What is milk thistle? Milk thistle (Silybum marianum) is a plant native to the Mediterranean region and indigenous to western and central Europe. It’s been used to support health for more than 2,000 years. Milk thistle seeds contain an antioxidant flavonoid complex known as silymarin
What Is Milk Thistle Used For? Milk thistle is sometimes used as a natural treatment for liver problems. These liver problems include cirrhosis, jaundice, hepatitis, and gallbladder disorders. Some claim milk thistle may also: •Provide heart benefits by lowering cholesterol levels •Help diabetes in people who have type 2 diabetes and cirrhosis •Reduce growth of cancer cells in breast, cervical, and prostate cancers
Is Milk Thistle Good for the Liver? Some early research suggests milk thistle may aid people with alcohol-related liver disease. Some studies also show milk thistle may offer a possible benefit for people whose liver is damaged by industrial toxins, such as toluene and xylene.
Can Milk Thistle Help People with Diabetes? Medical research does suggest 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. Researchers also have found that milk thistle improved insulin resistance, a key characteristic of type 2 diabetes. Diabetes is a serious condition. Talk to your doctor before taking any supplements as they may interfere with your medication.
Is Milk Thistle Good for the Heart? By lowering LDL "bad" cholesterol levels, milk thistle may help decrease the chance of developing heart disease. However, studies on possible heart benefits only have been done in people with diabetes. People with diabetes often have high cholesterol. It’s unclear if milk thistle may have the same effects in other people.
Is it possible to give milk thistle to children? There are no studies showing whether it is safe to give milk thistle to a child. Liver problems can be serious and should be diagnosed by a physician. Talk to your child's health care provider before giving milk thistle to a child.
Does Milk Thistle Have Any Side Effects? Usually, milk thistle causes few, if any, serious side effects. Studies show that it’s safe when taken for up to 41 months. Milk thistle is generally regarded as safe. May cause diarrhea. More rarely, it may cause nausea, bloating, gas, and upset stomach. Milk thistle should not be used by pregnant or breastfeeding women. People with a history of hormone related cancers, including breast, uterine, and prostate cancer, should not take milk thistle. Do not take milk thistle if you are allergic to ragweed, chrysanthemums, marigolds, chamomile, yarrow, or daisies. Always tell your doctor of any supplement you are taking. Milk thistle may interact with certain medications.
Any Possible Interactions? If you are being treated with any of the following medications, you should not use milk thistle without first talking to your health care provider.
•Antipsychotics -- includes butyrophenones (such as haloperidol) and phenothiazines (such as chlorpromazine, fluphenazine, and promethazine). Phenytoin (Dilantin) -- a medication used for seizures. Halothane -- a medication used during general anesthesia. Birth control pills or hormone replacement therapy
•Milk thistle may interfere with the following medications, because both milk thistle and these medications are broken down by the same liver enzymes: Allergy drugs -- such as fexofenadine (Allegra) Drugs for high cholesterol -- including statins such as lovastatin (Mevacor, Altocor) Antianxiety drugs -- including alprazolam (Xanax), diazepam (Valium), and lorazepam (Ativan) Antiplatelet and anticoagulant drugs (blood thinners) -- including clopidogrel (Plavix) and warfarin (Coumadin)
•Some cancer drugs Drugs broken down by the liver -- because milk thistle works on the liver, it may affect drugs broken down by the liver, of which there are many. Always tell your doctor of any supplement you are taking. Milk thistle may interact with certain medications.
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Disclaimer: These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Information on this site is provided for informational purposes only and is not meant to substitute for the advice provided by your own physician or healthcare professional. You should not use the information contained herein for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing medication.
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