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Please help me revive my damaged liver
September 2, 2007 12:54 PM   Subscribe

I have read numerous pages on the web in regards to how a liver could be revived but truth be told, I got overwhelmed with the intense amounts of information that is out there so I am wondering if anyone could give me somewhat of a simplified guide to what (foods and drinks) I can and cannot consume.

Hello all,

Just recently I flew back from Europe where I learned via my doctor that my liver is damaged. I am only 24 years old and I did not expect this type of problem at all considering I do not drink alcohol more than once every other month, and even than I only have about a beer or two, I guess alcohol is just not my thing.

However, in the past (lets say 3-4 years ago) I have experimented with certain drugs which is probably why I have two scars on my liver right now. The drugs I have took varied from DXM, Vicodin, Percs and Methadone. I have not done any drugs since 2003 but the scars stayed apparently.
I dont want to give a false impression that I was a heavy drug user, I really wasn't, it was mainly a weekend type of deal. Little did I know my liver was sensitive and that I would pay the price right now.

My doctor prescribed pills called Hepalic Forte and said to take it 3 times per day. Now I am wondering what foods I should avoid and what I should eat more of.

I have a sauna in my building and I am wondering if I should use it to my advantage, I've read on the web that it could be beneficial but I am not entirely too sure. I am also wondering if I need to avoid spicy/hot food and caffeine as well. Spicy food are kind of my vice but if it damaging my liver even further, I will stop consuming it.

Any help in regards to liver revival would be greatly appreciated. I want to fix this via the natural root as soon as possible so I can sleep better at night. If someone could give me a guide to what type of food I should eat more and what food and drinks I should avoid, I will be extremely grateful.

Thank you very much in advance.
posted by cheero to Health & Fitness (15 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
What's your insurance status? Is your doctor european, or can you go to see him? What your liver can or can't do is complicated, and it would be ill advised to take guesses without looking at lab results.
posted by a robot made out of meat at 1:14 PM on September 2, 2007


I've had some liver problems and I've found that milk thistle helps improve my liver functions. It's not a food, per say, but still probably helpful in your case.
posted by champthom at 1:14 PM on September 2, 2007


@ robot made out of meat

My doc is European and I will not be able to see him until next summer unfortunately.

@ champthom

Thank you, I will keep that in mind.
posted by cheero at 1:19 PM on September 2, 2007


I am not a doctor and (miraculously) have no liver problems, but for years I have heard anecdotal evidence that Avocado is very good for liver health. Here is an article with a section called General Tips for Foods that are Especially Good for the Liver. I would say healthy diet probably should not eclipse proper medical care in a scenario like this.
posted by bunnycup at 1:21 PM on September 2, 2007


You need to call your doctor and ask him what exactly is wrong with your liver. For him just to tell you that it is "damaged" is irresponsible and dangerous. You need either a diagnosis from him or a referral to a GI specialist who can tell you more.
posted by ruwan at 1:40 PM on September 2, 2007 [1 favorite]


Yeah, sorry, but I have to weigh in that this seems just very weird. "Scars" on your liver? "Damage"? As a physician, I have no clue what either of these mean; without knowing more, there's no way anyone can help you. (And what you've described of your past drug use doesn't ring to me as having anything to do with whatever it is you're currently experiencing.)
posted by delfuego at 2:38 PM on September 2, 2007


The pills you were prescribed are called Hepatic Forte, not Hepalic Forte, correct?

(I don't know anything about livers, but I bet the correct spelling of the pills might help people Google them.)
posted by limeonaire at 2:38 PM on September 2, 2007


One obvious thing if you have concerns about your liver: try to avoid acetaminophen/paracetamol or any drug that includes it - like Lortab or Vicodin.
posted by dilettante at 2:58 PM on September 2, 2007


I'd definitely get a second opinion.

Hepatic forte - "liver strengthener"? What're the active ingredients?

The pattern of drug use you described should not cause any permanent liver damage. Is your urine highly discoloured? Do you have problems with weakeness when hungry? When you drink alcohol do you stay drunk for extended periods of time (over 1 hour per unit of alcohol)? Do you feel ill after drinking alcohol?

You can remove 80% of the liver (for say, to transplant into someone else) and your liver will regrow to 80%+ of it's original size.
posted by porpoise at 3:47 PM on September 2, 2007


Looking at your history I see disputes over benefits with your boss. America sucks if you're uninsured. You could look into basic insurance and omit the non-diagnosis of liversomethingorother, but it's expensive by yourself. Agree with the above that step 1 should be trying to get ahold of your doctor for a more expansive explanation and a copy of your records to show to anyone over here who might need them. Homeopathy is not a substitute for medical care.

That said, if you suspect liver problems, of course avoid alcohol completely. Really.
posted by a robot made out of meat at 7:19 PM on September 2, 2007


This is an incredibly uninformed answer, but are you/is your doctor French? From what I understand, "unidentified liver ailment" is to French doctors what "take these antibiotics for 10 days" is to American doctors--that is, a stock diagnosis.
posted by kelseyq at 8:14 PM on September 2, 2007


"Don't look into it, but I'm a respected internal medicine doctor." -- Zoidberg

You need a specific diagnosis. A basic liver workup would have to include an ultrasound, tests for hepatitis B & C viruses, and iron studies at a minimum. Other tests to consider would be anti-smooth muscle antibodies and ceruloplasmin.

There's nothing you can put into your body that will help your liver other than the specific treatment for a specific disease.

You should avoid alcohol completely. You should minimize acetaminophen, which is Tylenol and is in a million different over-the-counter medicines. Read labels. On prescription labels, it's often called "APAP" when in combination with other things. Limit acetaminophen to 2000 mg daily, or none at all if your liver function is very poor.
posted by neuron at 10:13 PM on September 2, 2007


If you do have liver damage, which sounds like you need a second opinion on, acetaminophen could explain it. Those Vicodins contained around 750mg of APAP per tablet, Percocet contains APAP, and if you were getting the DXM from a multisymptom cold medicine it may have had APAP too. Since the line between ok and toxic amount of APAP is very thin, you could have unknowingly been overdosing.

"[Acetaminophen] is a leading cause of liver failure in the Western world and the leading cause of drug-induced liver failure in the United States (Bartlett D 2004)." The odds get worse when it's combined with a couple drinks and poor nutrition.
posted by nakedcodemonkey at 12:00 AM on September 3, 2007


I have a sauna in my building and I am wondering if I should use it to my advantage, I've read on the web that it could be beneficial but I am not entirely too sure. I am also wondering if I need to avoid spicy/hot food and caffeine as well. Spicy food are kind of my vice but if it damaging my liver even further, I will stop consuming it.

Any help in regards to liver revival would be greatly appreciated. I want to fix this via the natural root as soon as possible so I can sleep better at night. If someone could give me a guide to what type of food I should eat more and what food and drinks I should avoid, I will be extremely grateful.


If you want to live, you need to educate yourself.

1) Spicy foods will not affect your liver. Saunas will do nothing. I don't even know why you would ask.
2) You cannot "fix" all liver damage.
3) The "natural route" could wind up fucking killing you. Check this shit out:

http://grande.nal.usda.gov/ibids/index.php?mode2=detail&origin=ibids_references&therow=760979

4) You need to see a highly-qualified, highly-recommended hepatologist. If you don't have the money, sell something. The cost of an expensive specialist is peanuts compared to the cost of a funeral nowadays.

5) The doctor you saw in Europe sounds like a goddamned quack. Get a second opinion. If you choose to ignore this advice and continue to seek miracle herbs, keep in mind that you are risking your life. Good luck. See a real doctor.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 1:09 AM on September 3, 2007


If you're having liver problems, a normal thing to do would be for the doctor to order blood drawn so these tests can be done for elevated enzymes. If you can get to a doctor, these would be the things I would ask about.

'Hepatic Forte' is an interesting item to chase after online. The sites that mention it are mostly Romanian. Ingredients appear to be milk thistle, echinacea, licorice, and propolis.

There is a common deep-rooted prejudice in the United States against herbals, much more so than in Europe. Nevertheless, you should consider that many herbs do have active ingredients that would need to be processed by the liver, and could add to the stress on it--so you should be careful before considering any herbal preparation. If you're taking any other medication, a pharmacist may be helpful to have a talk with as well.

The received U.S. opinion on milk thistle appears to be it's probably not going to hurt you, but we need more studies to see if it helps. If you do decide to take milk thistle, you may want to compare the cost and effort of shipping a specialized preparation from Romania versus just buying capsules here. You can buy milk thistle over the counter in just about any grocery store, drugstore, Target, etc. in my area.

If foods that used to taste good start tasting bad--spicy or not--then that would be a reason to see a doctor fairly soon.

Oh, and here's a blurb about saunas from Harvard Medical School: they're wonderful and relaxing, but that's all.
posted by gimonca at 7:29 AM on September 3, 2007


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