If you’ve been looking for information on the benefits of milk thistle or improvement of your liver health, then you are in the right place.
Whether you are living with chronic liver disease or simply interested in learning more about milk thistle, this article will help inform you further of what its benefits are and how it can help improve liver health.
To gain more information on milk thistle, keep reading.
What Exactly Is Milk Thistle?
Milk thistle, also known as Mary Thistle, or Holy Thistle, is an ancient herb from the Mediterranean region.
In appearance, it is a prickly flowering plant with purple flowers.
It is a close relative of the daisy and ragweed family.
In practice, milk thistle is a natural remedy for health problems involving the liver.
There is also some emerging evidence that milk thistle improves heart health by lowering levels of cholesterol.
Additionally, milk thistle may help treat type 2 diabetes.
Is Milk Thistle Safe?
Milk thistle and other conditions is an entirely natural, safe substance when taken within the limits of medical recommendations.
Milk thistle usually does not cause any side effects and can be taken for up to 41 months, according to the most recent studies.
However, in rare cases, diarrhea, nausea, bloating, gas, and upset stomach have been reported.
You should NOT take milk thistle if you have an allergy to it, if you are pregnant or nursing, or if you have particular hormone sensitivities.
Milk thistle may also react with other medicines, so it is recommended that you first consult with your doctor to determine if milk thistle is right for you.
Why Is Milk Thistle Good for Liver Disease?
To understand how milk thistle is good for liver disease, let’s first look at the causes of liver disease.
It all starts with something called oxidative stress.
Oxidative stress is what happens when the body has too many free radicals and not enough antioxidants.
Although the human body is equipped with the tools of dealing with a normal amount of oxidative stress, excessive oxidative stress can initiate and contribute to the progression of liver disease and other illnesses.
Extreme oxidative stress can be brought on by certain risk factors like drugs, alcohol, pollution, and irradiation.
According to initial research, milk thistle is an effective treatment for liver diseases and primary liver cancer due to its ability to stabilize cell membranes and provide a rich source of antioxidants.
The medicinal ingredient in milk thistle is called silymarin.
Silymarin improves liver health in diseased patients by increasing the generation of hepatocytes, fighting inflammation, and preventing fibrogenesis. Read more here.
Essentially, this is how milk thistle works.
More research is still being done to understand the full range of benefits that can be derived from milk thistle.
So far, according to current research, milk thistle has the most potential to improve the conditions of patients whose liver problems stem from alcohol use and exposure to industrial toxins.
Other Potential Health Benefits
In addition to helping fight liver disease, milk thistle has several other additional potential benefits for treating medical problems, here is a video introduce you seven benefits of milk thistle.
And then, we will go further about the benefits not included in this video.
Combined with traditional treatment, current medical research shows that milk thistle can help improve cholesterol levels, lower blood sugar levels, and improve insulin resistance in patients with type 2 diabetes.
However, patients with diabetes should still consult with their doctor before supplementing with milk thistle, as it can interact with other diabetes medications.
What’s more, milk thistle also has promising benefits for skin health.
According to a study completed in 2015, milk thistle is useful as a topical treatment for inflammation-related skin diseases.
A prior study completed in 2013 showed that, when combined with chamomile components of salt-loving bacteria, milk thistle can provide antioxidant and anti-aging benefits for human skin cells.
Interestingly, this study also suggested that more research should be done to explore the benefits of this mixture to fight cancer and aging.
Who Is the Milk Thistle Best for?
The milk thistle supplement is one of the best antioxidants out there.
It has the silymarin compound that has antioxidant, antiviral, and anti-inflammatory properties.
These properties have some benefits to offer the following group of people:
People with a liver-related issue, there is some proof that the supplement’s silymarin compound can protect the liver from inflammation and damage.
It can also protect the liver from amatoxin, a toxin that the death cap mushroom produces, and increases the life expectancy of patients with cirrhosis disease.
- Patients with cancer. The antioxidant effects of milk thistle can help patients undergoing cancer treatment. It can also help cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy to be more effective. And it can sometimes destroy cancer cells.
- Lactating women. Milk thistle can boost the production of breast milk. The silymarin compound has been proved to improve the production of the prolactin, which is the hormone in charge of producing milk.
- Diabetes patients. It can help to increase insulin sensitivity and decrease blood sugar levels. This can help manage diabetes in patients with type 2 diabetes and reduce the risk of developing complications from diabetics.
- Postmenopausal women. Postmenopausal women stand the risk of experiencing bone loss. However, milk thistle is good therapy for the delay and prevention of bone loss, and against osteoporosis.
How to Use Extract Powder
If you suffer from skin damage caused by radiation, you can apply milk thistle to your skin to ease the symptom.
Besides, you can add the leaves or flowers of milk thistle to the salad as a vegetable.
Its roasted seed can be a substitute for coffee.
And if in an extracted powder form, milk thistle can be easily added to a smoothie or shake.
Milk thistle powder is similar in texture and flavor to flax or hemp seed powder, making it an excellent addition to cooked items like veggie or animal-based burgers.
Side Effects of Milk Thistle
- Using it can cause side effects like indigestion, gas, nausea, headaches, etc.
- It is not safe for people with a hormone-related issue or abnormality with the female reproductive system.
- Diabetes patients, nursing, and pregnant mothers need a doctor’s permit before taking it.
- Taking it poses a health risk to people allergic to the ragweed plant’s family.
Milk thistle has the potential to be a natural, practical, alternative approach to treating liver disease and other health problems like diabetes and skin inflammation.
With its main ingredients preserved in a high-quality powder form, it can also be directly accessible to consumers through online purchasing and easily integrated into any diet.
To see if milk thistle is right for you, be sure to first check with a qualified healthcare professional to determine safety, dosage, and to answer any other questions you might have.
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