Hepatitis is the general term for the inflammation of the liver, which is
the body's largest internal organ and is located beneath the breastbone,
extending under the bottom of the right side of the rib cage. Hepatitis can
result from the use of alcohol, drugs, and chemicals but is most commonly
caused by one of several specific hepatitis viruses.
One of the liver's functions is to produce and metabolize bile, which is
necessary to break down fats and expel toxins out of the body. With
hepatitis, bilirubin, a pigment normally excreted in bile, builds up in the
bloodstream and accumulates in the skin. This causes the characteristic
yellowish color of the skin and the eyes, as well as dark urine. Classic
symptoms of hepatitis include nausea, fatigue, loss of appetite, weight
loss, clay-colored stools, fever, and diarrhea. Blood tests show an
elevation of one or more liver enzymes.
At least six different viruses cause acute viral hepatitis. The main three
are hepatitis A, B, and C. Other hepatitis viruses include D, E, and G.
Hepatitis A, which has a 15- to 45-day incubation period, is highly
contagious and is spread mainly by fecal-tainted food or water. Epidemics
are common in underdeveloped countries. Contaminated raw shellfish can be a
causative factor. It can also be transmitted through blood or saliva
secretions. Hepatitis A is an acute infection, and people do not become
chronic carriers of the virus. It does not play a role in the development
of chronic hepatitis or cirrhosis. A vaccine for hepatitis A is available.
Hepatitis B has an incubation period of 30 to 180 days. It is contracted by
contaminated blood or blood products, as happens with drug users who share
needles. It can also occur from sexual contact and, less commonly, from
transfusions tainted with infected blood. People can become chronic
carriers of this virus. A wide spectrum of liver diseases is associated
with hepatitis B, including cirrhosis and liver cancer. A vaccine for
hepatitis B is available.
Hepatitis C has an incubation period of 15 to 150 days. This is the most
common form of viral hepatitis. In the past, it was more commonly
contracted through contaminated blood. The main causes of hepatitis C
infection worldwide include unscreened blood transfusions and the reuse of
needles and syringes that have not been adequately sterilized. In developed
countries, it is estimated that 90 percent of people with chronic HCV
infection are current and/or former injecting drug users or those with a
history of transfusion of unscreened blood or blood products. Hepatitis C
can also be transmitted by sexual activity and from mother to infant. It is
estimated that 3 percent of the world's population (170 million people) are
chronically infected with hepatitis C virus. Most people with hepatitis C
have no symptoms. According to the World Health Organization, about 80
percent of newly infected patients progress to develop the chronic
infection, and liver cancer develops in 1 to 5 percent of those with
chronic infection over a period of twenty to thirty years. Currently, there
is no vaccine to prevent hepatitis C. Antiviral drugs are the standard
conventional treatment. Effectiveness of these drugs varies, but side
effects prevent many people from continuing treatment.
Hepatitis D virus occurs only in the presence of acute or chronic hepatitis
B virus infection. Drug addicts who share needles are at high risk for this
infection. It is characterized by an unusually severe acute hepatitis B
Hepatitis E virus is most commonly transmitted via contaminated water in
developing countries. The infection can be severe but is not chronic.
Hepatitis G virus can be transmitted by blood. Currently, not a lot is
known about this virus, although it can become chronic.
The early symptoms of acute hepatitis may include a loss of appetite,
fatigue, nausea, vomiting, and fever. Hive-like eruptions and joint pains
occasionally occur. After a period of three to ten days, the urine darkens
and is followed by jaundice (yellowing of the skin). The liver is usually
enlarged and tender, and the spleen may enlarge as well. Blood tests will
show elevated liver enzymes from the beginning stage of the illness.
Hepatitis usually resolves within four to eight weeks, especially hepatitis
A. However, 5 to 10 percent of hepatitis B infections become chronic, and
up to 80 percent of hepatitis C infections become chronic. Hepatitis
lasting for six months or longer is generally termed chronic.
Natural therapies can be very helpful in preventing liver damage and
decreasing the viral load or the infectiousness of the hepatitis viruses.
Holistic therapies are becoming very popular for people with hepatitis C-an
emerging world epidemic. The effectiveness of conventional antiviral drug
therapy varies, and side effects of these drugs can be severe. Natural
treatment is used to augment the immune system to fight the viral infection
and to improve and protect liver function. Our experience is that most
cases can be helped with natural treatment, and sometimes the improvements
are dramatic. Many natural therapies in this chapter can be combined with
** All of these prescriptions below have been proven effective; level of
effectiveness depends on the individual. Please consult your doctor when
taking any and all supplements.
The top 7 vitamins and supplements shown to help
Prescription for Natural Cures by James F. Balch, M.D. and
Mark Stengler, N.M.D.
Super Prescription #1
Milk Thistle / Silymarin
– LifeSource Product
Take a daily dosage of a product standardized with regard
to silymarin, so that you supplement a daily total of 600
to 900 mg of the active constituent silymarin daily. This
herb protects the liver, promotes liver cell regeneration,
and helps reduce liver enzyme count.
Super Prescription #2
- LifeSource Products - See All of our Vitamin C
Take 1,000 mg three to four times daily of a buffered
(non-acidic) vitamin C. A more therapeutic technique is to
keep gradually increasing the dosage until loose stools
occur, and then cut back on the dosage. Intravenous vitamin
C treatments from a holistic doctor are even more
effective. Vitamin C improves immune function and has
Super Prescription #3 Catechin
Take 750 mg three times daily. Catechin is a type of
flavonoid that was shown in studies to be helpful for acute
and chronic hepatitis. It is best used under the
supervision of a doctor.
Super Prescription #4 Thymus extract
Take as directed on the container. Look for a high-quality
purified thymus extract. A typical dose is 200 to 300 mg
three times daily. Thymus extract has been shown to improve
immune function and be helpful for people with hepatitis C
Super Prescription #5
- LifeSource Product
Take 500 mg three times daily. One of the active
phytonutrients in licorice root, known as glycyrrhizin, has
been used as part of injectable formulas to treat chronic
hepatitis B and C, with favorable outcomes. Licorice root
has been shown to have immune-enhancing and antiviral
properties. Holistic doctors also administer glycyrrhizin
intravenously for a strong therapeutic effect. Note: High
doses of licorice root may cause high blood pressure. High
doses, as recommended in this section, are best used under
the supervision of a physician.
Super Prescription # 6
- LifeSource Product
Take 3,000 to 6,000 mg daily of a standardized extract.
Preliminary studies have shown Reishi extract to be
effective for hepatitis B and elevated liver enzymes.
Reishi is commonly used by health practitioners for liver
Super Prescription #7 Schisandra extract (Schisandra
Take 500 mg three times daily. Studies have found that this
Chinese herb is effective in treating chronic hepatitis.
Click here to see all products, articles and studies
Loss of appetite
Adverse reaction to drugs and other toxins
Weakened immune system
During the acute phase, it is recommended that you consume soups, broths,
diluted vegetable juices, herbal teas, steamed vegetables, brown rice, and
non-red meat protein sources, such as free-range turkey or chicken,
legumes, and fish.
To promote healing of the liver and to provide a diet that is supportive to
the immune system, consume lots of vegetables and moderate amount of
fruits, whole grains, and legumes. Reduce or eliminate foods that are
taxing to the liver, such as fried foods; refined sugar products; foods
containing trans-fatty acids, such as margarine and vegetable shortening;
and saturated fats, found in meat and dairy products. Make fresh juices out
of foods such as apples, beets, and carrots. Start with small amounts to
see how you tolerate them. Steamed artichokes are healing to the liver.
Eating smaller and more frequent meals is recommended. Soups and stews are
good, as they are easy to digest. Purified water should be consumed, an
8-ounce glass every two to three waking hours.
Foods to Avoid
Cut out junk food, sugar, and alcohol, all of which suppress your immune
system and tax your entire body.
Avoid saturate fats and hydrogenated oils, which stress the immune system
and the liver. Stay away from fried foods and solid fats, such as
margarine, lard, and vegetable shortening.
Find out now if you have any food allergies or sensitivities, because they
waken the immune system.
Avoid the use of acetaminophen and over-the-counter painkillers and
other pharmaceuticals, if possible, as they stress the liver
Chinese herbal therapy from a practitioner of Asian medicine can be
Bruce Brightman – founder
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