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238010 tn?1420406272

Update on using Zhang's protocol

Thought I'd update everyone on my using Dr.Zhang's protocol (see sinomedresearch.org) to try to maintain status quo until I tx again.

For those who don't know me, I'm geno 1a, stage 3/4, have had HCV since 1981 (blood transfusion while in high school).  I tx'd from 1/08 to 10/09 - und at week 28, 88 weeks tx and a 4 week taper, but relapsed.

I met with Dr.Zhang in early March this year and he gave me five herb combos to take:

1. multivitamin with some other stuff in it (such as glutathione).  Curiously, it doesn't have vitamin D. 2 pills, twice a day
2. an anti-inflammatory - 2 pills, 3 times a day
3. something to promote microcirculation - 1 pill, 3 times a day
4. cordyceps, to reduce/remove fibrosis - 2 pills, 3 times a day
5. something to support gall bladder function (I have gall stones) 2 pills, 3 times a day.

I've also started taking 2000 IU vitamin D daily, since my level was at 25.

This regimen costs about $275/month delivered.  What he prescribes depends on your individual situation.

I started taking everything in early March.  My liver enzyme levels:

              12/8/09               2/3/10            5/28/10
ALT           92                      66                  46
AST           58                     47                   61

I was a little disappointed by the May results, but Dr. Zhang liked the progress of the ALT level.  He said to stay on the same regimen.  I'll get another liver panel done in early Sept. and decide then whether to continue or not.

I also had an ultrasound done in mid-July.  No signs of tumors, the number of gallstones appears to be unchanged, and I do have a kidney stone or two.  I was worried about the gall bladder, because I feel like I have a minor malabsorption issue.  My gastro isn't concerned.

Physically I feel pretty good.  Playing a good amount of tennis, but I find I have zero stamina in hot and humid weather.  Don't know if that is liver related or age related. :-)

Recently I can't seem to get here as much as I'd like, I hope all you heppers are doin' OK.

28 Responses
Avatar universal
Glad you feel pretty good. Sorry but I think you are wasting your money with Dr Zhang. I don't see much of a difference to pay that kind of money. Good luck anyway
Avatar universal
Yes, I am sorry to say that, but both ALT and AST are still elevated. And, as you can yourself see, AST fluctuated-went down then back up again. These enzymes fluctuate constantly.

I know that some people get great results with Dr Zhang's regimen. But others don't. For this kind of money I would aim for normal liver enzymes.

Thank you for honest update. It is very valuable.
179856 tn?1333547362
I would just say that you should find out exactly what you are taking "some stuff for my gallbladder" that sounds scary to me. Especially when you can probably go to a health food store and buy up all the vitamins for a 1/4 of the $$$.

I'm sorry you didn't get better results. I can't imagine how bad it is to have to wait to treat again and yet want to protect your liver so much. Did you ask your doctor about these meds before you took them? Sorry you know me I am a skeptic and even when I'm trying to sound legit it sort of comes out in my 'voice' anyway.

Did you ask HR what you should take or not take?
238010 tn?1420406272
Well, the problem is I don''t know if I'm wasting money until I've wasted the money (assuming that it is really true that Dr. Zhang's regimen has helped some heppers).  

I told my doctor that I was going to try Chinese medicine to maintain status quo, and she implied it was worth a shot.  With the CYA mentality of doctors these days, it's shame that people who fail tx don't get any advice from doctors on what to do in the meantime before they tx again.

I could list out the herbs in each of the concoctions, but don't think there is any point. Dr.Zhang has a book that lists studies in China that support many of the herbs he prescribes (most of the studies were done on rats).

If I don't get better results in Sept., I'll switch to recommendations from HR (I haven't asked him, but he's posted enough before to figure it out, I just have to dig it up).  

Or, there's a company in Canada that has products based on Berkson's regimen and includes a lot of what HR has recommended  (hepatitistechnologies.com)  Complete package for that currently is $287/month.

If I was stage 1 or 2, I'd probably do just a few supplements.  But I'm not, so I feel like I have to do what I can with the little info that is available.

179856 tn?1333547362
I get ya as a stage 3er I can only imagine. that's why I extended to 72 - desperation.

I wouldn't trust Berkson a bit - that whole sales pitch that comes on here every once in a while is a well orchestrated plan.  I would trust HR though because he doesnt hawk for any money at all and has kindly advised us for years just out of the goodness of his heart.

When there is money involved it makes me EXTREMELY skeptical.

Hopefully though these herbs will do something for you and you won't have to even ask.  There I bet that statement just shocked the majority of people on here, I've never said THAT before!!!!!   ;)
979080 tn?1323433639
Dr. Zhang and Dr. Jacobson know of each other.
Jacobson at some point invited  Zhang to speak at Weill Cornell Medical about
his  chinese medicine protocol.

Avatar universal
I pay attention to ALT.
Yours has been trending downward and is half what it was 6 months ago. According to my Quest Diagnostic lab sheet your ALT (46) is within the reference range (9-60). That is certainly not a bad sign and I see it as encouraging.
AST is about the same as it was 6 months ago and, while I would prefer to see a decrease, it is not significantly elevated.
I haven't seen much evidence that inclines me to be optimistic about alternative approaches to HCV. Without seeing more information about your lab results my impression is that there is some reason to continue what you're doing. Of course, I don't know what your expectations were going into this regimen.
Good luck,
238010 tn?1420406272
Thanks for the input, Mike.  In July of 2009, when I was still txing, my ALT and AST were both 28.  I am hoping the herbs will get me to that point.

Avatar universal
Hi Smaug,
I am not downing what you are doing one bit but I just wanted to add this to your information pile.
My husband's labs were taken in Feb and ALT was 78 , AST was 83.  These were higher than before he had a 15 month TX failure .  We had used  HR's protocol for about a year  and they were ALT 58 and AST 63 before starting the big. long TX flop.  
Fast forward to May, and this is when we started some high quality supplements very much like what HR, from a company called Hepatitis Technologies.  A trusted friend put me in touch with them.   The guy that runs the company used them to reverse cirrhosis and he shows his fibroscans on his website. He has before and after pictures also which say a lot to me because you can sure see a difference.  I like him, and he has shown me to be a person of integrity but you should check him out yourself.  The supplements are in the same price range as what you are taking which I know is pricey and we have to make some sacrifices around here to pull it off.  After a little less than a month on them, Joe's ALT was 56  (30-65) and ALT was 54 (15-37).  He has also shown an increase in energy and has actually been walking a mile with me in the evenings.  That may not sound impressive but he was a wreck after the last TX.  He basically slept and vomited for 15 months...not much else .  He tried from time to time to get up and get around but his hgb was extremely low and he was constantly nauseous.  
At some point, you might check out the Hepatitis Technologies website and you can talk to the owner and he is very good about answering questions.
I have been around here a long time.  I live in the midwest, out in the sticks.  I have no affiliations with Hepatology Technologies and never will. They are in Canada.   I am just trying to share what appears to be helping Joe stay off the transplant list.  It isn't like he is cured but I don't feel like he is sliding down the hill right now.  It has sure been nice to have him up and around and fixing some of the things that broke down when he broke down.  :>)  The honey-do list got really long!
His ALT is in the high normal range and I'm happy with that.  We won't have labs drawn again until January.  I wish we could afford to do it sooner but we well just have to gauge things on how he feels for now.  He is supposed to have an MRI soon but I don't know if that will show much.  I'll let everyone know if  there is anything to report.
Best wishes,
Avatar universal
Very nice that your ALT is in normal range

I've done Dr. Zhang's herbs for almost a year now and my enzymes have been normal ever since. Before that they were pretty elevated.

I have also done HepTech supplements in addition to Zhang for six months now. I plan on switching over completely to HepTech and eliminating the Zhang herbs in a couple of months. I will then check to see if the enzymes rise or stay within range.

Also this fall I will do another fibroscan to see if there is an improvement in fibrosis. My results were F3 in the spring. Biopsy from six years ago also reported F3.

I'll report on my new labs when I do them. Good to hear from you smaug.
979080 tn?1323433639
in my opinion you need to be more aggressive.
why haven`t you done another CMP since end of May ?

You get the result in one day.
Your VitD is really low. 2000IU might not be enough. Mine was 34 and I needed
4000IU to bring it up.

If Zhang don`t work for you move on to Hepatitis Technologies.

Your last ALT is like mine only that I am on tx and UND< 5 IU.

What I do not like seeing is an AST being higher than ALT.

What did Zhang say about that ?

My lowest ALT/AST to date  was with Dr. Berkson 29/14 in Dec.09.

Just documenting !


Avatar universal
My ALT is 11 and my AST is 13.
My AST is higher. Is that troubling Bali?

979080 tn?1323433639
Avatar universal
You need to get more frequent labs than that. I understand that it costs money, but at his stage of liver damage he doesn't only need frequent basic labs/liver panels, but also AFP and regular ultrasounds/MRIs/CTs.

Please, don't base your judgment on how he feels. Yes, it means a lot, but many serious problems (cancer included) do not cause any symptoms until later stages. I mean, people feel great until it is too late.

I wish the best to both of you and hope Joe continues to do well.
1117750 tn?1307386569
a fool and his money !
Avatar universal
I'm familiar with the ratio and its implications but I doubt that is applicable or accurate when enzymes are normal. I have labs from 2001 to the present and it appears as though my AST/ALT ration became >1 only when I achieved viral clearance. I don't think my liver was healthier in 2000 when my AST was 81 and my ALT was 345 than it is today when my AST is 13 and my ALT is 11 but perhaps it was according to a strict application of the ratio's implications suggested in your site. It's strange that my transplant team is quite pleased with my numbers. Maybe I will forward the link and educate them.

1117750 tn?1307386569
i agree with mike
you are misinformed in a big way here
979080 tn?1323433639
There are studies that support AST/ALT ratio to be relevant
as I posted above.
Does it apply to every situation of course not look at Mike
for example
I do not like seeing AST higher than ALT
it can be an indicator
Please do not take things out of context

Avatar universal
Sounds like an advertisement for Hep. Technologies.  Tell the company pay MH for an Ad !!!
1117750 tn?1307386569
you need to think before you give advice that is wrong , you would nt like it if people planted seeds of doubt in to your mind about you relapsing so dont do it to others
238010 tn?1420406272
Recently had another liver panel done:

              12/8/09               2/3/10            5/28/10     9/15/10
ALT           92                      66                  46             60
AST           58                     47                   61            39

I can't say the latest results are impressive.  My numbers are not much better than February, before I started the regimen.  I think it's time to try something different.

I've raised my Vit D level to 43.9 doing 2000 IU per day, so I think I'm going to boost the dose a little bit, since 50-80 is the optimum.

979080 tn?1323433639
Sorry you did not get the results you were looking for.
I am currently on 4000 IU Vit D and 4 weeks ago my test
result was 80.

Avatar universal
Sorry to say your results look like someone with stable HCV regular fluctuations. Slightly elevated. Personally I would stop wasting money with dr zhang and just do some supplements until you can treat again next year.

good luck
238010 tn?1420406272
In another thread you said you would ask HR about the difference between the Life Extension PPC and the Hepatitis Technologies PPC (they are manufactured differently and the LE PPC contains ethanol).

What did HR say?
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