Grow Youthful: How to Slow Your Aging and Enjoy Extraordinary Health
Grow Youthful: How to Slow Your Aging and Enjoy Extraordinary Health

Gilbert's Syndrome

What is Gilbert's syndrome?

Consequences

Symptoms - common

Symptoms - less frequent

Triggers

Prevention / remedies / treatment for Gilbert's syndrome

References

What is Gilbert's syndrome?

Gilbert's syndrome (Unconjugated hyperbilirubinaemia or Gilbert-Meulengracht syndrome) is a hereditary disease causing increased bilirubin in the blood. Bilirubin is a yellow-coloured by-product remaining after old red blood cells are broken down. Normally, most of the bilirubin should be excreted into the bile, where it assists with digestion and other processes. A person suffering GS has higher levels in the blood, giving them a jaundiced (yellow-coloured) skin and eyes. A blood test can measure the level of bilirubin.

In Europe and America 5-10% of people suffer from GS. In India and Africa it is 10-25%, and in South East Asia less than 5%.

Most doctors and their desk references refer to it as a harmless syndrome. Ideally, with management through lifestyle and diet Gilbert's Syndrome has little consequence. Those with GS need only follow a healthy diet and avoid liver toxins such as excessive alcohol and liver-toxic drugs. However, under an adverse diet and conditions GS can cause a wide array of problems.

GS causes a reduced level of activity of UGT enzymes such as glucuronyltransferase, which conjugates bilirubin and some other lipophilic molecules. The enzymes make bilirubin water-soluble, after which it is excreted in bile into the duodenum.

Some researchers have found that as bilirubin is an antioxidant, and increased levels may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and other oxidative and inflammatory diseases.

Consequences

Jaundice. Mild jaundice may appear under conditions of exertion, stress, fasting, and infections.

Reduced detox ability. The lack of the enzyme glucuronyltransferase may reduce the liver's ability to detoxify various forms of pollution, chemical fumes, some drugs and hormones. The drug Irinotecan becomes toxic to those with GS.

Neutropenia (a low neutrophils count). Neutrophils are the most important type of white blood cell, comprising 50-70% of circulating white blood cells. They are the primary defence against infections, destroying bacteria and fungi in the blood.

Symptoms - common

Symptoms - less frequent

Triggers

Prevention / remedies / treatment for Gilbert's syndrome

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References

1. Rivera CA et al. Toll-like receptor-2 deficiency enhances non-alcoholic steatohepatitis. BMC Gasttoenterol. 2010 May 28; 10(1):52.

2. Romestaing C et al. Long term highly saturated fat diet does not induce NASH in Wistar rats. Nutr Metab (Lond). 2007 Feb 21; 4:4.

3. Nanji AA et al. Dietary saturated fatty acids: a novel treatment for alcoholic liver disease. Gastroenterology. 1995, August; 109(2):547-554.

4. You M et al. Role of adiponectin in the protective action of dietary saturated fat against alcoholic fatty liver in mice. Hepatology. 2005 Sept; 42(3):568-77.

5. Ronis MJ et al. Dietary saturated fat reduces alcohol hepatoxicity in rats by altering fatty acid metabolism and membrane composition. J Nutr. 2004 April; 134(4):904-12.

6. Dobbs RH, Cremer RJ. Phototherapy. Archives of disease in childhood, 50, no. 11 (1975):833-36.

7. Cremer RJ, et al. Influence of light on the hyperbilirubinaemia. Lancet 1, no. 7030 (1958): 1094-97.