Roles of Oxidative Stress in the Pathogenesis of Hepatitis C – Implications for Full-Spectrum Antioxidant Therapy with Phlebotomy

Although our capacity to detect hepatitis C in the blood has greatly reduced transmission of this disorder via blood transfusion, this infection is still very common worldwide, and remains the leading reason for liver transplantation in the U.S. There is considerable evidence that oxidative stress in the infected liver is a key driver of the long-term deadly complications of hepatitis C – liver cirrhosis and hepatic cancer – and may also make the virus more difficult to eradicate with interferon/ribavirin therapy. This essay proposes that spirulina, high-dose folic acid, and additional antioxidants such as astaxanthin, lipoic acid, N-acetylcysteine, and silymarin, may have the potential to make chronic hepatitis C infection less dangerous, and to improve its responsiveness to proven anti-viral therapy. Depletion of liver iron by repeated blood drawing – phlebotomy – also seems likely to be of benefit in this regard.

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