Milk Thistle And Liver Health

Milk thistle has a milky sap that comes out of its leaves when they are broken. It is also known as silymarin, which is one of the main components of the plant’s seeds. Silymarin possess antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that may protect liver cells from toxic chemicals and drug (1,2).

Preclinical data indicates that silymarin may protect intact liver cells or cells not yet irreversibly damaged. It acts as a free radical scavenger and modulates enzymes associated with the development of cellular damage, fibrosis and cirrhosis. Silymarin showed significant reduction in liver-related deaths trials in patients with cirrhosis. Furthermore, it was also able to improve glycemic parameters in patients with diabetes and alcoholic cirrhosis (3).

For over 2,000 years, milk thistle has been used against bile duct and liver conditions. Experts have found that it may possibly possess liver-protective properties (4,5).

It has been used as a complementary therapy by people who have liver damage due to conditions like alcoholic liver disease, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, hepatitis and even liver cancer. Results of a study showed that the herb has potent antioxidant effects and may provide some help it lowering down levels of inflammation and promoting liver cell regeneration (6).

Other Benefits of Milk Thistle

  • Help promote brain health due to the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of silymarin.
  • May help keep our cholesterol levels in check
  • May help boost the body’s immune system response
  • May help prevent bone loss and encourages the growth of healthy new bone
  • May help promote the production of breast milk

How to Take Milk Thistle?

The herb comes in powder, liquid extract, capsule, or pill forms. We can have powder into a tea, stir it into water, or blend it into a smoothie. Its liquid extract can be added to tea or water. Simply swallow the capsule or pill with a glass of water.

Always talk to a doctor before taking any herbal supplements.

Sources:

  1. https://www.webmd.com/hepatitis/milk-thistle-liver
  2. https://www.rxlist.com/milk_thistle/supplements.htm
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7140758/
  4. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/herbs-for-liver#1.-Milk-thistle-(silymarin)
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK65780/
  6. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30080294/

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