Diet Adjustment for Hepatitis Patients: A Friendly List of Food to Avoid

Wednesday, September 10th, 2014
Slow and steady adjustments are necessary to cope with hepatitis B. (Photo Credit: Creative Commons)

Slow and steady adjustments are necessary to cope with hepatitis B. (Photo Credit: Creative Commons)

Being diagnosed with hepatitis – or other diseases – may require significant and sometimes painful adjustments to one’s diet. Dealing with these adjustments doesn’t have to be too burdensome and frustrating; if you know what food to AVOID, it should be easy to identify food that you CAN eat and make the diet change perfectly manageable.

Here’s our simple guidelines for WHAT TO AVOID when diagnosed with hepatitis or any liver disease.

Hepatitis virus attacks the liver, which is an important organ that’s responsible for breaking down chemicals and fats that we take ingest. It’s important therefore for hepatitis patients to ease the function of their liver by staying away from processed food and chemically-treated produce.

Meat, for example, is difficult to digest by the body’s digestive system, requiring much more not only of the liver but the gall bladder and pancreas as well.  Many animal products also contain chemicals from the growth hormones injected to the animals, and chemical spayed on animal food.  So it is best for hepatitis patients to avoid meat products and stick with organic protein-rich alternatives. Consequently, avoid dairy foods, which essentially come from animals and are quite difficult to digest. When choosing dairy alternatives such as yogurt, make sure to check the sugar content.

Today’s grocery stores are sprawling with ready-to-eat preserved and processed food. But convenience too has its cost that’s hidden behind the good taste or price. Processed food contains chemically-treated fillers and preservatives that pose great danger to the liver and people’s health in general. Like meat, these foods add unnecessary stress to liver function that could be unsafe for people with liver conditions.

Sugar is another culprit to avoid – may it be artificial sweetener or concentrated natural sugar. While fruits are recognized to have health benefits, some have high sugar concentrations that feed hepatitis virus and strain the pancreas and the liver. Avoid fruit juices and food made with artificial sweeteners such as junk food and candies.

Eliminating these foods from your diet doesn’t have to come as a big blow. Take it one day at a time, and you’ll be surprised at how well you adjust to eating healthy foods that make you feel good in mind and body.


Looking for Early Signs of Hepatitis C? We Can Help You Know How

Thursday, August 28th, 2014

Early detection could save millions of lives from the perils of hepatitis (Photo Credit: World Bank)

If only our livers could complain the way our stomachs grumble when we miss a meal during a hectic day at the office, perhaps many cases of liver cancer could be prevented.  But alas, our livers don’t talk to us…. like that anyway!

The liver is responsible for many things. Our livers break down vitamins and preservatives from a quick and easy microwavable brunch. Our livers have to process alcohol from last night’s happy hour. Let’s face it, in these times we give the liver a lot to do!  Sadly, many cases of liver cancer are discovered at advanced stage not only because people haven’t taken advantage of receiving preventive health screenings, but also because signs of liver problems are quite difficult to track therefore often ignored.

There is no way around it- hepatitis screening is a critical step in early detection and prevention of liver disease, but it also would be useful to watch out for early signs of liver disease.

Hepatitis C is one of the most common blood-borne diseases in the United States, affecting around 4 million people, to date. However, only some 30 percent of new hepatitis C patients have experienced the symptoms related to the disease. Nonetheless, those with only mild or no symptoms still carry the virus and potentially infect others. It’s important to remember that hepatitis C is not passed on by casual physical contact like hugging, sharing cutlery, and coughing.

It can take up to six months from initial infection for the signs of the virus to appear. The most noticeable sign of hepatitis C is jaundice, when your skin and the whites of the eyes develop a yellowish hue.

At its initial stages, hepatitis C may present with flu-like symptoms such as headaches, muscle pains and fatigue. Some people experience fever and flu without getting any skin discoloration.

Hepatitis C may also have abdominal symptoms that we can easily mistake as a stomach pain from eating bad food. Many hepatitis C patients have observed appetite loss during the first week of exposure to the virus. People in the early stage hepatitis C may also experience nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pains.  The upper right of the abdomen may feel tender and painful when touched, while the spleen under the upper left may start to enlarge.

Getting screened for hepatitis C still remains the best way to see and confirm hepatitis. Laboratory blood tests could already detect the virus within six months of infection. While these signs may not be experienced altogether, don’t ignore that flu or abdominal pain, and have yourself checked for liver problems regularly.


Shop ADRLF and support liver health awareness

Tuesday, June 3rd, 2014

Show your support for ADRLF and liver health awareness with these merchandise for sale.

Please use this secure payment form to complete your donation or purchase. We accept payment by method of American Express, Visa, and Mastercard.  To purchase by other methods please contact us via email at

ADRLF has carefully selected just a few chosen items for you to gift yourself or others as a way to further support the mission of the ADRLF and look good while doing it!

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These T-shirts are made of 100% fine ring-spun cotton.  They are the softest lightweight fine jersey and are exceptionally smooth and tight-knit.They are casual and stylish.  It is the perfect way to proudly display your support for the ADRLF.




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This 10 oz Royal blue mug has our ADRLF logo on the front. The back of the mug reads “Screen, Vaccinate, Don’t Hesitate”  Is there a better way to drink your morning coffee? Of course you can buy one for yourself or a gift, but these mugs can also be purchased as a duo, a quad or in a group of eight.

World Hepatitis Day, screening event at Boricua College on Monday, May 19, 2014

Monday, May 19th, 2014

Co-hosted by William F. Ryan Community Health Network & Al D. Rodriguez Liver Foundation (ADRLF) The Al D. Rodriguez Liver Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that provides resources, education and information related to screening, the prevention of and treatment for the Hepatitis Virus and Liver Cancer.

ADRLF Founding Board Members Carson Kressley and Carlos Ortiz, MD will attend along with Board members Lisa Collins, Crayton Robey, Cara Joy David, Harriett Foy and Darcy Becker.

The William F. Ryan Community Health Network and the Al D. Rodriguez Liver Foundation have joined together to host an education and screening event for World Hepatitis Day.

“We are thrilled that the President of Boricua College, Victor G. Alicea, PhD., has opened up his diverse campus of students and faculty to work with both the Ryan Network and ADRLF” says Barbra E. Minch, Pres. & CEO of the Ryan Network.

• The Event begins at 11:30 am, Ryan staff members will provide education and confidential screening to participants from Boricua College until 2:00 pm.

• In addition, Barbara E. Minch, Pres. & CEO of the William F. Ryan Community Health Network will accept a check from the ADRLF to continue the screening/prevention & treatment of Hepatitis.

• Guest speaker Geraldine Jones, PA, will discuss the formation of the disease and how it effects people of the Bronx community.

WHO: William F. Ryan Community Health Network,  Al D. Rodriguez Liver Foundation, Boricua College

WHAT: World Hepatitis Day; an education and screening event

WHEN: Monday, May 19, 2014

WHERE: Boricua College, 890 Washington Avenue

11:30 am to 2:00 pm

Room 710 for Opening and Education

Rooms 708 and 709 for confidential screening

Note: Security will ask for ID to sign-in and will provide a visitors badge.

Media Contact: Don Hoffman:; 212-981-5118

Kaitlin Brooks:; 212-981-5181

ADRLF joins NYC leaders for National Hepatitis Awareness Month 2014

Friday, May 16th, 2014

New York, NY – May 15, 2014. Representatives from community-based organizations, local and federal public health officials, NYC Council members and patient advocates gathered on the steps of city hall today to raise awareness about viral hepatitis (hepatitis B and hepatitis C). This event coincides with May’s National Hepatitis Awareness Month, which includes National Hispanic Hepatitis Awareness Day (May 15th) and National Hepatitis Testing Day (May 19th).

Leaders and supporters gather at the NYC city hall to send strong messages of Hepatitis awareness.

Leaders and supporters gather at the NYC city hall to send strong messages of Hepatitis awareness.

NYC leaders call for action to address the impact of viral hepatitis and seek to: increase public awareness of and concern about hepatitis B and hepatitis C; to improve testing, care, and treatment; and prevent liver disease and cancer. This coincides with the recently updated national cross-agency Viral Hepatitis Action Plan released in April 2014.

Between 3.5 and 5.3 million Americans, and 250, 000 NYC residents are living with chronic (lifelong) viral hepatitis, and most of them do not know that they are infected.[1] Viral hepatitis is the leading cause of liver cancer and the most common reason for liver transplantation in the United States.[2] In addition, it is a leading infectious cause of death in the U.S., claiming the lives of 12,000–18,000 Americans each year.1 In the U.S., viral hepatitis disproportionately affects the African American, Hispanic and Asian American and Pacific Islander communities.

In a World Hepatitis Day Proclamation on July 26, 2013 President Barack Obama stated “Viral hepatitis is a silent epidemic, and we can only defeat it if we break that silence. Now is the time to learn the risk factors for hepatitis; talk to family, friends, and neighbors who may be at risk; and to speak with healthcare providers about strategies for staying health… [L]et each of us lend our support to those living with hepatitis and do our part to bring this epidemic to an end.”  President Barack Obama, July 26, 2013.[3]

In recognition of National Hepatitis Awareness Month, NYC community-based organizations will be hosting screening events and educational workshops ( in conjunction with other events taking place throughout the country ( Also, Asian Week Foundation and National Viral Hepatitis Roundtable coordinated a new public service announcement (PSA) to highlight National Hepatitis Testing Day in partnership with CBS HealthWatch and scheduled to be aired on CBS from May 17 to May 19 in New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, and Seattle. The PSA features a call for hepatitis testing as a way to prevent liver cancer and includes a unique URL for each city (NYC is: that links to local hepatitis resources and screening events.

[General/Screening] Al D. Rodriguez Liver Foundation Board Member and Emmy Award-winner Carson Kressley said: “The loss of our dear friend Al — the namesake of the Al D. Rodriguez Liver Foundation — is a constant reminder that hepatitis and liver cancer can happen to anyone. This May 19, ADRLF encourages all New Yorkers to ‘Screen. Vaccinate. Don’t Hesitate.’”

“Hepatitis B disproportionately affects those that are foreign-born,” says Dr. Vivian Huang, physician and hepatitis B program director of the Charles B. Wang Community Health Center. “If you are a foreign-born New Yorker or have parents that are foreign-born, it is important that you get tested for hepatitis B.  Hepatitis B is a virus that can damage your liver and lead to liver failure and/or liver cancer.  The disease usually has no symptoms until it is too late.  But there is good news, when detected early, it is an easily manageable condition and there are medications that can keep the disease under control.”

Lisa Gallipoli, Executive Director, American Liver Foundation – Greater New York Division stated “Hepatitis Awareness Month is truly about catalyzing ACTION against Hepatitis. With the increased availability of effective treatments for Hepatitis C, we need to ensure that at-risk individuals, especially baby boomers, are asking their doctors about getting tested, and that primary care physicians are testing their patients.”

ADRLF Board Members show their steadfast support for National Hepatitis Awareness Month and Hepatitis Testing Day on May 19.

ADRLF Board Members show their steadfast support for National Hepatitis Awareness Month and Hepatitis Testing Day on May 19.

“The American Cancer Society recognizes that the burden of cancer is unequal across ethnic groups, and the Society is committed to playing an active role in decreasing and contributing to the elimination of disparities. The Society continues to partner with NYC public health organizations to raise awareness about viral hepatitis B and viral hepatitis C as the most common risk factor for liver cancer” stated Natasha Coleman, Senior Director, State Health Systems of the Eastern Division of American Cancer Society.

[Hepatitis and the Hispanic community] In 2012, approximately 4,300 Hispanics will be diagnosed with liver cancer, and about 2,700 will die from the disease. Liver cancer incidence rates in the U.S. are about twice as high in Hispanics as in non-Hispanic whites.“We are deeply concerned about these incidence and death rates, and are partnering with an array of community leaders and advocates to ensure that Latinos/Hispanics are not left behind when trying to access care and treatment” stated Bethsy Morales-Reid, Hispanic Federation.

[Hepatitis and the African American community] “Hepatitis C is one of the most serious health disparities affecting black communities,” said C. Virginia Fields, president and CEO of the National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS, Inc. “African Americans are twice as likely to have been infected with the hepatitis C virus compared to the general U.S. population, and we make up roughly 22% of the estimated 3.2 million persons with chronic hepatitis C, which is a leading cause of potentially deadly liver disease. We must ensure that our communities are informed about the dangers of viral hepatitis and that they have access to testing and treatment that will safeguard their health and well-being.”

[Hepatitis and Persons Who Inject Drugs] People who inject drugs are at increased risk for hepatitis B and C An estimated 64% of PWID are chronically infected with hepatitis C and 2.7-11% are chronically infected with hepatitis B. Daniel Raymond, Policy Director at Harm Reduction Coalition stated “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported a 45% increase in new infections between 2010 and 2011,” said Daniel Raymond, Policy Director for the Harm Reduction Coalition. “We need to come together to increase our prevention efforts, particularly for a new generation of opioid injectors at risk.”

[Hepatitis and the Asian American & Pacific Islander community] Dr. Warren Chin of the Chinese American Medical Society stated “One in twelve Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) is living with chronic hepatitis B and as many as two out of three AAPIs with chronic hepatitis B are unaware of their status. Without appropriate medical treatment, one out of four will die of cirrhosis and liver cancer. Chronic hepatitis B and hepatocellular cancer is the single greatest health disparity between AAPIs and Caucasian Americans. We are encouraging not only community members at risk to get tested but also informing our physicians and healthcare providers to make an effort to test all their patients at risk.”

 Soonsik Kim, Project Coordinator at Korean Community Services stated that “Liver cancer is the fourth most common cause of cancer among Korean Americans. This is mainly due to a high prevalence of hepatitis B infection in the Korean population. It is very important for Korean Americans to know that chronic hepatitis B is preventable and treatable. Koreans Americans can break the cycle of infection by getting tested and vaccinated!”

[1] U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. April 2014. Action Plan for the Prevention, Care, and Treatment of Viral Hepatitis – Updated 2014-2016. Retrieved from on May 6, 2014.

[2] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Viral Hepatitis. Retrieved from on May 6, 2014.

[3] U.S. President Barack Obama. July 25, 2013. Proclamation – World Hepatitis Day, 2013. Retrieved from on May 6, 2014.

Contact: Nicole Bannister or (212) 941-2219

NYC leaders call to action for National Hepatitis Testing Day 2014

Wednesday, May 14th, 2014


CONTACT: Stephanie Cirkovich, 646-483-2749


WHAT: The Al D. Rodriguez Liver Foundation (ADRLF) is participating a press conference on May 15, 2014 to announce free and low-cost hepatitis screenings throughout New York

City. The event coincides with National Hepatitis Awareness Month, National Hispanic Hepatitis Awareness Day on May 15, and National Hepatitis Testing Day on May 19.

LOCATIONS: Press Conference: Thursday, May 15, 2014 – 11 a.m. on the steps of City Hall, 260 Broadway / New York City (Take the 4, 6, N or R train to Brooklyn Bridge/City Hall)

WHO: Founding Board Member and ADRLF Treasurer Dr. Carlos Ortiz will speak at the press conference on May 15, and other ADRLF board members and supporters will be present.

WHY: Viral hepatitis is the leading cause of liver cancer in the United States, and it is a silent epidemic: Approximately 5.3 million Americans—and more than 245,000 New Yorkers—are estimated to have either Hepatitis B or Hepatitis C, and many people do not know they have the disease. Viral Hepatitis claims the lives of 12,000-15,000 Americans every year.

Dark chocolate benefits for the liver

Thursday, January 16th, 2014
Dark chocolate contains antioxidants that are great for liver health.

Dark chocolate contains antioxidants that are great for liver health. (Photo Credit: Creative Commons)

Chocolate has been known uplift the spirit – but what great news that it’s good for our liver too! Dark chocolate, in particular, contains rich antioxidants that help cleanse the liver and control blood pressure, which is important for people suffering liver cirrhosis.

Researchers have used different types of chocolate and studied its effect on patients with liver disease. Their findings showed that those given white chocolate did not exhibit significant improvements. They believe that this is because white chocolate does not have antioxidants. On the other hand, patients who were given dark chocolate with their daily meals reacted favorably – showing minimal increase in their ost-meal blood pressure.

Heart diseases and liver cirrhosis usually cause high blood pressure or hypertension. Our bodies have veins that span from the intestines to the liver. Livers with cirrhosis, however, amass scarred tissues, making it difficult for blood to flow properly, and causing blood to build up in the veins. This puts cirrhosis patients at great health risk should the blood vessel burst.  Build ups also cause damage to the inner lining of the blood vessels, which can possibly lead to stroke and heart attack.

So how can dark chocolate play an important role in liver health?

Cocoa beans, from which dark chocolate is made, contain flavonoids that have antioxidant qualities. These antioxidants help keep the blood vessels healthy.  It aids the arterial flow to prevent blood buildup and high blood pressure. Flavanoids have also been found to improve the body’s overall blood flow, especially through the heart and the brain. It promotes vascular health, enabling the blood to clot in cases of open wounds.

Dark chocolate contains higher amounts of cocoa. Other chocolate variants like milk chocolate typically has less cocoa content, and are thus not as beneficial as dark chocolate. Many dark chocolate brands have over seventy percent of cocoa, while milk chocolate contains around twenty to thirty percent cocoa solids. So choose dark chocolates to treat your sweet tooth and your liver!

Protect Your Children from Hepatitis B – Vaccinate!

Friday, January 3rd, 2014
Vaccination is important to protect children from hepatitis and other liver diseases. (Photo Credit: Creative Commons).

Vaccination is important to protect children from hepatitis and other liver diseases. (Photo Credit: Creative Commons).

Children can be very vulnerable to the hepatitis B virus (HBV), especially those infants and small children who do not show any symptoms of infection.  Children and infants who are infected with HBV have a 90 percent chance of developing serious liver infections. Since signs are often subtle, recognizing the signs can be difficult.  ADRLF has an HBV overview to help better protect your children from this silent but deadly disease:

Infection with hepatitis B can range from acute to chronic.  During the first six months of infection, children experience an acute stage of illness; symptoms may be mild to severe requiring medical attention. While some children may fight off the infection during the acute stage, many succumb and the infection becomes chronic. When this happens, the hepatitis B virus begins to cause serious health problems.

What to look for

Older children may manifest symptoms of hepatitis that are similar to adults. These include frequent tiredness, appetite loss, pains in the muscles and joins, stomach aches and nausea. More serious signs are fever, discoloring of urine, and jaundiced (yellow color) skin and eyes.


What ways the infection can spread


Hepatitis B is spread through contact of infected blood and other body fluids. People who are infected but do not show any symptom are still carriers of the virus. Infants may get these from their infected mother, contaminated vaccine needles and contaminated food. Children can also acquire the virus by touching open wounds of a person with hepatitis, from using contaminated personal belongings such as toothbrush, utensils and glasses.

What ways to prevent infection

Parents can protect their newborns by giving them a hepatitis B vaccine even before they leave the hospital. In fact, the vaccine containing hepatitis B immune globulin (HBIG) is most effective when given within 12 hours of birth, especially if the mother has hepatitis. The second dose is usually given after 1 to 3 months, and the third when the child is 6 to 18 months old.

Older children who were not vaccinated as infants should be given the shots as soon as possible. HBV vaccines usually don’t have serious side effects other than arm sores and slight fever.

Ensure your child’s happy, healthy and hepatitis-free childhood. Vaccinate. Don’t hesitate.

Two Breakthrough Hepatitis C Drugs Approved

Saturday, December 21st, 2013
Simprevir and sofosbuvier promise hepatitis treatments without weakening side effects.

Simprevir and sofosbuvier promise hepatitis treatments without weakening side effects.

Christmas came early this year for people with Hepatitis C, as two much-anticipated treatments were approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the last two weeks. Simprevir and sofosbuvier promise hepatitis treatments without the weakening side effects of interferon injections that most Hepatitis C patients have been painstakingly dealing with.

Simeprevir, brand name Olysio, is a protease inhibitor that has been approved for use in combination antiviral hepatitis treatment. Its full effect is achieved when used with peginterferon-alfa and ribavirin, two drugs that have been available to Hepatitis C patients.

Sold under the brand name Sovaldi, sofosbuvir contains a nucleotide analog inhibitor that prevents the Hepatitis C virus from replicating. It comes as a pill to be taken once a day without the need to inject any interferon drug. Sovaldi can also be used in a combined antiviral treatment with ribavirin, or with the combination of ribavirin and interferon.

Gilead Sciences has taken the lead in developing this drug, which can also treat four other strains of hepatitis C. Sovaldi is especially helpful to patients who cannot tolerate the side effects of interferon injections and combined antiviral treatments that range from insomnia, flu and anemia.

The main difference between the two new drugs is that sofosbuvir can be taken alone, while simeprevir must be paired with another drug.

To date, over 3 million people are suffering from chronic Hepatitis C in the United States. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) believes that the real number may actually be greater, especially among those from the baby boomer generation. Since last year, CDC has been pushing adults between 48 to 68 years old to get hepatitis screening and get appropriate treatment. Thus, these two drugs mark major advancements not only in treating hepatitis C, but also in preventing the spread of the virus.

For more information, check out the press releases from the FDA site:

Share the holiday cheer – Donate to ADRLF!

Wednesday, December 18th, 2013
Make a tax-deductible donation to the Al D. Rodriguez Liver Foundation and help us raise awareness about the link between Hepatitis and Liver Cancer. Funds will be used to support community health organizations that provide Hepatitis screening, vaccination and treatment.The Al D. Rodriguez Liver Foundation is a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization. All contributions are tax-deductible to the fullest extent of the law.

To make a donation, click on the DONATE button below. This will take you directly to Paypal. If you do not have a Paypal account, you may send us a check. Please make your check payable to the Al D. Rodriguez Liver Foundation.

Mail your tax-deductible contribution to:

Carlos R. Ortiz
166 East 35th St. (# 11G)
New York, NY 10016

Thank you for supporting the ADRLF.