Hep B Blog

Protein Myths and Your Liver

Liver-friendly diets are a common concern for those with chronic hepatitis B wishing to make healthy lifestyle choices. Protein is essential to all, but there are healthier ways to consume necessary proteins.  Please enjoy this informative blog from the Al D. Rodriguez Liver Foundation – ADRLF, on Protein Myths and Your Liver written by ToniMarie Bacala.

We all love need protein – whether it be from animals or plants—protein gives us essential amino acids we need to keep our bodies strong and healthy. But how much do we really understand about protein and its effects on our organs, especially the liver? Is there such as thing as too much protein, even if its from vegetables and grains? Let’s delve into two popular protein myths and how we can ensure our protein intake is safe for our liver.

Love meat? Learn more about healthy proteins to protect you liver.
Love meat? Learn more about healthy non-animal meat proteins to protect you liver and keep your body healthy.

Protein is made of 20 different amino acids, but only 11 of which can be naturally synthesized by our body. The other types of protein come from the food we eat. Essentially, it’s safe to say that while protein helps in building the cell wall, strengthening muscle tissues and supporting cell functions, our body actually just needs certain types of amino acids.

So myth or truth? The best source of protein is animal meat. MYTH

Eating red meat requires our digestive system, as well as our liver to do a lot of work processing the heavy bulk of protein. Experts suggest limiting the amount of red meat we eat to at most one serving a day.

There are other good sources of proteins like whole grains, green vegetables, nuts, peas and beans. Fruits also contain small amounts of protein. Compared to animal meat, vegetables and beans have phytochemicals, antioxidants and other nutrients. Nuts and beans containing antioxidants help the liver process the food and beverage that we take in, making it a healthier source of protein.

Myth or truth? People desiring to build lean muscle mass can eat as much protein-rich food as they want.


There is such a thing as too much protein. While protein is an essential nutrient, the overall health of our body lies in having a balanced diet. People building up muscles such as athletes and bodybuilders are no different.

The advisable amount of protein intake for men also differs from women. Consult your doctor or a nutritionist who can give you the appropriate amount of protein you should include in your diet, as based on your weight, age and daily activities. There are also vegan bodybuilders who get much of their protein requirements from vegetables and grains.

Eating too much protein can cause several health conditions such as ketosis, organ failure, and heart diseases. Too much protein can also be dangerous and stressful to the liver. So look out for other protein myths with the basic truth in mind: Keep protein intake in moderation and explore the benefits of non-animal sources of healthy proteins.

Inexpensive Test Could Reveal Liver Cancer Risk

Could an inexpensive test, used in conjunction with current, traditional HCC testing help reveal one’s liver cancer risk? Research for the V-chip is described in an article published in this week’s  Health Canal

Scientists from the Houston Methodist Research Institute and the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center will receive about $2.1 million from the National Cancer Institute to learn whether a small, low-cost device can help assess a person’s risk of developing a common form of liver cancer.

The four-year project is based on technology previously developed by Houston Methodist nanomedicine faculty member Lidong Qin, Ph.D., who is the new project’s principal investigator. Qin’s “V-Chip,” or volumetric bar-chart chip, will be used to detect biomarkers for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), the most common cause of liver cancer. The device only requires a drop of blood from a finger prick.

The V-Chip allows the testing of up to 50 different molecules in a blood or urine sample.

“Most of the burden of HCC is borne by people who have low income, with the highest incidence rates reported in regions of the world where infection with hepatitis B virus is endemic,” Qin said. “Developing an accurate and low-cost technology that assesses the risk of cancer could make a big difference to people who ordinarily can’t afford expensive tests.”

M.D. Anderson Department of Epidemiology Chair Xifeng Wu is the project’s co-principal investigator.

Qin and Wu will see whether the V-Chip accurately detects HCC biomarkers. The researchers will also determine which combination of these biomarkers proves most predictive of disease.

Among the biomarkers the researchers will look at are antigens of hepatitis viruses B and C, aflatoxin (a fungal toxin that at high doses is associated with cancer risk), and metabolic indicators of alcohol consumption, obesity, diabetes, and iron overdose.

Tests of the V-chip will not replace traditional testing methods, but rather be carried out in tandem so that patients’ care cannot be adversely affected.

Hepatocellular carcinoma is believed to be the third-highest cause of cancer death worldwide and the ninth leading cause of cancer death in the U.S. It is most commonly caused by a past infection of hepatitis viruses B or C (HBV or HCV) and cirrhosis of the liver caused by alcohol abuse or other toxic damage.

Please visit Health News, Health Canal for more information 

HBV Journal Review – September 2013

HBF is pleased to connect our blog readers to Christine Kukka’s monthly HBV Journal Review that she writes for the HBV Advocate. The journal presents the
latest in hepatitis B research, treatment, and prevention from recent academic and medical journals. This month, the following topics are explored:

  • 39.2% of U.S. Newborns Aren’t Getting Hepatitis B Vaccine at Birth
  • Researchers Suggest Banning or Restricting Lamivudine to Avoid Drug Resistance
  • Knowledge Gap About Hepatitis B Persists Among Asian-Americans
  • Even Liver Specialists Fail to Immunize Patients Against Viral Hepatitis
  • Many Seek Viral Hepatitis Tests Only When Symptoms Appear
  • After Six Years of Tenofovir Treatment, Still No Signs of Drug Resistance
  • More Studies Examine Link Between Vitamin D and Liver Damage
  • Study Examines Which Hepatitis B Patients Relapse with Chemotherapy
  • Interferon Treatment May Cause Some Hearing Loss
  • African-Americans Suffer the Highest Rates of New HBV Infections in the U.S.

HBV Journal Review
September 1, 2013
Volume 10, Issue 8
by Christine M. Kukka 


 39.2% of U.S. Newborns Aren’t Getting Hepatitis B Vaccine at Birth

Which newborns aren’t getting immunized against hepatitis B in the U.S.? The infants who:

  • • Do not have health insurance
  • • Live in states without a universal hepatitis B vaccine supply policy
  • • And have only one provider who administered vaccines.

According to a U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study, published in the August issue of the journal Preventive Medicine, an alarming 39.2% of newborns missed the first, critical birth dose of hepatitis B vaccination that can protect newborns from hepatitis B even if their mothers are infected.

These results come from data analysis of the 2009 National Immunization Survey of 17,053 U.S. children, aged 19-35 months.

“Children who reside in states without a universal hepatitis B vaccine supply policy, and are not covered by health insurance are two important modifiable risk factors for not receiving the birth dose hepatitis B vaccination, future intervention studies could be needed to help control those modifiable risk factors,” CDC researchers wrote.

Source: www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23988497

Researchers Suggest Banning or Restricting Lamivudine to Avoid Drug Resistance
A global team of researchers suggest lamivudine (Epivir-HBV) never be used to treat hepatitis B patients because it frequently leads to drug resistance and sets the stage for resistance to other antivirals, such as entecavir (Baraclude).

Lamivudine, the first antiviral approved for hepatitis B treatment, has fallen out of favor in North America and Europe because of its high rate of drug resistance. But because of its low cost, it continues to be commonly used to treat hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection in Asia and Africa, where the majority of the world’s hepatitis B patients live.

This report, published in the July 30 issue of PLoS One, examined the molecular make-up of the virus in many patients who had been treated with lamivudine as well as patients who had never been treated. They found the many untreated patients carry a mutation that allows HBV to quickly mutate and develop resistance to lamivudine.

“Our findings strongly suggest that the use of lamivudine will not benefit …patients,” they wrote because of the high risk of lamivudine resistance.

“Finally, since patients can quickly develop drug resistance to entecavir in the presence of lamivudine mutations, the lamivudine mutations can significantly compromise the efficacy of entecavir,” they concluded.

They proposed that doctor screen patients for these mutations before ever prescribing lamivudine,”… to most effectively treat chronic hepatitis B patients by selecting only sensitive drugs.” …

Continue reading about this and additional HBV related studies