posted on June 05, 2009 02:15
Giving the B vitamin thiamine (Vitamin B1) to patients with chronic hepatitis B infection improves signs of the disease, a small preliminary study has found. This could point the way to a cheap and nontoxic way of treating the infection.
Hepatitis B virus (HBV) is spread through contact with the blood or body fluids of an infected person. HBV infects the liver, and in severe cases can lead to cirrhosis, liver cancer and liver failure. HBV can be treated with antiviral drugs and interferon, but there is no cure.
A researcher decided to test thiamine for HBV after a very bright and aware patient observed that his aminotransferase levels rose and fell depending on whether he was taking the vitamin.
High levels of aminotransferase enzymes indicate more active infection of the liver.
Investigators conducted a trial in this patient and two others with HBV infection to investigate the relationship. All had either failed treatment with interferon or could not tolerate the drug.
While patients were on thiamine treatment, their aminotransferase levels fell from abnormally high to normal levels; these levels increased when thiamine was subsequently withdrawn. And in subsequent liver biopsies after thiamine treatment, HBV DNA was undetectable.
This is the first study to investigate thiamine for treating hepatitis B infection. There are several potential ways that the vitamin might fight the infection.
For example, thiamine binds to iron and thus reduces the iron load in the liver. Past studies have linked high iron levels in the liver to more severe HBV infection, as well as a worse response to interferon.
The American Journal of Gastroenterology March 2001; 96: 864-868
DR. MERCOLA'S COMMENT:
Always good to find more simple, inexpensive and natural approaches for common diseases. It appears that thiamine would be useful a useful addition to the protocol I have previously posted for those with the much more serious hepatitis C infection.
However, in retrospect, it is not all that surprising that thiamine, or Vitamin B1, is beneficial for hepatitis, as it is involved in some of the same biochemical reactions as Lipoic Acid, which is probably the key nutrient in a natural treatment program.
For those who are interested in a more technical explanation, both thiamine and lipoic acid are coenzymes for the decarboxylation of pyruvate and the oxidation of alpha keto-glutamic acid.
The important area to be aware of is that it is a person's immune system that ultimately controls the infection, so optimizing one's food choices would be the very first step in approaching this problem.
Although hepatitis C and B are clearly two distinct problems, it is probable that the protocol below and the thiamine would work for either. The downside is minimal and the cost is quite low.
Always remember though that food choice selection with minimal grains and sugars, and with water as the only beverage is the first line of defense.