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Science-Based Health Benefits of Milk Thistle (Silymarin)

Science-Based Health Benefits of Milk Thistle (Silymarin)

Milk thistle (Silybum marianum) is a herb native to Europe and Asia It’s seeds have been traditionally used for liver and gallbladder problems.

As a supplement, milk thistle is typically sold as milk thistle extract and standardized to 80% silymarin. Silymarin refers to a group of biologically active compounds with the main active compound being silybin which makes up to 70% of the total.1

Milk thistle is included in Liver Support by Beyond Vita®. 

1. Liver Health

Milk thistle extract can help reduce liver injury caused by toxins, alcohol and infections. Additionally, it has been used to treat toxin induced liver disease and viral hepatitis.2

In addition, silymarin can help increase cellular vitality and reduce cellular necrosis in those who abuse alcohol. It is also able to antagonize the progression of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.3

A 2016 study suggests that milk thistle extract can help improve liver function in people with liver disease by inhibiting certain cellular pathways.4 It may also increase the survival rate of patients with cirrhotic alcoholism.4

Milk thistle can help protect the liver and promote liver health.

2. Cancer

Silymarin has antioxidant and anticancer effects which could be of benefit in people being treated for cancer.5

Some studies have shown milk thistle extract could reduce the side effects of cancer treatment.6,7

Silymarin may also be able to suppress certain cancers by down regulating some signaling pathways.8,9

Milk thistle may be of benefit against cancer.

3. Helps Reduce Mental Decline

Milk thistle also has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. It has been reported to be a neuroprotective agent against neurological conditions like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases. Silymarin is thought to act as an antioxidant in the brain and reduce oxidative stress.10

Studies have supported that milk thistle extract may help reduce oxidative stress in the brain by acting as an antioxidant.11,12

Silymarin may also reduce the number of amyloid plaques in the brain which are seen in a high number of people with Alzheimer's disease.13,14,15

Milk thistle may help prevent mental decline through its action as an antioxidant.

4. Blood Sugar

Silymarin may also be able to help control blood sugar levels.

In a 2018 study, silymarin supplementation resulted in a significant reduction in fasting blood sugar.16

Another study found milk thistle extract was effective in improving the glycemic profile of type 2 diabetics.17

Milk thistle may help lower blood sugar levels in people with diabetes.
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Recommendations

Milk thistle is an important herb that may help improve liver health in addition to other benefits.*

We recommend Liver Support by Beyond Vita®.  It includes the best science supported natural ingredients including milk thistle extract.
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