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1. Supports liver health
One of the most common uses of milk thistle is to treat liver problems. A 2016 study found that milk thistle improved diet-induced liver damage in mice. More evidence is needed to prove that milk thistle benefits human livers in the same way.
However, researchers theorize that it does. The active ingredient in milk thistle, silymarin, acts as an antioxidant by reducing free radical production.
Until more research is carried out, however, milk thistle is not recommended as the primary treatment option for liver problems. But it may be a helpful complementary treatment to try.
Milk thistle may play an essential role in supporting bone health. A 2013 study found that milk thistle helped to prevent bone loss.
The study looked specifically at bone loss caused by a deficiency in estrogen. It is not yet clear whether milk thistle is equally beneficial for bone loss with a different cause.
Further studies are needed before it is safe to conclude that milk thistle supports bone health in humans.
10. Boosts the immune system
Milk thistle may help strengthen a person’s immune response and help them fight off infection.
A 2016 study on an animal model found that milk thistle extract improved the immunity when consumed. An older study found that milk thistle extract had a positive effect on immune response in humans.
More studies with human participants are needed before scientists can say with certainty that milk thistle boosts a person’s immune system.
2. Promotes skin health
Milk thistle may help to promote healthy skin. A 2015 study found that milk thistle helped improve inflammatory skin conditions when applied to the skin of mice.
Milk thistle was also found to have antioxidant and anti-aging effects on human skin cells in a laboratory environment in another study.
Further research on humans is needed to identify what benefits a person can expect from applying milk thistle to their skin.
3. Reduces cholesterol
High cholesterol can lead to problems with heart health and increase a person’s chance of stroke.
A 2006 study suggests milk thistle may play an important role keeping cholesterol levels down.
4. Supports weight loss
Initial animal research conducted in 2016 found that silymarin caused weight loss in mice that were fed a diet intended to cause weight gain.
This suggests milk thistle may be beneficial for those looking to lose weight. More research into the effects of milk thistle on weight loss in humans is needed to confirm this, however.
5. Reduces insulin resistance
A study on mice found milk thistle extract helped to reduce insulin resistance. Insulin resistance is a problem for people with type 2 diabetes.
Although this research suggests milk thistle could play a role in diabetes management, more research is needed to confirm whether milk thistle reduces insulin resistance and supports diabetes management.
6. Improves allergic asthma symptoms
The active ingredient in milk thistle can help to reduce inflammation. A 2012 study found that silymarin helped to protect against inflammation in the airways of mice with allergic asthma.
More research is needed to see if silymarin benefits asthma symptoms in humans.
7. Limits the spread of cancer
Milk thistle may help to stop the spread of certain types of cancer. A 2016 review found that milk thistle extract inhibited the growth of cancerous cells in colorectal cancer.
More research is needed to determine how milk thistle may be used to help fight cancer.
9. Improves cognition
A 2015 study found that milk thistle increased resistance to oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is a potential cause of Alzheimer’s disease.
In this way, milk thistle may help improve cognition and treat degenerative conditions that affect the mind. More research on humans is needed to confirm the effects of milk thistle on cognition.
Does Milk Thistle Help Your Liver?
Milk Thistle is one of the most researched herbs of all with over 300 studies done on its safety and benefits. It is best known for its amazing benefits for your liver. Three constituents, collectively known as Silymarin, are the parts of the herb responsible for these benefits.
Your liver is one of the real work houses of the body, with over 500 different functions documented. Processing foods and nutrients and detoxification of the body are some of its major functions. Due to its detoxification role it is one of the most used and abused organs of the body. Medicines, chemical toxins and alcohol … Read more
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Centers for Disease Control and PreventionMorbidity and Mortality Weekly Report: “Amanita phalloides Mushroom Poisonings — Northern California, December 2016.”
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