You’ve probably heard of hepatitis being a chronic sexually transmitted disease that’s incurable. There are actually many types of hepatitis infections – and at least one of them you can get from eating contaminated food!
The Different Types of Hepatitis
The World Health Organization (WHO) defines hepatitis as an inflammation of the liver. But the term is usually used synonymously for infections caused by the hepatitis viruses.
There are five common types of hepatitis viruses:
- Hepatitis A (HAV)
- Hepatitis B (HBV)
- Hepatitis C (HCV)
- Hepatitis D (HDV)
- Hepatitis E (HEV)
HBV, HCV, and HDV are the types that can be transmitted sexually. Like other STDs, these can also be transmitted via mother-child through birth, contaminated needles between drug users, and contaminated blood transfusions.
Hepatitis D and Hepatitis B are treatable and preventable with vaccines. But Hepatitis C has no current vaccine, but the good news is HCV is the least common sexually transmitted hepatitis virus. HBV is the most common sexually transmitted hepatitis infection.
Hepatitis infections can be acute or chronic. Most times they’re acute – lasting only for a few weeks without any symptoms. If you do experience symptoms, for most of the types of hepatitis, the symptoms usually include fatigue, loss of appetite, stomach and abdominal pains or discomfort, nausea, jaundice, and fever.
But Hepatitis C can have more severe symptoms, like the tendency to bleed and bruise, dark-colored urine, edema, confusion, drunken speech, and spider-like blood vessels appearing on your skin.
The good news is, if your body completely fights off a Hepatitis B infection, or you get vaccinated for Hepatitis B, then it protects you from both future HBV and Hepatitis D infections too! You can only get Hepatitis D if you’re currently infected with HBV. If you clear HBV on your own, your body will forever be immune to the virus because it’s now got antibodies especially crafted to deal with it – and if you can’t get HBV anymore, then you can’t get HDV anymore either.
But a dual infection of HBV and HDV can be fatal – in fact, millions of people die every year from HBV complications.
The Types of Hepatitis You Can Get From Contaminated Food
Recently in the news, some restaurant staff at two Portland cafes may have transmitted HAV between each other. Unlike HBV, HCV, and HDV, Hepatitis A and Hepatitis E viruses are present in feces. That means if someone who’s infected doesn’t wash their hands before preparing food, they can contaminate food and drink with HAV or HEV. The good news is that HAV and HEV are usually acute, and most people make a full recovery without any medical intervention.
The restaurant staff were all vaccinated after the possible hepatitis transmission came to light. The Multnomah County Health Department issued a news announcement that anyone who ate or drank at the two restaurants within the week are urged to see their doctor to get examined for Hepatitis A.
How to Naturally Fight Hepatitis Infections
Thankfully, it’s only Hepatitis C that’s currently medically incurable because of the lack of vaccine. Although all hepatitis infections run the risk of chronic infection, they’re all curable.
If you come down with hepatitis, you can be proactive in helping your body kick the infection and lower its chances of going chronic.
Here are a few hepatitis-fighting supplements you can take:
Vitamin C. Researchers found that vitamin C boosts your immune system’s virus-fighting power. Some of the evidence they’ve found includes increased defense against the flu and the Epstein-Barr virus. Vitamin C also protects your liver from damage from the hepatitis infection by boosting your glutathione levels. Your liver needs glutathione for its detoxification processes and your immune system needs it to fight off viruses. Upping your glutathione levels can help protect your liver from a cirrhosis complication arising from the hepatitis infection.
Methanol extract from the fruit of the Indian gooseberry. Researchers say that the methanol extract from Emblica officinalis has potent antiviral effects. It’s used in Cuban traditional medicine to help treat HBV and HAV.
Neem leaf extract. Each of the neem tree’s parts has many healing properties. Extracts of its leaves have antiviral properties. These extracts are used in traditional medicine, and studies show that they inhibit viral proliferation.
Now you know you can get hepatitis from more than just unprotected sex. Thankfully, food-transmittable hepatitis infections aren’t as overall serious as sexually transmitted hepatitis infections. If you’re unfortunate enough to contract hepatitis, try these two remedies to help ensure your infection lasts acutely and doesn’t develop into a chronic infection.