I saw a 55 year old woman recently who had been diagnosed with autoimmune hepatitis. This is a condition where the patient’s own immune system attacks the liver cells with antibodies and inflammatory chemicals. The liver cells become damaged and release their enzymes into the blood stream so that elevated levels of liver enzymes are seen on a blood test. This woman had seen a liver specialist who had put her on steroids to stop the liver inflammation before liver damage occurred. Steroid drugs are miraculous and are able to suppress these violent inflammatory reactions. Her liver enzymes were now normal but she was suffering with steroid side effects – namely bruising and insomnia. The lack of sleep was causing exhaustion.

What had caused her immune system to attack her liver?

She had a family history of liver disease and her mother had suffered with autoimmune hepatitis after being prescribed antibiotics. Her mother died at a relatively young age with liver disease.

In the case of this patient there were great similarities with her mother as she was taking a strong antibiotic drug prescribed for recurrent urinary tract infections. It is well known that antibiotic drugs can trigger autoimmune liver disease, although in her case the liver specialist said this was not due to the antibiotic. I was not convinced and said to her that she should never touch this antibiotic drug again. Thankfully she was due to stop the antibiotic in 2 days time as her infection had abated.

To restore this woman’s health we had to treat the cause of her problems – namely her weak and dysfunctional immune system. She was overworked and did not get enough rest but was not in a financial situation to be able to stop working so hard.

In the past she had relied on way too many antibiotic drugs and these drugs had destroyed all the good bacteria in her intestines. The unhealthy bacteria that populated her gut were causing chronic inflammation that resulted in urinary tract infections. It was a vicious cycle – more urinary tract infections – more antibiotics- more unhealthy gut bacteria – more urinary tract infections.

To break the cycle we decided that –

She must start to do raw juicing with 80% vegetables and 20% fruits. Citrus fruits are the best. I told her to use the recipes from my book Raw Juices Can Save Your Life

She must take supplements to strengthen her immune system. As she was on a tight budget, I stuck to the essentials – namely vitamin C, vitamin D 3, selenium and a glutamine powder

She must start eating fermented foods as these would restore the healthy bacterial population in her gut. The bulk of the immune cells in your body reside in your gut and if you have unhealthy gut bacteria you will never prevent recurrent infections. Fermented foods supply trillions of a wide variety of beneficial gut bacteria compared to a probiotic supplement, which supplies only billions of a much narrower range of good bacteria (probiotics)

I asked her to stop eating sugar and gluten containing foods as these feed the bad bacteria.

To read about fermented foods please read Beneficial Fermented Foods for the Digestive Tract