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Glutamine and N-Acetyl Cysteine
April 14, 2003

Hepatitis C: Glutamine and N-Acetyl Cysteine
by Michael Mooney (March, 2000)

Recent headlines underline how seriously Hepatitis C (HCV) affects HIV(+) people. Some reports, like the one below show as much as three times the increase in the rate of death from HCV over the last few years.

Liver Disease Raises Questions for AIDS Patients
Reuters (11/19/99)
A report presented at the annual meeting of the Infectious Diseases Society of America in Philadelphia shows that liver disease is a leading cause of death among HIV patients at a Massachusetts hospital, especially among those also infected with hepatitis C. Dr. Barbara McGovern of the Tufts University School of Medicine found that HIV patients taking highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) were at risk for liver disease because of the drugs' potential toxicity. McGovern performed a retrospective review of HIV-positive patients who died at the hospital between May 1998 and April 1999, comparing them to those who died in 1991. The findings revealed that 50 percent of the 22 deaths among HIV patients in the 1998-to-1999 period were due to end-stage liver disease, compared to 15 percent of the 27 AIDS deaths in 1991, before HAART was available.

Earlier this year, a friend with HCV began to use the amino acids glutamine and N-acetyl cysteine (NAC), after I suggested that these nutrients might help because of their effect of improving glutathione production in the liver. Glutathione is the main antioxidant that the body makes and it is critically important for detoxifying activities done by the liver.

He first checked with his doctor, who stated he agreed that this might be productive even though popular medical opinion was that amino acids might cause problems because they could produce an increase in ammonia levels.

I suggested that he try a dose that is relatively low for a short time, and then have his doctor check his liver functions, and ammonia level. The dose I suggested was 500 mg of NAC, along with 2,000 mg of powdered glutamine twice per day.

He started doing this and only two days after he began using these dietary supplements, his wife reported to me that she noticed that he was thinking much more clearly, and that his energy level had increased radically. Three weeks later, he returned to his doctor for routine tests.

His doctor was extremely surprised to find that his liver function tests and ammonia levels had decreased signficantly and were now in the normal range. They had been elevated for over three years.

I suggested that he keep working with his doctor and double the dose every month or so and have the doctor retest to make sure that there wasn't some kind of negative effect caused at a some higher dose. The idea was to increase gradually in an effort to find an optimal dose for him. I also suggested that, based on what I have seen in HIV, an optimal top dose might be 500 to 1000 mg of NAC and 4,000 mg of glutamine three times per day. (One heaping teaspoon of glutamine powder is about 4,000 mg.)

It you decide to experiment with these nutrients, consult your doctor first, and have them follow you with the appropriate lab tests.

This article is provided for educational purposes only, and is in no way a substitute for the advice of a qualified medical doctor or a recommendation to do other than your doctor determines is best for you. You should present this information to your doctor for their analysis because appropriate medical therapy should be tailored by a knowledgeable doctor for the individual as no two individuals are alike. I do not recommend self-medicating with any pharmaceutical drug or nutrient as you should consult with a qualified medical doctor who can determine your individual situation. If you use the information I present without the approval of your doctor, you do so strictly at your own risk and no responsibility is implied or intended on my part.

Reports from people with Hepatitis C:

Dennis in NYC writes: My liver got much better since I have taken Milk Thistle (silymarin herb extract) and choline/inositol 500 mg (250 mg each of choline and inositol). I took three pills of each three times a day for about a year. Now my liver tests as being in very good health.

Bob answered: That's great. So you're saying you have a coinfection of HIV and Hep C and after taking these supplements for a year that it appears to have solved the problem? I have heard of silymarin but not the choline/inositol for liver problems. what does the choline/inositol specifically do for the liver?

Dennis answers: A few years ago, I was told that I had a light case of Hep C (along with HIV). I researched the liver to see what would help and found that there is a large amount of choline in the liver used to metabolize "stuff." (I sound very scientific, I joke.) So I started to take inositol/choline 500 mg (250mg of each) three times a day. About 9 months later, I went to Dr. Jacobson in NYC who is a liver specialist (maybe the only one) and he had a DNA (RNA?) test done and said, "The hepatitis C appears to be gone." Talk about anecdotal evidence. Who knows what did it because I also took 3 milk thistle pills a day.

This is why I suggest that people take Alfalfa and Lipoic Acid.

See chapter 19 and 25 in the newest edition of Triumph Over Hepatitis C

In Good Health


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