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NCCIH Clinical Digest

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Hepatitis C and Dietary Supplements

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May 2016
Milk Thistle

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Several dietary and herbal supplements have been studied for hepatitis C, and substantial numbers of people with hepatitis C have tried herbal supplements. For example, a survey of 1,145 participants in the HALT-C (Hepatitis C Antiviral Long-Term Treatment Against Cirrhosis) trial found that 23 percent of the participants were using herbal products. Although participants reported using many different herbal products, silymarin (milk thistle) was by far the most common. However, no dietary supplement has been shown to be efficacious for hepatitis C.

This issue provides information on the evidence base of several dietary supplements studied for hepatitis C.

 

What the Science Says: 

Condition and Summary of Current Evidence

Milk Thistle

Dietary Supplement

Current evidence suggests that milk thistle is no better than placebo as a treatment for hepatitis C.

Read more about the evidence base of milk thistle for Hepatitis C

Probiotics

Dietary Supplement

Only a few studies have examined the effects of probiotics on hepatitis C, and of those studies, there isn’t any clear evidence that probiotics are helpful in people with hepatitis C.

Read more about the evidence base of probiotics for Hepatitis C

Zinc

Dietary Supplement

There isn’t sufficient evidence to draw clear conclusions about the benefit or safety of zinc supplementation on hepatitis C disease activity.

Read more about the evidence base of zinc for Hepatitis C

Glycyrrhizin

Dietary Supplement

There is currently insufficient evidence to determine if glycyrrhizin is efficacious for hepatitis C.

Read more about the evidence base of glycyrrhizin for Hepatitis C

Chlorella

Dietary Supplement

There is currently insufficient evidence to determine if chlorella supplementation is efficacious  for hepatitis C.

Read more about the evidence base of chlorella for Hepatitis C

Scientific Literature

NCCIH Clinical Digest is a service of the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, NIH, DHHS. NCCIH Clinical Digest, a monthly e-newsletter, offers evidence-based information on complementary health approaches, including scientific literature searches, summaries of NCCIH-funded research, fact sheets for patients, and more.

The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health is dedicated to exploring complementary health products and practices in the context of rigorous science, training complementary health researchers, and disseminating authoritative information to the public and professionals. For additional information, call NCCIH's Clearinghouse toll-free at 1-888-644-6226, or visit the NCCIH Web site at nccih.nih.gov. NCCIH is 1 of 27 institutes and centers at the National Institutes of Health, the Federal focal point for medical research in the United States.

Copyright

Content is in the public domain and may be reprinted, except if marked as copyrighted (©). Please credit the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health as the source. All copyrighted material is the property of its respective owners and may not be reprinted without their permission.

This page last modified May 03, 2016