170 million people are currently infected with the hepatitis C virus (HCV) worldwide. This is 3% of the total world population. It is estimated that 15-25% of persons infected with the hepatitis C virus can clear the virus from the body in 6 months. The other 75-85% of infected persons develop long term chronic infections. Of this population, 10-20% will develop cirrhosis of the liver within 20 years. No one really knows why the immune response against the HCV virus works in some people and not in others. It is clear that certain HCV proteins interfere with immune responsiveness, but this does not occur in all people.
1. Rosmarinic Acid. Our current research argues that activation of the IDO enzyme plays a fundamental role in the immuno-suppression associated with hepatitis C. The IDO enzyme is up-regulated in the liver cells of those infected with HCV. In infected chimpanzees, IDO expression decreased in the animals that cleared the disease. The expression of IDO clearly blocks an active immune response against HCV antigens, thereby leading to a state of chronic viral HCV infection.
Rosmarinic acid, a natural supplement, inhibits the activation of the STAT1 transcription factor which activates the IDO gene. Thus rosmarinic acid works to inactivate the IDO gene by inhibiting the factor that activates it. Regulatory T cells, activated by the IDO enzyme, play a fundamental role in suppressing the immune response against HCV. Again, rosmarinic acid should reduce regulatory T cells by inactivating the IDO gene. A large amount of research is showing that IDO-regulated T cells are inhibiting a proper immune response against HCV, leading to a state of long term chronic infection. Critically, when IDO is inhibited, TREG cell development is impaired. This leads to a rebound in immunological functioning against the virus. This is very good.
Thus one thing a person with HCV should consider is a regimen of rosmarinic acid. The least cost supplement of it we can find is found on the web site www.vitacost.com [or call 800-381-0759] which carries a product called NSI Origanox Standardized High ORAC Oregano with 35 mg of rosmarinic acid per capsule, (product #NI 003389), and it is $15.99 for 180 capsules. Take at least 6 a day, and if your budget allows it, and up to 12 a day would be worthwhile depending on your symptoms with hepatitis C.
2. Silymarin. The second thing to do, to protect against cirrhosis of the liver, is to take a daily regimen of silymarin. This substance found in milk thistle has been shown to support liver health. Consider the product from Swanson’s Vitamin Company, www.swansonvitamins.com [800-437-4148] which is #SWH051, $6.99 for 120 capsules of milk thistle standardized to 80% silymarin. Take 2 capsule 2 times a day [you need 900+ mg total per day].
3. Flaxseed. The third thing is flaxseed. We have already written essays on the use of flax lignans as a treatment for HIV and influenza virus infections. I believe these powerful lignans can also be used to treat both early and late HepC infections. As cited previously, flax lignans, produced in the intestines by the bacteria mediated conversion of pre-lignans to lignans, inhibit the activation of the survival enzyme AKT while promoting the increased synthesis of p53, the major apoptosis or cell death protein in the cell. 
[Note – for the citation for this, enter the eight digit number below and the word PubMed into a google search. The first hit you get will be the medical Abstract. Open the first hit and you have it. Other citations will be given the same way below].
Since interferon alpha2b, the current treatment for HepC infections, also increases the level of p53, it is noteworthy that flax lignans do the same. And flax lignans are dirt cheap compared to incredibly expensive drugs like alpha interferon. 
As discussed in previous essays, both alpha and beta interferons stimulate the synthesis of p53 in cells. This response protects cells against viral infections and the development of cancer. [12957282, 12872134]
In the latter, hepatitis phases of HepC infections various viral proteins bind and inactivate the p53 protein. However, this response does not occur in the non-inflammatory (most dominant) earlier phases of the infection. [16380082, 16690937].
A number of HepC proteins, including NS5A, bind to the PI-3k enzyme and activate it. This enzyme activates the kinase AKT, which promotes the survival of cancer and virally infected cells. AKT promotes the survival of HepC infected cells and promotes a steady state level of HepC replication. The activation of AKT further promotes the development of hepatitis and eventually liver cancer. [15994768, 15795286, 14709551]
In summary, HepC activates AKT which promotes the survival of infected cells, AND their transition to liver cancer. Alpha interferon drugs increase p53 which kills virally infected cells. Flax lignans can accomplish both of these goals inexpensively. First, they inhibit the activation of AKT. Second, they increase the level of p53 in cells. Flax lignans could be a very powerful natural medicine for the treatment of 130 million chronic HepC carriers.
One thing to note is that one must get very high-quality lignan-verified flaxseed. There are actually only a few on the market. One we have identified is Spectrum Essentials, sold on the Swanson site, SP029, $4.99 for 14 ounces. There are 56 tablespoons in each bag with about 50 mg of lignans per tablespoon. Start [or work your way up to] 2 tablespoons per day. Ideally, you would move to 4 to 6 per day over time if you can incorporate it into your regimen. This supplement is utterly critical!
4. Alpha Lipoic Acid. Also add 600 mg of alpha lipoic acid daily since this boosts glutathione which helps protect the liver. Swanson has product SWU167, $7.89 for 60 capsules. Take one a day.
5. Selenium. Also add 200 mcg of selenium since it slows the replication of the hepatitis C virus. Swanson has product #SWU067, A more bio-available form, $1.99 for 90 capsules.
This total combination of the rosmarinic acid, the flaxseed, along with the milk thistle, alpha lipoic acid, and selenium is a hugely potent regimen that will address hepatitis C effectively.