T Nation

Fact or Fiction: Milk thistles

I’ve heard that Milk thistle cleanses your liver. Is this true? If so how does it do it? And are there any other herbs/supplements that can also help in that area?~ Thanks

The active compound is salymarin (sp?). I’ll do a little searching for the mechanism of action. I’d suggest you do the same.

Sylmarin (I have also seen it spelled “silmarin”) is the active ingredient. I used it when I had liver troubles a while back and saw good results. I recently read, however, that it can inhibit protein synthesis, although I’m not sure what follow-up studies have found in this regard. If you do a search for milk thistle with my name in the author line, I think you’ll find some decent food for thought. Personally, I wouldn’t suggest you worry about it unless you have been told by your doctor (based on bloodwork, etc.) that there is something specifically wrong with your liver. The whole idea of “detox” is silly. You’re always better off making sure you don’t toxify your body in the first place.

I’ve also heard conflicting reports about its’ efficacy. Let’s put a call out for Douglas. Doug actually refers to silymarin in his “Liver Pate” article on this site. Well worth a read.

I had elevated liver enzymes (ALT-Alanine aminotransferase & AST-Aspartate aminotransferase) after my cancer treatments. My oncologist recommended that I try Milk Thistle for a couple of months and I did try it. I took some plain old Your Life brand from the grocery store, per the instructions on the bottle. On my next set of liver panels they were all back to normal. Now, that does not mean that it was the milk thistle exclusively, as the liver is always regenerating, however I felt like it could not hurt. I guess my question is why you are wanting to cleanse your liver?

Thanks for the props regarding the Liver Pate article. With respect to Milk thistle, it is actually better (and reflects the research) to look for and use standardized extracts of silymarin (sometimes refered to as thisylin). I have always favored Jarrow, Enzymatic Therapy and Twinlab for this type of product.

A few months back I was on accutane and now I am currently taking androsol and soon MAG-10. I was hoping it would relieve some stress from my liver.

I have heard that accutane (sp) can be some wicked stuff and hard on the liver. Hell, you should give the Milk Thistle a try. BTW are your docs doing liver panels on you?

I’d like to answer your question, but I have no clue what liver panels are. Sorry =(

You don’t need to know what exactly a liver panel entails. Are they doing blood tests on you every month?

Yeah, Jarrow rules, my dad is the Jarrow rep for the Midwest!!!

I’m no longer on accutane, but I have taken it for 2 sessions. Before each session they took blood tests. Again my concern is not accutane, rather the residual medication stored in my liver and MAG-10 ~=)
PS: By “session” I mean a 4 month period.

I meant are they doing liver tests (bloodwork) while you are on the accutane?