Milk thistle is a flowering herb related to the daisy and ragweed. Milk thistle is used as a natural treatment for liver problems, due to Silymarin which is the active component). Milk thistle has been used for centuries for treatment of different diseases such as liver and gallbladder disorders, protecting liver against snake bite and insect stings, mushroom poisoning and alcohol abuse.
- Silymarin is an antioxidant that protects the liver from the free radical damage produced by alcohol metabolism.
- Silymarin benefits fatty liver disease.
- Silymarin helps to prevent and reduce liver cancer with the expression of the cell cycle regulators and proteins involved in apoptosis
- Silymarin has been reported to have antioxidant, immunomodulatory, anti-fibrotic, anti-proliferative, and antiviral properties.
- Silymarin helps to prevent osteoporosis.
- Silymarin helps with acne.
The secret to milk thistle’s healing power is its ability to enhance glutathione (every cell in our body produces glutathione and it’s the most important antioxidant).
Silymarin is a unique flavonoid derived from the milk thistle plant. Silymarin has cytoprotection activities due to its antioxidant activity and radical scavenging abilities. Effects of silymarin or silybinin on breast cancer, ovarian cancer, lung cancer, skin cancer, prostate cancer, cervical cancer, bladder cancer, liver carcinoma, and colon cancer have been reported,
Beneficial effects on several diabetic complications, including diabetic neuropathy, diabetic nephropathy, and non-alcoholic steatohepatitis, mainly occur by means of its anti-oxidant properties.
The antioxidant in milk thistle helps prevent free radical damage throughout the body. The herb may actually help slow the aging process. This applies to both the surface of your skin and your organs.
Milk thistle prevents bone loss
Silymarin received attention due to its alternative beneficial effect on bone formation. It is a mixture of flavonoids with powerful antioxidant properties and may reduce bone fractures in older people. Silymarin may modulate multiple genes in favour of helping to build bone and prevent bone loss. Silymarin appears to play a crucial role in the regulation of osteogenesis and may be beneficial for fracture healing.
Which milk thistle is best?
Go for a milk thistle with at least an 80% Silymarin content. Although silymarin is the most potent of the flavonoids in milk thistle, it is not well-absorbed. Silybin-phosphatidylcholine complexed as a phytosome (a complex of a natural active ingredient and a phospholipid – mostly lecithin) provides significant liver protection and enhanced bioavailability over conventional silymarin. You should look for a milk thistle that contains silybin phytosome.
Brands such as , UltraThistle, Maximum Milk Thistle and Clinical LiverSupport are good.
Some milk thistle supplements are mixed with N-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC), this is an excellent option for someone who drinks alcohol regularly or has fatty liver.