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Monday, January 28, 2008

Naturopathic Treatment for Hepatitis C

Introduction

The philosophy of naturopathic medicine can best be described as the utilization of the healing power of nature. Several basic thoughts are at the core of this philosophy. Naturopathic health care providers approach health with prevention and education foremost in their minds. If disease enters the picture, the approach is to treat the whole person so that the natural healing powers of the body can rid it of the root cause of the illness.
The Naturopathic Approach
Naturopathic health care providers use many different tools in the care and treatment of patients. These include botanical medicines (herbs), acupuncture, nutritional supplements, traditional Chinese medicine, homeopathic remedies, nutrition counseling and diet therapy, massage and/or spinal manipulation, exercise, and other forms of therapy.
There are four accredited naturopathic medical colleges in the United States. If you choose to include naturopathic medicine in your treatment of hepatitis C, it is important that you see a licensed naturopathic doctor. The American Association of Naturopathic Physicians provides information on well-trained, naturopathic doctors in the United States (see the Resource Directory).
The Principles of Naturopathic Treatment for Hepatitis C
The following is a discussion of the naturopathic approach to treating hepatitis C and the options a naturopathic doctor might consider when treating someone with hepatitis C.
The Liver as an Organ of Detoxification

The liver is a large organ; it weighs about 3½ pounds. It requires approximately one-third of the heart’s output of blood to do its many jobs. The liver filters almost two quarts of blood every minute. This filtration is essential to the body’s survival because the liver receives blood directly from the intestines. The liver filters proteins and other nutrients and chemicals from the food we eat. The liver regulates blood sugar levels, stores fat soluble vitamins, activates and breaks down hormones and drugs, and aids in the elimination of pollutants and toxins from disease causing microorganisms. The liver also manufactures nutrients, enzymes, and hormones.
For the liver to function well, it needs certain nutrients for the detoxification system and immune cells. The liver requires B vitamins (B2, B3, B6, B12, and folic acid), magnesium, zinc, copper, choline, betaine, and the amino acids methionine, taurine, and cysteine to break down medications, pollutants, and chemicals found in air, water, and food.1

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