In this short video excerpt from our Tackling the Tough TSM Questions live stream on Twitch, C Three Foundation CEO Claudia Christian and Executive Director Jenny Williamson discuss the topic of the Sinclair Method’s possible effects on the liver.
DISCLAIMER: The contents of this video are not meant to serve as medical advice, but rather, to assist people in asking their doctors questions that will enhance recovery success. Please consult your medical provider before taking any prescription medication or changing doses or frequency of dosses.
Jenny: Okay. Question number two. If alcohol stresses the liver, and naltrexone is processed through the liver, how can anyone use TSM?
Claudia: You know, this is the age-old question, and I’ve heard it from doctors, oh I mean, really predominantly, what I hear from doctors is, “I feel far more safe prescribing naltrexone for an individual, than knowing that they’re consuming a bottle of vodka or two bottles of wine a night.” So when you look at the damage, once again I’m not a doctor, but if you look at the damage that alcohol, that ethanol does to the liver, and processes through the liver, and you look at the evidence on naltrexone as to how much you would have to take to potentially do any damage to one’s liver, I really think that the naltrexone out- the benefit of naltrexone outweighs the, which is the destruction of alcohol on the, the destructive nature of alcohol on the liver. How can one take it?
Well, if you have cirrhosis or extreme liver damage, you can’t take naltrexone, and that that’s just something a doctor will, if they note yellow in the eyes or they think that you’re, you perhaps are in the beginnings of cirrhosis or any extensive liver damage, they will do a liver scan, a testing, and that result will dictate whether or not you can start taking naltrexone. We unfortunately do not get nalmefene in this country, but that is process, that is not processed through the liver. It goes through the stomach. In the future there will be other ways of delivering naltrexone to your system, immediately to the brain through nasal sprays and other devices, and that will also bypass the liver by going directly to the brain and then through the stomach, so the future looks bright for those individuals that have liver damage and are not able to. And that liver damage, by the way, can be from a myriad of things. It doesn’t necessarily have to be from alcohol, could be from Hep C, it could be from other issues. So, those patients will have other opportunities in the future once these delivery systems become patented and available.
“For most people who do not already have severe liver damage, the benefits and reduction in stress from the reduction of alcohol far outweighs the little bit of stress from naltrexone being processed through the liver.”
Jenny: And that’s, the thing is, alcohol, its effect on the liver is completely dose dependent. So the more you drink, the more damage it, the more capacity for damage it has. The less you drink, the less capacity for damage. And the liver also has the ability to heal itself to a point, which is why cirrhosis is the kind of dividing line between whether or not TSM is going to be able, or somebody’s going to be able to use TSM. Because what many people have said, like I’ve heard this and, Claudia, definitely chime in if you have as well, but a lot of people start out the Sinclair Method and yeah, their liver tests, their liver function tests are coming in high, and as it continues to work for them, and they’re drinking less, those tests tend to become closer to normal.
Claudia: Yeah that was me. I had a, when I finally found a doctor that would prescribe, well in the beginning they started doing liver tests, and yeah it was there was a little Oh that’s a weird enzyme. When I went back, because of TSM, my liver, my liver test was absolutely perfect. I will say, there was, that Doctor Eskapa, and we could, you can ask him this, but he used to compare that, he used to say that you would have to take 300 milligrams a day, every single day for a very long period of time to really to note or to start supporting the belief that there might be a little bit of effect on adverse effect on the liver. But he said to me many, many, times when I voiced my own fears about being on this medication that I didn’t know anything about, he said, “Claudia, do you take over the counter pain meds?” And I said, “Oh yeah, I have arthritis. I take Aleve quite often,” and he’s like well naltrexone is safer for your liver.
Jenny: Yeah, definitely. Tylenol, all the NSAIDs out there. Yeah, those can be very stressful on the liver. So typically what I have heard, feedback even from the doctors in our network, is that for most people who do not already have severe liver damage, the benefits and reduction in stress from the reduction of alcohol far outweighs the little bit of stress from naltrexone being processed through the liver.
Claudia: Absolutely and I’ve heard this from dozens and dozens of doctors. I’ve even heard from doctors that they wouldn’t hesitate to give naltrexone to a pregnant woman if she was drinking to excess, because it’s safer. That even though they haven’t done extensive studies on that, they felt that it’s safer than drinking when you’re pregnant, so they’re, you know, I always like to think that the FDA does make these declarations of “could be,” “might be,” but I, from the horse’s mouth from both Dr. Sinclair and Eskapa, they both said that it’s an extremely safe medication, and as we know, people have been on it every day for years with abstinence, and people have been on it for years in micro doses for MS and fibromyalgia with no adverse you know, nothing adverse to their liver. So…
“Your doctor is going to go through your entire medical history. They’re going to ask you about other medications that you’re on and supplements, and it’s so critical that you’re a hundred percent honest with your doctor.”
Jenny: And this is why it’s also good to talk about if you have any kind of concern about your liver, talk with your doctor. Your doctor is going to go through your entire medical history. They’re going to ask you about other medications that you’re on and supplements, and it’s so critical that you’re a hundred percent honest with your doctor. Which is why, you know, when it comes right down to it, we always advise, if your doctor, if you’re going to your doctor and they’re able to put you on the Sinclair Method and want to continue learning more, point them toward us so we can help give them additional resources so that they can learn. And if you’ve got a doctor who just simply doesn’t understand, and doesn’t want to try to understand, find one who does understand the Sinclair Method. Because a stressed liver can, those symptoms can mimic side effects, now you don’t know which one you’ve got, because if you’re not able to be honest with your doctor, then other things can creep up, and you’re not going to have anything except peers to really point you in the right direction, and a lot of things can be so individual, like stress on your liver, that the answers that you get could end up making you more confused than when you started, because everyone may have a different answer for what happened with them.
Claudia: You also need to really begin this journey with honesty, and that means telling your doctor exactly how much you’re drinking. I know a lot of people downplay it out of embarrassment or shame. It’s so imperative that they see the severity, if severity exists, because for instance, when I tried to get medication I said, “you know, I’m drinking, you know, like a bottle a night,” and my doctor actually poo-pooed that, and went, “Oh that’s fine. You’re just probably under stress.” Had I told him the reality, which is I’m drinking earlier, and earlier, and earlier, you know, maybe I would have gotten the help I needed sooner. So I implore all of you to just be really honest, or to encourage others who are just starting their journey, be completely honest with your doctor. Just say, this is what I take. These are the medications, the supplements, everything I’m on that could potentially, you know, damage my liver. For instance, people don’t realize that zinc is a metal, and it builds up in your body, so you should take time off of zinc, even though it’s wonderful for viruses and colds and flus and everything. You need to give your body a break from it, so you need to tell your doctor everything, everything that could be potentially interacting with each other, and exactly how much you’re drinking, and that’s a really great way to start a good TSM experience, or any medical experiences, honesty.
Jenny: Absolutely, because the only way they can truly support you is if they have the complete picture. But that’s also, you know, when it comes to stressed liver, because the liver only has the capacity to heal itself up to a certain point, this is one of the reasons why, you know, you and I are so passionate about getting the Sinclair Method recognized more as a preventative, so that as soon as you are not comfortable with how much you’re drinking, that’s the time, and right now we do still have too many in the medical profession who will do exactly what your doctor did Claudia, and say “ah whatever, you know, people drink more than that. It’s no big deal,” but if it’s a big deal to you, address it.
Claudia: You say, you know what, I’m uncomfortable with my drinking. Your doctor should, even if it’s three glasses, two glasses a night you just or one glass every single night, your doctor should help you, because that’s what you what you’re asking for and it makes you uncomfortable. Some people are, you know, one glass of wine they’re lightweights, they’re little. You know a very slight person, that could be a lot of alcohol for their system, so it’s up to you to decide what you want for your treatment and your recovery.
Jenny: I mean imagine if you were like, if you were gaining a little weight, and your favorite pair of jeans started feeling tight. Are you gonna wait until you’re 75 pounds overweight before you do something about it? No. You’re going to address it as soon as you realize it’s uncomfortable. And alcohol use should be no different. It’s your health.
Claudia: It is, and it’s important.
Jenny: So let’s see we’ve got. Okay. Belenkyboy says: I take other medications that are necessary that my doctor monitors with liver scans every three months. Way less impactful than alcohol damage or cirrhosis from boozing. Yeah, and that’s another thing that people don’t think about is, and you mentioned this, how many other medications are there out there that are processed through the liver?
Claudia: Yeah, yeah. Millions.
Jenny: For anyone who does have liver issues, you already know that anything over the counter, you’ve got to look and see if it has a warning. Next time you’re in the over-the-counter pharmacy area, just grab a random medication or two, and look at it, and more likely than not you’re going to find something that says talk to your doctor if you have liver problems.
Claudia: Yeah, exactly. The majority of them do have that.
Jenny: So let’s see. We’ve got, you know, yeah, find a doctor you can trust and who’s willing to work with you. Raila found one willing to work so that was good. So yeah. Does anyone have any questions uh for this segment, for the liver stress? Yeah if you can drink a red bull, you can definitely take naltrexone. Yeah I believe that.
Claudia: I mean, what taurine and all these other crazy things do to your liver.
Jenny: Yeah I definitely believe that one. I can’t imagine trying to to drink a Red Bull these days. All right. I don’t, we don’t seem to be having any questions on this one, so if you want to do a, you know, another quick summary of naltrexone and whether or not you should worry about it on the liver.
Claudia: You should if you think or suspect that you have damage to your liver, it’s always wonderful to get a scan. Speak to your doctor before you start any medication, including naltrexone, but keep in mind that the damage you’re doing to your liver with alcohol is probably more extensive than any damage naltrexone could ever inflict. That’s just what most doctors think, but always, always go the safe route, and speak to your doctor before starting any medication
Jenny: All right. We’re going to take a quick pause as we transition into our next question.