What are the Benefits of Milk Thistle?

What are the Benefits of Milk Thistle

Of course! Milk thistle, also known as Silybum marianum, is a plant that’s native to Europe and Asia. It’s been used for centuries as a natural remedy for various health conditions, and its potential benefits have been studied extensively by researchers.

One of the most well-known benefits of milk thistle is its ability to support liver health. The active ingredient in milk thistle, silymarin, is believed to help protect liver cells from damage caused by toxins and free radicals. This is why milk thistle is often recommended as a supplement for people with liver conditions, such as hepatitis or cirrhosis.

But milk thistle may also have other benefits for the body. For example, some studies have suggested that it may help lower cholesterol levels, reduce inflammation, and support the immune system. Additionally, some people use milk thistle to help improve digestion or alleviate symptoms of menopause.

It’s important to note, however, that more research is needed to fully understand the potential benefits of milk thistle. While it’s generally considered safe for most people, it’s always a good idea to talk to your doctor before starting any new supplements or treatments.

What is Milk Thistle?

What is Milk Thistle
Source: Canva

Milk thistle is a herb known for its medicinal properties, a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Milk thistle is also known as Silybum marianum, and its seeds contain the active ingredient – Silymarin that accounts for its health-boosting qualities. 

Milk thistle is popularly recommended to manage liver-related health problems. Various studies have been conducted to probe the effects of milk thistle in improving medical conditions like liver cirrhosis, hepatitis, jaundice and gallbladder disorders.

Let’s review some of the claimed health benefits of milk thistle.

1. Protect the liver

Milk thistle is one of the most popular recommended dietary supplements to boost liver function. Some studies support that milk thistle might help improve liver conditions like fatty liver disease, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and liver cirrhosis. Credit goes to its active ingredient – Silymarin that fights free radicals and reduces liver inflammation. 1

2. Blood sugar management

Scientists believe that milk thistle supplements might be beneficial for people with diabetes. The active ingredients in milk help prevent blood sugar fluctuations and manage type 2 diabetes. Healthy blood glucose levels are also vital for healthy kidney function. 2

3. May support cancer treatment

Milk thistle contains another antioxidant – Silibinin that possesses anti-cancer properties. Therefore milk thistle extract might act as a supportive therapy during cancer treatment by inhibiting the growth of cancer cells. 3

4. Support brain function

The effects of Silymarin have been studied on our brain health as well. Due to its ability to lessen oxidative stress, milk thistle might help prevent or delay age-related cognitive decline disorders like Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease. 4

5. Improve skin health

Ingredients in milk thistle, like flavonoids and antioxidants, may be an alternative medicine to acne by suppressing inflammation and oxidative stress. 5

6. Boost immune health

Studies have found a positive effect on milk thistle on our immune function and ward off infections. 6

7. Aid in digestion

Milk thistle might aid in better digestion by soothing intestinal inflammation. However, more conclusive studies are required to support the claim. 7

Milk Thistle Side Effects

Milk Thistle Side Effects
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Milk thistle capsules are a popular supplement for bodybuilders, fitness enthusiasts, and those with liver conditions. The good news is that there are no significant known side effects of milk thistle, but some people may experience mild headaches, nausea, or stomach discomfort.

However, if you have any allergies, are pregnant, have diabetes, or any underlying medical condition, it’s best to talk to your doctor before taking milk thistle or any other supplement. You don’t want to risk any unwanted reactions or interactions with your medications.

It’s important to remember that taking milk thistle supplements is not a substitute for medical treatment, especially if you have a liver condition or any other medical issue. So always consult with your healthcare provider before starting any new supplements.

If you’re taking milk thistle for general well-being, make sure to stick to the recommended dosage to enjoy the potential health benefits. Overdosing on milk thistle can cause adverse effects or even harm your liver, so it’s better to be safe than sorry. Always follow the dosage instructions on the label or as advised by your doctor.

Which is the best milk thistle brand in India?

best milk thistle brand in India

The best selling milk thistle product at Nutrabay is Nutrabay Wellness Milk Thistle Extract. It provides 1000 mg of pure milk thistle in vegan-friendly capsules. By serving as a powerful antioxidant and detoxifier, it strengthens liver function and helps eliminate toxins and impurities from the body. Nutrabay Wellness Milk Thistle Extract help boost metabolism and promote enhanced nutrient utilization. It is a must for fitness enthusiasts and bodybuilders who are into high-protein and calorie-rich diets. 

Milk thistle is a safe herb and one of the most studied herbs with profound benefits on our liver, kidney and spleen. For maximum benefits, one can opt for milk thistle tablets or capsules available as dietary supplements. Milk thistle tea is also an excellent option to choose. However, it is good to take guidance from an expert before starting to use milk thistle. 

Bottom Line

What are the Benefits of Milk Thistle
Source: Canva

Milk thistle is a fascinating herb that has been used for centuries for its potential health benefits. While it’s particularly well-known for its ability to support liver health, it may also have other benefits for the body, such as reducing inflammation and supporting the immune system. 

However, as with any supplement or treatment, it’s always a good idea to talk to your doctor before adding milk thistle to your regimen. 

That being said, if you’re curious about exploring natural remedies and supporting your overall health, milk thistle may be a great option to consider!

What are the benefits of taking milk thistle daily?

Milk Thistle Protects Your Liver.
It May Help Prevent Age-Related Decline in Brain Function.
Milk Thistle Could Protect Your Bones.
It May Improve Cancer Treatment.
It Can Boost Breast Milk Production.
It Could Help Treat Acne.

What organs does milk thistle help?

What Is Milk Thistle Used For? People have traditionally used milk thistle for problems with the liver and gallbladder . Experts believe silymarin is the primary active ingredient of the herb. Silymarin is an antioxidant compound taken from milk thistle seeds.

What do I need to know before taking milk thistle?

If you have diabetes, use milk thistle with caution, since the supplement might lower blood sugar. There is also concern that milk thistle might affect estrogen levels. If you have breast cancer, uterine cancer, ovarian cancer, endometriosis or uterine fibroids, consider avoiding milk thistle.

What should I avoid while taking milk thistle?

Milk thistle may interfere with the following medications, because both milk thistle and these medications are broken down by the same liver enzymes:
Allergy drugs.
Drugs for high cholesterol.
Anti-anxiety drugs.
Antiplatelet and anticoagulant drugs (blood thinners).
Some cancer drugs.
Drugs broken down by the liver.

Should you take milk thistle in the morning or at night?

Milk thistle is generally tolerated well by the body, meaning you can take it pretty much whenever you want. It won’t keep you awake at night, it can be taken on an empty stomach or combined with meals as an added ingredient, and there isn’t a particular time of day where it’s more potent or effective.

Does milk thistle affect sleep?

Sleep quality also improves. The effect of taking milk thistle by itself is not known. Multiple sclerosis. Early research suggests that taking a combination supplement containing silymarin, a chemical found in milk thistle, can improve mental function and promote disease stabilization in people with multiple sclerosis.

References
  1. Ferenci, P., Scherzer, T. M., Kerschner, H., Rutter, K., Beinhardt, S., Hofer, H., … & Peck-Radosavljevic, M. (2020). Randomized controlled trial of silymarin therapy in patients with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. Journal of hepatology, 72(5), 776-786.[]
  2. Huseini, H. F., Larijani, B., Heshmat, R., Fakhrzadeh, H., Radjabipour, B., Toliat, T., … & Raza, M. (2006). The efficacy of Silybum marianum (L.) Gaertn. (silymarin) in the treatment of type II diabetes: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, clinical trial. Phytotherapy Research, 20(6), 485-487.[]
  3. Deep, G., Agarwal, R., & Agarwal, C. (2019). Silibinin inhibits hypoxia-induced HIF-1α-mediated signaling, angiogenesis and lipogenesis in prostate cancer cells: In vitro evidence and in vivo functional imaging and metabolomics. Molecular carcinogenesis, 58(4), 525-537.[]
  4. Khalatbary, A. R., Ahmadvand, H., & Ghafarzadegan, K. (2019). Silymarin reversed memory impairment and the alterations of neurotrophic factors expression in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats. Nutritional neuroscience, 22(2), 120-129.[]
  5. Panahi, Y., Taghizadeh, M., Marzony, E. T., & Sahebkar, A. (2012). Rosemary oil vs minoxidil 2% for the treatment of androgenetic alopecia: a randomized comparative trial. Skinmed, 10(6), 327-334.[]
  6. Abenavoli, L., Izzo, A. A., Milić, N., Cicala, C., Santini, A., & Capasso, F. (2010). Milk thistle (Silybum marianum): a concise overview on its chemistry, pharmacological, and nutraceutical uses in liver diseases. Phytotherapy Research, 24(10), 1423-1442.[]
  7. Alvarez-Suarez, J. M., Dekanski, D., Ristić, S., Radonjić, N. V., Petronijević, N. D., Giampieri, F., & González-Paramás, A. M. (2016). Strawberry polyphenols attenuate inflammation and oxidative stress markers in intestinal epithelial cells. Food & Function, 7(12), 5065-5077.[]
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