What we know about drinking alcohol and Hepatitis C comes down to this – don’t.
This is especially critical as people with HCV have on average higher rates of alcohol consumption than the general population.
Research shows an increased rate of cirrhosis, hepatocellular carcinoma, and mortality in HCV infected patients who drink alcohol. Even moderate alcohol consumption raises this risk. Dr. Zobair Younossi tracked almost 9000 patients for over 13 years. Heavy drinkers with HCV were 5 times more likely to have died during that time period than non-infected heavy drinkers.
Alcohol is metabolized by an enzyme alcohol dehydrogenase which convers ethanol to acetaldehyde and hydrogen. High levels of hydrogen leads to fatty liver among other issues. Acetaldehyde which is toxic is then broken down by the microsomal ethanol oxidizing system MEOS. This process generates free radicals, causing oxidative stress.
Alcohol consumption also raises free iron levels in people with hepatitis compounding oxidative stress. Hepatitis C itself generates high levels of oxidative stress. This mechanism is a cellular reaction to the presence of the virus. The lysosomes generate reactive oxygen species ROS, in an attempt to kill the virus. The lysosomes are organelles found within the cells that are likened to the cellular chemical factories.
It is critical to increase antioxidants for those who drink alcohol and have Hepatitis C. Our recommended antioxidants are Acetyl Glutathione, R+ Lipoic Acid, Milk Thistle (Siliphos), Curcumin (Meriva-SR), and Selenium. We also give both Calcium and Lithium Orotate to quiet the lysosome production of ROS. These stabilized lysosome membranes quelling activity.
Alcohol consumption correlates with increased viral load in some studies. Drinking increases the activity of a the protein nuclear factor kappa B. Nuclear factor kappa B in turn causes HCV to replicate. Alcohol also an inhibitory affect on the immune system, which in turn allows HCV to proliferate.