Hepatic Encephalopathy (HE) -- A stranger lives inside me.
I've talked with many who have experienced the condition but this was my first time. It was very different from what I imagined. This blog is particularly aimed at care givers and family members who find themselves interacting with someone that they don't recognize.
It is not an uncommon course with this disease in its advanced stages for the patient to become angry, short tempered, and even mean. We see reports from people who no longer recognize their loved one. The warm, gentle, loving person they have known has somehow become a vengeful tyrant. This makes the job of caring for the needs of that patient very difficult. I can't help much to lighten the burden but perhaps a bit of understanding can make it easier to accept.Read more
If you would like to watch some very good videos about liver disease,
Fatty Liver & Liver Cirrhosis Are At Epidemic Levels!
- 100,000,000 Americans have a fatty liver. Most don't know it.
- 20,000,000 will develop liver fibrosis disease or NAFLD (nonalcoholic fatty liver disease) as a result.
- 5,000,000 million will progress to liver cirrhosis or NASH (nonalcoholic steatohepatitis) and possibly end stage liver failure.
- Some will be lucky enough to be listed for a transplant, the only cure for late stage liver disease, but 30% of those listed will die waiting. Death by liver failure is long and difficult.
- We want to help you avoid this kind of death by helping you understand how you may be killing yourself slowly. And, what you can do about it.
- If you are already ill, we will do our best to help you with that process.
To improve the diagnosis, treatment & support of Americans with fatty liver, NAFLD or NASH through awareness, education, screening and patient advocacy.
We Advocate Early Screening
Typically, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) are silent diseases. They have no symptoms. Even if cirrhosis has developed, there are often no symptoms until the liver has become so damaged that the only option is a liver transplant.
There is currently a quick, easy and economical method to screen for fatty liver disease called a FibroScan. Unfortunately, the current medical standards policy is not to screen for liver disease. And, unless you are sick and have symptoms, insurance probably won't pay for the scan, even if you're lucky enough to have a testing system in your area.
The Fatty Liver Foundation is championing a nationwide program to provide liver screening services to make it possible for people who have a concern for their liver health to get an inexpensive scan. Since insurance doesn't normally cover screening for people who aren't sick yet, it will be on a private pay basis. However, as a nonprofit foundation, we believe we can deliver this service at an affordable price.
If you would like to watch some very good videos about liver disease,
By Gabriella Wan
CBD, or cannabidiol, is a non-psychoactive component of the cannabis plant with anti-inflammatory properties. To ensure avoidance of psychoactive effects, CBD must be extracted from hemp, not traditional marijuana. In recent years, CBD has become a popular supplement. CBD works in the body through the endocannabinoid system, which is highly upregulated during chronic liver disease, affecting multiple steps along the disease’s progression.
Some research has been done concerning the interactions between CBD and liver disease, with mixed but promising results. The first thing to understand about CBD is that there are two important related receptors in our bodies, called CB1 and CB2. As noted in a 2008 study, cannabinoid receptors (CB1 and CB2) and their binding molecules (endocannabinoids) have emerged as novel mediators of liver diseases. While activation of CB1 receptors can contribute to NAFLD and fibrosis, activation of CB2 receptors have been characterized as antifibrogenic and regulators of inflammation. With this understanding, it makes sense that inhibiting CB1 receptors has been shown to inhibit the progression of fibrosis, while activating CB2 receptors has been shown to inhibit growth and cause cell death for cultured liver fibrogenic cells. Because CB1 and CB2 receptors exert opposite effects on liver fibrosis, evaluating the net impact of using endocannabinoid signaling on liver fibrosis in a clinical setting is complicated and far from clear cut.
“EC receptors expression and functions in the liver. Cannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2 are expressed in all liver cell types at different basal levels. Both receptors are upregulated during chronic liver damage and mediate opposite functions: CB1 promotes and CB2 protects from liver damage. The experimental and clinical evidences indicate CB1 as a stronger player, contributor and an attractive target in the development of CLD. Abbreviations: ALD, alcoholic liver disease; HCC, hepatocellular carcinoma; NASH, nonalcoholic steatohepatitis; PBC, primary biliary cirrhosis; PSC, primary sclerosing cholangitis; TG, triglyceride; VLDL, very low density lipoprotein.”
In animal tests, the relationship between CB1 receptors and fatty liver (both diet-induced and obesity-associated) has been made clear. Research has shown that high-fat diets induce fatty liver via activation of CB1 receptors, which are necessary for the development of diet-induced steatosis, dyslipidemia, and insulin resistance. Studies with obese rats have shown that the administration of CB1 inhibitors reduced obesity-associated hepatic steatosis and certain features of metabolic syndrome. The drug Rimonabant was the first selective CB1 inhibitor used in clinical practice after clinical trials showed its benefit on weight reduction, abdominal obesity, liver steatosis, and other cardiometabolic syndromes. Though this may seem like good news, it is important to note the increased appearance of psychiatric disorders including depression, anxiety, irritability, and aggression. Consequently, the FDA never approved Rimonabant for the treatment of obesity.
While we have lots of research on CB1 receptors and fatty liver, investigations regarding the role of CB2 receptors in this disease area are minimal. In human studies, liver samples from patients with steatosis and steatohepatitis have expressed CB2 receptors, while liver samples from normal livers showed no CB2 receptor expression. In fibrogenesis, CB2 activation has exhibited some evidence of an anti-fibrogenic role. In rats, studies have shown that activating CB2 receptors in the liver significantly reduced collagen content in rats with pre-existing cirrhosis and improved regenerative response to acute liver injury. It is important to note that other studies have shown conflicting results regarding CB2 and NAFLD.
While you should always consult with your doctor before starting to use any supplement, CBD has some special considerations. If you decide to take it even though the jury is still out on the effects of CB1 and CBD on NAFLD, please be cautious of the following things:
- The amount of CBD recommended for therapeutic use in humans ranges from 0.5mg/kg/day to 20mg/kg/day.
- FDA hasn’t created any measures to regulate CBD products, so potency labels can be inaccurate.
- FDA hasn’t created any measures to regulate CBD products, so they may be contaminated or misrepresented.
- To find safe and reputable products, make sure the company has third-party lab testing, good reviews, and transparency for its products (including sourcing, extraction methods, packaging, and return policies).
- Interactions with other medications being processed by CYP450 family of liver enzymes
- Many conventional doctors do not know much about CBD since it’s not taught in medical school, so it may be best to ask them if any of the drugs you’re taking are affected by eating grapefruits, since grapefruit also affects the same liver functionality.
Gabriella Wan is a Program Coordinator at the Fatty Liver Foundation with a background in public health. She is passionate about improving quality of life through lifestyle change, awareness raising, and education.
 Avraham, Y, et al, Cannabidiol improves brain and liver function in a fulminant hepatic failure-induced model of hepatic encephalopathy in mice, British Journal of Pharmacology, April 2011, doi: 10.1111/j.1476-5381.2010.01179.x
 Tesséra Naturals, Does CBD cause liver damage?, CBD Education, August 2020, https://tesseranaturals.com/does-cbd-cause-liver-damage/
 Mallat, A and Lotersztajn, S, Endocannabinoids and liver disease. I. Endocannabinoids and their receptors in the liver, American Journal of Gastrointestinal Liver Physiology, January 2008, doi: 10.1152/ajpgi.00467.2007
 Mallat, A and Lotersztajn, S.
 Mallat, A and Lotersztajn, S.
 Patsenker, E and Stickel, F, Cannabinoids in liver diseases, Clinical Liver Disease, February 2016, doi: 10.1002/cld.527
 Osei-Hyiaman, D, et al, Hepatic CB1 receptor is required for development of diet-induced steatosis, dyslipidemia, and insulin and leptin resistance in mice, Journal of Clinical Investigation, September 2008, doi: 10.1172/JCI34827
 Gary-Bobo, M, et al, Rimonabant reduces obesity-associated hepatic steatosis and features of metabolic syndrome in obese Zucker fa/fa rats, Hepatology, July 2007, doi: 10.1002/hep.21641
 Christopoulou, FD and Kiortsis DN, An overview of the metabolic effects of rimonabant in randomized controlled trials: Potential for other cannabinoid 1 receptor blockers in obesity, Journal of Clinical Pharmacy and Therapeutics, February 2011, doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2710.2010.01164.x
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 Mendez-Sanchez, N, et al, Endocannabinoid receptor CB2 in nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, Liver International, March 2007, doi: 10.1111/j.1478-3231.2006.01401.x
 Julien, B, et al, Antifibrogenic role of the cannabinoid receptor CB2 in the liver, Gastroenterology, March 2005, doi: 10.1053/j.gastro.2004.12.050
 Muñoz-Luque, J, et al, Regression of fibrosis after chronic stimulation of cannabinoid CB2 receptor in cirrhotic rats, Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, November 2007, doi: 10.1124/jpet.107.131896
 Dibba, P, et al, Mechanistic Potential and Therapeutic Implications of Cannabinoids in Non Alchoholic Fatty Liver Disease, Medicines, May 2018, doi: 10.3390/medicines5020047
 Curley, Christopher, Worried About CBD Hurting Your Liver? Here’s What the Experts Have to Say, healthline.com Health News, August 2019, https://www.healthline.com/health-news/can-cbd-hurt-your-liver-what-to-know-about-a-new-study?c=672391731507
 Tesséra Naturals.
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We’re excited to be joining with Intercept for the TRUTH About NASH roundtable discussion in Washington, DC. We’ve assembled a dynamic group of people who all touch this disease in diverse ways, and look forward to a robust conversation encompassing varying viewpoints. As NASH progresses to becoming the leading indication for liver transplants in the U.S., we believe cross-stakeholder discussions like this are imperative – not only to help identify barriers to care and gaps in knowledge, but also to begin to pave the road to potential solutions for this community.
We will be reviewing the findings from a new survey that takes a 360º look at NASH from the perspectives of healthcare professionals, diagnosed patients, and the American public. We believe the survey will provide great stimuli for a discussion of some of the challenges facing people living with NASH.
This effort is part of our program to expand the discussion of liver disease and seek better solutions for patients and those who are asymptomatic but at risk.