Gilbert's Syndrome affects 5% of the adult population, is benign and is a congenital/hereditary liver disorder characterized by a mild, fluctuating increase in serum bilirubin, the yellow pigment excreted by the liver into bile. Gilbert’s does not usually require medical treatment and will not interfere with a normal lifestyle.
Living with Gilbert's syndrome
Small amounts of bilirubin are normally present in the blood. The elevated bilirubin levels seen in Gilbert’s Syndrome usually show up as an incidental laboratory finding while all other liver function tests are normal. Serum bilirubin increases with fasting (reduced caloric intake) or an intercurrent illness such as influenza and the individual might suffer from transient, mild and benign jaundice. Taking large doses of vitamin B3 (niacin) can increase bilirubin formation and can lead to a worsening of the condition.
Liver disease of any kind benefits from dietary changes. Avoidance of animal products (eggs, dairy, beef, pork, raw fish, shellfish, etc.), simple sugar, yeast, alcohol and highly processed foods reduces the load of potential toxins presented to the liver. It is also very important to avoid drugs that need detoxification by the liver, including acetominophen (Tylenol). Avoid any nutritional supplements containing high doses of vitamin A, niacin, cod or halibut liver oil, or vitamin D.
The manufacture of bread, beer, wine, cheese, aged and cured meats, and tobacco products all involves a fermentation process that produces fungal mycotoxins which can adversely affect the liver. Peanuts are contaminated by fungal mycotoxins and are also best avoided. The consumption of small amounts of these foods may be tolerated by those with healthy immune systems but are potentially dangerous to those suffering from chronic liver disease.
Great benefits may be derived from following a raw vegetable and fruit diet for several weeks and a plant based diet on a long-term basis (3 to 6 months). Therapeutic juices include radish and pineapple, black cherry concentrate mixed with liquid chlorophyll and a combination of carrot, beet, celery, green pepper, spinach, papaya, and cucumber juices.
Milk thistle extract (silymarin) helps most liver disorders. So do proteolytic digestive enzymes, alpha lipoic acid, coenzyme Q10, black radish, artichoke, turmeric, curcumin, red clover, dandelion, B complex vitamins, especially vitamin B1 (thiamine), Liv 52, Lactobacillus acidophilus, and the amino acids methionine and cysteine. Weekly injections of folic acid, vitamin B12, and other B complex vitamins may be dramatically effective in some cases where energy levels have been severely impaired.
The herbal tea combination of slippery elm, burdock, Turkish rhubarb, and sheep sorrel may be a great help in cleansing the liver (3-6 months). With almost all these natural remedies, healing may be slow over a period of months or years. The key thing is to stick to it, get regular lab tests done for liver function, and maintain a positive mental attitude.
Supervision by a natural health care practitioner is strongly recommended to assess progress.