"There's a myth that anyone who has a liver problem has brought it on themselves" This quote is from a Crohn's disease patient living with a blocked portal vein hoping for a liver transplant (Independent 31st Oct 2010)

Monday, 15 August 2011

Still in remission

AFP blood test results are back. This is my 4th cancer tumour marker test since surgery. Still at 1, well within the 'normal' range of 0-10.
Sadly a fellow 'Nomad' with Hep B was diagnosed 5 weeks ago with a cluster of HCC tumours and given 2-3 months to live. That's how agressive these sly bu**ers are. Hence my frequency of testing.

For some reason a full set of liver function tests and full blood count were done at the same time - bit of a waste of NHS resources as I had them done 2 weeks before the AFP and only need them taken monthly.

Anyway, the test that measures liver inflammation went down again, in just 2 weeks! Its now 21 instead of in the 80's. 'Normal' is between 10-50. It may be explained as things continuing to calm down after surgery, but as that was 11 months ago I doubt it. My feeling is the improvement is down to a clever herbal supplement called Milk Thistle.

The seeds of the milk thistle have been used for 2000 years to treat chronic liver disease and protect the liver against toxins. I've been drinking it as a tincture since diagnosis.


  1. Great news on the tests Fiona, I'm really pleased to hear that things are still on the right track.

    Be interested to know more about the tincture...


  2. Carole

    The active ingredient in milk thistle is in the seed, (which is not advisable to eat raw!) and consists of three components silybin, silydianin, and silychristin. These are collectively referred to as the flavonoid silymarin. Silymarin is currently used in Europe to treat all types of liver disorders

    Milk thistle doesn’t seem to work on liver damaging viruses such as hepatitis. But it is said to strengthen the outer protective membrane of liver cells so that they are better at deflecting toxins. Milk thistle is also said to shield the liver from free radicals. And milk thistle is said to stimulate the production of new liver cells to replace old damaged ones, which is great if you have cirrhosis.

    The National Center for Complementary & Alternative Medicine in the US funded some research in 2010 to study the effects of milk thistle in treating chemotherapy-related liver damage. I’ve not found an online copy of the study.

    You can take it in tablet form, or as a liquid tincture. Nobody knows the correct dose, so recommendations vary. I buy a Vogel tincture complex from a local health food store. It includes silybin, plus artichoke and dandelion which are supposedly good cleansers. It’s preserved in 62% alcohol (yikes!) which is NOT good for my liver. So after I drop the required dose into a glass I add a dash of very hot water to evaporate the alcohol.

    I’m still on 2,500 of Vit D3 but havent had my levels checked for a while. Have you? And have they improved. If so, what dose are you/did you take daily.

  3. Thanks for that info Fiona, going to look into that further.

    Re my VitD levels....absolutely no idea but I'm sure they'll be 'good' as I've continued with the daily supplements until recently. I take 2000 daily.

    Had no tests done since March on VitD - it appears that only *I* think it's important.

    The other blood tests they did do (liver function and CEA) & I was told were 'fine' but once again couldn't obtain levels etc in the form of a report or something from them...
    It's hard work dealing with my lot :(