Hepatitis C: A Focus on Dietary Supplements
July 28 is World Hepatitis Day—an event organized to raise awareness of the global burden of viral hepatitis. Did you know that more than 3 million Americans have chronic hepatitis C? Many people don’t know that they are infected because the virus can be present for years before it causes symptoms.
Several herbal supplements have been studied for hepatitis C, and substantial numbers of people with hepatitis C have tried herbal supplements. For example, a survey of 1,145 participants in the HALT-C (Hepatitis C Antiviral Long-Term Treatment Against Cirrhosis) trial, a study supported by the National Institutes of Health, found that 23 percent of the participants were using herbal products. Although participants reported using many different herbal products, silymarin (milk thistle) was by far the most common. Another study, which surveyed 120 adults with hepatitis C, found that many used a variety of complementary health approaches, including multivitamins, herbal remedies, massage, deep breathing exercises, meditation, progressive relaxation, and yoga.
No dietary supplement has been shown to be effective for hepatitis C or its complications.