Milk Thistle Benefits For The Liver


Balance Your Blood Sugar

8 Benefits of Milk Thistle for the Liver

Got type 2 diabetes? The silymarin in milk thistle has the potential to lower your fasting blood sugar levels and HbA1c as well as improve insulin sensitivity.

Milk thistle isnt a substitute for diabetes meds though, and it could cause complications in people with diabetes. So if youre thinking about taking it, definitely talk with your healthcare provider first.

May Help People With Type Two Diabetes

The silymarin in milk thistle may help people with type two diabetes because of the way it protects pancreatic cells, says Erin Holley, a registered dietician at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.

These benefits may be due to silymarin’s ability to protect pancreas cellswhich produce insulin from damage, says Holley.

A 2016 meta-analysis found that daily doses of between 200 to 600 milligrams of silymarin overtime periods between 45 days and six months resulted in a significant reduction in fasting blood glucose levels in people with type two diabetes. This is important because people with diabetes need to keep their blood sugar at a healthy level.

More research is needed to determine the benefits of milk thistle for type one diabetes.

How Milk Thistle Provides Liver Support

Milk thistle and its active components particularly help support liver health. Milk thistle can counteract toxin-related damage and other conditions that produce redness and swelling. Milk thistle:

  • Protects against toxic substances
  • Reduces iron overload in thalassemia patients
  • Boosts glutathione levels
  • May promote weight loss

The most-known and well-established health benefit of milk thistle is how it supports your liver. Silymarin directly blocks toxins that the liver encounters, preventing them from entering liver cells, thus preventing premature cell death.

Silymarin is an antioxidant that soothes redness and irritation, provides a defense against various types of harmful organisms, and prevents the formation of scar tissue, or fibrosis, in the liver and elsewhere in the body.

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Dosing Considerations For Milk Thistle

Theres no final word on using milk thistle, what dose works best, and other considerations. At least not published by health authorities.

Theres not a fixed milk thistle dosage for fatty liver or any other liver condition. However, we can use a milk thistle supplement according to evidence. By looking at the scientific studies above, we can consider a good dose for daily administration.

A typical dosage is 420 mg a day, usually consumed orally. Other studies show benefits with lower concentrations of 140 mg a day, and still others with 800 mg a day .

As you can see, theres a wide variation. But all of these studies agree that milk thistle should be consumed continually to reach significant benefits. Otherwise, there wont be enough blood levels, and it wont make a difference. But if you consume for at least 12 weeks, the effects will start to show up on your liver and other organs.

Studies have shown that you can take this type of supplement for up to 41 months without any particular problem .

Are There Side Effects

10 Best Milk Thistle for Fatty Liver  Guide to Choosing a Supplement ...

Generally, itâs safe to take milk thistle in recommended doses. Some people have reported nausea, gas, diarrhea, or loss of appetite. Other people have reported a headache or itchiness after they take it.

Milk thistle can cause an allergic reaction, especially if youâre allergic to other plants in the same family. These include ragweed, daisies, marigolds, and chrysanthemums.

People who have diabetes should talk to their doctor before they take milk thistle because it may lower blood sugar.

Donât take it if you have breast, uterine, or ovarian cancer endometriosis or uterine fibroids. It can mimic estrogen. If youâre pregnant or breastfeeding, talk to your doctor before you take milk thistle or any herbal supplement.

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Are There Any Interactions With Medications

According to investigations about milk thistle, most of the interactions with medications are positive. Actually, milk thistle can be used to enhance the benefits of other medications.

Particular emphasis should be made with chemotherapy medications, for example. In the process, we could believe that the adverse effects of chemotherapy would increase as well. But thats not the case. According to studies, milk thistle protects healthy cells while letting these drugs target cancer cells .

Other than that, the most common interaction comes from the modulation of liver enzymes. These enzymes are responsible for metabolizing other drugs. If they are stimulated by milk thistle, the organism may handle medicines differently. Thus, it is recommended to monitor chronic medication users if they start to consume milk thistle.

Milk Thistle Dosage For Fatty Liver

If youre wondering how much milk thistle to take to improve your health, the answer depends on your individual needs.

Milk thistle can be used in high doses to stimulate a natural liver detox. About 150 milligrams of milk thistle, taken three times daily, qualifies as a high dosage. To achieve ongoing liver support, try taking 50 to 250 milligrams daily.

The easiest way to start benefiting from milk thistle is to take it as a supplement or tea.

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Antagonizing Effects On Free Radicals Prevents Hepatic Cell Destruction

One of the most documented actions of silymarin and silybin is its powerful antioxidant effect. One 2015 study looked at this closer and concluded that the antioxidant properties of milk thistle are through the following ways:

Milk thistle supports free radical scavenging, preventing these reactive species of oxygen and nitrogen from damaging the cells of the liver. They also chelate free iron and copper ions, especially in the gut.

Since your liver is a major site of metabolic activities, it is a hot spot for free radical production. By scavenging these free radicals, milk thistle helps protect the cells of the liver.

Besides scavenging for the already formed free radicals, milk thistle also prevents the formation of these products in the first place by inhibiting certain reactive oxygen species -producing enzymes. In this way, it improves the integrity of your mitochondria – aka the powerhouse of the cell.

Milk thistle also maintains an optimal balance of redox reactions in the cell by activating several antioxidant enzymes and non-enzymatic antioxidants. This action is probably the main driving force of the antioxidant properties of milk thistle.

Milk Thistle: Good For The Liver Or Too Many Side Effects

4 Potential Benefits of Milk Thistle

By Rachael Link, MS, RD

Milk thistle is a natural herb with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Its commonly used to detoxify the body and promote liver and gallbladder health.

Also known by its scientific name, Silybum marianum, milk thistle grows mostly in California, although it can be grown in many other warm climates as well.

As an herb thats considered a hepatic, galactogogue, demulcent and cholagogue, milk thistle is considered one of the most common natural supplements for liver disorders in the U.S., thanks to its many health benefits.

Other benefits include promoting healthy digestive function, increasing bile production, decreasing inflammation and soothing the mucous membranes throughout the body.

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Milk Thistle For Liver Detox

There is a great deal of confusion when we say milk thistle detoxes your liver. People always ask, Isnt it the livers job to detox the body? How can the liver itself need a detox?

It certainly is the livers job to detox the body, and all things being equal you would not need to take supplements to keep it clean and functioning at optimum. Paleolithic man probably did not need to engage in a milk thistle liver detox, for examplethough they might have eaten it, as every part of the plant is edible. Our ancestors enjoyed clean water, air, and land. There was no alcohol for them to indulge in. Food wasnt stuffed with preservatives. They never were exposed to secondhand smoke, didnt use chemical cleaners and werent surrounded by chemicals in everything from furniture to flooring.

Fast-forward to today. In the modern era, our livers are under constant assault. This powerhouse of the body does continue the work of cleansing your body and blood. Its just being overloaded. Eventually, the liver takes on more toxins than it can handle and gets damaged.

Think about your office at work. You might have an in box where you store work that has yet to be done. When there is a manageable amount of work in the in box you are happy and effective. Theres no stress. You can get everything done with ease. Its your job to process whatever is in your box, and you do.

The liver is the same way.

Recommended Dosage Of Milk Thistle

Because milk thistle is categorized as a supplement, rather than a drug, its not subject to the same oversight and quality control from the FDA that standard drugs are. The amount of active ingredients can vary widely depending on the different preparation methods used and the brand. Currently, there are several different milk thistle products available on the market, all recommending different doses.

How much milk thistle should you take? There is no nationally standardized milk thistle supplement dosing at this time, but most people do best consuming between 20300 milligrams daily.

Milk Thistle Supplement Form

  • How much milk thistle should you take to cleanse your liver? As a way to detoxify the body temporarily, the recommended daily intake of milk thistle is 150 milligrams, taken one to three times daily. This is a somewhat high dose that can act as a natural liver detox.
  • For ongoing use and liver support, take 50 to 150 milligrams daily.

Look for a high-quality product thats between 50150 milligrams of pure milk thistle extract per capsule so you can adjust the amount you are taking depending on your needs. If youre wondering what milk thistle is best, try our high quality non GMO Refresh Milk Thistle Complex a highly potent extract formulated with 80 percent pure milk thistle extract.

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Whats Milk Thistle Anyway

Milk thistle is a thorny plant that can grow up to 10 feet high. The plant is native to California. However, milk thistle grows in similar climates around the world. The name comes from the milk-like substance secreted when the leaves are crushed. The plant creates a bulb with beautiful pink flowers. Milk thistle users include breastfeeding moms, people with digestive issues, and those looking for skincare treatments.

Potential Side Effects Of Milk Thistle


Milk thistle is largely considered safe when taken by mouth. There have been some cases diarrhea, nausea, gas and headache, but these cases are rare.

Additionally, certain components of milk thistle can lower blood sugar levels by augmenting the action of insulin. As a result, it may aggravate hypoglycemia symptoms if you have Diabetes.

For most people, milk thistle provides a safe, effective way to protect your bodys hardest working organ – the liver. Milk thistle is available in bulk powder form or as capsules and tinctures.

Recognizing milk thistles value and the need for proper liver support, we created our Organic Liver Love tincture with this powerful liver-supportive herb.

We also combined it with herbs that work synergistically to boost its effects, including chicory root, dandelion root, artichoke leaf and more.

If youre looking for a fast, convenient way to support your liver naturally with milk thistle, try our Organic Liver Love today!

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Milk Thistle: Benefits And Side Effects

Since the dawn of time, humans have tried to find cures for what ails us. Long before the advent of modern medicine, herbs, spices, and other natural remedies were the only options for treating many diseases.

During the rise of modern, evidence-based medicine, many of these traditional remedies fell out of favor with physicians. Now, as many people begin to look for alternatives to modern drug therapy, these natural medicines are making a comeback. To the surprise of some, it turns out there may be merit to some traditional cures.

Some traditional treatments have proven to be ineffectual while others have stood up to the test of rigorous scientific study. There are also herbal remedies that simply haven’t been studied enough to know whether or not they have any significant effect. In this last group is a plant called milk thistle that has been used by people for thousands of years.

Milk Thistle Has Anti

The antioxidants in milk thistle shield cells against damage from free radicals. Since free radicals are largely responsible for age-related problems like wrinkles, dark spots, and discoloration on the skin, milk thistle has the power to reduce visible signs of aging.

Furthermore, milk thistles overall ability to help the liver perform its essential functions slows the aging process. It reduces common health problems that prematurely age or injure the body, leading to more youth and vitality.

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Protects Against Toxic Substances

Milk thistle counteracts toxin-related injuries to the liver. Scientists have found that silymarin protects against liver damage from drug use, viral hepatitis, death cap mushroom poisoning, and acetaminophen. Over 80 percent of the liver is comprised of cells known as hepatocytes.

Silymarin keeps toxic compounds from entering these cells, protecting them and, in turn, their contribution to liver function. It has helped support the liver in individuals exposed to high amounts of hydrogen sulfide. Thats an amazing variety of scientifically documented liver benefits for this purple flower!

Is Milk Thistle Right For Me

Benefits of Milk Thistle! For Liver and Gallbladder Ailments

Thats a question only you and your doctor can answer. If you are considering integrating milk thistle supplements into your diet, sometimes its good to start by consulting with your physician.

About the Author

Stephen Holt, MD, PhD, FACP

Stephen Holt, M.D. is a Distinguished Professor of Medicine NYCPM and a medical practitioner in New York State. He has published many peer-review papers in medicine and he is a best-selling author with more than twenty books in national and international distribution. He has received many awards for teaching and research. Dr. Holt is a frequent lecturer at scientific meetings and healthcare facilities throughout the world. He is a best selling author and the founder of the Holt Institute of Medicine.

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  • Milk Thistle: Uses, Side Effects, Interactions, Dosage, and Warning. . Retrieved from .
  • Spritzler, F. . Fatty Liver: What It Is, and How to Get Rid of It. Retrieved from .
  • Khatri, M. . Does Milk Thistle Help Your Liver? Retrieved from .
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    Which Formula Is The Best And Most Effective

    Many products are available in health food stores, drug stores, and on the Internet, but none of them are very bioavailable. This means they are not absorbed well by the body. A person would therefore need to ingest large amounts to experience its beneficial effects. This is not only impractical, but can also become quite expensive.

    The solution is the patented, highly-absorbable, all-natural, standardized, pharmaceutical grade formula found in Maximum Milk Thistle® and UltraThistle®. It is superior to all other milk thistle products in 2 key areas.

  • It only contains the silybin from the plant. Silybin is the single most beneficial ingredient of the plant and is responsible for roughly 70% of all of milk thistles health benefits.
  • It allows more of the silybin to be absorbed by your body. It can be thought of as a supercharged delivery system. It takes the silybin and delivers it through your body in a way that increases its absorption into your bodys tissues and cells. It delivers up to10 timesmore silybin and produces up to20 timesthe efficacy and protection as compared to other standardized products. Learn more about Maximum Milk Thistle or the worlds highest-potency formula, UltraThistle.
  • Which Is Better Milk Thistle Or Tudca

    Based on the research, there are overlapping benefits between milk thistle and TUDCA. As to which one is better, the answers may vary depending on the users.

    Each individuals reaction is different, and some may be more accustomed to TUDCA, while others may react more positively to milk thistle.

    Additionally, since both substances may have a significant impact on the bodys overall health, its best to consult a doctor or healthcare professional to guide you. This can lower the risks of side effects and interactions, especially if you take other medications.

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    Where Does Milk Thistle Come From

    Milk thistle grew originally in North Africa, Asia Minor, southern Europe, and southern Russia. Its now been naturalized in North and South America, too. Milk thistle is an edible plant that grows purple, tubular flowers and has green leaves with white stripes containing a white, milk-like juice.

    For over 2,000 years, milk thistle has been used to cleanse and detox the kidneys, liver, and spleen, or as a natural treatment for liver and gallbladder disease . Milk thistle seeds were given to European women to encourage healthy milk production for their breastfeeding babies .

    What Do We Know About Safety

    Milk Thistle Benefits
    • In clinical trials, milk thistle appears to be well tolerated in recommended doses. Occasionally, people report various digestive side effects.
    • Milk thistle may produce allergic reactions, which tend to be more common among people who are allergic to plants in the same family .
    • Milk thistle may lower blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes. People with diabetes should use caution.
    • Little is known about whether itâs safe to use milk thistle during pregnancy or while breastfeeding.

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    May Support Bone Health

    “Milk thistle has been studied experimentally in test tubes and animals, and shown to possibly reduce age-related bone loss by promoting bone mineralization,” says Holley.

    Medical term: Bone mineralization is the process of the body adding minerals to the bone tissue, which helps develop and strengthen the bone, Holley says.

    A 2013 review based on animal studies suggested that silymarin may play an important role in preventing bone loss.

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