Alcoholic Hepatitis

Alcoholic Hepatitis

Related Terms

Alcoholic Liver Disease; Hepatitis, Alcoholic; Liver Disease, Alcoholic

Alcoholic hepatitis, also known as alcoholic liver disease, is swelling of the liver that happens over time from drinking too much alcohol. It can cause belly pain, nausea and vomiting, weight loss, and yellowing of the skin and eyes.

It can be dangerous if it is not treated. People with alcoholic hepatitis will need to stop drinking alcohol. Alcohol treatment programs can help. Medicine may also be used to ease swelling. Some people turn to natural therapies to help boost liver function.

Natural Therapies

May Be Effective

These therapies may improve liver function:

  • Milk Thistle is a plant with seeds that contain silymarin. Silymarin has been used to improve liver function. ( Note : Milk thistle may make antibiotics less effective.)A2, A3, A10, A11
  • Probiotics are bacteria that are helpful in the body.A4

Not Enough Data to Assess

Editorial process and description of evidence categories can be found at EBSCO NAT Editorial Process.

Herbs and Supplements to Be Used With Caution

Talk to your doctor about any supplements or therapy you would like to use. Some can interfere with treatment or make conditions worse, such as:

  • Milk thistle may make antibiotics less effective.
  • S-adenosyl methionine (SAMe) may interact with antidepressants. Talk to your doctor before taking SAMe.

References

Herbs and Supplements

A1. Rambaldi A, Gluud C. S-adenosyl-L-methionine for alcoholic liver diseases. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2006;(2):CD002235.

A2. Saller R, Brignoli R, et al. An updated systematic review with meta-analysis for the clinical significance of silymarin. Forsch Koplementmed. 2008;15(1):9-20.

A3. El-Kamary SS, Shardell MD, et al. A randomized controlled trial to assess the safety and efficacy of silymarin on symptoms, signs and biomarkers of acute hepatitis. Phytomedicine. 2009;16(5):391-400.

A4. Liu JE, Zhang Y, et al. Probiotic yogurt effects on intestinal flora of patients with chronic liver disease. Nurs Res. 2010;59(6):426-432.

A5. Bjelakovic G, Gluud LL, et al. Antioxidant supplements for liver diseases. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2011;(3):CD007749.

A6. Bjelakovic G, Nikolova D, et al. Vitamin D supplementation for chronic liver diseases in adults. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2017;11:CD011564.

A7. Bjelakovic G, Nikolova D, et al. Vitamin D supplementation for chronic liver diseases in adults. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2017 Nov 3;11:CD011564.

A8. Bjelakovic G, Gluud LL, et al. Antioxidant supplements for liver diseases. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2011 Mar 16;(3):CD007749.

A9. Bjelakovic G, Gluud LL, et al. Meta-analysis: antioxidant supplements for liver diseases - the Cochrane Hepato-Biliary Group. Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2010 Aug;32(3):356-367.

A10. Rambaldi A, Jacobs BP, et al. Milk thistle for alcoholic and/or hepatitis B or C virus liver diseases. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2007 Oct 17;(4):CD003620.

A11. Rambaldi A, Jacobs BP, et al. Milk thistle for alcoholic and/or hepatitis B or C liver diseases--a systematic cochrane hepato-biliary group review with meta-analyses of randomized clinical trials. Am J Gastroenterol. 2005 Nov;100(11):2583-2591.

Nutritional Support

B1. Koretz RL, Avenell A, et al. Nutritional support for liver disease. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2012;(5):CD008344.

B2. Fialla AD, Israelsen M, et al. Nutritional therapy in cirrhosis or alcoholic hepatitis: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Liver Int. 2015;35(9):2072-2078.

B3. Fialla AD, Israelsen M, et al. Nutritional therapy in cirrhosis or alcoholic hepatitis: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Liver Int. 2015 Sep;35(9):2072-2078.

B4. Koretz RL. The evidence for the use of nutritional support in liver disease. Curr Opin Gastroenterol. 2014 Mar;30(2):208-214.

B5. Antar R, Wong P, et al. A meta-analysis of nutritional supplementation for management of hospitalized alcoholic hepatitis. Can J Gastroenterol. 2012 Jul;26(7):463-467.

Last reviewed November 2019 by EBSCO NAT Review Board Eric Hurwitz, DC
Last Updated: 5/18/2020

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This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.

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