Food Consumer (03.31.13)
Italian researchers report that hepatitis C-infected people have a lower median serum vitamin A (256 ng/mL) than people without hepatitis C (742 ng/mL). Hepatitis C patients with lower vitamin A are less likely to respond to treatment, according to Pierluigi Toniutto of the Department of Medical Sciences Clinical and Experimental, Internal Medicine, Medical Liver Transplantation Unit, University of Udine. Toniutto stated that vitamin A “modulates the expression of type 1 interferon receptor”; interferon helps to prevent replication of the hepatitis C virus.
Researchers recommended more study to confirm that higher levels of vitamin A help treat hepatitis C; low levels of vitamin A may be a result of hepatitis C infection rather than the reason patients do not respond to treatment. Sweet potatoes, carrots, spinach, kale, collard greens, turnip greens, Swiss chard, winter squash, mustard greens, and romaine lettuce are good sources of vitamin A.
The full report, “Vitamin A Deficiency Is Associated with Hepatitis C Virus Chronic Infection and with Unresponsiveness to Interferon-based Antiviral Therapy,” was published in the journal Hepatology (2013; doi: 10.1002/hep.26186).