If you’re looking for the best milk thistle supplements to buy this year, then you’ve come to the right place.
You can also get more info by jumping to our Milk Thistle Supplements Guide.
Top 10 Milk Thistle Supplements
|#1||Jarrow Formulas Milk Thistle||More Info|
|#2||Gaia Herbs Milk Thistle Seed||More Info|
|#3||Solaray Milk Thistle Extract||More Info|
|#4||Solgar Milk Thistle Herb Extract||More Info|
|#5||GNC Herbal Plus Milk Thistle||More Info|
|#6||Herb Pharm Milk Thistle||More Info|
|#7||Pure Encapsulations Silymarin||More Info|
|#8||Bluebonnet Standardized Milk Thistle||More Info|
|#9||Paradise Herbs Milk Thistle||More Info|
|#10||NutraBio Milk Thistle||More Info|
Silymarin, or most commonly known as milk thistle is a type of herb that is closely related to the ragweed and daisy family. Originating from most Mediterranean countries, milk thistle is often used to help treat liver-related conditions such as hepatitis, gallbladder problems, and cirrhosis.
What is Milk Thistle?
Milk thistle has been used for over 2,000 years to help treat a number of health-related conditions such as gallbladder and liver problems. Recent studies have also shown that milk thistle can help protect the body from certain drugs and toxins which can cause destructive liver damage. In addition, the herb itself also has anti-inflammatory properties and help grow new cells to repair parts of the liver.
Milk thistle is more commonly known to be a part of the asteraceae family, along with daisies and sunflowers. Once initially grown in Mediterranean-based regions, milk thistle is now currently grown around the world. Milk thistle sprouts spiny-like branches that can grow upwards of 5 to 10 feet, with white blotches leaves. The way this plant gets its name is from the milky sap it excretes once its leaves are crushed. Milk thistle actually grows rather quickly, since it is often characterized as a week, and can fully grow within a year.
Benefits of Milk Thistle
There is a wide range of benefits that come with taking milk thistle regularly.
Milk thistle is especially known to contain incredible detox properties that can help get rid of toxins in the body, especially the liver. In addition, it can help reduce the effects of alcohol and even some poisons. Plus, it can also be used as a type of therapeutic treatment for those suffering from psoriasis, liver diseases, and fatty liver syndrome.
Improves Kidney Health
Milk thistle is primarily effective on the health of kidneys and can even help create new cells to replace degenerated ones.
Helps Lower Cholesterol Levels
Milk thistle is ranked so powerful that it can help reduce heart inflammation. In addition, it can also help lower cholesterol, reduce oxidative stress, and decrease the overall risk of atherosclerosis. Plus, some studies have shown that milk thistle can also help reduce blood pressure for those who suffer from diabetes.
Reduces the Risk of Cancer
Since milk thistle contains a high content of antioxidants, it can help reduce the chances of cancer by increasing the longevity of the immune system. In addition, it can also help reverse the effects of tumor growth and decrease DNA damage.
Recent studies have shown that those who suffer from diabetes can benefit from this herb. Those in the trial took milk thistle for 4 months and noticed serious decreases in cholesterol, triglycerides, and glycosylated hemoglobin. In fact, it even helped control and improve blood sugar levels.
Milk thistle also holds neuroprotective properties. There is some new research emerging that suggests these properties can be helpful for people with Parkinson’s disease and multiple sclerosis. Another recent study has shown similar results, but on people with Alzheimer’s. Silymarin may limit the formation of amyloid beta-protein, which is closely linked to Alzheimer’s.
Improves Skin Health
Phytochemicals can be found in silymarin in the milk thistle plant. These phytochemicals are very good at combating the effects of UV light on the skin, according to recent studies.
Milk thistle is actually one of the strongest inhibitors of UV-induced oxidative stress. This stress can lead to a range of dangers skin conditions, including skin cancer. Silymarin can also limit skin damage that was caused by radiation damage, especially in former cancer patients.
The antioxidants in milk thistle help to remove waste from the blood and digestive tract. They also limit damage down by free radicals in the body. Because of this, milk thistle can actually slow the process of aging. The effects can be seen both inside your body, with your organs, and outside, with your skin.
Since it limits the external signs of aging on the skin, it is also a simple way to stave off skin damage and cancer. Milk thistle reduces the prevalence of wrinkles, lines, darks spots, and discoloration. Internally, the same antioxidant in milk thistle can help to keep your muscles, joints, and eyes healthy.
Are There any Side Effects?
In most cases, milk thistle supplements are safe to take. There are a few side effects that you may experience when taking these supplements. In general, these side effects are mild. They include nausea, vomiting, upset stomach, diarrhea, and rash.
Women who are breastfeeding or pregnant should refrain from taking any milk thistle supplements. Also, people who have a history of hormone related cancers should not take milk thistle. This includes uterine, breast, and prostate cancer. People who are allergic to chamomile, chrysanthemums, daisies, marigolds, ragweed, or yarrow should also not take milk thistle. These plants are closely related, so milk thistle may cause a similar allergic reaction.
If you take certain medications, you should consult your doctor before starting to take milk thistle supplements. These medications include:
- Birth control pills
- Hormone therapy pills
- Phenytoin (a drug used to treat seizures)
- Antipsychotics (including phenothiazines and butyrophenones)
- Halothane (a drug used when put under general anesthesia)
Milk thistle can also interfere with certain other medications. Drugs that are processed by the liver can react with milk thistle, since it also affects the liver. These medications are:
- Anti-anxiety drugs
- Blood thinners, anticoagulants, and antiplatelets
- Allergy medications
- Drugs taken for high cholesterol
- Certain drugs taken for cancer
- Other medications that are broken down by the liver
How to Take Milk Thistle Supplements
There are many forms that you can find milk thistle supplements in. You may choose to purchase your milk thistle supplement as a tincture, liquid extract, silymarin phosphatidylcholine complex, or as a capsule full of dried herb.
There have been a few recent studies that show that a silymarin phosphatidylcholine complex may be easier for the body to absorb than a regular milk thistle supplement. This may be a good reason to consider taking this sort of supplement, especially if your conditions are more serious. Also, those with alcohol related liver disease should refrain from taking a liquid extract as these usually contain alcohol.
Your ideal dosage will depend on what you are taking the supplement for. In general, it is recommended that adults over 18 take 200 mg to 400 mg a day. If you are taking capsules, this works out to about three capsules each day. For those with hepatitis, toxic liver damage, or cirrhosis, the recommended daily dose is between 160 to 800 mg.
What to Look for in a Good Milk Thistle Supplement
There are a lot of different options out there when it comes to milk thistle supplements. No matter what form of supplement you get, there are a few things you will want to look for.
The first thing you should look at is the suggested dosing on the label. The dosing instructions should match the normal, suggested dosing listed in the above section. You should also check to be sure the supplement contains at least 70% silymarin or more. Additionally, you should make sure there are no unnecessary additives in the supplement. If there are any additives, be sure they are natural and safe for your body.
You should also check out the brands of every milk thistle supplement before you purchase from them. Read reviews and do some research on the company so you can be sure they are a trustworthy company.