Importance of Digestive Health When it Comes to Hepatitis

What does Digestion have to do with Hepatitis?

Digestion and Hepatitis
Digestion and Hepatitis. Hernan Herrero/stock.xchng

The digestive system, also called gastrointestinal system, is a collection of organs anatomically beginning from your mouth and extending to the esophagus, stomach, intestine, pancreas, gall bladder, and liver. It ends at the colon and rectum. The primary  resolve of the digestive tract is to absorb nutrients from the foods you take. In reality, your gut performs much more complicated actions apart from digesting consumables.

The gastrointestinal tract is rightly named the “second brain” because your nervous system and guts are connected in many more ways than one can normally fathom. For mental and physical wellbeing, hepatitis patients need to ensure that their digestive tract carries out all its “duties” properly.

Why Do You Need A Healthy Digestive System?

Without essential nutrients, your body can't function and the digestive tract supplies nutrients to all the organs therein. Depending on the available nutrients, the gut casts signals to the brain to alter bodily functions. Everything from the immune system to emotional well-being depends on how well your digestive system works.

The “gut” constantly communicates with the brain to determine what you have to eat and drink to sustain optimal health. This is why you want to go easy on food after carousing with heavy meals. Similarly, when you concentrate all your efforts on any particular task, your brain will “instruct” you to eat more.

The gastrointestinal system is somewhat accountable for your mood. Moreover, your gut is responsible for secreting more than 90% of serotonin, the mood hormone. That is why people develop eating disorders when they’re emotionally unkempt.

Digestive health is crucial to the immune system as the gut is the most important disease fighting system in the body.

The digestive enzymes and acids sterilize consumed food, preventing any risk of infection. The immune receptors in the gastrointestinal tract trigger secretion of hormones responsible for maintaining a healthy immune system. Peyer’s patches of the small intestine play a strategic part in monitoring all sorts of substances that enter your gut. This will ensure that appropriate immune response is triggered when pathogens are identified. 

Hepatitis Affects Your Overall Digestive Health

Hepatitis is a viral infection that assaults the liver and causes inflammation. Different types of viruses, named hepatitis A through E, bring on various forms of hepatitis in patients. Even though all the viruses cause liver damage, the severity of the disease depends on the strain of virus that attacks the liver. Sometimes, medical abuse can lead to hepatitis. Bacteria and other parasites are also found to lead to liver damage in some patients. There is another strain of hepatitis called autoimmune hepatitis, where your body’s own immune system raids your liver, thereby causing chronic damage to liver cells.

The liver entails several important tasks to sustain optimal digestive health of your body. The liver is responsible for expunging toxins from the blood. It also stores nutrients absorbed by the digestive tract. Your liver also regulates the discharge of cholesterol and other important substances. When the normal functioning of liver is distressed by an infection, problems in various regions of the body will ensue. If hepatitis isn’t treated properly, the inflammation can become chronic, leading to scarring of liver termed “cirrhosis.”

Bile is one of the most important digestive enzymes offered by the liver. With an inflamed liver, the capacity to generate bile is seriously affected, making it extremely difficult for gallbladder to digest fatty foods. This leads to buildup of fluid in stomach which can result in darkened urine and pale stools. The toxins that are not filtered by a weakened liver will affect the central nervous system, resulting in sapped motor skills and loss of sleep. The toxins get mixed in the bloodstream, affecting the circulatory system in totality.  The integumentary system comprising skin, hair and nails are also damaged by the increased bilirubin level in the blood. Additionally, the endocrine and immune system are also affected as the immune system may turn against thyroid glands due to hepatitis. All these conundrums in the body result in overall fatigue and extreme tiredness, making it strenuous for hepatitis patients to carry on with their daily lives.

The Digestive Tract and the Sustenance of Health in a Hepatitis Patient

As hepatitis primarily affects the liver, maintaining a healthy digestive system is crucial to recovery. The medications for hepatitis will only work if your guts are able to absorb nutrients from the food you take. Many hepatitis patients don’t show any symptoms, and when the symptoms appear, the liver is greatly disturbed already. In order to enjoy a healthy life, hepatitis patients should take measures to maintain a healthy gastrointestinal system.

When the digestive tract performs its duty adequately, nutrients will be absorbed by the body. The immune system will work properly, helping the body to generate antibodies to counteract the effects caused by the inflamed liver. This will in turn improve the health of your blood, supplying oxygen and other vital nutrients to essential organs thereof.  When the digestive system rallies to great health, your appetite returns. That will help you to eat healthy foods that are essential for recovery from hepatitis. Your guts will absorb nutrients to fuel the immune system suitably. A healthy digestive tract supports the spleen, which assembles new red blood cells. These red blood cells trigger the immune system to function properly, thereby slackening the consequences of hepatitis.

To ensure a healthy digestive system, hepatitis patients should also take care to avoid certain foods that are too rigid to digest quickly. Alcohol must be avoided completely to recover from the disease. Moreover, wheat and gluten are inflammatory foods which should be downed in very minimal quantities if they can't be bypassed completely. Filtered water is much better than tap water as the filtration process removes harmful pathogens. Junk foods and white flour should also be avoided entirely as the digestive system has to overwork to digest these foods. Hydrogenated oils should also be avoided when liver is inflamed due to hepatitis. Dairy products, fruit juices and artificial sweeteners must also be avoided as the human digestive system is not generally designed to metabolize these. All in all, it’s better to avoid meat and use meat substitutes instead wherever necessary. One shouldn’t take raw vegetables when the liver is scarred, and steam your vegetables as often as possible. In a nutshell, you should dodge all processed foods and opt for natural and healthy vegetables to foster a healthy digestive system.

For People with Hepatitis, a Healthy Gastrointestinal Tract Is Key

The lining of the guts has millions of neurons comprising the enteric (intestinal) area, which can be considered the core of the human immune system. When the gut is healthy, it promotes the immune system to preserve ideal digestive system health. If oxygen-rich blood with vital nutrients reaches different organs in the hepatitis sufferer’s body, things will work at their full potential. The idea is to boost your body’s natural ability to repair and recover from minor setbacks. A healthy body generates sufficient hormones that maintain a healthy emotional state. When your body and mind toils together in harmony, you essentially lead a happy life.


Gulsen MT, Beyazit Y, Guclu M, Koklu S. Testing for hepatitis B and C virus infection before upper gastrointestinal endoscopy: justification for dedicated endoscope and room for hepatitis patients. Hepatogastroenterology. 2010 Jul-Aug;57(101):797-800.

Reddy KR, Beavers KL2, Hammond SP3, Lim JK4, Falck-Ytter YT American Gastroenterological Association Institute guideline on the prevention and treatment of hepatitis B virus reactivation during immunosuppressive drug therapy. Gastroenterology. 2015 Jan;148(1):215-9; quiz e16-7.

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