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Milk Thistle Benefits: Your Ultimate Guide

Milk Thistle Benefits: Your Ultimate Guide

By Darlene Garcia |August 2019

Milk Thistle Liver Supplement: What Is It?

Milk thistle liver supplements harness the benefits of milk thistle to boost and support your well-being. Although this plant is most commonly associated with the liver, it actually banners properties that are beneficial to your overall health, as well.

But before anything, what exactly is milk thistle?

The milk thistle plant is known for its prickly appearance and distinctive reddish-purple flowers. White veins run along the plant almost like streams of milk, thus giving it its interesting name. It has a long, thin stem and is related to the daisy and ragweed family. Although the plant is native to Mediterranean countries, it now grows all over the world.

Also known as Mary thistle, holy thistle, and its scientific name Silybum marianum, milk thistle has been used as an herbal remedy for years. The active ingredients in milk thistle supplements are a group of compounds collectively called silymarin. Strictly speaking, milk thistle and silymarin are not the same. Silymarin is simply a component that is extracted from milk thistle seeds. However, this explains why the two terms are often used interchangeably.

More on silymarin

Milk thistle benefits are harnessed through the plant’s extract. Milk thistle extract contains a high concentration of silymarin—commonly between 65 to 80 percent—and is, therefore, a great component for supplements.

Traditionally, silymarin has been used to treat gallbladder and liver conditions. Up to this day, this is what the compound is most well-known for. But this powerful milk thistle component actually does a lot more. Milk thistle silymarin is known to have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antiviral properties. What’s more, it’s known to help with diabetes, as well.

8 Milk Thistle Benefits

Evidently, milk thistle wouldn’t rise to popularity for nothing. It’s now a widely-recognized herbal supplement precisely because many people from different walks of life could greatly benefit from it.

If you’re curious about milk thistle uses and how it can help your health, read on! Here are seven silymarin benefits that you can get by taking a milk thistle liver supplement.

1. Milk thistle supports and protects your liver.

Milk thistle benefits the liver in several ways. As an antioxidant, it helps keep free radicals in check. Free radicals are unstable molecules that can harm healthy liver cells and cause oxidative stress. Your liver inadvertently produces free radicals as it metabolizes toxic substances, so the risk of free radical damage in the liver is always present.

As an inflammatory, silymarin can help ease inflammation in the liver and promotes cell repair. This property makes it potentially useful in managing the symptoms of liver diseases like cirrhosis, jaundice, liver cancers, and fatty liver disease.

Because it aids in rebuilding liver cells, milk thistle helps ensure that your liver is healthy. Likewise, it supports the liver and consequently supports the toxin removal process. In a world where harmful chemicals and toxic substances abound, this explains why milk thistle liver detox is a popular use of silymarin supplements.

2. It may help prevent gallstones.

The liver plays a major role in digestion. It helps process both the nutrients and toxins that enter your body through the food you consume, the liquids you drink, and even the air you breathe. At this point, we’ve already established that milk thistle benefits liver health. And because the liver works closely with other digestive organs like the pancreas, gallbladder, and kidney, it makes sense that it may also help prevent kidney stones and gallstones.

Research that directly tackles the effect of milk thistle silymarin on the prevention of kidney stones and gallstones is limited. However, it’s known that milk thistle has the ability to increase bile flow and support the body’s detoxification process. These two preceding facts point to the potential use of milk thistle in the prevention of gallstones.

If you are overweight, are dealing with high cholesterol, or have a family history of the condition, you may be more prone to gallstone formation than the average person. People suffering from diabetes and liver cirrhosis and those who have undergone rapid weight loss are also likely to develop gallstones, as well.

If you belong to the categories mentioned above, incorporating a milk thistle supplement into your daily routine should be helpful.

3. Milk thistle may help protect against cancer from free radicals.

Silymarin is an antioxidant flavonoid that fights free radicals. As mentioned previously, free radicals are present in the liver as a byproduct of toxin metabolism. However, these harmful molecules are also present in the rest of the body. As such, milk thistle’s antioxidant benefits actually extend to the rest of the body, too.

Free radicals have the potential to harm healthy cells and cause cancer. At high concentrations, free radicals can damage major cell components like proteins, DNA, and cell membranes. This damage then plays a role in the development of various health conditions like cancer.

If you believe that you are at a higher risk of cancer (or are simply choosing to take a proactive stance towards cancer prevention), religiously taking a milk thistle supplement can supply the antioxidants you need to help manage the effects of cancer-causing free radicals.

4. It may help people with diabetes.

Milk thistle benefits diabetics through its hypolipidemic and hypoglycemic properties. It’s been shown that some compounds in milk thistle extract may work similarly to certain diabetic medications that decrease blood sugar and improve insulin sensitivity.

In a study that involved type II diabetic patients, a group of subjects who took silymarin supplements for four months in addition to conventional therapy had an improved glycemic profile at the end of the study compared to a group that took placebo tablets in addition to conventional therapy.

The liver is partly involved in the process of regulating hormones in the body, including releasing insulin into the bloodstream. That said, it makes sense how liver vitamins like silymarin can help those who suffer from diabetes.

5. Milk thistle silymarin could be helpful for people with acne.

Silymarin benefits you not just on the inside, but outside, too.

It’s been shown that the antioxidant properties of silymarin help in fighting acne that forms due to oxidative stress. One study found that taking silymarin every day for eight weeks had resulted in a decrease in acne lesions.

Although additional research is needed to fully confirm this milk thistle benefit, antioxidants are known to help maintain healthy skin anyway. So whether you suffer from acne or not, your complexion is bound to benefit from a milk thistle supplement.

6. It may help manage high cholesterol levels.

The same study that explored the effects of silymarin on Type II diabetic patients also showed that silymarin may help improve the levels of total cholesterol, triglyceride, and LDL or bad cholesterol in the body. Whether or not the same cholesterol-lowering effects can be achieved in non-diabetic patients, however, is yet to be studied.

However, note that as an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant, milk thistle can help reduce inflammation and prevent oxidative damage within the arteries—which could have a positive impact on a person’s cholesterol levels.

7. It may help combat aging.

We all know that aging is a natural process, but the presence of free radicals, toxins, and other harmful chemicals in the body can speed it up. Milk thistle helps slow the aging process by helping prevent free radical damage and aiding in the elimination of toxins and pollutants in the blood.

What’s more, silymarin’s properties also make it a potential neuroprotective supplement for preventing age-related brain function decline. Animal studies have also shown that milk thistle extract could help prevent oxidative damage in brain cells, which could contribute to the prevention of degenerative processes in the brain.

8. Milk thistle may help preserve glutathione.

Lab and animal studies have suggested that silymarin from milk thistle helps increase and preserve glutathione levels in the liver. Glutathione is known as a “master antioxidant” that plays a major role in fighting oxidative stress that leads to conditions like heart disease, cancer, and neurodegenerative diseases. Some people also take glutathione supplements to lighten the skin.

Best Liver Supplement in the Philippines

Truly, milk thistle benefits the body in many ways. Taking your daily dose of these liver vitamins has an impact on your general health. Aside from supporting and protecting the liver, it helps prevent gallstones. Milk thistle silymarin may also contribute to diabetic treatment, lower bad cholesterol, help with acne and anti-aging, and manage free radicals that could cause cancer.

Curious where to buy milk thistle so that you can enjoy silymarin benefits for yourself?

Puritan’s Pride is a proud maker of its very own milk thistle liver supplement, and we’re happy to share that our topnotch-quality products are now available in the Philippines. Our supplements contain concentrated extract from milk thistle in a fast-acting softgel form, so you can rest assured that you’re getting only the quality and excellence you deserve.

Milk thistle Philippines supplements are now available here.

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