08- Jan-2018

Role of milk thistle in liver cirrhosis*

Dt. Komal Mehta
Dt. Komal Mehta
PGD in Dietetics

Herbalists have used milk thistle since ancient times to treat a range of liver and gall bladder disorders. Milk thistle is specifically renowned for the treatment of alcoholic liver cirrhosis, when used along with optimum nutrition.

The liver plays a vital role to detoxify and remove all possible toxins in a healthy body. The liver works constantly to defend us from toxins and acts like a filter to remove harmful substances from the body. Any damage to the liver may hinder this very important process and compromise the detoxification of the body. A major issue to affect the liver is liver cirrhosis. Liver cirrhosis is characterized by scarring in the liver and gradual deterioration of its function. A low-sodium, low-fat diet, with optimum nutrition, is recommended to preserve liver health. A variety of natural substances and herbs can prevent further damage to the liver and help to restore the liver’s normal functions. The commonly available Milk Thistle can effectively prevent further damage to the liver cells.

Let us examine how Milk thistle extract can help maintain liver health, protect the liver from toxins that also include alcohol, environmental pollution and other liver diseases.

  • Milk thistle or silybum marianum contains bioflavonoids called silymarin. Silymarin, the active ingredient of milk thistle, is a purified extract of the plant’s fruit or seed. It is chiefly responsible for the medical benefits of milk thistle. This plant has a remarkable biological effect on liver disorders, particularly on alcohol or substance-induced or medical liver cirrhosis, and even on hepato cellular carcinoma. This is attributed to silymarin’s antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti fibrotic power. The well-standardized Milk thistle extract from BestSource Nutrition is a great formula to rejuvenate damaged liver cells and overcome alcohol-induced damage to the system.
  • Antioxidant boost: Milk thistle is a natural liver supporter and detoxifier. Milk thistle displaces the damaging toxins that bind to the liver cells, causing the scarring of liver or liver cirrhosis. Silymarin helps regenerate damaged liver cells through its antioxidant property by reducing oxidative stress caused by various toxins. It stabilizes and strengthen the liver cell membrane. As an antioxidant, this compound reduces free radical production and inhibits damaging toxins. For persons suffering from alcohol abuse, silymarin increases cellular vitality and reduces necrosis. In addition, the well-documented antioxidant activity of silymarin is shown to prevent hepatic damage. ‘Silymarin is a natural antioxidant and has a protective effect’, states the Journal Antioxidants, 2015 March; 4(1): 204-247.
  • Enhanced protein synthesis: During or following severe liver disorder, regeneration of liver cells or hepatocytes is necessary. Chronic conditions or alcohol abuse generally result in fibrosis. Silymarin facilitates liver cells regeneration. It promotes more RNA (ribosomes), which increases protein synthesis in the body. It stimulates the regenerative ability of the liver and the formation of new hepatocytes.
  • Antifibrotic: Silymarin’s anti fibrotic activity reduces the hepatic collagen accumulation, which leads to fibrosis. Many studies show the synthesis and deposition of collagen in liver tissue. Milk thistle extract or Silymarin inhibits further damage to the liver cells caused during liver cirrhosis, fibrosis, overuse of alcohol, and it preserves the liver cells. It accelerates the rate of protein synthesis in the liver, resulting in faster cell regeneration of the liver cells.

A well- documented study in the Journal Molecules 2017 Jan 24; 22(2) compile the above points of benefits of milk thistle.

Damage to the liver either by liver cirrhosis or alcohol abuse can be corrected. It calls for optimum nutrition, hydration, and this natural herb by BestSource Nutrition – Milk Thistle extract, which is standardized to 80% silymarin. Milk thistle extract provides protection to the liver cells. Moreover, the antioxidant activity, anti-viral, anti-inflammatory effects provide overall health benefits to anyone seeking to detoxify the liver as part of good nutrition practices.

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