Supplement Spotlight: Milk Thistle

This month we’re focusing on milk thistle and how wonderful it is for the liver, since if there’s one organ you should love, it’s your liver!  The liver detoxifies the blood and also helps to metabolize drugs- medications and alcohol can be very hard on the liver.  Detoxifying the liver is one of the best ways (in my opinion) to improve health, since if the liver is clean and working well, the body as a whole works better.


Milk thistle is the very best natural product there is for cleansing and supporting the liver.  It is one of the few herbs that has no pharmaceutical equivalent.  It has been shown in research to not only help with cleansing the liver and improving liver function, but has even been shown to help with regenerating the liver!


As stated above, alcohol can he hard on the liver, and in excess can cause liver damage; milk thistle has been shown to help to reverse that damage.  In one study, 36 patients with chronic alcoholic liver disease received milk thistle extract or a placebo for six months.  At the beginning of the study, all participants had elevated liver enzymes and other markers for liver damage in their blood.  After six months, the group that had taken the milk thistle extract had all markers of liver damage normalized, where the placebo group did not.  The milk thistle group also had improvement at the cellular level.

Milk thistle has also been found to be beneficial to people with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.  In research it was shown to be as effective as two different commonly used insulin drugs, with the additional benefit of decreasing liver enzymes, a benefit that the prescription drugs did not show.  In persons with advanced non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, milk thistle extract was found to help with restoring liver function as well as improving insulin sensitivity and inflammation.


Even people with hepatitis have found improvements after treatment with milk thistle extract.   Researchers found drops in markers of liver damage, where the placebo group had no change.

Interestingly, studies have found even greater benefit for people supplementing milk thistle extract with phosphatidyl choline, which has been found to increase the milk thistle absorption.


Milk thistle is a wonderful supplement that would be of benefit to everyone, since who wouldn’t want to improve their liver function, since the liver is so critical in maintaining a healthy body?  This month, consider supplementation with milk thistle, for better, vibrant health.