Using has an impact on your ability to absorb nutrients from food, so it is worth paying attention to your diet to make sure you are getting what your body needs. Drugs can use up vitamins, make you more or less active so you burn up more or less energy, and change your appetite and digestion over time.

Taking vitamin and mineral supplements (with food) and paying attention to your diet can also help alleviate some of the side-effects of various drugs. Using affects your appetite: you may find that you feel like eating less or that you crave junk food.

Find an eating pattern that suits you. It doesn’t have to be three big meals a day: you may find it easier to have five small meals instead. The important thing is to eat healthy food – plenty of fruit, vegetables, grains, fish and lean meat.

Drink lots of water – at least eight large glasses a day (this can also help you to find your veins more easily). Eat plenty of fruit and vegetables and other foods high in fibre (cereals, bread, and so on). Do some light exercise: a brisk walk can really help with your digestion. Getting into the habit of going to the toilet first thing in the morning, before you use, can also help. Natural laxatives are okay.

Hepatitis C

Hepatitis C does not directly cause nutrient imbalances in the body, however liver problems like fibrosis (tissue scarring) and cirrhosis (liver disease) can result in hepatitis C-related malnutrition.

Watching your diet can:

  • relieve some of the symptoms related to chronic hep C infection and treatment (such as nausea)
  • enhance your immune system’s ability to fight disease
  • provide your body with nutrients to regenerate the liver.

The usual advice on good nutrition applies to people with hepatitis C – eat lots of cereals, bread, grains, legumes, fruit and vegetables. Eat moderate amounts of meat, eggs, poultry and dairy. And try to avoid salt, sugar, fat and processed foods. For people with hepatitis C limiting fatty foods and alcohol are particularly important.

Thanks to our partners, Albion Street dieticians for these useful websites!

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