Thread: does milk thistle really work?
10-11-2001, 01:29 PM #1
does milk thistle really work?
i went out and bought myself some and have been taking it since the beginning of my cycle. After reading the article below i am wondering if i am wasting my money.
Claims, Benefits: Protects the liver; treats liver disease.
Bottom Line: It may have potential as a drug, but studies have mostly been brief or flawed. Nobody knows exactly what milk thistle can do.
Full Article, Wellness Letter, December 2000
Ask the Expert
Q: Should I take milk thistle to protect my liver?
L.P., VIA THE INTERNET
A: There's no evidence that milk thistle has any benefits for healthy people. The name of this plant arises from the white markings on the leaves, and its traditional use by nursing mothers to promote lactation (we don't recommend it for that purpose).
A close relative of the artichoke, milk thistle has been used medicinally since ancient times and is today often used in Europe for treating liver diseases, such as cirrhosis and hepatitis. It may have potential as a drug, but studies of milk thistle extract as a treatment for cirrhosis and hepatitis have mostly been brief or flawed.
The chemistry of milk thistle—unlike that of most herbs—is well understood. The seedlike fruit of the plant contains about 100 compounds, including a complex called silymarin, which in turn contains silybin, which acts as an antioxidant and may help block or remove harmful substances from the liver. However, according to Varro Tyler, the well-known expert on herbs, it's difficult for the body to absorb silymarin.
Unlike most herbs, milk thistle can be bought in standardized doses. The problem is that nobody knows exactly what milk thistle can do.
Few side effects have been reported, except for diarrhea, and also sometimes a drop in blood sugar, which may be of concern to people with diabetes. The active ingredient does not dissolve in water, so milk thistle teas are not effective.
UC Berkeley Wellness Letter, December 2000
10-11-2001, 01:52 PM #2
Re: does milk thistle really work?Originally posted by sp33dg33k
A: There's no evidence that milk thistle has any benefits for healthy people.
10-12-2001, 02:26 AM #3
I,d go with Pete on this one normal healthy people it probably would,nt do anything but taking orals do you want to take that chance?
10-12-2001, 02:31 AM #4
I noticed the difference taking it , it does what its supposed to.
But hey don't take it, then throw it in once the liver pain kicks in and you should notice the difference too.
10-13-2001, 10:22 PM #5Retired IRON CHEF Mod
- Join Date
- Dec 1969
Does Milk Thistle work?
Does Milk Thistle work? Let me check...........
Yep, just asked my liver and said that it loves the stuff.
10-15-2001, 04:44 AM #6
LMAO not the sort of reply I would expect of you Tobey!!
10-15-2001, 05:12 AM #7
Re: Re: does milk thistle really work?Originally posted by Pete235
Maybe it does nothing for a healthy individual but reports have shown that it aids in detoxifying the liver when an individual is using a 17AA roid. I'm no expert but I've read enough to believe that it is not just a placebo.
10-15-2001, 05:42 AM #8
This evidence report details a systematic review summarizing clinical studies of milk thistle in humans. The scientific name for milk thistle is Silybum marianum. It is a member of the aster or daisy family and has been used by ancient physicians and herbalists to treat a range of liver and gallbladder diseases and to protect the liver against a variety of poisons.
Two areas are addressed in the report:
1. Effects of milk thistle on liver disease of alcohol, viral, toxin, cholestatic, and primary malignancy etiologies.
2. Clinical adverse effects associated with milk thistle ingestion or contact.
The report was requested by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, a component of the National Institutes of Health, and sponsored by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.
Reporting the Evidence
Specifically, the report addresses 10 questions regarding whether milk thistle supplements (when compared with no supplement, placebo, other oral supplements, or drugs):
Alter the physiologic markers of liver function.
Reduce mortality or morbidity, or improve the quality of life in adults with alcohol-related, toxin-induced, or drug-induced liver disease, viral hepatitis, cholestasis, or primary hepatic malignancy.
One question addresses the constituents of commonly available milk thistle preparations, and three questions address the common and uncommon symptomatic adverse effects of milk thistle.
Eleven electronic databases, including AMED, CISCOM, the Cochrane Library (including DARE and the Cochrane Controlled Trials Registry), EMBASE, MEDLINE, and NAPRALERT, were searched through July 1999 using the following terms:
An update search limited to PubMed was conducted in December 1999. English and non-English citations were identified from these electronic databases, references in pertinent articles and reviews, drug manufacturers, and technical experts.
Preliminary selection criteria regarding efficacy were reports on liver disease and clinical and physiologic outcomes from randomized controlled trials (RCTs) in humans comparing milk thistle with placebo, no milk thistle, or another active agent. Several of these randomized trials had dissimilar numbers of subjects in study arms, raising the question that these were not actually RCTs but cohort studies. In addition, among studies using nonplacebo controls, the type of control varied widely. Therefore, qualitative and quantitative syntheses of data on effectiveness were limited to placebo-controlled studies. For adverse effects, all types of studies in humans were used to assess adverse clinical effects.
Data Collection and Analysis
Abstractors (physicians, methodologists, pharmacists, and a nurse) independently abstracted data from trials; a nurse and physician abstracted data about adverse effects. Data were synthesized descriptively, emphasizing methodologic characteristics of the studies, such as populations enrolled, definitions of selection and outcome criteria, sample sizes, adequacy of randomization process, interventions and comparisons, cointerventions, biases in outcome assessment, and study designs. Evidence tables and graphic summaries, such as funnel plots, Galbraith plots, and forest plots, were used to examine relationships between clinical outcomes, participant characteristics, and methodologic characteristics. Trial outcomes were examined quantitatively in exploratory meta-analyses that used standardized mean differences between mean change scores as the effect size measure.
Mechanisms of Action
Evidence exists that milk thistle may be hepatoprotective through a number of mechanisms: antioxidant activity, toxin blockade at the membrane level, enhanced protein synthesis, antifibriotic activity, and possible anti-inflammatory or immunomodulating effects.
Preparations of Milk Thistle
The largest producer of milk thistle is Madaus (Germany), which makes an extract of concentrated silymarin. However, numerous other extracts exist, and more information is needed on comparability of formulations, standardization, and bioavailability for studies of mechanisms of action and clinical trials.
Benefit of Milk Thistle for Liver Disease
Sixteen prospective trials were identified. Fourteen were randomized, blinded, placebo-controlled studies of milk thistle's effectiveness in a variety of liver diseases. In one additional placebo-controlled trial, blinding or randomization was not clear, and one placebo-controlled study was a cohort study with a placebo comparison group.
Seventeen additional trials used nonplacebo controls; two other trials studied milk thistle as prophylaxis in patients with no known liver disease who were starting potentially hepatotoxic drugs. The identified studies addressed alcohol-related liver disease, toxin-induced liver disease, and viral liver disease. No studies were found that evaluated milk thistle for cholestatic liver disease or primary hepatic malignancy (hepatocellular carcinoma, cholangiocarcinoma).
There were problems in assessing the evidence because of incomplete information about multiple methodologic issues, including etiology and severity of liver disease, study design, subject characteristics, and potential confounders. It is difficult to say if the lack of information reflects poor scientific quality of study methods or poor reporting quality or both.
Detailed data evaluation and syntheses were limited to the 16 placebo-controlled studies. Distribution of durations of therapy across trials was wide (7 days to 2 years), inconsistent, and sometimes not given. Eleven studies used Legalon®, and eight of those used the same dose. Outcome measures varied among studies, as did duration of therapy and the followup for which outcome measures were reported.
Among six studies of milk thistle and chronic alcoholic liver disease, four reported significant improvement in at least one measurement of liver function (i.e., aminotransferases, albumin, and/or malondialdehyde) or histologic findings with milk thistle compared with placebo, but also reported no difference between groups for other outcome measures.
Available data were insufficient to sort six studies into specific etiologic categories; these were grouped as chronic liver disease of mixed etiologies. In three of the six studies that reported multiple outcome measures, at least one outcome measure improved significantly with milk thistle compared with placebo, but there were no differences between milk thistle and placebo for one or more of the other outcome measures in each study. Two studies indicated a possible survival benefit.
Three placebo-controlled studies evaluated milk thistle for viral hepatitis. The one acute viral hepatitis study reported latest outcome measures at 28 days and showed significant improvement in aspartate aminotransferase and bilirubin. The two studies of chronic viral hepatitis differed markedly in duration of therapy (7 days and 1 year). The shorter study showed improvement in aminotransferases for milk thistle compared with placebo but not other laboratory measures. In the longer study, milk thistle was associated with a nonsignificant trend toward histologic improvement, the only outcome measure reported.
Two trials included patients with alcoholic or nonalcoholic cirrhosis. The milk thistle arms showed a trend toward improved survival in one trial and significantly improved survival for subgroups with alcoholic cirrhosis or Child's Group A severity. The second study reported no significant improvement in laboratory measures and survival for other clinical subgroups, but no data were given.
Two trials specifically studied patients with alcoholic cirrhosis. Duration of therapy was unclear in the first, which reported no improvement in laboratory measures of liver function, hepatomegaly, jaundice, ascites, or survival. However, there were nonsignificant trends favoring milk thistle in incidence of encephalopathy and gastrointestinal bleeding and in survival for subjects with concomitant hepatitis C. The second study, after treatment for 30 days, reported significant improvements in aminotransferases but not bilirubin for milk thistle compared with placebo.
Three trials evaluated milk thistle in the setting of hepatotoxic drugs: one for therapeutic use and two for prophylaxis with milk thistle. Results were mixed among the three trials.
Exploratory meta-analyses generally showed positive but small and nonsignificant effect sizes and a sprinkling of significant positive effects.
No studies were identified regarding milk thistle and cholestatic liver disease or primary hepatic malignancy.
Available evidence does not establish whether effectiveness of milk thistle varies across preparations. One Phase II trial suggested that effectiveness may vary with dose of milk thistle.
Hope it helps a little but even so based on this would you want to chance it??
10-17-2001, 08:26 AM #9
Sup Billy and guys. Ive been reading this board for a couple of weeks and decided to post today. Good information, I think I would be here for a while. Hope I can make some good friends here.
I think that u forgot this part of the study:
Clinical efficacy of milk thistle is not clearly established. Interpretation of the evidence is hampered by poor study methods and/or poor quality of reporting in publications. Problems in study design include heterogeneity in etiology and extent of liver disease, small sample sizes, and variation in formulation, dosing, and duration of milk thistle therapy. Possible benefit has been shown most frequently, but not consistently, for improvement in aminotransferases and liver function tests are overwhelmingly the most common outcome measure studied. Survival and other clinical outcome measures have been studied least often, with both positive and negative findings. Available evidence is not sufficient to suggest whether milk thistle may be more effective for some liver diseases than others or if effectiveness might be related to duration of therapy or chronicity and severity of liver disease. Regarding adverse effects, little evidence is available regarding causality, but available evidence does suggest that milk thistle is associated with few, and generally minor, adverse effects.
Despite substantial in vitro and animal research, the mechanism of action of milk thistle is not fully defined and may be multifactorial. A systematic review of this evidence to clarify what is known and identify gaps in knowledge would be important to guide design of future studies of the mechanisms of milk thistle and clinical trials.
10-17-2001, 09:16 AM #10
Welcome bro and thanks I forgot to post that bit as you are only allowed to post 10,000 words!!!!
Nice to see someone else nicking stuff
10-17-2001, 09:21 AM #11
hehe. No problem Billy.
10-17-2001, 09:45 AM #12
Whoo dudes awsome...From my "Prescription for nutriional healing" book. (pretty short & simple here)
For all liver disorders such as jaundice and hepatitiis. Contains some of the most potent liver protecting substances know. Prevents free radical dage by acting as an antioxidant, protecting the liver. Stimulates the production of new liver cells and prevents formation of damaging leukotrienes. Also protects the kidneys and is beneficial to those with psoriasis.
10-17-2001, 01:10 PM #13
Hey guys, any of you had experience with Liv-52? I can find some studies for u guys.
10-18-2001, 09:35 AM #14
10-18-2001, 01:00 PM #15
Here they are:
BTW, this supplement IS PROVEN to work effectively. I havent see this types of studies regarding Milk Thristle. They are only in the thoughts of some scientists nut NO concrete data.
10-19-2001, 12:20 AM #16
Billy, you definitely hold the record for the most words posted on this board. Screw the "Top 15 Posters" list, I wanna see a "Most Words" ranking!
10-19-2001, 01:58 AM #17
Do you think I could win the cheap plastic trophy for it? LOL
10-19-2001, 05:55 AM #18
BB hows this for your trophy. I'll have it mounted and sent ASAP!
10-19-2001, 06:28 AM #19
Why thankyou kind Sir !!
Where did you find that old picture of me?
10-19-2001, 07:10 AM #20
I had one of my intelligence officers take it from your crib last week. And I understand you look better now! Nice pecs Bro.
11-05-2001, 03:43 PM #21
I think it's worth the money. Maybe it doesn't work, but what the h-ck, 15 dollars a cycle more or less is worth it, that's my opinion.
11-26-2001, 07:07 PM #22
USE IT MAN
Even if you're not using gear Milk thistle always works.
It helps your liver to properly function, you could be perfectly healthy and it will still help you.
If you got some more Q about liver PM me
12-03-2004, 03:47 PM #23
12-03-2004, 03:57 PM #24
woah this thread is back from the dead
12-03-2004, 04:09 PM #25
good to bring the past, back it keeps repeating it's self..nice to see your still here!!!!
Last edited by syncere; 12-03-2004 at 04:11 PM.
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