My liver enzymes have been elevated during my 1.5 year bout with lyme. Sorry, don't recall the "normal high" levels, but AST or ALT probably in the 90-130 range. LLMD monitors with weekly blood tests.
Recently I started the Buhner protocol (Andrographis, Cat's Claw, Knotweed, Sarsaparilla, Eleuthero), ramping up slowly over 4 weeks as he suggests.
During this period I've also been trying to take tetracycline and diflucan. But the liver enzymes have spiked lately, so much that LLMD told me to stop tetracycline and diflucan.
He's aware of, and recommended I try, the Buhner protocol, and didn't think I needed to stop that, so I didn't.
And at his suggestion I started taking Milk Thistle and N-Aceytl Cysteine to support the liver. I also added on my own Dandelion Root and Burdock Root, as they're good for the liver also.
But with yesterday's blood test the liver enzymes have risen ANOTHER 140 points (now AST 155; ALT 508). I haven't taken any tetracycline or diflucan for 2.5 weeks.
Everything I read about the Buhner herbs that I'm taking show liver SUPPORT if anything, not liver damage. But the series of spikes coincide very closely with the onset and ramp up of the protocol.
I'm talking to the LLMD soon, but for now am stopping all Buhner herbs, and the Dandelion and Burdock, and only continuing with Milk Thistle and NAC. And my usual supplements: multi vitamin, probiotic, flax oil, flax meal, 4000mg C.
Has anyone else been able to link any of these herbs to liver problems?
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I heard a rumor that cats' claw and antibiotics can do this, but I think there's not been any evidence of this being widespread. Cat's claw is a very common herb for Lyme patients to take, so my science brain says that there might not really be a valid connection, it might just be coincidence.
It is certainly possible for herbs to raise liver enzymes, but it's more likely that diflucan was responsible or at least part of the problem.
-------------------- Symptom Free!!! Thank you all!!!!
I'm getting blood tests every couple of days now, so I have more data. Since I posted, the AST/ALT shot up to a high of 195/549. Then I completely stopped the Buhner herbs, and the Burdock and Dandelion, multi and C. I continued with Milk Thistle, NAC, probiotic, flax oil and meal. I haven't had any prescription meds since December 3rd.
Within 24 hours of this, the ALT was down in the low 400s. A couple of days later, AST/ALT are now 70/230.
As much as I don't want to think it was the Buhner herbs, it sure is looking like it was the culprit.
More data will be forthcoming, as my arm becomes a pin cushion. I figure if there's a steady down trend, it was the herbs. If not, it's mostly the lyme itself.
If the lyme itself, my LLMD is considering Ceftin and biaxin, as they're apparently more liver friendly.
If the herbs appear to have been the problem, once we get the abx rolling again, with blood monitoring of course, it'll be a slow process to reintroduce a single herb at a time, say one every 3 weeks, and see how it goes.
Sure wish I knew which herb was mostly responsible.
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You wrote: `` . . . During this period I've also been trying to take tetracycline and diflucan . . . .''
After stopping anything that can raise liver enzymes, it can take a while for normalization. But, as you were taking many things, it would be nearly impossible to narrow it down.
For myself, my liver enzymes look wonderful on the Buhner herbs. But they have gone sky high on diflucan. Olive leaf extract seems to work much better for me as an anti-fungal and does not raise my liver enzymes.
just one link from Google search: ``Diflucan, liver+enzymes''
Acute Liver Disease Associated with Erythromycins, Sulfonamides, and Tetracyclines
. . . Conclusion: Erythromycin, sulfonamides, and tetracyclines are associated with acute symptomatic hepatitis resulting in hospitalization. Given the widespread use of these drugs, they will be among the more common drugs associated with hepatitis.
One possibility for elevated liver enzymes could be that bacteria is dying off in your liver. Sometimes when I have taken herbs for detox or lyme my liver will become temperarily inflammed. Just a thought though, I haven't personally used the Buhner protocol.
Posts: 21 | From Minneapolis | Registered: Dec 2008
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My liver enzymes were high-I added milk thistle and alpha-lipioc acid, which is a well known mainstream supplement to help the liver..they came down in 2 weeeks
Posts: 561 | From eastcoast | Registered: Aug 2006
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I just wanted to share some more information on this topic.
I saw my LLMD (Dr. P in Wilton, CT) the other day. He originally had not heard of anyone having liver issues with Buhner protocol. But since my case brought it to his attention last month, he has since heard of two other cases among his patients.
Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying the protocol is bad, or that it's the same for everyone. I'd love to isolate the offending herb and perhaps just take it at a lower dose.
Be aware of this possibility, and monitor liver function while on the protocol.
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Thanks for sharing your details. Treatment, no matter which path, is work for the liver, indeed. And not everyone's liver is the same.
Were you able to have enzymes checked again a month or so AFTER you stopped tetracycline and diflucan (as mentioned you were taking in your previous posts but only been off those for 2.5 weeks)?
So you are off all abx now? Off all Rx, too?
Were the others you mentioned also off all abx and Rx - or on a combination? That would be helpful to know.
My guess (as I'm also doing the same tx as you but not with Rx - and my liver enzymes are okay) is that the andrographis might need to be decreased a bit for you - or additional liver support and toxin swap-up called in. I also suggest contacting Buhner for his suggestions. He is wonderful at keeping up.
I know you said you are taking Smilax (sarsaparilla) - and that is intended to capture endotoxins. The more we can move on out, the easier job our liver has in dealing with all this.
Salvia m., too, is another helper, as is Gotu Kola in decreasing toxins.