Food With Milk Thistle

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Food with Milk Thistle is a natural herbal antioxidant supplement that has been added to feed for centuries. It’s made from the seeds of milk thistle plants that are harvested and processed in the United States. Their capsules are easy to swallow and provide a full serving per capsule.

Food With Milk Thistle

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. It’s unclear what benefits, if any, it may have in the body, but it’s sometimes used as a natural treatment for things including cirrhosis, jaundice, hepatitis, and gallbladder disorders.

Some claim milk thistle may also:

  • Provide heart benefits by lowering cholesterol levels
  • Help diabetes in people who have type 2 diabetes and cirrhosis

Is Milk Thistle Good for the Liver?

There’s conflicting research on the benefits of milk thistle for liver health. It may have protective effects on the liver, preventing damage. There’s some evidence that milk thistle can treat cirrhosis and chronic hepatitis, which can be caused by alcohol abuse, autoimmune disease, or viruses. But experts say that the evidence isn’t conclusive.

Some studies also show milk thistle may help people whose liver is damaged by industrial toxins, such as toluene and xylene.

There is not enough scientific data to say whether or not milk thistle can help liver problems. Get the facts on milk thistle for the liver.

Can Milk Thistle Help People With Diabetes?

Medical research suggests that milk thistle, combined with traditional treatment, can improve diabetes. Studies have shown a decrease in blood sugar levels and an improvement in cholesterol in people with type 2 diabetes.

Researchers also have found that milk thistle improved insulin resistance, a key part of type 2 diabetes.

Talk to your doctor before taking any supplements because they might interfere with your medication. Learn more about natural remedies for type 2 diabetes.

Is Milk Thistle Good for the Heart?

By lowering LDL “bad” cholesterol levels, milk thistle may lower the chance of developing heart disease. But studies on heart benefits have only been done in people with diabetes. People with diabetes often have high cholesterol. It’s unclear if milk thistle has the same effects in people without diabetes.

Milk thistle can also be taken with cholesterol-lowering medications, like statins. It can help prevent elevation of liver enzymes, which can be a side effect of the medication. Find out more on the side effects of statins.

How Much Milk Thistle Should You Take?

The best doses of milk thistle have not been established for any condition it may be used to treat. Quality and active ingredients in supplements may vary widely from maker to maker. This makes it very hard to establish a standard dose. Ask your doctor for advice.

Can You Get Milk Thistle Naturally From Foods?

People sometimes eat the stem and leaves of milk thistle in salads. There are no other food sources of this herb.

What Are the Risks of Taking Milk Thistle?

Risks. Milk thistle can trigger allergic reactions. People who are allergic to artichokes, kiwi, ragweed, daisies, marigolds, and chrysanthemums are at higher risk. People who have diabetes or endometriosis should check with a doctor before using milk thistle. While milk thistle has been traditionally used in pregnant and breastfeeding women, its safety is unknown. If you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, check with your doctor before using milk thistle. Milk thistle is not recommended for children.

Side effects. Milk thistle seems to have few side effects, even when taken for several years. Some people have nausea, diarrhea, itching, and bloating.

Interactions. If you take any medicines regularly, talk to your doctor before you start using milk thistle. It could interact with many drugs, including some that treat high cholesterol, infections, insomnia, and blood pressure. Since milk thistle may lower blood sugar, people with diabetes should check with their doctor before taking the herb as it may make their blood sugar fall too low.

7 Amazing Benefits of Milk Thistle: For Strong Immunity & Better Digestion

7 Amazing Benefits of Milk Thistle: For Strong Immunity & Better Digestion

Highlights

  • Milk thistle is more commonly known as silymarin
  • It has been in use for the past 2000 years
  • This natural herb is native to the Mediterranean countries

3. Eases hangovers: Studies also suggest that the cure to a full swinging hangover is to add milk thistle herbs to tea in order to hydrate yourself and flush out all the toxins.

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 4. Improves skin: As an antioxidant, milk thistle is wonderful for the skin. It provides a natural glow and makes the skin look fuller and healthier. It has the ability to replenish dead cells and therefore, adds radiance. By preventing free radicals in the body and improving digestion, it helps to clear the skin of all sorts of eruptions.

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 5. Strengthens immunity: The intake of milk thistle on a regular basis is known to improve your immunity and the body becomes better abled to fight off infections and diseases. With a strong immune system, the body can restore normalcy at a more rapid pace.(4 Magical Foods That Could Help Boost Your Immunity)

 6. Facilitates digestion: Due to improper eating habits, stomach issues like gas, bloating and indigestion often arise. The seeds and leaves of this natural herb can be consumed on an empty stomach before your meals for best results. Milk thistle is known to draw out the toxins from your body.

 7. Prevents premature ageing:Milk thistle hinders signs of premature ageing to a great extent. Regular consumption of milk thistle helps prevents the appearance of wrinkles, dark spots and discoloration.5 Easy Anti Aging Tips: It’s More than Just WrinklesWhile a number of scientists are still in the process of discovering areas where milk thistle has left its mark, the study is an ongoing process.  All said and done, it is always better to rely on ancient herbs like these that are natural, easily available and less harmful to the human body.Disclaimer:The opinions expressed within this article are the personal opinions of the author. NDTV is not responsible for the accuracy, completeness, suitability, or validity of any information on this article. All information is provided on an as-is basis. The information, facts or opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of NDTV and NDTV does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.

Benefits of Milk Thistle: Side Effects & Uses Guide

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Milk thistle, despite being pretty common, is not actually a widely known plant. Coming from the same plant family as the daisy, this prickly purple herb has been used in medicinal remedies for over 2000 years, and scientists today are still studying the numerous benefits of the milk thistle.

From relieving bloating to healing radiation damage, the milk thistle is a versatile plant that helps a range of conditions. Whilst some benefits have yet to produce scientific evidence, others are well documented.

What is Milk Thistle?

what is milk thistle

Silybum Marianum, otherwise known as Milk Thistle, is an annual plant that was originally native of Southern Europe and Asia but is now found throughout the world. It is a typical thistle, which is a flower with prickly leaves, and has a red/purple colour to it. 

Its leaves have shiny white veins on them, and the plant oozes a white liquid if cut, which gives the plant its name. The milk thistle plant can grow to heights of up to 79 inches tall. 

Milk Thistle has more uses than just looking pretty in your garden though. It can be used as a herbal remedy which can provide a number of different health benefits. 

The ingredients in milk thistle are a group of plant compounds collectively known as silymarin. Silymarin is known to have antioxidants, anti-inflammatory, and antiviral properties, as discussed in the journal of Integrative Cancer Therapies:

“Silymarin functions as a potent antioxidant that stabilizes cell membranes, stimulates detoxification pathways, regenerates liver tissue, inhibits the growth of some cancer cell lines, exerts direct cytotoxic activity toward select cancer cell lines, and increases the efficacy of some chemotherapy agents.” (Post-White, Ladas and Kelly, 2007)

The herbal remedy is known as milk thistle extract and has a high amount of silymarin (65-80%) that has been concentrated from the milk thistle in it.

Milk thistle is available in a variety of supplements, such as tablets, capsules, and powders, and has a wide range of health benefits to it, including the ability to help your liver, help with cancer treatment, control diabetes, and even help you with your hangovers after a heavy night out! 

In this article, we’re going to be looking at the milk thistle benefits, as well as some of the possible side effects from the herbal remedy if you happen to take too much of it.

Disclaimer: The information in this guide is intended only for educational purposes and should not replace the professional advice or guidance of your doctor or health practitioner. 

13 Milk Thistle Benefits

#1-  Helps the Liver 

milk thistle liver graphic

Does milk thistle help the liver? 

Yes, it does! One of the biggest benefits of milk thistle is its ability to help protect and repair your liver. 

For people who suffer from liver problems such as hepatitis, fatty liver, or who’ve damaged their liver through excessive alcohol intake, milk thistle is regarded as one of the best natural treatments for these issues. 

The silymarin in milk thistle acts as a gatekeeper to the liver. When consumed, it binds itself to the outside of the liver cell and fights off any unwanted toxins that may try to enter. It also seeks out toxins that have already got in and neutralises them before they can do any more damage. 

Silymarin’s other role in the liver is to help cell regeneration. Liver cells regenerate naturally, but silymarin helps speed up the process by stimulating protein synthesis in the cells. 

Bodybuilders who take steroids, for example, can put the liver under considerable stress and damage cells. By taking milk thistle with steroids, the silymarin helps protect the liver and is able to regenerate the cells that are damaged. 

Milk thistle has also been found to be effective with its ability to encourage the liver to cleanse itself of any toxins. Milk thistle prevents the depletion of glutathione, an amino acid that is essential for the detox process. 

How long does milk thistle take to work?

It depends. Sometimes it can take up to 3 months for a milk thistle supplement to show its benefit. Our best advice is to stick with it, as it’ll benefit you in the long run for sure! 

As for milk thistle dosage for fatty liver, a 90-day study found that 250-376mg of milk thistle per day helped reduce liver fat.

Milk thistle’s liver cleansing properties, as well as its ability to help repair and protect your liver, make it one of the best natural remedies to take for your liver’s health.

#2 – Improve Cancer Treatment 

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Whilst fighting cancer isn’t one of the milk thistle benefits, it can be used in other ways, such as helping to improve cancer treatment.

Antioxidants are substances that can protect your cells against free radicals, which are molecules that can play a role in the formation of cancer and heart disease. 

Silymarin has antioxidant effects in it, which have been suggested to possibly have anti-cancer effects, making milk thistle a very helpful natural remedy for people receiving cancer treatment. 

One study in breast cancer patients saw them applying silymarin gel to the chest following a mastectomy and during radiotherapy. The aim of this study was to see whether the gel could help prevent radio-dermatitis, which is when the skin becomes inflamed and sore after radiotherapy. 

Patients had the silymarin gel applied to their skin for the full 5 weeks of treatment. It was found that the silymarin gel reduced the severity of the radio-dermatitis, thus proving that it could be a helpful supplement for improving cancer treatment! 

There currently aren’t enough studies or evidence to prove whether or not milk thistle is able to help slow down or even prevent cancerous cells from forming, however its ability to help with cancer treatment is definitely a great start.

#3 – Can Help Regulate Diabetes 

is milk thistle good for you graphic

Another one of milk thistle’s health benefits is its ability to help regulate diabetes.

Medical studies have found that people with diabetes who have combined consuming milk thistle supplements with their traditional treatment have seen an improvement with their diabetes. One particular study in the Review of Diabetic Studies states:

“In patients with diabetes and alcoholic liver cirrhosis, a silimarin [silymarin] daily dose of 600 mg for 6 months produced a significant reduction in fasting blood glucose and mean daily glucose levels from the second month of treatment onwards, without any increase in episodes of hypoglycemia, compared with the period before silimarin treatment. Insulin requirement was also decreased by 20%, suggesting an alleviation of insulin resistance due to silimarin treatment.” (Kazazis et al., 2014)

This is because the compounds found in milk thistle have been found to work in a similar way to some diabetic medication. One way in which it does this is by helping improve insulin sensitivity, a key characteristic of type 2 diabetes. 

Another one of milk thistle uses when it comes to diabetes is its ability to decrease blood sugar levels. In a 2016 study in the Journal of Diabetes Research, researchers found that giving patients with diabetes silymarin alongside their traditional treatments actually reduced fasting blood sugar levels. 

Did you know that the benefits of blueberries also includes helping regulate diabetes?

Milk thistle has also been proven to lower cholesterol, which can have a positive impact on regulating diabetes. 

Additionally, it is believed that the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties of milk thistle can be useful in reducing any risk of developing diabetic complications such as kidney disease! 

It’s important to note that certain chemicals in milk thistle might lower blood sugar levels, which could lead to people with diabetes needing to adjust their medications. You must speak to your GP before trying milk thistle supplements if you have diabetes. 

Whilst, again, more research is needed into just how much milk thistle can benefit and help people in regulating their diabetes, the benefits we’ve mentioned so far are definitely worth looking into. 

#4 – May Improve Cognitive Function

milk thistle tablet benefits graphic

Some benefits of milk thistle that might interest pretty much everyone is the fact that it might be able to help improve cognitive function and prevent age-related decline in the brain’s functionality.

Milk thistle has been used as a natural remedy for conditions such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s for over 2,000 years. The silymarin found in milk thistle has been shown to increase resistance to oxidative stress, which is a potential cause of Alzheimer’s disease. 

This is because, as we know, silymarin has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant prosperities, making it a great defence against oxidative stress, and possibly meaning that it’s neuro-protective.

Studies on animals with Alzheimer’s have also found that taking milk thistle might be able to reduce the number of amyloid plaques in the brain. Amyloid plaques are clusters of sticky amyloid proteins which build up between nerve cells as you get older. 

They can also build up in the blood vessels too, which can restrict the amount of blood that gets to the brain. Not enough blood reaching the brain could ultimately result in a stroke. 

Amyloid plaques are found in very high numbers in people with Alzheimer’s, so consuming milk thistle might be able to make a positive difference in these people’s lives.

Early research has also found that silymarin improves mental function and disease stabilisation in people with Parkinson’s disease too! 

More research is needed into whether milk thistle’s positive effects on animals will be able to affect humans in the same way.

#5 – Keep Your Skin Healthy

milk thistle complex

Not only can you use milk thistle for liver problems or regulating diabetes, but you can also use it to keep your skin healthy and treat acne.

Acne is an inflammatory skin condition. Whilst it may not be painful, it can leave scars and affect people’s confidence in the way that they look. 

Acne is caused when your pores are clogged up by too much sebum, an oily substance that’s main role is to lubricate the hair. One of the reasons that excess sebum is created is due to excess hormonal activity. That’s why acne is most common in teenagers, though it can affect anyone at any age.

Acne has also been suggested to be caused by oxidative stress, which milk thistle is the perfect combatant for. Due to its anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative properties, milk thistle can be a useful supplement for treating acne. 

Your liver plays an important role in balancing your hormones, as it removes compounds that have accumulated in the body, such as hormones. Milk thistle can help your liver flush out any toxins that have been hanging around, which in turn can help purify and cleanse the skin! 

“How much milk thistle should I take for this to work effectively?”, you might ask. There isn’t really a standard milk thistle dosage for acne, however, the recommended dose for keeping the liver healthy is between 50-400mg a day. Repeat this for a few weeks and you could see a difference in the health of your skin.

Milk thistle capsules such as these from Nature’s Garden are some that we’d definitely recommend. They are formulated with 80% milk thistle extract in them, and each capsule is 100mg. 

Using milk thistle for acne is another of the plant’s many great benefits.

#6 – Can Aid Digestion 

milk thistle benefits image

If you regularly suffer from stomach issues such as bloating, gas, and indigestion, milk thistle could help you there too. 

Bloating can be caused by a multitude of things, such as constipation and irritable bowel syndrome, but it’s mainly caused by food intolerance and eating foods that make you gassy. 

One again, the liver plays an important role in digestion, just as it does with helping keep your skin healthy. 

The liver produces bile, which is needed for digestion and absorption of fat-soluble vitamins, such as Vitamins A, D, E, and K. Consuming milk thistle boosts the liver’s bile production rate, meaning healthier digestion and a much more efficient metabolism. 

Taking milk thistle tablets can help alleviate the symptoms of an upset stomach or indigestion. When to take milk thistle for these problems is dependent on what the brand of tablets tell you, but typically 30 minutes before a meal, whilst on an empty stomach, is generally seen as the best time to take them. 

Natures Aid’s DigestEeze Milk Thistle tablets are a great option if you are suffering from digestive problems, as they relieve the symptoms of what can be a painful and uncomfortable issue. You can buy a milk thistle supplement from all good drug stores and online, even on websites such as Amazon. 

Another food that’s great for aiding digestion is the eggplant. Read through our article to find out the other benefits of eggplant and why you should be eating it.

A lot of milk thistle’s benefits stem from having a healthy liver, so it’s important that you keep it that way to ensure you experience all of the plant’s health benefits! 

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#7 – Can Help with Hangovers 

milk thistle tablet benefits image

Anyone who drinks alcohol will probably have experienced a hangover the morning after a heavy night out and will know how horrible they are. You’ll be glad to know then that milk thistle is regarded as being a possible hangover remedy.

Hangovers are caused by your blood alcohol level returning to zero, which in turn causes symptoms such as headaches, upset stomachs, dry mouth, fatigue, and sensitivity to light. It can also affect your sleep and trigger mild dehydration. 

Toxic byproducts left behind when your body breaks down alcohol can cause inflammation throughout your body, especially in the stomach, brain, and liver. Over time, the inflammation on the liver can irreversibly scar it, causing cirrhosis, which could lead to poor liver function. 

It is suggested that silymarin may be able to detoxify some of the more harmful compounds in alcohol, protecting your liver in the process. 

Free radicals are produced by your body when it metabolises alcohol, which is where silymarin’s antioxidant properties come in handy in helping protect your liver against them. 

Despite some of the benefits that taking milk thistle tablets will have on your body after a heavy drinking session, it shouldn’t be considered an out-and-out hangover cure. Whilst it may help flush out some of the nastier toxins from your liver, it won’t cure the headaches or dry mouth caused by dehydration, so you’ll have to find an alternative cure to deal with those symptoms! 

To answer the question ‘does milk thistle reduce CDT levels?’, there isn’t enough evidence to prove that it does. We strongly advise against driving when there’s alcohol in your system, no matter how much milk thistle you’ve consumed.  

Despite all this, milk thistle will definitely help you start to overcome your hangover, even if it won’t fully cure it. 

#8 – Supports Weight Loss 

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Another one of the milk thistle health benefits is supporting weight loss, thanks to its ability to help detoxify the liver and help to reduce your blood sugar levels. 

In some animal research, mice were fed a high fat diet that was intended to make them put on weight. However, when silymarin was introduced to their meals, the mice didn’t become obese. In fact, they lost weight. Whilst more human research is needed, this is a promising start. 

As we already know, milk thistle helps balance your blood sugar levels, which has an effect on how milk thistle benefits weight loss. When your blood sugar levels are stable, you will have fewer cravings, meaning you’re less likely to go and snack on foods that you shouldn’t, i.e foods that are high in sugar, carbs, and/or fat. 

Having a stable blood sugar level will also mean that you will feel fuller for longer, once again reducing the need to snack. 

Another point we already know is that milk thistle and the silymarin found in it helps you digest your food better. When you digest efficiently, your liver is able to eliminate toxins more efficiently, meaning your body is able to metabolise fat better. 

The better your liver the better your metabolism, and the faster your metabolism, the less weight you’ll put on.

#9 – Can Help Keep Your Heart Healthy

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Another of the more important benefits of milk thistle is its ability to keep your heart healthy.

Studies have shown that people taking milk thistle supplements have lower cholesterol levels than those who don’t. The silymarin in milk thistle works in part by inhabiting the same enzyme that statin-type-cholesterol lowering drugs block. 

Having high cholesterol can be really bad for your heart and could see you suffer from heart attacks and strokes unless reduced to a healthy level. 

LDL, or low-density lipoprotein, is known as being a bad cholesterol because it’s the kind of cholesterol that can clog your arteries. Clogged up arteries mean that your heart has to work harder to pump the blood around the body, which can put enormous strain on it, as well as cause high blood pressure. High blood pressure can lead to cardiac arrests and strokes, which can be fatal. 

Milk thistle lowers cholesterol levels, meaning your heart doesn’t have to work as hard getting blood around the body, thus lowering your blood pressure and reducing the risk of you suffering from heart attacks or strokes. 

HDL, or high-density lipoprotein, aka good cholesterol, helps bring LDL from the bloodstream to the liver. From the liver, the excess LDL is removed, once again proving the importance of having a healthy liver, something we know milk thistle can help with!  

Therefore, a way to keep your heart healthy, reduce your risks of high blood pressures and heart attacks, and keep your cholesterol levels low, is by adding milk thistle to your diet! 

#10 – Keep Bones Healthy 

what is milk thistle used for

Milk thistle benefits may also extend into playing a role in keeping your bones healthy.

Osteoporosis is a bone disease that occurs when the bone loses density or too little bone is made. The result is the bones becoming weak and at risk of breaking much more easily than normal. A lack of calcium, as well as eating disorders, are two huge reasons as to how osteoporosis happens. 

Postmenopausal women are susceptible to osteoporosis due to the fact that their oestrogen levels drop during the menopausal transition period. 

Animal studies have shown that milk thistle can stimulate bone mineralisation and possibly even protect you against bone loss.

Another supplement that can benefit bone health (as well as gut health) is L-Glutamine. To find out more about it and its benefits, read our l-glutamine benefits, side effects, and uses guide.

Scientists believe that if milk thistle can stimulate bone mineralisation in animals, perhaps human studies will find that it can do the same for us, which would make it a great therapy in delaying or even preventing bone loss and osteoporosis. 

More research is definitely needed on the effect of the milk thistle for the menopause and bone disorders, but it’s got some encouraging preliminary research.

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