a man holding his liver in pain

Cirrhosis is scarring of the liver and very poor liver function. It occurs as a late stage of chronic liver disease.

Common Causes

  • long term Hepatitis B and/or C infection
  • long-term alcohol abuse.
  • autoimmune inflammation of the liver (e.g., with lupus).
  • medications.
  • iron or copper excess (hemochromatosis and Wilson's disease)


The diagnosis is usually suspected based on blood tests and history, and then confirmed by a liver biopsy.

Though a late stage of liver disease, there may still be areas of the liver that may be able to regenerate and recover, and even modest increases in liver function can result in marked clinical improvement.


  • Lifestyle

    All patients with cirrhosis can benefit from certain lifestyle changes.

    • Avoid Alcohol

      Stop drinking alcohol to prevent additional damage.

    • Avoid Painkillers

      Avoid Tylenol/acetaminophen ;to prevent additional damage.

    • Get Nutrients

      Eat a nutritious diet and take a good multivitamin (powder form is best).  

  • Recommended Supplements

    • I defer to your physician to review the medical options in your case. Below are other natural therapies that may also assist in liver healing.

      Lipoic Acid

      Lipoic acid: 300 mg 2x day, though much higher doses may be used for more severe liver disease.

    • Milk Thistle

      Milk Thistle: 70-300 mg 3x day of a standard extract or 120 mg 2-3x day between meals if using a form bound to phosphatidyl choline (which is better absorbed).

    • Liver Extracts

      Liver extracts: 500-1,000 mg a day. Better yet, eat some liver (e.g., Pate, chopped liver, grilled liver and onions).

    • Berberine

      Berberine: 5-20 mg 3x day before meals can improve symptoms within a few days (by improving bile flow).

    • NAC

      N-Acetyl Cysteine 500-1,000 mg a day for 3 months. Helps raise glutathione levels.

  • Other Therapies & Advice

    • Holistic Practitioners

      Work with a holistic practitioner to be sure you are not taking any herbs or medications that may be liver toxic (e.g., acetaminophen/ Tylenol and cholesterol-lowering medications can often cause liver inflammation).

More Information Online


Dr. Jacob Teitelbaum, MD

Jacob Teitelbaum, M.D. is a board certified internist and author of the popular free iPhone application “Cures A-Z,” which was ranked in the top 10 of all health/wellness downloads on iTunes.

Dr. Teitelbaum is the author of the perennial bestseller From Fatigued to Fantastic! (Avery Penguin), which has sold over half a million copies; Pain Free 1-2-3 (McGraw-Hill); Three Steps to Happiness: Healing Through Joy (Deva Press); the Beat Sugar Addiction Now! series (Fair Winds Press);  Real Cause, Real Cure (Rodale Press); The Fatigue and Fibromyalgia Solution (Penguin/Avery); and his latest, The Complete Guide to Beating Sugar Addiction (Fair Winds Press, 2015).