If you’re into healthy living and supplements, you’re probably already familiar with milk thistle. Plenty of people rely on milk thistle capsules and extracts for potential health benefits ranging from digestive support to helping maintain healthy-looking skin. But what is the best milk thistle for you?
The answer to that question depends on what you’re looking for. When choosing a supplement, extract, tea or other home remedy product, it’s important to start by identifying your own health goals. For that reason, it’s helpful to know more about the potential health benefits of milk thistle.
Like many other supplements, using milk thistle isn’t a new fad. The milk thistle plant is native to the Mediterranean region where it has been used in home remedies for more than 2,000 years. Historically, milk thistle was used as an herbal remedy for several ailments, and plenty of modern medical studies can back up its potential health benefits. While all parts of the plant that grow above ground are repurposed for medicinal uses, milk thistle seeds are most commonly used in supplements and extracts. Some experts believe milk thistle works by drawing toxins out of the body that could otherwise lead to health issues that affect the kidneys, liver, gallbladder and the skin.
Potential Milk Thistle Benefits
While there are several reasons to use milk thistle, it’s most well-known for the potential benefits it can provide to the liver. The liver is one of the largest organs in the body, and it performs a number of essential functions, such as converting the food we eat into nutrients that our bodies can use. It also stores these substances and supplies them to our cells as needed. On top of that, the liver is essential for removing toxins from the body by converting them to harmless substances and making sure they are released.
As you can imagine, liver damage or low liver function could have a serious impact on your health. Fortunately, milk thistle is believed to help treat support a variety of liver function. For example, milk thistle may help to maintain liver cell health when exposed to acetaminophen, radiation, excess iron, and alcohol use. According to a study in Phytotherapy Research, it has also been used “to treat alcoholic liver disease, acute and chronic viral hepatitis and toxin-induced liver diseases.”
Milk thistle also offers potential heart health benefits by helping to maintain cholesterol levels already in a normal range. Another preliminary study published in Phytotherapy Research found that silymarin milk thistle extract may improve total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (also known as “bad” cholesterol) and triglycerides levels when used with other traditional treatment methods.
For people with diabetes or those struggling with glycemic control, silymarin, the main chemical found in milk thistle, could offer some help. One study conducted by the Department of Pharmacology at the Institute of Medicinal Plants indicates that silymarin may help maintain fasting blood glucose and insulin levels already in a normal range.
As you can see, milk thistle offers plenty of potential health benefits. However, some people use it simply because it is believed to have some properties that promote healthy-looking skin. It’s possible that milk thistle can support healthy skin by lowering the chances of dark spots, discoloration, wrinkles, and fine lines.
How to Choose the Best Milk Thistle
So you’re ready to try a milk thistle supplement? We know it can be tough to find the best one out there. Natural Healthy Concepts offers dozens of milk thistle supplements and extracts that may help you achieve your health goals. If you are seeking potential health benefits, be sure to talk to your doctor about the best dose and product for your health.
If you already use milk thistle, we’d love to hear more about your experiences! What products do you prefer? Share your thoughts in the comments below.