DIET & PBC: What makes you feel good / alle... - PBC Foundation

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DIET & PBC: What makes you feel good / alleviates some PBC-related symptoms and what does not?


1) Food - What and also When/ How do you eat - with what good or bad results for your general well-being?

2) Drinking water - how much / when - how do you fell about it?

3) Dietary tricks that help you in PBC - be it for the itch (some natural spices are credited to be helpful here), for fatigue, sleep disorders, etc etc.

Would be interesting to know and share I think.

26 Replies

I was really looking forward to reading some answers to this question as this is something I would like some information on.

Well hopefully we will see some answers :). Please share, everybody.. Thank you !

I dont think my eating habits would be of much interest to anyone. :-) I eat when I am hungry, when I can be bothered to make something, and depending on how I am feeling depends on what I eat. Some days I can make a stew and others its cheese on crackers, or a banana, or a bowl of porridge. I drink an awful lot as my mouth gets really dry but its either coffee, hot chocolate or squash.....never just water. In between drinks I suck sweets to help with the moisture in my mouth and to stop the cough I get when my mouth becomes dry.

Sorry its not very interesting.

i find that high fibre and very low fat definately helps with the pain in my upper right side,if i eat chocolate,half a choc orange not just a choc button then i wake up with the pain again, also if i drink plenty of water that also keeps the pain away. I always eat weetabix with skimmed milk for breakfast and when at work i eat bananas and a pear or two it s when i get home that it's harder to be good.I was diagnosed Feb 2011 and started the Urso right away,i must admit that the tiredness is a lot less than before but i find that if i eat a lot( i love my food)then i will conk out pretty soon after.I also have more energy if i swim in the evening.hope this helps ps stopped drinking alcohol too have maybe a glass(who am I kidding) a can about every two weeks now with Sunday lunch, hope this is useful.

scthompson in reply to liz57

Hi Liz, I’m just wondering how you’re doing 6 years later?!? I’m 59; was diagnosed 5 yrs ago, and have been just trying to totally ignore it, although I did totally give up alcohol, and now the pain behind my lowest right rib is getting pretty bad so can’t ignore it any longer. I’d rather not take Urso and, from what I’ve read, it’s efficacy is questionable. Just wondering what’s been working for you. Did you read all the posts that recommend Kombucha???

liz57 in reply to scthompson

Morning scburns,first thing is please take the urso,i have and continue to do so, they told me i was a responder and last consult app said liver fine.I do get the back pain still not really sore just, there if you understand.I find myself better if I only eat little bits and stay busy, sewing, gardening,i do love food but just fall asleep if i eat a lot.If i do too much Zumba I am lethargic the next day .It really is just pacing yourself and knowing how far you can go .I never get to the 'can't go on will fall down' stage now. I did ask my doc about milk thistle once he said no ,that was that. I do ignore pbc till the next appointment. Hope you have a happy Christmas and a guid New Year,

kind regards

Hi I have given up bread and eggs, have goats milk and very little cheese.

Digestion works alot better and I dont feel sick as much. I eat porridge every day, yogurt most days and Iv developed a pregancy type craving for grapefruit and blueberries. dont always fancy a proper meal will depend on the day.

Oh and I have bag of nuts on the go all day for snacking.

Hidden in reply to Val02

Are nuts and seeds ok ? Raw or cooked? I am trying non but based milk like coconut and rice milk. Because I still prefer cow I a low myself some each day at least once in coffee or tea. At the moment i am trying to figure diet still puzzled.

:) as far as I know:

- GOAT MILK is itself a remedy (is used in fighting many types of cancer too), some say it help regenerate the liver, is useful in astma too. Some Romanian peasants say "good morning Doctor" when they go to their goats, for good reason. So .. u might be doing very well :). Cholesterol free too.

- GRAPEFRUIT, lke many other bitter things, is liver-friendly. Just take care not to have too much. A patient in Romania told me recently that in December she ate for some weeks 2-3 oranges every day and then the itch worsened. Oranges are not grapefruit, and you have to be moderate, but still.. many say it's very good for "cleansing" the liver.

- EGGS - anybody tried quail eggs? Are smaller but (in Romania) cost the same as chicken eggs :) but cholesterol level is much lower.


Anybody tried a bottle with warm water or some other warming device placed on the liver area (not too hot, obviously, just nice and warm) when you have discomfort, after eating or just whenever you feel pain?

I've heard some say it soothes and somehow helps. Is very easy to test I guess... :)

I always have a heating pad on me and I take alot of hot baths.

I constantly have a heating pad on my liver area. I even purchased a heating pad for my car. I live in Arizona and others think I am crazy but the heating pad is the only thing that soothes the liver area. Does't think the pain away but helps me be able to cope with it.

:) thank yo so much for sharing !.. In my humble opinion, it is a too simple trick not to try it.


I have found that if I split the portion of my meal in half and eat the rest as a snack, I do not experience pain or indigestion and also end up eating less calories for the day. So for me, eating every two or three hours is working better that stuffing myself at mealtime. I am also a grazer... a half banana here, a handful of grapes there etc. lol Another thing, ever since I have limited gluten in my diet, I also have less discomfit. I love all the information and tricks others have posted.

Be well


Cautionary Tale...

Grapefruit and grapefruit juice should be consumed with caution when taking certain medications. For instance those of us on Cholesterol reducing statins should NEVER consume Grapefruit as the chemicals in grapefruit can alter the breakdown of the drug, this can I believe alter the rate at which the drug is released into the bloodstream, This is why we should read the info leaflet with the medication.. mine states very clearly that grapefruit shouldn't be consumed with it. There are lot's of medicines that grapefruit shouldn't be taken with.

A great example of why herbal remedies and even common foods can be dangerous when taken alongside pharmacy medicines.

As for ways of eating, many of us have to eat little and often and I find this helps for me too. I have tried to cut out dairy / wheat at different times to help with bowel issues but it made no difference so I follow the guidelines of try to eat a little of everything in moderation... I eat very little saturated fats as I have gall stones, but fat is still important in our diets. I also don't eat too much insoluble fiber as this makes IBS worse so just try to eat soluble fibers.

Water is really important and I think most of us are partially dehydrated most of the time. We should all be drinking lot's of plain water. I started drinking hot water in the morning with a wedge of fresh lemon dropped in, it really refreshes and is said to be good for the liver.

As far as I know foods that contain fibers have both, soluble and insoluble. I have come across studies showing fibers generally do help in both IBS and IBD, but at the end of the day it comes down to what each person thinks is good for him/her.

A tip for that very good warm drink in the morning :) add a bit of honey as well (but NEVER add to any fluid whilst you cannot yet keep your finger in that fluid, aka when it doesn't have more than 40 degrees C, otherwise all the healthy things in honey get lost)/

When I was recently talking to my gastro, he told me that favour is defintely turning away from insoluble fiber as an IBS cure all.

Foods that contain soluble fiber are often not thought of as fiber rich foods such as rice, oats, pasta, mushrooms whereas the foods high in insoluble fiber are foods like whole wheat breads, whole grains and stringy fruits. ( a simple web search will show lists of foods rich in either soluble of insoluble fiber)

Some foods such as plums do have both types of fiber, the insoluble fiber int he skin, the soluble in the pulp.

Soluble fiber dissolve in water but are not digested. They do however help to absorb excess fluid thus preventing watery diarrhoea sometimes seen in IBS, but also it produces a softer stool not a hard constipated stool also seen in IBS. Thus the bowel has something to 'grip' whilst passing the stool out without those painful contractions often associated with IBS pain. Insoluble fiber literally just bulks the bowel, it doesn't absorb it just gets the bowel contracting.

Another plus with soluble fiber is that it plays a part in binding cholesterol and removing it from the body.. that has to be a bonus in those of us with high cholesterol.

I think many people are familiar with good fat vs bad fat. But Often don't realise that fiber also comes in different types and some are definitely more beneficial for relieving symptoms of IBS. Yes it does depend on what works... but people need to know the difference so they can try the insoluble fiber.

I am happy to be proven wrong however and would be interested in any research that say's otherwise. Good quality research is always hard to come by :) x

Soluble fiber is indeed not digested by us, but is fermented/processed by the good bacteria in the gut, with Big advantages for the immune system, nervous system, cardiovascular system etc.

Studies about benefits of fibers in IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome, a functional condition) and also IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Disease, an apparently autoimmune, structural condition, aka modifies the structure of the digestive tract) are numerous out there - just a glimpse:

Important to know is that fibers are PREbiotics, that is the "food" processed by PRObiotics (found in yogurt and similar to the good bacteria in the gut), so having fiber + probiotics (psyllium with yogurt, for ex - plus fruit, honey, etc, if you wish) is a very good combination.

Thanks for that article...

So just to clarify..... as I was saying above... we should be trying to ingest SOLUBLE fiber which is better for us than insoluble fiber!

" It reports that soluble fiber (psyllium) is an effective treatment for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). On the other hand, insoluble fiber such as bran may worsen symptoms. " (taken from article you quoted)

I think it's important to make sure that we do NOT lump fiber types together as they are definitely not equal in what they do within the body. :)

True, but as said, most fiber foods contain both types, even if more soluble, just not to think that if there is a 0,0x gr of insoluble fiber, that food is necessarily bad.

Indeed but i think this got confusing because you said that 'fibre' is good.... and in the past we as a population certainly in the UK have been told to go toward high fibre food such as whole grain, whole bran etc... and has been shown that these insoluble fibers are not the best choice, especially if someone is trying to alleviate IBS which is miserable to live with. x


Good advice on dietary stuff on the Liver site, for all types of liver disease too. Just scroll down to the PBC section.

at there's an article about what to avoid and what to limit - how many of certain vitamins to have. it was really helpful.

I realized a while back that I feel better when I eat very little red meat or pork, and eat more fruits and vegetables- specifically blueberries, strawberries, watermelon, spinach, other greens, broccoli, beans, apples, bananas (I like all of these, so it's not hard to eat them). I also like eggs and fish. I recently discovered that these foods encourage production of glutathione which is low in older folks and even lower in those with liver problems. It is so important in the body to detoxify, stimulate the immune system, for energy. I've been dealing with PBC for at least 6 years, and low energy has really made me adjust my schedule and not do a lot of things I would like to do. I'm trying a new supplement that promotes glutathione production and also has CoQ10; will report back if it helps at all.

I travel a fair amount for work, and i find that those are the times that i tend to feel the symptoms of itching and some pain on my right side. In those instances i drink tons of water. Apple cider vinegar (2 tsp in room temperature water 2/3x per day) seems to make me feel good. I also find i feel pain when i eat a lot of cheese/ fatty type foods. Semi related to your question, I used to love a burger or a good steak and i have found that i no longer enjoy or crave such things. Hope this helps

Hi Cristina,

There is no diet restriction for pbc because it is a autoimmune disease..

there is no concrete answer for which food alleviates pbc or which do not but it is always good to eat healthy since our digestive system is weak😔

In my knowledge, anything that is hard to metabolize for liver is bad for pbc.

E.g: some Medicine, too much booze, too much fatty, salty and surgery stuff might trigger pbc..

only way to control pbc is taking urso regularly as your dr prescribed I guess..avoid stress as much as you can cause stress makes pbc worst..

Water is good for everything so drink water as much as you can...

for fatigue: eat lost of green vegetables like kale, Brussels sprout, edamame, sprouts, broccoli and mixed vegetables with good nuts. I also do exercise at least 15 to 30 mins everyday.

For itchiness: I take Benadryl, exercise and try not to think about it..

Here, you will find lots of good suggestions for your concerns!!

Good luck and let me know if I can help you 👍🏼👍🏼👍🏼

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