Hepatitis C and Alpha Lipoic Acid
The more we learn about nutrition and how it may help improve our condition or assist in treating our disease, the better prepared we will be to take an active role in our treatment. However, it is important not to abandon medical supervision or conventional treatment options.
Many sources list Alpha Lipoic Acid as the most powerful anti-oxidant ever discovered. When looking around at various protocols for hepatitis C, you will find that alpha-lipoic acid is considered by many an important part of the health regimen for patients with HCV. It is considered an important and versatile anti-oxidant that enhances the functions of vitamins C and E and glutathione. Alpha lipoic acid also helps turn glucose into energy. For these reasons many people with liver conditions, especially HCV, take it as a staple part of their "treatment programs".
Many doctors who treat patients with HCV prescribe this anti-oxidant, especially those in the natural healing community, although not limited to the natural healing community.
The functions of alpha lipoic acid is to neutralize free radicals in the body by enhancing the anti-oxidant functions of vitamins C and E and glutathione. According to Lloyd Wright (hepatitis C survivor, researcher and author), ALA is "used in Europe to restore liver health and confer protective benefits against oxidative processes involved in degenerative diseases."
Another interesting piece of information about this substance is found in his book Triumph Over Hepatitis C. He states that it regenerates glutathione, giving cells a "double dose of anti-oxidant protection". Further he writes, " It is also easily absorbed when taken orally, and once inside cells is quickly converted to its most potent form, dihydrolipoic acid, an even more potent free-radical neutralizer than ALA. Because both alpha-lipoic acid and dihydrolipoic acid are antioxidants, their combined actions give them greater anti-oxidant potency than any other natural anti-oxidant now known."
Lloyd Wright, claims that he has rid his body of this virus through natural healing therapies and that there are no signs of the virus in his system after his recovery. Among other supplements, he took alpha lipoic acid everyday and suggests it was a "vital" in his fight against hepatitis C.
Other points he made in its favor are: Ester Packer, professor of molecular biology at UC Berkley, says it is the most important anti-oxidant ever discovered; and that scientists have found that it can inhibit replication of HCV-1 and other viruses through its ability to bind directly to DNA.
A holistic physician, Jesse Stoff, M.D., director of IntegaMed in Tucson, AZ, says hepatitis C is a treatable and often reversible condition. He gives detailed description of a case in which it was cured with natural remedies and supplements which can be found on the alternativemedicine.com website. He lists alpha lipoic acid as one of the supplements that should be taken. He says, " it is always useful in treating chronic liver inflammation". According to Dr. Stoff ALA occurs naturally in potatoes, carrots, yams, sweet potatoes. He reinforces that when given as a supplement it can increase the body's production of glutatione, an enzyme that protects the cells from damage by harmful free-radicals.
Overall it is considered to be a very important anti-oxidant and very important in treating chronic inflammation of the liver.
Dosage: Alpha-lipoic acid can be purchased in doses of 30 - 100 mg tablets. According to The University of Maryland Medical Center there are no established recommended doses; however they list 20-50mg per day for general (no disease) antioxidant support. A protocol developed and used by Dr. Berkson for Hepatitis C includes 600mg per day of Alpha Lipoic.