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Milk Thistle: The Modern Liver's Best Friend

by BodyHealth Representatives August 30, 2018 4 min read 0 Comments

Milk Thistle: The Modern Liver's Best Friend

The modern liver faces a situation never before encountered in the history of the human species: an intensely toxic environment.

Daily exposure estimates range anywhere from 700,000 to 2.1 million different toxins every single day.

Most of these are man-made chemicals, substances our bodies never encountered in our entire evolutionary history.

And it’s up to the liver to keep you safe in this toxic flood.

 

How The Liver Detoxes Your Body

The liver is the largest organ in the body. It has over 500 biological functions, ranging from processing fat to hormone regulation.

And one of the most important is detoxification.

The liver does this through a complex system of powerful enzymes, antioxidants, and biochemical sorting. Once toxins are isolated and neutralized, it shunts them for safe elimination through the bowel.

Unfortunately, the liver does not have unlimited capacity. When the liver is overwhelmed by environmental toxins they accumulate in your tissues.

Depending on the nature of the toxin, it can get stuck in your liver, stored in fat, or continue circulating in your blood where it damages organs or becomes lodged in your bones, brain, or lymph.

 

How Milk Thistle Superchargers Your Liver

Your liver needs a little extra help to keep up with the ever-increasing toxic load. One of the best herbs on the planet to give your liver a boost is a prickly purple flower called Milk Thistle.

Evidence for the medicinal use of Milk Thistle (Silybum marianum) goes back at least 2500 years to the time of the Ancient Greeks where it was used to treat liver, gallbladder and kidney diseases.

This little plant is a powerhouse of liver boosting phytonutrients, antioxidants, and flavonolignans with anticancer properties.

But what gets the most attention is a remarkable compound called silymarin.

 

4 Ways Silymarin Protects

This little compound is profoundly hepatoprotective (meaning: protects the liver). 

It does this through 4 primary effects:

  1. Blocks free radical productionProcessing toxins is a messy process and often creates free radicals. These free radicals damage the liver. Silymarin inhibits the production of these damaging byproducts so the liver can keep doing its job without the collateral damage. [1,2] 
  1. Enhances Glutathione ProductionGlutathione is also known as the “ultimate antioxidant.” It is the body’s primary defense mechanism against the oxidative damage at the source of many degenerative diseases. Silymarin stimulates natural glutathione production, ramping up your body’s ability to protect itself from damage by heavy metals, pesticides, alcohol, and other toxins. [3]
  1. Increases Enzyme ProductionPerhaps the most valuable effect of silymarin is its ability to increase the production of the liver’s detoxifying enzymes. By stimulating RNA polymerase, it amplifies protein production in liver cells [1,4]. Since enzymes are one of the primary proteins of the liver, this translates to more enzymes. This means you can significantly increase your liver’s detoxifying capacity with just one plant.
  1. Regenerates Liver CellsOne of the most common medical uses of Milk Thistle is to recover from liver damage caused by cirrhosis, pharmaceuticals, fatty liver disease, and hepatitis C. It does this by stimulating the growth of hepatocytes (liver cells). [3]

 

Beyond the Liver: Cancer, Kidneys, Gallbladder, Inflammation, and Acne

While the main action happens in the liver, the compounds in milk thistle have many other beneficial effects on the rest of the body.

CancerMilk thistle has notable anti-cancer properties and has proven to be effective in many forms of cancer, including: liver, prostate, colon, skin, cervical, and breast cancer [4].

KidneysThe kidneys are another major detox organ, filtering out toxins in the blood and eliminating them through the urine. The effects of milk thistle in the kidneys closely mirror those of the liver and shows promise of regenerating damaged kidney tissue. [5]

GallbladderThe liver and the gallbladder work together to produce and release bile into the stomach. The protective effects of silymarin also support gallbladder by keeping the bile ducts clean and . [6]

Inflammation and AcneMilk thistle contains potent flavonolignans that suppress the release of inflammatory cytokines––the molecular alarm signals that trigger inflammation. By reducing the inflammatory signal, health conditions caused by inflammation, like acne, improve. One study of milk thistle showed a 53% reduction in acne lesions. [7]

 

Healthy Liver, Healthy Body

In our age of overwhelming environmental toxicity––toxic food, toxic air, and toxic water––it is more important than ever to support your body’s detox system.

Because the liver is your primary detox organ, supporting it with milk thistle is one of the simplest and most effective ways to protect your health.

That’s why we include milk thistle extract in both our Perfect Greens Formula and our CompleteMulti + Liver Detox Support multi-vitamin.

Perfect Greens Formula is packed with all-organic nutrients to synergistically support your body’s systems, from digestion to detox, all in one drink.

CompleteMulti + Liver Detox Supportis our high-quality multi-vitamin with biologically relevant doses of essential nutrients and plant extracts complexed for maximum bioavailability.

 

References: 

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24672644
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20564545
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2813578
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4116427/
  5. Beyond the liver: other uses of milk thistle
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9303494
  7. Acne Study

 

BodyHealth Representatives
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