High ammonia levels can occur for a variety of reasons. Causes for elevated ammonia in your blood include liver disease, liver failure, hepatitis, liver cirrhosis, Reye’s syndrome in children, intestinal bleeding, cardiovascular conditions, kidney complications and a rare, inherited disorder of the urea cycle called Citrullinemia. If left untreated, these conditions can lead to complications like a liver abscess. Early symptoms of high ammonia levels can include lethargy, confusion and memory difficulties.
How Ammonia Accumulates in the Blood
Ammonia is created in your body when proteins in your intestines are broken down by the natural bacteria in your digestive tract. The ammonia is then filtered through your liver into your urea and you normally eliminate it when you urinate. When the liver is unable to filter the ammonia out of your blood into your urea, you can develop liver complications like hepatitis, cirrhosis or even coma.
L-glutathione Supplements and Milk Thistle
In Quick Access Patient Information on Conditions, Herbs & Supplements, it is recommended that you use L-glutathione supplements to lower blood ammonia levels. You can take L-glutathione supplements at a dosage of 500 milligrams a day in capsule form to lower ammonia levels naturally. Milk thistle contains silymarin, and is anti-inflammatory and has antioxidants that encourage the natural reparation of liver tissues. Milk thistle also protects your liver from toxins and offers protection against certain medications that might harm your liver, such as acetaminophen. You can take 100 milligrams of Milk thistle 3 times daily to promote proper liver functioning if your high ammonia levels are due to cirrhosis of the liver or hepatitis C.
In Renewal: The Anti-Aging Revolution, Timothy J. Smith explains that garlic helps in the removal of excessive ammonia in the blood. Garlic is filled with free radical-destroying antioxidants, which can help keep your kidneys, heart and liver cells healthy. You can consume 2 to 4 garlic cloves a day, or you can consume 1200 milligrams of aged garlic extract daily to promote healthy liver, heart and kidney functioning. Garlic is also available in freeze-dried capsules; you can consume 200 milligrams 3 times daily.
In Prescription for Nutritional Healing, author Phyllis A. Balch explains that L-lysine, L-ornithine and L-arginine supplements can prove beneficial in terms of liver health and the reduction of ammonia levels in the blood. L-arginine can be consumed at a dosage of 500 milligrams a day to promote liver detoxification. You can take L-arginine supplements at a dosage of two 1,800 milligrams capsules daily to help diminish ammonia levels in your blood.
L-lysine and L-ornithine
Both L-lysine and L-ornithine are supplements that diminish ammonia levels in your blood and have antiviral properties. You can consume L-lysine at a dosage of two 500 milligram capsules daily, or you can take L-ornithine at a dosage of one 500 milligram capsule a day to help reduce the ammonia levels.
Note: High ammonia levels are detected via a blood test conducted by a physician. You should always consult your physician before starting any supplement regimen. If your symptoms do not improve with naturopathic treatments, you should visit a physician immediately in order to avoid further medical complications. High ammonia levels in babies, a condition that is often temporary, still require medical treatment; the condition may be indicative of a disorder where the baby’s blood type and the mother’s blood type do not match with one another.
References and ResourcesQuick Access Patient Information on Conditions, Herbs & Supplements; Quick Access Guides; 2000.
Renewal: The Anti-Aging Revolution, Timothy J. Smith; 1999.
Prescription for Nutritional Healing; Phyllis A. Balch; 2006.
ResourcesHerbnet.com on lowering Ammonia levels with herbs.
MedHelp on Liver Disease and high blood ammonia levels.