Diet for Hepatitis B
Hepatitis B is a liver disease caused by a
A specific diet for hepatitis B does not exist,
but adhering to federal dietary guidelines
can support a healthy liver.
The goal of a healthy diet for liver disease
is to prevent the progression of the disease
and generate new liver cells.
Hepatitis B is a liver infection caused by
the hepatitis B virus (HBV) and can be acute
Chronic hepatitis B can lead to liver failure,
liver cancer, cirrhosis of the liver and kidney
The Mayo Clinic says symptoms of hepatitis
B include abdominal and joint pain, dark urine,
loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, weakness,
fatigue, and jaundice.
The HBV virus is spread through blood, saliva,
semen, and vaginal secretions; it can also
be transferred from a pregnant woman to her
The Hepatitis Foundation International (HFI)
says good nutrition can help form new liver
cells that have been damaged by HBV and prevent
malnutrition that often occurs with chronic
Individuals with hepatitis B should monitor
their protein intake because too much protein
can cause hepatic encephalopathy, a condition
characterized by mental confusion.
Encephalopathy occurs when there is more protein
available than the liver can use, which leads
to a buildup of toxins that interfere with
The HFI says the grams of protein a person
needs on a daily basis is equal to one half
of their weight in pounds.
Monitoring caloric intake with hepatitis B
is important because excess calories can contribute
to liver malfunction and cause fatty deposits
in the liver.
The HFI recommends 15 calories per pound of
body weight a day and says to limit fat to
less than 30 percent of calories per day because
it contributes to weight gain and heart disease
when consumed in excess.
The HFI also says sodium (salt) should be
limited because high amounts can lead to fluid
High-sodium foods include canned foods, cold
cuts, snack foods and condiments like mayonnaise
The University of Maryland Medical Center
(UMMC) encourages eating foods that are high
Antioxidants protect the body from damage
done by free radicals and toxins and help
prevent chronic diseases.
Foods that are high in antioxidants include
plant foods like fruits, vegetables, and whole
The HFI says people living with hepatitis
B should avoid or severely restrict alcohol
intake because alcohol can further damage
the liver and prevent healing and growth of
new liver cells.
Alcohol can also interfere with and cause
misinterpretations of liver function tests.
According to the UMMC, supplements with antioxidant
properties that may benefit the liver include
vitamin C, coenzyme Q10, acetyl-L-carnitine,
probiotics, N-acetyl cysteine and SAMe.
The UMMC also says herbs like cordyceps, milk
thistle, licorice root, and reishi mushroom
may improve hepatitis B. Individuals with
hepatitis B should consult a physician prior
to taking supplements or herbs.
Supplements and herbs are not regulated by
the Food and Drug Administration and may lack
scientific research regarding safety or efficacy.
The UMMC says individuals who experience nausea
or loss of appetite due to hepatitis B may
find it helpful to eat small meals throughout
the day instead of a few large meals.
The HFI reminds people with hepatitis B to
avoid sharing food that has been in their
mouth because the HBV can be transmitted through
bodily fluids like saliva.
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