Milk Thistle —and its active ingredient Silymarin— have been used for centuries to support liver health. This plant is also used as standard treatment in Europe for serious liver complications due to alcoholism. Alcoholic liver disease is very similar to any other liver disease. The liver’s primary role is detoxifying, but it can be easily overwhelmed when there are too many toxins to handle. This is very common in North America. Our typical diet is composed of fast foods, processed foods, artificial preservatives, fungicides and pesticides as well as synthetic hormones and antibiotics in non-organic meats. Add to this common pollution, alcohol, excessive coffee and nicotine smoke and you are well on your way to a total liver breakdown.
When the liver is compromised, it slows down its two main functions, i.e., the detoxification of toxins, and the metabolizing of carbohydrates, fats and proteins. Without proper liver function, toxins accumulate and fat cannot be utilized for energy. The toxins lead to premature aging and inflammation, which ultimately leads to many chronic diseases. Not being able to break down fat for energy leads to accumulation of fat in the abdominal area in men and the hips and thighs in women. The liver is also very important for breaking down excessive estrogen, the female sex hormone. Too much of this hormone in men causes them to accumulate fat in the abdomen and chest area and in women, all over their bodies.
SILYMARIN & DIABETES
Silymarin is great in helping prevent all these complications. There is unequivocal evidence in numerous well-designed studies that have shown it to protect the liver and helps maintain its proper metabolic function. But that is not all: This wonderful plant has shown amazing results in people with type 2 diabetes. Taken at a dose of 200 mg per day in 3 divided doses for a period of 4 months, it has shown a statistically significant drop in the A1C protein (the marker of how well diabetes is controlled). The drop was over 1 point. Considering that the A1C protein in normally in the 4-point range, a 1-point drop is very significant. The fasting blood glucose level also dropped by 15%. That’s more than a 20mg/dl drop in blood glucose, which is very significant. Studies also showed a significant drop in cholesterol, LDL and triglycerides. As many of you may know, rising cholesterol, LDL (low density lipoprotein) and triglyceride (fat) levels are a major concern in diabetes because they accelerate the formation of cholesterol plaques in small blood vessels. This ultimately causes damage to the heart, brain, kidneys and extremities.
Milk thistle can help so many people suffering from a compromised liver due to the common North American diet and lifestyle (i.e. fast food, alcohol, tobacco, prescription drugs etc.). It can also help protect the liver and help with sugar control in the general population as well as in those with diabetes or glucose intolerance.
Stay lean and healthy my friends.