key.
Best wishes and I'm glad to hear you've gotten through one toxic faux pas! That's how I think about these dietary snafus now. : )
OMG. My husband has just been diagnosed with Cirrhosis of the Liver. I have been reading some of these comments and I am devastated. Just before Christmas 2014 I was diagnosed with breast cancer and had a mastectomy in January 2015. My Breast Surgeon told me not to read other people's comments and not to listen to other people due to the fact that everyone is different. I stuck by this and I'm glad. The only reason I am reading comments on Cirrhosis is because I have not at this stage, attended any medical appointments my husband has had. I will be in the future. My husband was also diagnosed with Diabetes 2 just prior to Cirrhosis. I am the cook in the house and I do not know, at the moment. What he should not be eating or what he should be cutting back on. We see his Gastro Doctor in 2 weeks. He is knew to taking Detalin and having quite a few side effects. fatigue being the worst. Can you help me with the food side til we see his Specialist?
i had hepatitis c for a while. now its turned into cirrhosis of the liver.im really really weak feeling all the time. but i know i dont eat right.to tell the truth im not even able to cook or clean, because of NO ENGERY..IM NOW SEEING A DR.i have some more testing to do, then he is gonna start treatments.my stomach is swollan bad. he says it dont have anything to do with cirrhosis.but i have seen on the computer where that is a side affect for some people.have any of yall had any of these symptons?
No food will "control cirrhosis". Cirrhosis is not caused by any food. It can be caused by many different things that injure the liver of a period of many decades. A virus, alcohol, a hereditary condition or something else. If that underlying cause can be removed, there is a chance (depending on how damaged the liver is) to stop and reverse the progression of disease. So the diagnosis of the cause of cirrhosis is needed to manage the illness.
Cirrhosis is a progressive disease no food will stop cirrhosis from getting worse with time.
Make no mistake about it, without proper treatment and the option of a transplant liver cirrhosis in time can be a fatal disease. All person with cirrhosis should be under the care of a hepatologist at a liver transplant center. Only they can help manage your cirrhosis and diet is only one small part of living with cirrhosis.
Thinking that changing the food you eat will not have an impact on the fatal nature of liver disease. Serious intensive medical care and treatment is the only thing that can stop cirrhosis from getting worse with time. Cirrhosis of the liver is a potentially fatal disease and should be dealt with in a serious manner.
"Cirrhosis is generally irreversible, and treatment usually focuses on preventing progression and complications. In advanced stages of cirrhosis the only option is a liver transplant."
"Cirrhosis is the twelfth leading cause of death by disease, accounting for 27,000 deaths each year."
Only after a hepatologist knows the cause and extent of your liver disease will they be able to advise you on what foods may create more problems and what type and amount of foods you should eat.
There have been many past threads on the subject.
I will summarize what I remember reading
No red meat, no salt, minimal sugar
Poultry and fish are fine should be organic
Alot of veggies and fruits
Best fruits are dark fruits like berries
Best veggies artichoke and beets
Avoid processed foods
Stay with wholesome simple foods.
Drink a lot of water
coffee is (strangely) good for the liver.
Avoid kombucha- otherwise good for you but not w/ liver disease.
Vitamins w/o iron