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Milk Thistle – Top 10 Science-Based Benefits of Milk Thistle

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Milk Thistle – Top 10 Science-Based Benefits of Milk Thistle

The milk thistle plant, also known as Silybum marianum, is the source of this herbal remedy.

This prickly plant has distinctive purple flowers and white veins that, according to legend, were caused by a drop of the Virgin Mary’s milk falling onto its leaves.

Milk thistle’s active ingredients are a group of plant compounds known as silymarin.

Milk thistle extract is the herbal remedy for it. Milk thistle extract contains a high concentration of silymarin (65-80%) concentrated from the milk thistle plant.

Milk thistle silymarin is known to have antioxidant, antiviral, and anti-inflammatory properties.

It has long been used to treat liver and gallbladder disorders, increase breast milk production, prevent and treat cancer, and even protect the liver from snake bites, alcohol, and other environmental toxins.

Here are the top 10 science-based benefits of milk thistle.

Timeline
00:00 0.Intro
01:06 1. Liver Detoxification and Health
02:16 2. May Help Protect Against Cancer
03:46 3. May Help Lower High Cholesterol
04:30 4. May Help Control or Prevent Diabetes
05:28 5. May Help Prevent Gallstones
06:13 6. Promotes healthy kidney function
06:39 7. Has Anti-Aging Effects
07:47 8. Helps maintain cognitive function
08:11 9. Nurtures skin health
08:51 10. Immune function benefits

1. Liver Detoxification and Health

detoxification

Milk thistle works as a powerful liver cleanser by rebuilding liver cells, reducing liver damage, and removing toxins from the body that are processed by the liver.

Milk thistle is effective at naturally reversing toxicity in the body, such as the adverse effects of alcohol consumption, pesticides in our food supply, heavy metals in our water supply, and pollution in the air we breathe.

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20564545/

The liver is our largest internal organ and is in charge of a variety of essential detoxifying functions. The condition of our blood throughout our bodies is primarily determined by the health of our liver.

The liver removes toxins and harmful substances from our blood, aids in hormone production, detoxifies the body, releases sugar into the bloodstream to provide steady energy, and secretes bile into our small intestine to allow fat to be absorbed from foods. You can see how liver issues and poor liver function can cause so many issues!

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4665566/

Milk thistle has traditionally been used to treat a variety of liver diseases, including:

Toxin-induced liver diseases include alcoholic liver disease, acute and chronic viral hepatitis, and toxin-induced hepatitis.

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ptr.3207

2. May Help Protect Against Cancer

cancer 02

Milk thistle seed is high in the antioxidant flavonoid silymarin, which is made up of several other active compounds known as flavonolignans.

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27321822/

By boosting the immune system, fighting DNA damage, and reversing cancerous tumor growth, silymarin may help reduce the risk of cancer development (including breast cancer).

In addition to preventing breast cancer, test-tube and animal studies indicate that silymarin may also protect against other types of cancer, such as lung cancer and prostate cancer.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3928361/

Researchers at the University of Minnesota reported in 2007 after reviewing numerous studies involving milk thistle treatments:

Preclinical evidence suggests that silymarin has hepatoprotective and anticarcinogenic properties, including the inhibition of cancer cell growth in the human prostate, skin, breast, and cervical cells.

About half to seventy percent of the silymarin molecules found in milk thistle are silybin, also known as silibinin.

This antioxidant promotes protein synthesis and alters the outer layer of healthy cells, protecting them from damage and mutation.

It also prevents toxins from accumulating in the body, aids in cell renewal, and mitigates the negative effects of pollutants, chemicals, and heavy metals that can cause free radical damage.

According to researchers at the University Magna Graecia Department of Experimental and Clinical Medicine, silymarin protects against cancer by preventing toxins from binding to cell membrane receptors.

3. May Help Lower High Cholesterol

Cholesterol

Milk thistle improves heart health and lowers cholesterol levels by reducing inflammation, cleansing the blood, and preventing oxidative stress damage within the arteries.

Although more formal research is needed, preliminary studies show that when combined with other traditional treatment methods, silymarin can improve total cholesterol, bad LDL cholesterol, and triglyceride levels.

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17072885/

However, it is important to note that existing studies on the potential heart benefits of milk thistle have only involved people with diabetes, who tend to have high cholesterol levels.

As a result, it’s unclear whether milk thistle has the same effects in people who don’t have diabetes and whether it will be used to naturally lower cholesterol levels in the future.

4. May Help Control or Prevent Diabetes

bloodsugar

According to the National Institute of Health, there is some compelling research that shows that taking silymarin, the main chemical found in milk thistle, in conjunction with conventional treatments can help control type 2 diabetes symptoms by promoting better blood sugar control.

Milk thistle’s valuable antioxidants have been shown in experimental and clinical studies to help lower blood sugar levels in people with insulin resistance.

A 2006 study conducted by the Institute of Medicinal Plants’ Department of Pharmacology discovered that when diabetic patients were given silymarin extract over four months, their fasting blood sugar and insulin levels improved significantly when compared to patients who received a placebo.

This is most likely true because the liver regulates hormones, including the release of insulin into the bloodstream. Insulin is in charge of controlling blood sugar levels, which is especially important for diabetics.

5. May Help Prevent Gallstones

Gallstones

The liver is a major digestive organ that aids in the processing of nutrients and toxins that enter our bodies via food, water, and air.

Milk thistle can help prevent gallstones and kidney stones because the liver and other digestive organs, such as the gallbladder, pancreas, intestines, and kidneys, work together to improve liver health.

Although research on this topic is limited, milk thistle may be useful in the prevention of gallstones due to its ability to increase bile flow, protect against liver conditions such as nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, and promote liver detoxification.

Gallstones form when cholesterol and other components of your bile bind together. This is dangerous because they can harden and become lodged in the inner lining of your gallbladder.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK11896/

6. Promotes healthy kidney function

kidney

Silymarin benefits kidney health in some of the same ways that it helps the liver. Milk thistle, for example, protects kidney cells by promoting protein and nucleic acid synthesis.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4205984/

Furthermore, the kidney cleansing properties of silymarin promote optimal renal function and support the body’s natural detoxification pathways, which improves overall health.

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24672644/

7. Has Anti-Aging Effects

antioxidant 02

Milk thistle may help slow the aging process due to its antioxidant content. As antioxidants can protect your body from chronic disease, this applies to both the surface of your skin and your organs.

Because milk thistle’s skin-protective properties make it great for reducing visible signs of aging, consuming milk thistle may be a simple way to prevent skin cancer and skin damage, such as acne, dark spots, wrinkles, lines, and discoloration.

Although most studies on this topic have been conducted on animals, one study published in Photochemistry and Photobiology discovered that silymarin protected the skin of mice from UV-induced oxidative stress and helped reduce inflammation.

The silymarin in milk thistle can also protect against glutathione depletion, which is a “master antioxidant” that can help prevent disease formation.

Glutathione’s main role is to combat oxidative stress, which is linked to diseases like cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s.

It can aid in the prevention of cellular component damage caused by reactive oxygen species such as free radicals.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4684116/

8. Helps maintain cognitive function

cognitive

Milk thistle benefits not only detox organs, but also cognitive function and overall brain health due to its neuroprotective properties.

According to a review published in CNS Neuroscience & Therapeutics, silymarin has powerful antioxidant properties that protect neurons from oxidative stress, which is critical to maintaining brain health and function, especially as you age.

9. Nurtures skin health

skin health

Milk thistle’s antioxidant properties make it an excellent supporter of clear, healthy skin throughout its lifespan.

According to a 2019 Molecules review, silymarin has anti-collagenase and anti-elastase activity, which means it prevents collagen breakdown and promotes skin strength and elasticity.

Furthermore, silymarin protects against the effects of full-spectrum solar radiation (aka UV rays from the sun).

A tincture of the seed combined with burdock seed and omega-3 fatty acids, according to Robinett, can be used to nourish and moisturize the skin. Some skin care products contain it.

10. Immune function benefits

Immune function

Milk thistle has been found to have potent immunomodulatory effects, including the ability to both stimulate and suppress the immune system, which is important in different situations, according to a 2017 review published in International Immunopharmacology.

This is due, in part, to silymarin’s ability to exhibit both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory actions, which support a healthy inflammatory response at the cellular level when required.

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