I've used milk thistle, and Sho-Saiko-To, a Japanese hep c treatment...The milk thistle helps the liver to detoxify and slow damage, the SST actually knocks the hep c down and repairs the liver, but neither one get rid of it...Hep C damages more than your liver -it can attack and effect just about all your body systems...it weakens your immune system, causes memory loss, arthritis, nerve pain and some autoimmune problems...It can cause bile duct, diabetic/ pancreatic issues, and GI disturbances...So, if you need to buy time, SST or milk thistle may be a good choice...Or if you are unable to do the conventional treatment...After using Naturopathic treatment for several months, I determined I was as healthy as I was going to get, and I went for the conventional treatment...And I have no detectable hep c virus in my system at this time. I hope this info helps...
Glad to hear it worked for you. Please share, how did it work for you? You certainly don't believe you are HepC free b/c you used Milk Thistle? If it made you feel better and that's all you wanted then you accomplished what you wanted to, and good for you. It has been know to lower VL, but it does nothing as far as eliminating the virus from your system. I would like to get rid of my HepC and MT isn't gonna accomplishment that for me. Good luck with your herbal experience. Oh I placed a warning I found on another site, so if anyone is considering messing around with MT read all you can about it first. later
A warning about milk thistle and drug interactions
The seeds of the milk thistle plant are commonly used to protect the liver from damage caused by hepatitis viruses as well as alcohol and
other substances. Compounds found in milk thistle sylibin, sylimarin act as antioxidants and also stimulate the repair of the liver.
But now it appears that these and possibly other compounds in milk thistle can have other effects.
Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh have suspected that milk thistle can slow down or reduce the activity of enzymes in the liver.
Enzymes in the liver break down many of the substances that we eat and drink, including medications. If the activity of these enzymes
are reduced, then drugs remain in the blood longer than they otherwise might. This could lead to having higher-than-expected levels of
drugs in the body, causing side effects or intensifying already-existing side effects. Indeed, in recent experiments using milk thistle and
human liver cells, the researchers found that relatively small concentrations of milk thistle did significantly slow down the activity of the
liver enzyme CYP3A4 by 50% to 100%.
Many medications taken by people with HIV/AIDS (PHAs) such as protease inhibitors and non-nukes are processed by this liver
enzyme. If milk thistle is taken by someone using protease inhibitors or non-nukes, it has the potential to raise levels of these drugs,
causing unpleasant or even dangerous side effects. Below is a short list of some other medications that are processed through the
CYP3A4 enzyme. Levels of these medications may increase if taken by people who are also using milk thistle. This list is not exhaustive:
• heart drugs Tambocor (flecainide), Rythmol (propafenone)
• antibiotics erythromycin, rifampin
• anti-seizure drugs carbamazepine (Tegretol)
• antidepressants St. John’s wort, Zyban/Wellbutrin (bupropion), Paxil (paroxetine), Prozac (fluoxetine), Luvox (fluvoxetine)
Serzone (nefazodone), Zoloft (sertraline), Effexor (venlafaxine)
• antihistamines Hismanal (astemizole), Seldane (terfenadine)
• antifungals itraconazole (Sporanox), Ketoconazole (Nizoral)
• gastrointestinal motility agents Prepulsid (Cisapride)
• ergot drugs Ergonovine, Ergomar (ergotamine)
• anti-psychotics Clozaril (clozapine), Orap (pimozide)
• sedatives/sleeping pills Ambien (zolpidem), Halcion (triazolam), Versed (midazolam)
• lipid-lowering drugs (statins) Lescol (fluvastatin), Mevacor (lovastatin), Pravachol (pravastatin) and Zocor (simvastatin),
• transplant drugs cyclosporine (Neoral, Sandimmune), ProGraf (tacrolimus)
Milk thistle also has the potential to lower levels of the following drugs:
• anti-parasite drugs Mepron (atovaquone)
• sedatives/sleeping pills Ativan (lorazepam)
• hormones estrogen
The research by the scientists in Pittsburgh should emphasize to readers that simply because a product is "natural" it does not mean it is
safe when taken with other substances. This research also shows the need to conduct further research on herb-drug interactions on liver
cells as well as in people. Such studies may find combinations of herbs and drugs that can be safely used together. The Pittsburgh
researchers noted that "patients and health care professionals must be encouraged to discuss the use of herbs and be educated about the
potential interactions between herbs and drugs." This cannot be stressed enough.
Venkataramanan R, Ramachandran V, Komoroski **, et al. Milk thistle, a herbal supplement, decreases the activity of CYP3A4 and
uridine diphosphoglucuronosyl transferase in human hepatocyte cultures. Drug Metabolism and Disposition 2000; 28(11):1270-1273.
This information was provided by the Community AIDS Treatment Information Exchange (CATIE). For more information, contact
CATIE at .
Thanks, I think we are all starting to get tired of the 'milk thistle thing'.
The plain truth is it that Milk Thistle does NOT cure hepatitis c! It is good for the liver, but NOT when you are on treatment, as it interacts with medications. To add to this, the SAME with grapefruit!
Good luck, Marcia
Thanks so much for posting that. I sure hope some of the many people on our boards read it and take a mental note of this....
Thanks for the info about the SST. Personally, I do not want to do any herbal approach now before treatment. But I definitely want to get into it after treatment. My diet has been almost vegan, whole food, health food etc for many years and since I found out I had hep c I went 100% organic, including everything I put on my body(creams, soap, shampoo, etc)
I do have a grapefruit every morning, krill oil and chlorella supplements. These I have been taking for a long time. I was thingking of stopping them before treatment.
Ty for posting I see you are doing your homework well and you haven´t even started tx yet,same with marcia, that looks good for the future.
I´m on my second tx geno 3 and everything was looking perfect due to labresult first tx but I relapsed, think tx is very much of a gamble.
Lots of old hepers can confirme that.
You can´t take anything for granted , beeing a gamling man i know it takes three things to win thats luck, money and knowledge if you have more of one you need less of the others, but best is to have lot of all three.
God bless you always!
ps Prepared is a keyword, fret, marcia you seems to already have understand that,
good luck with your coming up treatments.
Wow! Good MT info! I had known a good part of that, but not the interactions..Excellent info! Aren't these forums great for these tidbits of info?!? ~Melinda
Everyone always have to remember: unless something has been PROVEN not to cause any reactions to the interferon/riba it's better NOT TO TAKE IT. NOTHING is worth that chance.
And milk thistle might be helpful to you but it won't cure jack, only dual combo will do that presently.
Tak så mycke, min ven! I am also geno 3. It will be interesting how they are going to handle my geno! Finally got my appointment at the Rigshospitalet here in Köpenhamn on June 13th. They will be keeping me there the whole day to take all kind of tests and to talk to the hepatologist. I will definitely be asking him/her how they are going to treat in regard to geno 3.
I really wish you all the best with tx.
Well, can you tell us how it worked for you? I'm very curious. thank you
Me too, I would really like to know how it has worked for you.
A Mug of Hot Cocoa Can Improve Artery Health in Patients With Type 2 Diabetes
May 27, 2008 — The benefits of cocoa, known recently for its ability to reduce blood pressure and improve endothelial function, also extends to diabetic patients, a new study has shown . In a small, randomized study, investigators showed that the consumption of a big mug of hot cocoa can reverse vascular dysfunction in patients with diabetes, suggesting a therapeutic potential of cocoa in this patient population.
"Our study clearly established improvements of endothelial function after regular consumption of flavanol-containing cocoa in patients with type 2 diabetes, highlighting the potential of flavanol-containing diets and underscoring the potential health benefit for reducing the risk of cardiovascular events in diabetic patients," write lead investigator Dr Jan Balzer (University Hospital RWTH, Aachen, Germany) and colleagues in the June 3, 2008 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.
The findings are just the latest in a string of studies showing the cardiovascular promise of foods like cocoa that contain flavanols. Flavanols are a subgroup of plant-derived phytochemicals known as flavonoids, and several studies have shown that flavanol-containing foods, including cocoa, certain fruits and vegetables, tea, and red wine, have beneficial effects on LDL oxidation, platelet aggregation, insulin sensitivity, endothelial function, and blood pressure.
Effect of Flavanols in Diabetics Unknown
Despite the existing data, however, studies on the effects of flavanols on the vasculature in diabetic patients were missing. Patients with type 2 diabetes, writes Balzer and colleagues, might receive particular benefit from flavanol-containing cocoa, because various observational studies have shown that lifestyle modifications are particularly important in the prevention of diabetes and its complications.
The investigators performed two studies: a 10-patient feasibility study to determine the appropriate dosing, to assess safety and tolerability, and to measure the effect size of the intervention to calculate sample size of the efficacy study. In total, 44 patients with treated type 2 diabetes were enrolled in the randomized, double-blind, parallel-group efficacy study, with half allocated to the treatment arm of 321 mg of flavanols per dose three times daily. The control patients also received some flavanols, albeit a much smaller amount, about 25 mg per dose three times daily.
Baseline flow-mediated dilation (FMD) values were 3.3% in both the treatment and control arms at the start of the intervention. The daily consumption of flavanol-containing cocoa by patients in the treatment arm resulted in continual increases in FMD, increasing from 3.3% at baseline to 4.1% on day 8 and to 4.3% by study completion on day 30. The investigators note that the acute effects of drinking cocoa in the treatment arm, those recorded two hours after ingestion, were of a similar effect size at study entry, day 8, and day 30, suggesting that patients did not become desensitized or immune to the effects of drinking cocoa.
On day 30, the investigators report that the composite maximum increase in FMD--a combination of the chronic and acute effects of cocoa ingestion--was 5.8%, suggesting "a reversal of endothelial dysfunction." This reversal in endothelial dysfunction with cocoa is comparable to intermediate- and long-term interventions using exercise and various medications, including insulin, pioglitazone, ACE inhibitors, and statins, write Balzer and colleagues.
The high-flavanol cocoa used in this study--which provides much more flavanol than the typical US dietary intake of 20 to 100 mg daily--is not sold in the supermarket.
The present study was not designed to determine the precise molecular mechanism by which flavanols improve endothelial function. However, the investigators point out that FMD of the brachial artery is almost entirely dependent on nitric oxide (NO) and that endothelial function measured by FMD is commonly used as a marker of endothelial NO synthesis.
This proposed mechanism, they note, would make sense considering that recurrent and prolonged hyperglycemia in diabetic patients reduces NO bioavailability, which leads to endothelial dysfunction. In support of this hypothesis, Balzer and colleagues report no improvement in endothelium-independent vasodilation after the administration of nitroglycerin, which suggests that improvements in vascular function are secondary to the effects of treatment on endothelial function and NO bioavailability.
A Promising New Dietary Intervention for Type 2 Diabetes
In an editorial accompanying the study, Drs Umberto Campia and Julio A Panza (Washington Hospital Center, Washington, DC) note that interest in the cardiovascular benefits of cocoa started with observations of the Kuna Indians . This indigenous population in Panama consumes a large amount of cocoa rich in flavanols and, despite a diet that also has a large amount of salt, they have a very low prevalence of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and cancer compared with Kuna Indians living in Panama City.
Campia and Panza write that because the endothelium plays a significant role in hypertension and atherosclerosis, research efforts have focused on the acute and chronic effects of cocoa, as well as other drinks and food, in the hope that their consumption could improve vascular function.
One important question, the editorialists note, that this study answers pertains to previous concerns that nutrients in the diet of diabetic patients might not reach needed physiological levels due to secondary impairments in gastrointestinal function. That absorption concern is apparently unwarranted, as these data suggest flavanol intake in diabetics results in plasma levels consistent with those observed in nondiabetic patients. Second, this study also shows that FMD increased steadily and was maintained over time, "suggesting a lack of significant desensitization or tolerance."
The study, according to Campia and Pana, extends the understanding of the vascular effects of flavanols to diabetic patients, but more work is still needed. "Although endothelial function has been shown to predict future cardiovascular events, randomized, large-scale clinical trials assessing relevant clinical outcomes are necessary before any recommendations are made regarding dietary supplementation with flavanol-rich cocoa," they write.
Mars Inc provided the instant cocoa powder used in the preparation of cocoa drinks in the study. Dr Hagen Schroeter, one of the paper's authors, is employed by Mars Inc.
1. Balzer J, Rassaf T, Heiss C, et al. Sustained benefits in vascular function through flavanol-containing cocoa in medicated diabetic patients. J Am Coll Cardiol 2008; 51:2141-2149.
2. Campia U and Panza JA. Flavanol-rich cocoa: A promising new dietary intervention to reduce cardiovascular risk in type 2 diabetes? J Am Coll Cardiol 2008; 51:2150-2152.
The complete contents of Heartwire, a professional news service of WebMD, can be found at www.theheart.org, a Web site for cardiovascular healthcare professionals.