Causes of and Treatment for Cirrhosis of the Liver
Causes of Cirrhosis of The Liver
Cirrhosis of the liver is caused by chronic injury to the liver cells including scarring (fibrosis) within the liver, and the formation of regenerative nodules. Causes of cirrhosis of the liver can be due to excess alcohol consumption, however, only ten to twenty percent of alcoholics actually develop cirrhosis liver disease. Hepatitis B or C virus can be another cause of cirrhosis. Unfortunately viral hepatitis leads to chronic liver inflammation, often resulting in chronic cirrhosis. Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease often results in cirrhosis of the liver. Obesity, diabetes and elevated triglyceride levels often lead to nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. Other health conditions such as billiary cirrhosis and cardiac cirrhosis can lead to chronic liver injury and inflammation resulting in liver scar formation and subsequent cirrhosis.
Treatment For Cirrhosis of the Liver
Whatever the causes of cirrhosis of the liver, there are a number of safe, natural nutrients one can take in the treatment for cirrhosis of the liver. Alcohol consumption lowers the liver’s levels of necessary nutrients such as vitamin E, C, A, riboflavin, zinc, vitamin B6, glutathione and S-adenosyl-L-methionine. Adding tobacco use to the mix depletes the body’s nutritional stores even further. Low levels of these nutrients leads to free radical damage within the liver itself. Normally the liver maintains a safe supply of antioxidants to ward off free radical damage, however, if these stores are depleted and the liver is constantly burdened with the threats mentioned in the causes of cirrhosis of the liver, this will result in inflammation and the formation of scar tissue on the liver. It is extremely vital that an individual suffering from cirrhosis of the liver consume a healthy diet, abstain from alcohol and tobacco consumption and take high amounts of antioxidants.
Treatment for cirrhosis of the liver should also include omega-3 fatty acids and sesame lignans, which have been shown to reduce inflammation. Increasing omega-3 fatty acids and reducing the consumption of omega-6 fatty acids (such as corn oil) has shown in studies to reduce liver damage. However, this treatment for cirrhosis of the liver should include a high intake of vitamin E, as fish oil’s polyunsaturated bonds are readily oxidized by free radicals, and without vitamin E can actually worsen liver damage. That being said, cirrhotic individuals would benefit from lowering their intake of animal fats and corn oil. Monounsaturated fats, such as olive oil, should be the major source of your fat and oil consumption.
Another important treatment for cirrhosis of the liver is S-adenosyl-L-methionine or SAMe. SAMe is a glutathione precursor that restores antioxidants, thereby decreasing free radical liver damage. In addition, phosphatidylcholines are produced in the liver with the help of SAMe. Phosphatidylcholines stimulate the enzyme responsible for the breakdown of liver collagen. Phosphatidylcholine supplementation, in and of itself, can accelerate regression of preexisting fibrosis and scarring of the liver.
With regards to herbs, Silymarin or Milk thistle, has proven to be one of the best treatments for cirrhosis of the liver. Silymarin inhibits the formation of mediators of inflammation, such as leukotrienes. In addition, Milk thistle has shown to protect the liver from carbon tetrachloride damage and slow the accumulation of fibrosis in the billiary tract.
No matter what you choose as treatment for cirrhosis of the liver, keep in mind it is a life-threatening disease and should be closely monitored by a health professional. The above-mentioned nutrients are regarded as safe and natural, but you should always check with your doctor before incorporating them into any cirrhosis management program.