The Life Extension Foundation's Protocol for Hepatitis C
1. The standard dose of interferon alpha (3 million IU injected sub- cutaneously three times a week for six months) prescribed by an infectious-disease physician. Interferon is the FDA-approved therapy for treatment of hepatitis C. However, it works only in a minority of patients when used without ribaviron.
2. 1,000 to 1,200 mg a day of ribavirin (taken in three doses for six months). Ribavirin increases the effectiveness of interferon therapy by up to tenfold.
3. The standard doses of Life Extension Mix and Life Extension Herbal Mix. Please note that some of the hepatitis C patients encounter liver enzyme elevations in response to the moderate doses of viatmain A, nicin and beta carotent in Life extension Mix. If you liver-enzyme levles elevate after starting Life extension Mix, discontinue it and take seperately the other nutritents contained in Life Extension Mix. Beta carotene possesses unique immune enhancing benefits that could help suppress the hepatits C virus, but some hepatitis C patients cannot tolerate it.
4. High doses of green tea and garlic, as well as chelation therapy, to reduce serum and liver iron levels to minimum. Iron promotes hepatitis virus-iunduced liver injury, and thus does not allow succesfful treatment with interferon. Verify that liver iron levles have been reduced before starting interferon therapy. Some people have to have blood removed before going on interferon-ribavirin therapy in order to sufficiently reduce iron levels.
5. Liver protection nutrients and immune-boosting therapies such as 200mg of milk thistle extract twice a day: 500 mg of licorice extract three times a day: 2,000mg a day of garlic; 800 micrograms a day of selenium; 1,200 mg a day of N-acetylcysteine: 500 mg a day of glutathione; and vitamin c ranging from 5,000 to 20,000 mg a day.
6. S-adenosylmethionine (SAMe) for the purpose of protecting and restoring liver cell function destroyed by hepatitis C virus. SAMe is in clinical trials in the US for treating liver cirrhosis, and published research shows a significant benefit. The high cost of SAMe may preclude some hepatitis c patients from being able to afford it. The suggested dose of SAMe is 400mg three times a day, to be taken with the methylation enhancing agents trimethylglycine (TMG, in a dose of 1,000 mg twice a day; folic acid in the dose of 800 micrograms three times a day; and methyl- colbalmin ( a form of vitamin B 12) in the dose of 5 mg twice a day taken sublingually.
Folic acid and vitamin B 12 may also protect against ribavirin-induced anemia, which occurs in 10 percent of hepatitis C patients being treated with ribavirin until blood cell counts return to normal. Then resume ribavirin therapy.
For hepatitis c patients who fail the above regimen, the intake of 30 grams a day of whey protein concentrate could boost liver glutathione levels to help protect liver cells against hepatitis C-induced free radical liver damage.