Liver Cirrhosis

Also indexed as:Cirrhosis, Liver
Get added support for this serious disease by taking care of your nutritional needs. According to research or other evidence, the following self-care steps may be helpful.
  • Reliable and relatively consistent scientific data showing a substantial health benefit.
  • Contradictory, insufficient, or preliminary studies suggesting a health benefit or minimal health benefit.
  • For an herb, supported by traditional use but minimal or no scientific evidence. For a supplement, little scientific support.

Our proprietary “Star-Rating” system was developed to help you easily understand the amount of scientific support behind each supplement in relation to a specific health condition. While there is no way to predict whether a vitamin, mineral, or herb will successfully treat or prevent associated health conditions, our unique ratings tell you how well these supplements are understood by some in the medical community, and whether studies have found them to be effective for other people.

For over a decade, our team has combed through thousands of research articles published in reputable journals. To help you make educated decisions, and to better understand controversial or confusing supplements, our medical experts have digested the science into these three easy-to-follow ratings. We hope this provides you with a helpful resource to make informed decisions towards your health and well-being.

Supplement Amount Why
SAMe
1,200 mg daily 3 stars [3 stars]
Taking SAMe may improve liver function, bile flow, and survival.
Acetyl-L-Carnitine
2 grams twice a day for 3 months 2 stars [2 stars]
A double-blind trial suggests that supplementing with acety-l-carnitine may improve mental and neurological function in people whose cirrhosis has impaired function.
Beta-Glucan, Inulin, Pectin, and Resistant Starch
10 grams total fermentable fiber daily 2 stars [2 stars]
In a study of people with cirrhosis, supplementing with fermentable fiber (containing equal parts of beta-glucan, inulin, pectin, and resistant starch) improved liver and brain function.
Branched-Chain Amino Acids
At least 5 grams daily, up to 0.24 grams per 2.2 lbs (1 kg) body weight per day 2 stars [2 stars]
Under a doctor’s supervision, supplementing with branched-chain amino acids may correct an imbalance of amino acids and improve cirrhosis symptoms.
L-Ornithine-L-Aspartate
18 grams daily of L-ornithine-L-aspartate 2 stars [2 stars]
As both a supplement and injection, L-ornithine-L-aspartate has been shown to significantly improve liver function, mental status, and brain function.
Milk Thistle
420 mg of silymarin daily 2 stars [2 stars]
Supplementing with milk thistle may protect liver cells and improve function.
Peony
Under medical supervision: take the Chinese herbal formula shakuyaku-kanzo-to 2 stars [2 stars]
One trial showed that the Chinese formula shakuyaku-kanzo-to (containing white peony and licorice roots) relieved muscle cramps due to liver cirrhosis.
Phosphatidyl Choline
900 mg phosphatidyl choline per day 2 stars [2 stars]
Phosphatidylcholine breaks down scar tissue in the liver and may be able to reverse tissue changes that cause cirrhosis.
Sea Buckthorn
15 grams three times daily of sea buckthorn extract 2 stars [2 stars]
Preliminary research suggests that sea buckthorn may improve indicators of liver damage.
Sho-Saiko-To (Bupleurum, Peony, Pinellia, Cassia, Ginger, Jujube, Asian Ginseng, Asian Scullcap, and Licorice)
2.5 grams of the Chinese herbal formula sho-saiko-to three times daily 2 stars [2 stars]
The Chinese herb bupleurum is a component of the formula sho-saiko-to, which was shown in one preliminary trial to liver cancer risk in people with liver cirrhosis.
Zinc
Take under medical supervision: 135 to 215 mg daily 2 stars [2 stars]
Supplementing with zinc may correct the deficiency common in alcoholic liver cirrhosis and may correct the impaired taste function that people with cirrhosis often experience.
Bile Acids

(Primary Biliary Cirrhosis)
Refer to label instructions 1 star [1 star]
People with cirrhosis have decreased secretion of bile acids. Supplementing with bile acids may improve bile composition and delay disease progression in primary biliary cirrhosis.
L-Carnitine
Refer to label instructions 1 star [1 star]
L-carnitine injections have been used to improve circulation to the liver in people with cirrhosis.
Selenium
Refer to label instructions 1 star [1 star]
People with liver cirrhosis often have low selenium levels and a greater need for antioxidants. In one study, selenium improved liver function in people with alcoholic cirrhosis.
Vitamin E
Refer to label instructions 1 star [1 star]
Vitamin E has been shown to decrease damage in cirrhotic livers and may reduce immune abnormalities that contribute to the development of the disease.

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The information presented in Aisle7 is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. Self-treatment is not recommended for life-threatening conditions that require medical treatment under a doctor's care. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires June 2015.