Can Milk Thistle Help People With Diabetes
Medical research suggests that milk thistle, combined with traditional treatment, can improve diabetes. Studies have shown a decrease in blood sugar levels and an improvement in cholesterol in people with type 2 diabetes.
Taxonomy And Chemical Structure
During the renaissance, S. marianum was considered as a therapeutic agent for liver disorders. S. marianum and its seeds contain a whole family of natural compounds, called flavonolignans. Silimarin is a dry mixture of these compounds, which are extracted after processing with ethanol, methanol, and acetone. Silimarin contains mainly silibin A, silibin B, taxifolin, isosilibin A, isosilibin B, silichristin A, silidianin, and other compounds in smaller concentrations .
The chemical structure of isosilibin, silibin, silichristin and silidianin compounds.
In 1959, the first member of this family was discovered: silibin, which is the most extensively researched one. Silibin is an equimolar mixture of silibin A -2–2,3-dihydro-3–2–1,4-benzodioxin-6-yl)-2,3-dihydro-3,5,7-trihydroxy-4H-1-benzopyran-4-one and silibin B -2–2,3-dihydro-3–2–1,4-benzodioxin-6-yl)-2,3-dihydro-3,5,7-trihydroxy-4H-1-benzopyran-4-one. Silibin is a compound that oxidizes swiftly, even in atmospheric oxygen it has a low solubility in water which increases significantly as pH and temperature rise .
What Is Milk Thistle Used For
People have traditionally used milk thistle for problems with the liver and gallbladder . Experts believe silymarin is the primary active ingredient of the herb. Silymarin is an antioxidant compound taken from milk thistle seeds. Itâs unclear what benefits, if any, it may have in the body, but itâs sometimes used as a natural treatment for things including cirrhosis, jaundice, hepatitis, and gallbladder disorders.
Some claim milk thistle may also:
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Milk Thistle May Help Improve Liver Health In People With Hiv And Hepatitis C
Those co-infected with HIV and hepatitis C can face significant challenges with sustaining their liver health. This is due to how the two viruses affect the liver over time as well as the ongoing side effects from taking drugs that treat the two diseases. For these and other reasons, there’s an urgent need to find methods of improving liver function for people co-infected with HIV/HCV.
A report from a small study of the popular herbal supplement, milk thistle, was presented at the International AIDS Conference in Mexico City. The study looked at its possible ability to improve liver function in co-infected people. Milk thistle, or silybum marianum, has been shown in other studies to benefit liver function in various situations, though many of those studies were not well designed or came to inconsistent conclusions. This study used an extract from the milk thistle seed called silymarin.
This 52-week study of 21 co-infected volunteers examined how safely milk thistle performed. They were randomly assigned to take either a placebo or 180mg of 80% standardized silymarin extract three times a day. Out of the 21 who started, 15 finished the study with 7 who were on silymarin and 8 who took placebo. In both groups, the volunteers were about equally men and women and were mainly African American and Latino.
Is Milk Thistle Good For The Heart
By lowering LDL “bad” cholesterol levels, milk thistle may lower the chance of developing heart disease. But studies on heart benefits have only been done in people with diabetes. People with diabetes often have high cholesterol. Itâs unclear if milk thistle has the same effects in people without diabetes.
Milk thistle can also be taken with cholesterol-lowering medications, like statins. It can help prevent elevation of liver enzymes, which can be a side effect of the medication. Find out more on the side effects of statins.
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No Evidence Supporting Or Refuting Milk Thistle For Alcoholic And/or Hepatitis B Or C Virus Liver Diseases
Milk thistle Gaertneri) extracts have been used as medical remedies since the time of ancient Greece. Alcohol and hepatotoxic viruses are the major causes of liver diseases. Several trials have studied the effects of milk thistle for patients with liver diseases. This systematic review could not demonstrate significant effects of milk thistle on mortality or complications of liver diseases in patients with alcoholic and/or hepatitis B or C liver diseases combining all trials or high-quality trials. Low-quality trials suggested beneficial effects. High-quality randomised clinical trials on milk thistle versus placebo are needed.
Our results question the beneficial effects of milk thistle for patients with alcoholic and/or hepatitis B or C virus liver diseases and highlight the lack of high-quality evidence to support this intervention. Adequately conducted and reported randomised clinical trials on milk thistle versus placebo are needed.
Alcohol and hepatotoxic viruses cause the majority of liver diseases. Randomised clinical trials have assessed whether extracts of milk thistle, Silybum marianum Gaertneri, have any effect in patients with alcoholic and/or hepatitis B or C virus liver diseases.
To assess the beneficial and harmful effects of milk thistle or milk thistle constituents versus placebo or no intervention in patients with alcoholic liver disease and/or viral liver diseases .
What To Look For
Dietary supplements in the United States do not need to undergo the rigorous testing and research and testing that pharmaceutical drugs do. Because of this, the quality can vary from one supplement to the next.
To ensure quality and safety, choose products that have undergone testing and certification by an independent certifying body like the U.S. Pharmacopeia , ConsumerLab, and NSF International. As an added layer of safety, opt for brands that have been certified organic under the regulations of the U.S. Department of Agriculture .
Be wary of dried whole milk thistle or milk thistle seeds, both of which are vulnerable to fungal contamination, according to research published in the International Journal of Food Microbiology.
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Benefits Of Milk Thistle Capsules
Early exploration in individuals 12 years or more established with the blood issue by mouth multiple times every day for a very long time, alongside traditional medication, doesn’t further develop indications. However, another investigation discovered that it may give a few advantages when taken to 9 months. Long before the advent of modern medicine, herbs, spices, and other natural remedies were the only options for treating many diseases.
- Chemotherapy harmfulness. Early examination proposes that taking a milk thistle capsules item containing the synthetic silibinin starting toward the beginning of chemotherapy treatment doesn’t fundamentally decrease liver harmfulness brought about by chemotherapy.
- Liver scarring . Early examination recommends that milk thistle or silymarin, a substance found in milk thistle, may decrease the danger of death and work on liver capacity in individuals with cirrhosis. Notwithstanding, milk thistle doesn’t appear to help all patients with liver sickness when those without cirrhosis are likewise thought of.
- Kidney illness in individuals with diabetes. Early examination shows that taking silymarin, a substance found in milk thistle, along with regular treatment may assist with treating kidney infection in individuals with diabetes.
Silymarin Extract Of Milk Thistle Does Not Benefit Hepatitis C
Silymarin, an extract of milk thistle widely used around the world for treating liver disease caused by the hepatitis C virus, provides no more benefit than a placebo, researchers reported this week. Some estimates are that as many as a third of the estimated 3.2 million Americans with hepatitis C — as well as many more millions around the world — are consuming the drug in an effort to alleviate their symptoms. The new research by a team headed by Dr. Michael W. Fried of the University of North Carolina School of Medicine suggests that they are simply wasting their money.
Patients ask me about milk thistle all the time, Fried said. Now I can tell them with great confidence that taking milk thistle, unfortunately, wont help for chronic hepatitis C.
Silymarin, derived from the plant Silybum marianum, is thought to have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antiviral properties, which would seem to make it a good tool for fighting hepatitis C. Fried and his colleagues recruited 154 people with chronic hepatitis C who had failed treatment with conventional interferon-based therapy. They were divided into three groups: One group received 420 milligrams of silymarin three times a day for 24 weeks, one received 720 milligrams three times a day and one a placebo. The researchers measured the patients enzyme levels at the beginning of the trial and at the end.
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There Are A Number Of Foods That Nutritional Experts Consistently Name As Supportive Or Protective To The Liver Because These Foods Are Good For The Liver These Foods Are Great For Those With Hepatitis C Or Any Liver Disease And Should Be Included In Your Diet On A Regular Basis
Artichokes are a member of the milk thistle family that help control blood sugar levels and are known to support liver health. This fibrous, green veggie contains cynarin, which promotes the flow of bile from the liver to the gallbladder. This is very important because if the bile is not transported adequately to the gallbladder, the liver has increased risk of damage.
Asparagus have anticancer, antifungal, anti-inflammatory and diuretic properties. Asparagus have high levels of folate, potassium, and extremely high levels of Vitamin C which serves an important function in those with liver disease- recyclying glutathione and protecting against free radicals. New research in the Journal of Food Science says that “an extract from asparagus may increase the function of enzymes in the liver and boost the metabolism of alcohol.”
Beets are a very high-antoxidant vegetable. Beet fiber seems to be particularly health-promoting for the liver. Pectin, a soluble fiber in beets, binds toxins, heavy metals, and excess hormones that have been dumped into the gut from the liver. The toxins are passed out instead of being reabsorbed.
Carrots contain beta-carotene and other carotenoids that help to protect the liver. In the treatment of disease it is important to alkalinize the body and carrot juice has been demonstrated to rapidly achieve this objective through cleansing of the liver and improving the quality of the blood.
Milk Thistle Proven Ineffective For Treating Liver Disease
“Silymarin is widely used as a botanical treatment for liver disorders,” said Michael W. Fried, MD, professor of medicine and director of hepatology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The extract is a mixture of flavonolignans, and is approximately 50% silybin A and B. Silymarin has demonstrated anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory properties in vitro, as well as effects on the HCV core and CS5A expression in the replicon system.
Evidence for the clinical effects of silymarin are not well validated, Dr. Fried noted. Clinical studies of the compound have been conducted in patients with cirrhosis, alcoholic liver disease, and viral hepatitis, but results have been inconsistent. Previous studies were confounded by a lack of well-defined efficacy end points, the inclusion of heterogeneous populations of patients with liver disease, and the use of nonstandardized silymarin preparations.
In the SYNCH study, a prospective, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, Dr. Fried, and colleagues randomized 154 patients with HCV infection, who had previously failed interferon-based regimens, to treatment with a standardized silymarin preparation or placebo. “The customary oral dose is 140 mg ,” said Dr. Fried, “but in accordance with findings from our phase 1 trial, doses 3- to 5-fold higher were chosen for SYNCH to provide the highest likelihood of finding a therapeutic benefit.”
Still Hope for IV Administration?
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Milk Thistle Taken By Many People For Liver Disease Ineffective As Treatment For Hepatitis C
- 08 August 2012
Silymarin or milk thistle, a popular herbal dietary supplement that many people take for liver ailments, works no better than placebo in patients with chronic hepatitis C infection.
Thats the conclusion of a multicenter clinical trial published in the July 18, 2012 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Patients ask me about milk thistle all the time, said Michael W. Fried, MD, lead author of the study, a professor in the University of North Carolina School of Medicine and director of the UNC Liver Center.
Now I can tell them with great confidence that taking milk thistle, unfortunately, wont help for chronic hepatitis C, he said. I think this information is very important to help patients focus on other ways to maintain liver health and not rely on ineffective remedies.
In the study, 154 people with chronic hepatitis C who had shown no improvement after conventional interferon-based therapy were randomly assigned to receive 420-mg or 720-mg doses of silymarin, or matching placebo, 3 times a day for 24 weeks.
Many different formulations of silymarin or milk thistle are available for purchase in the U.S. without prescription. The study used a very high quality European formulation that was given in doses 3 to 5 times larger than customary, Fried said.
Animal In Vivo Studies
In alloxan-induced diabetic rats, silibin reduced serum glucose levels and protected the pancreas of rats from alloxan-induced lipid peroxidation by maintaining levels of malondialdehyde and glutathione lower . In silimarin-treated diabetic rats, normalization of glucose levels began after the first week of administration and reached the values of controls nine weeks afterwards, while insulin levels normalized after 7 days of treatment. RT-PCR amplification for insulin and Pdx1 genes yielded similar mRNA content in silimarin-treated and control groups, followed by restoration of Langerhans islet morphology in the former group .
In partially pancreatomized rats, silibin continued to demonstrate a significant reduction in serum glucose levels compared with control and beta-cell neogenesis two months after the procedure . Neogenesis could be attributed to an increase in gene expression of Nkx6.1 and insulin .
Asymmetric Ng, Ng-dimethyl-L-arginine , inhibits the production of endothelial nitric oxide synthase , which plays a central role in endothelial dysfunction related to diabetes mellitus. Silibin decreases ADMA levels in db/db mice to a level that is lower than in their heterozygous lean counterparts , which served as controls . In experimentally induced diabetic retinopathy, silibin seems to have a favorable effect as vascular leukostasis and levels of retinal ICAM-1 are significantly reduced .
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Milk Thistle For Treatment Of Acute Hepatitis Chronic Hepatitis And Cirrhosis
Since the introduction of tests for hepatitis c, public awareness of chronic hepatitis has become acute. In the United States, 1.4% of adults have hepatitis C, which is the number one reason for liver transplantation. Up to 85% of acute hepatitis C infections develop into chronic hepatitis which may then progress to cirrhosis. Other important causes of chronic hepatitis are hepatitis B virus, alcoholism, toxic drug side effects, and autoimmune disease.
Milk thistle has been promoted for treatment of acute and chronic liver conditions, resulting in U.S. sales of more than $3 million in 1997. In Germany, milk thistle ranks among the top 10 herbal supplements, with sales of $18 million annually.1
Botany and Nomenclature
Milk thistle is found widely in Europe, Eastern Africa, and North America. It is a member of the aster family and grows up to 10 feet tall. It bears a bright purple brushlike flower, and, in summer, it produces black seeds from which the drug is derived.
Other common names have been used including holy thistle, St. Mary thistle, marian thistle, lady’s thistle, and royal thistle. Its spiritual names stem from the belief that the white veins on the plant’s leaves carried the milk of the Virgin Mary its chivalrous names come as it is found near Dumbarton Castle.2
Pharmacology and Pharmacokinetics
Mechanism of Action
Sample Allopathic Medication Prices
Formulation and Dosage
What Are The Risks Of Taking Milk Thistle
Risks. Milk thistle can trigger allergic reactions. People who are allergic to artichokes, kiwi, ragweed, daisies, marigolds, and chrysanthemums are at higher risk. People who have diabetes or endometriosis should check with a doctor before using milk thistle. While milk thistle has been traditionally used in pregnant and breastfeeding women, its safety is unknown. If youâre pregnant or breastfeeding, check with your doctor before using milk thistle. Milk thistle is not recommended for children.
Interactions. If you take any medicines regularly, talk to your doctor before you start using milk thistle. It could interact with many drugs, including some that treat high cholesterol, infections, insomnia, and blood pressure. Since milk thistle may lower blood sugar, people with diabetes should check with their doctor before taking the herb as it may make their blood sugar fall too low.
Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database: “Milk Thistle Monograph.”
National Center of Complementary and Alternative Medicine : “Milk Thistle,” âHerbs at a Glance: Milk thistle.â
Medicinenet.com: “Generic Name: Milk Thistle â Oral.”
Longe, J., ed. The Gale Encyclopedia of Alternative Medicine, second edition, 2004.
Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center: âAbout Herbs: Milk thistle.â
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Milk Thistle Fails To Help Hep C
Researchers say milk thistle is commonly used by people with liver disease. In fact, a third of people with chronic hepatitis C say they have used the herbal treatment for their disease.
The flowering herb is related to the daisy and ragweed family. The main ingredient in milk thistle, silymarin, is thought to have anti-inflammatory properties that may benefit people with liver disease.
Until now, studies examining milk thistle’s effectiveness in treating a variety of liver diseases have produced mixed results.
In this study, researchers looked at the effects of milk thistle in treating 154 people with chronic hepatitis C who did not respond to interferon-based treatments.
The people were divided into three groups and received either 420 or 700 milligrams of milk thistle or a placebo three times a day for 24 weeks.
The results showed the herbal treatment did not significantly change or improve liver function at either dose, based on measurements of an enzyme that reflects liver function .
In addition, researchers did not find any improvements in physical or mental quality of life measures or depression among milk thistle users.
“Silymarin did not provide greater benefit than placebo for patients with treatment-resistant chronic HCV infection,” researcher Michael W. Fried, MD, of the University of North Carolina, and colleagues write in the Journal of the American Medical Association.