Our bodies face immense challenges for detoxification in modern society. Secondhand cigarette smoke, alcohol, drugs, industrial solvents, pesticides and even some of the water and food we consume are a constant burden on the organs that clean and detoxify our bodies. But did you know that milk thistle improves liver health and detoxifies? Keep reading our article and find out about its potential benefits to detoxify the liver.

Adequate liver function is essential for metabolism

Positive lifestyle choices, such as exercise and a healthy diet, certainly help to strengthen our systems continually bombarded with toxins. However, when pushed to the limit and beyond, these detox organs require support.

The liver is our main detox organ that helps flush out toxins that can damage other organ systems, including the heart, blood vessels, eyes, and skin.

Acting as an important filter and through a complex set of steps, the liver neutralizes toxins and removes them from the bloodstream or converts them into water-soluble forms that can be excreted by the kidneys or fat-soluble forms that can be excreted by the intestine.

Proper liver function is critical for healthy cholesterol metabolism and even influences the way a woman’s body metabolizes estrogen.

Although alcohol and diseases such as hepatitis are the main elements that prevent healthy liver function, the performance of this function can become slow and complicated even in those who do not have a diagnosed liver disease.

The accumulation of toxic substances can lead to fatigue, headaches, poor digestion, skin problems, and even impaired immune function.

Milk thistle extract improves liver function

The milk thistle extract , silymarin with its active component, the protector and liver support nature. It is an established herbal treatment for conditions such as alcohol-related liver disease and chronic hepatitis, and has been shown to optimize function and maximize the liver’s detoxification and cleansing potential.

Milk thistle (Silybum marianum) produces small hard fruits (sometimes called seeds) from which highly concentrated extracts are made in herbal supplements.

While milk thistle seeds were used to promote liver health for 2,000 years, the herb’s modern use began in 1968 with the discovery of the bioflavonoid complex silymarin.

Researchers discovered that its health benefits reside largely in this complex and have led to the development of highly concentrated extracts that are composed of 80% silymarin.

Benefits of milk thistle extracts and silymarin

Cell protection

It directly helps liver cells by attaching itself to the outside of the cells and blocking the entry of certain toxins. Also, toxins already in liver cells are neutralized by silymarin.

These actions also help protect against dangerous chemicals, such as carbon tetrachloride, alcohol, acetaminophen, and some commonly prescribed medications.

Milk thistle increases antioxidant activity

Milk thistle extract is particularly helpful in increasing the production of glutathione , a powerful antioxidant produced by the body, as well as increasing the levels of other antioxidants, such as superoxide dismutase.

Cell regeneration

Alcohol abuse, chronic hepatitis, and even commonly prescribed medications, such as cholesterol-lowering drugs and antidepressants, can damage liver cells. Silymarin has the unique ability to help regenerate damaged liver cells.

Antifibrotic properties

Fibrosis is a process that occurs in liver cells due to inflammation. The most common causes of this process are alcohol abuse and chronic viral hepatitis (both B and C).

By acting as a blocker, silymarin not only helps maintain liver health, but also slows the progression of irreversible liver damage, also known as cirrhosis.

Milk thistle in primary treatment of liver diseases

The best news is that studies show that standardized milk thistle extracts support the primary treatment of liver disease.

Another group of people who can benefit from continued treatment with milk thistle extract are those with chronic hepatitis B or C.

While powerful, immune-boosting antiviral medications have been standardized in the successful treatment of hepatitis C, milk thistle extract helps prevent future liver damage and eventually enjoy optimal liver function.

The use of milk thistle extract is not only limited to people with liver disease. It can help prevent the possible liver-damaging effects of certain medications, such as acetaminophen, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), antidepressants, and cholesterol-lowering drugs.

People with multiple chemical sensitivities, as well as those exposed to chemical toxins at work, could also benefit from long-term use of milk thistle extract.

Finally, milk thistle extract is a sure focal point of any cleansing program. By increasing bile production (important for transporting toxins to the intestines for elimination) and increasing antioxidant activity, milk thistle extract helps promote liver cleansing and ensures the best possible detoxifying action.

By Dr. Eric Jackson

Dr. Eric Jackson provides primary Internal Medicine care for men and women and treats patients with bone and mineral diseases, diabetes, heart conditions, and other chronic illnesses.He is a Washington University Bone Health Program physician and is a certified Bone Densitometrist. Dr. Avery is consistently recognized in "The Best Doctors in America" list.

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