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Hepatitis C and Vitamins

Hepatitis C and Vitamins: Special Concerns

Information about specific vitamins and recommendations for people with hepatitis C is listed below.
Iron and Vitamin C
Some people with hepatitis C, particularly those with cirrhosis, have above-average levels of iron in their body. Too much iron can damage organs. If these people choose to take multivitamin or mineral pills, they should take ones without iron. These pills are usually marketed as formulas for men or adults over 50.
These people should also avoid taking large doses of vitamin C because it helps the body absorb iron.
Vitamin E
Antioxidants are substances (such as vitamin C and vitamin E) that help prevent oxygen from reacting with other chemicals in cells (oxidation). The oxidation process can have negative effects on the body. Researchers are looking into ways that vitamin E can reduce risk of many diseases because of its antioxidant abilities. But the current medical opinion is that the amount of vitamin E in a well-balanced diet is the safest amount for a person with hepatitis C.
If you are going to take vitamin E, avoid supplements with doses greater than 400 IU. At high doses, vitamin E can thin the blood. This can be a problem for some people, so never take high-doses of vitamin E without first talking to your doctor.
Vitamin A
Vitamin A, if taken in doses larger than the recommended 10,000 IU, can harm the liver. Vitamin A is even more toxic in someone who drinks alcohol.
You won't get too much vitamin A from food, but be careful when taking routine dietary supplements with high doses of vitamin A. There's a non-toxic form of vitamin A present in many fruits and vegetables. This form is called beta-carotene. If you take vitamin A supplements, look for those containing beta-carotene.

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