ilk thistle is one of the oldest known herbal plant that is indigenous to Europe but can also be found in the United States, South America and round the world.
Silymarin is a plant-derived bio-flavonoid complex which is extracted from the fruits and seeds of Milk Thistle plant (Scientific name: Silybum marianum) that belongs to the family Asteraceae. The mixture of flavanolignans comprise of silibinin, isosilibinin, silichristin, silidianin. Silymarin is responsible for most of the health benefits provided by milk thistle.
Silymarin although is found in the entire plant, it is concentrated particularly in the fruit and seeds. The fruit and seeds of the milk thistle plant have been used for more than 2000 years as a remedy for liver and biliary disorders.
The commercial supplements of milk thistle contain 60%-80% silymarin extract which contain mixture of flavonoids. This percentage represents the dry weight of the extract, the percentage of the supplement containing silymarin.
Milk thistle is basically lipophilic in nature and is usually administered in capsule form rather than as milk thistle.
BRIEFING ON THE MILK THISTLE PLANT
Milk Thistle derives its name from the milky white sap it produces when crushed, it has large, alternate leaves that are waxy-lobed, toothed and thorny, as in the general of a thistle. The lower leaves are attached to the stem without petiole and the upper leaves have a clasping base. They have large, disc-shaped pink-to-purple, solitary flower heads at the end of the stem. Apart from the commonly called milk thistle, Silymarin is also known by other names, Mary thistle, Mediterranean milk thistle, Scotch thistle, Holy thistle and other names.
ZENITH NUTRITION SILYMARIN MILK THISTLE
Zenith Nutrition Silymarin Milk Thistle is a vegetarian dietary supplement standardized to contain 80% Silymarin. The supplement provides vegetarian, easy to swallow capsules which do not contain sugar, preservatives, corn, soy, dairy, yeast, gluten or any additives.
HOW TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT SILYMARIN SUPPLEMENT?
The best quality supplement should offer 250mg-400mg milk thistle extract per capsule and should be labelled as standardized to contain 80% silymarin. The higher concentration of milk thistle can help with bioavailability and absorption meaning more effectiveness. High-quality milk thistle capsules should be completely free of gluten, wheat, milk, peanuts, tree nuts, soy, fish, artificial colours, flavours and preservatives.
DOES SILYMARIN PRODUCE ANY SIDE EFFECTS?
Silymarin has been shown to possess a good safety profile. Silymarin milk thistle is a well-tolerated supplement which is free of significant side-effects. It has no significant interactions with drugs. At high doses, Silymarin may cause gastrointestinal distress, a laxative effect due to increased bile secretion and bile flow.
Pregnant, diabetic and nursing women are suggested to consult a physician before embarking on supplementation.
DOES LONG TERM SUPPLEMENTATION CAUSE ANY SIDE EFFECTS?
Just like with most herbal supplements, the impact of long term supplementation has not been studied with regards to milk thistle; however, it is considered to be a safe herb for supplementation.
WHEN CAN WE EXPECT RESULTS OF SUPPLEMENTATION?
To get the desired, noticeable results, milk thistle needs to be taken daily for a minimum of one month.
1. SUPPORTS LIVER HEALTH
Milk thistle is so incredible in protecting the liver from damage. It is considered one of the safest and well-tolerated herbs for improving liver health. Silymarin helps detoxify the liver, the key organ for metabolism and excretion and contains powerful antioxidants that fight free radicals and prevent damage caused to the liver. The liver is constantly exposed to toxins, as a single most important detoxifying organ, the liver needs nutritional support to keep them functioning at optimal levels.
> Silymarin binds to the outside of liver cells when the toxins enter the body, it fends them off by blocking entry into the liver cell.
> It neutralizes the toxins that have gained entry into the cell by converting them into water-soluble forms which can be excreted from the body.
> Silymarin revamps the liver regeneration process by stimulating the production of healthy new liver cells.
> Silymarin repairs any previously caused damage to the liver returning them to a functional, healthy state and it provides a good defense against any future damage.
> By aiding in liver detoxification, silymarin assists in natural blood purification.
> Silymarin restores the glutathione levels in the liver, which is the master antioxidant and plays a myriad of roles in the body.
> Silymarin can prevent and normalize alcohol-damage in the liver and improve liver health.
2. SUPER ANTIOXIDANT
Silymarin’s antioxidant activity is believed to be more potent than that of vitamin E. It protects the mitochondria from pathological events by triggering pro-survival cell signalling.
Silymarin can contribute to antioxidant defenses in different ways:
> By direct scavenging free radicals.
> By increasing the body’s production of glutathione, which may be hindered by alcohol consumption, toxins or certain health ailments.
> By decreasing electron leakage and ROS formation, it reduces activities of ROS producing enzymes in the mitochondria.
> By maintaining optimum redox balance of the cell.
> By decreasing inflammatory responses by inhibiting NF-kB pathways, thereby protecting liver toxicity and other diseases.
> By activating vitagenes which play a key role in the conferring protection against oxidative stress.
> By inhibiting the chemical mediators in the body that cause inflammation, thus reducing damage caused to cells by inflammatory conditions.
3. BOOSTS SKIN HEALTH
The oxidative stress involving the generation of free radicals and depletion of antioxidant machinery are important factors which attribute to skin problems. Silymarin’s antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and detoxifying properties lends to skin-purifying benefits and makes it particularly beneficial to those prone to acne, harmful effects of UV radiation and oxidative stress.
The aging of the skin is a complex progressive process leading to functional and aesthetic changes in skin tissue due to the effects of various intrinsic (genetic) and extrinsic (environmental) factors. While the commercial available anti-aging formulas and acne products are harsh on the skin and may cause further harm to the skin, milk thistle is a herb that is gentle enough on the skin.
The anti-inflammatory properties of milk thistle help soothe inflamed skin and calm redness that occurs during an acne breakout. Regular use of milk thistle may reduce the appearance of age spots, minimize fine lines and wrinkles and result in an improved complexion.
4. SUPPORTS HEALTHY DIGESTION
Milk thistle has held a long term reputation as a herbal supplement to support healthy digestion. Silymarin is a versatile supplement which provides health benefits interlinked to one another. By boosting the liver’s ability to produce bile (which is essential for the absorption of lipids, fat-soluble vitamins), silymarin improves the efficiency of digestion. Healthy digestion means, you can break down and metabolise the food you consume efficiently.
Getting overboard with fatty or carbohydrate-rich foods increase your liver’s workload which can leave you sluggish, tired or constipated.
Improper or hindered bile flow may cause you to face bloating feeling in the stomach, uncomfortable feelings of fullness after a meal, inability to finish a normal-sized meal due to feeling of fullness. Such kind of feelings is particularly true among those who smoke, drink alcohol, or overweight people. Milk thistle benefits extend to healthy bowel movements.
5. PROMOTES HEALTHY WEIGHT LOSS
While the modern-day lifestyle is overwhelming to the liver with pollutants and toxins, the liver is directly targeted and is made to work harder. Milk thistle may not be a solitary supplement for weight loss, yet may complement an effective weight loss diet plan. The silymarin extract loaded with health-promoting antioxidants, gives your digestive system a boost, jumpstarts your metabolism, which may affect weight loss.
By boosting liver cleansing and detox benefits, silymarin helps to digest food more efficiently which may support body composition goals.
It helps keep glucose levels more stabilized and allows the body to burn calories at a steady pace.
By reducing your blood sugar, silymarin can delay hunger and reduce calorie intake.