Liver Safe Vitamins and Supplements with Cirrhosis
Making sure that you get the right vitamins is so important with liver disease. It’s important to know that a damaged or inflammed liver cannot handle too many vitamins. In fact, taking too many, or the wrong dose can actually cause more harm than good. I have made a list for you that can eliminate all fear about what is safe. First let’s start off with an intro into the why, what, and how of vitamins, supplements, minerals, and all that jazz.
I have studied vitamins and supplements my whole adult life. Then when my liver crashed the doctor gave me a lot of instructions. I was so surprised to hear that NO Vitamins was on the top of the list. Weren’t they good for you? I was totally baffled. Ok, I knew that there were limits to what dosages were safe. Besides that, the FDA’s guideline are waay outdated. Everyone knows that most supplements are considered homeopathy and don’t have any federal guidelines for growing, packaging, or dosage. But in spite of all that, I am STILL a believer that we do not get enough vitamins and mineral supplements in our daily diets.
This is What I Came to Understand: Our doctor’s like to get to know us a little. I had a death sentence when Hepatitis C destroyed my liver. I was all Gung Ho that I was going to take control of my diet and lifestyle. My doctor didn’t know if I would follow instructions or not. I mean, think about it: I had already told him I took a lot of herbs and vitamins. So to start me out, he said NO. We had to get ascites drained, varices under control, and the liver calmed down first. Once he understood that I would be compliant with his orders, we began to talk about vitamins and supplements some more.
I had to do a lot of research to find out exactly what is best for the liver. Some websites claimed that herbs were the cure for cirrhosis. We have to be smart and look at the whole picture of who is saying what. My research on the wide wide web was scattered far and wide. Okay, now is the time to say to my hep c best friends that I’m a little scattered all the time. I’ll start researching one thing and end up going down that proverbial rabbit trail. But I leave no stone unturned when I am looking to stay alive. So this legal pad of mine was filled with vitamin and nutritional information regarding to all things hep c and liver disease.
What I found, as I’m sure you have discovered, is that the way a body tolerates and uses vitamins and supplements greatly vary. In addition, the method of harvesting, manufacturing, and packaging can affect the strength and purity. So my doctor said NO to everything. He was thinking of Bubba Don’s Herb Farm where the weeds were thrown in with the herbs and it was all labeled good. Meanwhile I’m reading like crazy, fading fast with End Stage Liver Disease, and fighting to get out of bed. I was NOT going to lay there and wait to die. I had to have some control.
So I made my list of what vitamins and supplements I felt were absolutely necessary for liver health and function. I dug deep in research and then I cross referenced. That death sentence was like getting on a roller coaster that had steep drops, neck breaking curves, and no restraining bar. I grabbed at everything. I took the list to my gastroenterologist. He was not that impressed, telling me that I could take a low iron children’s multi-vitamin and a Milk Thistle brand that he approved of. I could take vitamin K 2 or 3 times a week when bruising was extreme.
List of Liver Safe Vitamins and Supplements with Cirrhosis
Vitamin K 3
Vitamin B complex
No or low iron is best because you get some iron in your diet. The liver has a hard time processing iron. Vitamin K 3 is water soluble and helps low platelets Vitamin B complex is especially good for fatigue and brain fog. Take it early in the day because it contains B 12 which can get you hopping around like the energizer bunny! For my blog on B12 click here. I stayed with this and even took the Milk Thistle that my doctor approved up til I started the Hepatitis C treatment. I know for sure that the vitamins helped me to get my body in shape to be allowed to treat!
While ON treatment Hepatitis C Treatment these are considered safe:
Sublingual B 12
Vitamin D3 is good for bone density. There were studies done during the trials for the protease inhibotors that showed a higher SVR rate for those taking D3. Some studies showed a direct correlation between fibrosis reversal and Vitamin D3. It’s a great support during treatment and my hepatologist at the transplant hospital approved.
Green supplement powder is awesome if you don’t have time to juice. I’m into living, and living to the fullest. Malnutrition and absorption are side effects of liver disease. Green juices gives me energy and the brand I use was Doc approved. It has a lot of green vegetables that I don’t always get every day. It’s full of plant based phytonutrients such as isoflavones, flavonoids, and carotenoids to help the immune system, which is weakened even further by treatment. Grasses, enzymes, probiotics – I’m sounding like a commercial. I’m convinced that this is what helped take me from a Meld score of 16 to a 6. It aids in heart and digestive health. They are nutrient dense superfoods that help the body process vitamins and protect the liver. Sublingual B12 was a life saver for me on treatment. I used the drops throughout the day. If my energy fails I still use them!
You knew there would be a warning didn’t you? Well, here it is!
If you are decompensated and have ascites, hepatic encephalopathy, varices, portal hypertension, or renal failure please play it safe and talk to a doctor. READ the label carefully. This is especially true with some greens or any other powder mixes and superfoods. You want to watch for any “proprietary blends” that they contain. A proprietary blend is a manufacturer’s own special blend of herbs, amino acids, vitamins, or whatever. They do not always publish what is contained in them. I want to see everything it contains!!
Do not take Milk Thistle while on treatment. The lab results could be skewed by the herb. Be careful where you shop. I suggest you look carefully before you begin supplementation and do NOT get hooked by an untrained or inexperienced sales person who gives out medical advice. I love the health food industry, believe me. However some of the large chains do not hire well trained nutritionist.
Talk it over with your doctor. Let them know you are willing to do what they say. If you do not agree with your doctor, find a new one. Most will respect your desire to research and help yourself in getting well. So we have learned that by taking a multi-vitamin, you can be confident that your body is getting a lot of the vitamins it needs. Most of the iron you need is in your daily diet. Cereals and breads are fortified with iron. I love the multiple. There’s not a lot to remember or purchase AND you know you’re getting what you need without overdosing.
This little post contains about 2 years worth of personal research on safe vitamins and supplements. You can talk it over with your Doc and see if it’s the right thing for you. Please do not ignore the importance of what the Liver Safe Vitamins and Supplements with Cirrhosis are. They are a vital link to your wellness. All my love and my best wishes to you in your nutritional health, Karen