If you have Fatty Liver (NAFLD) or NASH or Cirrhosis, you have likely heard of Milk Thistle by now from multiple sources. Milk Thistle is one of the most popular supplements people recommend for liver-related issues. However, in today’s article I would like to examine – Is Milk Thistle really good for Fatty Liver and would it help reverse your NAFLD?
Is Milk Thistle really good for Fatty Liver and would it help reverse your NAFLD?
Before I proceed, I would like to point out a few important things:
- Supplements are not silver bullets themselves. They may aid and provide benefits, however, they are not a cure-all.
- Supplements are not a substitute for diet and exercise which are a must for treating Fatty Liver.
- I preferably recommend science-backed supplements so you will find several scientific studies referenced throughout the article.
- Finally, each person is different and it is always a good idea to consult your physician before starting a supplement to make sure the supplements do not exacerbate your particular conditions.
What is Milke Thistle
Did you know that people often consider Milk Thistle a weed? Scientifically known as Silybum Marianum, Milk Thistle is a plant with a thin long stem, spiny leaves, a purplish thistle, reddish or purple flowers, and shiny pale green leaves with white veins.
While Milk Thistle has been used herbally for liver disease for hundreds of years, does it really help? Are there any side effects?
For hundreds of years, Milk Thistle has been used as an herbal way to treat liver and gall-bladder-related illnesses. However, you have to ask – does it really help? What are the side effects of Milk Thistle? Let’s explore a little bit more to understand these important topics.
Why Is Milk Thistle Good For the Fatty Liver?
A lot of recent studies (see references) have shown that Milk Thistle does have beneficial effects on the liver. Silymarin is an antioxidant, anti-fibrotic, and anti-inflammatory protecting the liver against toxins and helping liver cell regeneration.
A study found an improvement in liver enzymes and insulin resistance when patients took a combination of silybin (Milk Thistle), vitamin E, and phospholipid. Milk Thistle is also known to reduce insulin resistance and reduce fasting insulin levels.
There are many more studies linking Milk Thistle with beneficial effects on the fatty liver. In simple words, it lowers ALT and AST numbers (Liver enzymes), reduces insulin resistance, and helps lower fat deposited in the liver.
With almost no side effects and strong scientific evidence, the upside of taking Milk Thistle as a supplement is huge!
I am skeptical of herbal remedies in general. However, the scientific research and the fact that there are almost no known side effects convinced me that Milk Thistle is beneficial and I must take it. At worst – “there is no effect” and at best – “I get liver health benefits to help with my NAFLD”.
Does Taking Milk Thistle Have Any Side Effects?
Generally, within recommended doses, Milk Thistle hasn’t been known to have any side effects. However, per this article on Web MD, excess Milk Thistle intake could cause gas, diarrhea, loss of appetite, headache, or itchiness. In case you have plant-based allergies, Milk Thistle can trigger an allergic reaction too.
As always, everyone is different and Milk Thistle may interact with a drug you may be taking. So I always recommend talking to your doctor before taking any supplements.
What’s the best Milk Thistle Supplement For Fatty Liver?
Your doctor would be the best person to prescribe the best dose for you, I went with gel pills with about 1000mg of Milk Thistle. Milk Thistle Supplements are widely available, and while you can get them from your regular pharmacy, here are a few that I recommend from Amazon (affiliate links):
- Puritan’s Pride Milk Thistle (Best Selling At Amazon, over 26,000 reviews as of writing this)
- Zazzee Organic Milk Thistle
- Nature’s Bounty Milk Thistle
Please note: At no cost to you, I get commissions for purchases you make through links in this article. However, this does not influence the quality or the price of the products I recommend.
In my opinion, you should definitely consider Milk Thistle to help with your NAFLD. However, please make sure you consult your doctor before you start taking Milk Thistle as a supplement.
Verdict: I recommend Milk Thistle as a supplement for Fatty Liver. Go For it!
- Milk Thistle To Treat NAFLD
- Silymarin in Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD)
- Silymarin: An option to treat non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)
- Recent Advances in the Herbal Treatment of Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease
- Does Milk Thistle Help Your Liver?
- Long-term (12 months) treatment with an anti-oxidant drug (silymarin) is effective on hyperinsulinemia, exogenous insulin need, and malondialdehyde levels in cirrhotic diabetic patients