The Incredible Health Benefits of Milk Thistle, Nature’s Most Powerful Detoxifier
Milk thistle is a flowering plant known for its immense health benefits and liver protecting properties. Milk thistle consists of active compounds and antioxidants of which silymarin is the main ingredient. Known as Mary Thistle or holy thistle, it is also believed to reduce cholesterol and prevent the risk of type two diabetes. However, among all of Milk thistle’s benefits, it is extremely popular as a powerful natural remedy against liver damage and liver problems. Here are potentials benefits of Milk Thistle which are currently under research to examine how much more the ingredients can be used in terms of health and prevention of liver disease.
1 Protects against Liver Damage
Milk Thistle is widely marketed as a liver protection agent against liver damage. One study in 2016 found that milk thistle actually improved liver damage in mice and though more research is required to cement the theory, researchers feel that it does. Silymarin in Milk Thistle acts as an oxidant which detoxifies the liver. It is also believed that milk thistle helps the liver to regenerate from damage caused by alcohol and toxins. This is why it is popular as a liver detoxification remedy. A few studies have shown that milk thistle also prevents and treats liver diseases like cirrhosis and hepatitis.
2Can Inhibit Fat Cell Formation
One of the most intensively studied processes of our body is the fat cell differentiation process in which cells in our body decide to either become fat cells or not. This process is altered by milk thistle. Milk thistle makes it difficult for the cells to transform into fat cells, thus affecting the internal chemistry of our body. There is even a scientific correlation between the decrease in our fat cells and consumption of milk thistle.
It is believed that milk thistle increases the insigs before the fat cell differentiation process. It exposes pre-adipose cells to insig 1 and insig 2 thus, forcing them to remain in adipose state rather than letting them change into fat cells. This helps in decreasing a few pounds and people suffering from fatty liver.
3Promotes Healthy Iron Levels
Hemoglobin is a compound present in our blood which is activated by iron. Hemoglobin works as an oxygen carrier from our lungs and distributes it to the entire body. One of the main objectives of our body is to keep the oxygen supply to the whole body constant and steady. Hemochromatosis is a condition which occurs when there is a high level of iron present in our body and it can be harmful if it is not regularly checked. When the iron in our blood is dangerously high, milk thistle can help reduce the iron in our blood. Extra iron is usually stored in our liver and an increase of it is considered extremely toxic for the liver. Thus extra iron gets flushed out more efficiently with the help of milk thistle rather than without it.
4Milk Thistle is an Antioxidant
Milk thistles contain active compounds which prove to be strong anti-oxidants. Milk thistle seeds extract can supply our bodies with superoxide dismutase, glutathione peroxidase, and HS-CRP (treatment for diabetes).
Anti-oxidants repair and destroy free radicals present in our bodies that cause, increase or irritate conditions such as diabetes and other ailments. Heat shock proteins can also be activated by milk thistle which acts as anti-oxidants to improve the body’s reaction to stress and strengthen the immune system.
Recent studies have shown that milk thistle contains anti-inflammatory properties. Tests conducted on human beings showed the plant produced an ingredient TNF-alpha which prevents the release of hydrogen peroxide. Tests were first conducted on isolated cells of the human body in lab conditions and then conducted on human beings. The results were same on both the subjects milk thistle proved to be an anti-inflammatory agent. This can help people when they are suffering from minor inflammation or arthritis caused by allergies.
6Works against Radiation-Induced Cellular Damage
Studies have proved that milk thistle help in fighting the spread of disease in mice suffering from lung cancer and exposure to radiation. It was also observed that milk thistle reduced fibrosis and inflammation which corresponded with radiation. The rate of the survival of mice increased rapidly. Although research has shown a lot of results for human subjects, but it hasn’t been conclusive yet. More research is needed to establish such claims.
7Improves Breast Milk Production
Another old use of milk thistle is increasing the production of breast milk in nursing women. Stress, illness, physical pain and going to work at an early period affect the production of milk in new mothers. Such conditions also affect the health of the infants. Milk thistle is considered a safe herbal remedy to increase the production of breast milk in lactating mothers in stressful conditions.
8Can Help Fight Infections
Milk thistle provides an antiviral effect to the damage done to the liver caused by hepatitis –C where some experts feel that milk thistle slows down hepatitis infection. Milk thistle has made a huge impact as a natural antibiotic and antiviral remedy and has also found its way into various formulations. The antiviral and antibiotic effects consist of stopping the synthesis of proteins in microbes and RNA, and stopping their production and spread to different parts of the body.
9Might Be a Nootropic
Nootropics have has been the receiving the most attention as cognitive enhancers. They consist of both herbal and chemical formulations that improve the brain’s cognitive capabilities. These compounds tend to make you smarter no matter how such properties and can be considered as a nootropic supplement. Milk thistle has been proven to decrease memory damage present in the mice, and consists of memory recovering properties.
Under lab conditions, milk thistle has been proven to improve the working of the hippocampus in rats and also decrease the production of cells which contributes to Alzheimer’s. In human adults, the cognitive properties of milk thistle have not yet been tested, but research shows a lot of promise for treating mental disorders and malfunctions.
10Improves Bone Health
Bone health tends to decrease with the increase of age when women above the age of 30 especially start experiencing the early stages of osteoporosis. Studies have shown that milk thistle even helps in this situation as it increases the density of the bones vital for maintaining bone health.
11Milk Thistle and Cancer
A few studies have observed that silymarin in milk thistle reduces the harmful effects of chemotherapy in patients with lymphoblastic leukemia. Moreover, it was found that it had the potential to enhance the effectiveness of medication in ovarian and breast cancer. Milk thistle is also believed to be beneficial in reducing prostate problems and prevents the risk of prostate cancer.
Milk thistles even contain anti-diabetic properties along with anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. Milk thistle helps to reduce the insulin levels of patients suffering from diabetes and increased chances of patients to recover from the disease. Milk thistle along with exercise and a good diet is a powerful combination as protection and treatment in type 2 diabetes.
Studies in mice have shown that milk thistle reduced insulin resistance in mice and was an important ingredient in the control of type 2 diabetes management. Studies are yet to confirm this and it is always advisable to consult your doctor before taking a supplement.
14Good for Your Heart
Milk thistle protects your heart from the damage from your everyday routine that places stress on the heart. Milk thistle seed extract blocks an ingredient called isoprotenerol that causes heart damage. Animal studies confirmed these effects where milk thistle also improved longevity. Milk thistle also improves circulation and promotes a healthy heart rhythm through increase of mitochondria function.
15Powerful Natural Detox
If you are looking for a powerful natural detoxifier, then there is none better than milk thistle which can remove toxins and chemicals from the liver and body. In fact, it has repeatedly been proven as helpful in all levels of toxicity including poisonous conditions like snake bite and mushroom poisoning.