What you Need to Know About Milk Thistle Side Effects

November 12, 2012

What you Need to Know About Milk Thistle Side Effects

How many of you are familiar with Milk Thistle and Milk Thistle Side Effects? First off, milk thistle is a flowering plant that is related to the daisy and ragweed family. The molecule of interest in Milk Thistle is known as the flavenoid silymarin and is believed to have the ability to protect liver cells from toxins. It does so by altering the outer structure of the liver cell membrane and therefore being able to prevent toxins from passing through the membrane and doing harm to the liver cell. This in turn stimulates the production of ribosomal protein synthesis which in turn causes an increase in the production of cell proteins and regeneration of damaged liver cells. Toxins that are not taken in by the liver are excreted out of the body by way of the kidneys. Silymarin has also been demonstrated to increase levels of gluthathione and superoxide dismutase which are powerful antioxidants. Silymarin has also been demonstrated to support kidney health by regenerating damaged kidney cells as well as generating new kidney cells.

Many individuals take Milk Thistle as a natural supplement for liver issues as well as gallbladder problems. Others take Milk Thistle to decrease cholesterol levels to support a healthy heart, to decrease complications with type 2 diabetes or to slow down the growth of cancer cells.

Scientific studies on animals suggest that Milk Thistle has many benefits, however studies on humans appear to be contradictory. Some patients have demonstrated that silymarin helps some who have alcohol induced liver damage yet other studies demonstrate no improvement. Other studies indicate patients who have chemical induced liver damage such as toluene and xylene benefit from silymarin. At this time, studies are inconclusive but you can always try it out for yourself and see if it helps.

Clinical studies on type 2 diabetics have demonstrated that when silymarin is combined with conventional therapies there is marked improvement. Silymarin has the ability to lower blood sugar levels and cholesterol as well as decrease insulin resistance in type 2 diabetics.

Now, what about Milk Thistle Side Effects. Research suggests that there are few Milk Thistle Side Effects associated with the flavenoid silymarin and it is generally well tolerated . Research has been carried out for over 3 years with only minor repercussions in a small percentage of patients. A small percentage of individuals experienced diarrhea and rarely patients experienced stomach distress, gas, bloating and nausea. Other Milk Thistle Side effects were seen in individuals that have a ragweed allergy. If you are allergic to ragweed, it is best that you not take Milk Thistle as this could lead to face, tongue or lip swelling and a possible rash leading to anaphylactic shock. If you are breastfeeding or pregnant, you need to consult with your healthcare provider before you take Milk Thistle. It is thought that components in Milk Thistle may mimic the effects of estrogen. If you have estrogen problems or breast, uterine or ovarian cancers, consult with your healthcare professional before you take this supplement.

Milk Thistle is known to interact with a number of pharmaceuticals to numerous to mention here. However, this supplement can alter the rate at which some pharmaceuticals are broken down in the liver changing the effectiveness of the drug and/or alter how much of a drug is absorbed into the body (more or less). Always give complete information about any drugs, vitamins and natural supplements you are taking to your doctor to avoid complications.


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