Milk thistle (Silybum marianum) has been used traditionally to support liver health for over 2,000 years and modern medical research has confirmed its benefits.
The National Institutes of Health published an analysis of results concerning 16 placebo-controlled clinical trials on Milk Thistle Seed Extract. They concluded that milk thistle may help to protect the liver through several complimentary mechanisms, which include:
- Antioxidant activity
- Enhanced protein synthesis
- Toxin blockade at the membrane level, thus inhibiting membrane peroxidation
The beneficial compounds in milk thistle are a group of flavonoids called silymarins that have antioxidant properties several times greater than that of vitamins C and E. Of all the silymarins, silybin has been shown to be the most effective in promoting liver health.
What to Look for in a Milk Thistle Supplement
Because its benefits are well known, milk thistle supplements are widely available. Unfortunately, not all milk thistle supplements are created equal. In fact, when independently tested for potency by Consumerlab.com, 70% of the milk thistle supplements tested for silymarins were found to be subpotent, delivering as low as 47% of the amount claimed on the label!
Purity can also be an issue as any herbal product can be exposed to contaminants in the soil, through farming, and in extracting the active plant compounds. High quality milk thistle supplements should be thoroughly tested for a range of natural and man-made contaminants such as pesticides, herbicides and fungicides used in farming and solvent residue. Some solvents such as methanol, 1,2 dichloroethane and others are known carcinogens. Purity testing should also include screening for heavy metals, such as lead and biological toxins, including bacteria and mycotoxins (toxic by-products of fungi, such as aflatoxin, which is extremely toxic to the liver).
About CNCA Milk Thistle Pro
At CNCA, we use superior quality ingredients and rigorous quality testing to ensure an ultra-pure and potent milk thistle supplement that delivers:
- Authenticity: Every lot is tested by a third party using thin layer chromatography (TLC) to prove the identity of authentic milk thistle seed extract.
- Potency: Each lot is assayed for total amounts of silymarins as well as specific types of silymarins, such as silybin. CNCA guarantees 60% silybin content.
- Purity: Every lot is extensively tested for heavy metals, fungicides, pesticides, herbicides, residual solvents, bacteria, yeasts, molds and mycotoxins (aflatoxins).
- Value: CNCA Milk Thistle Pro contains up to 40 times more silymarins than other brands.
Learn more about the importance of liver health here.
Milk thistle should not be used by pregnant or breastfeeding women. As with any dietary supplement, discuss its use with your healthcare practitioner, especially if you have an existing medical condition or are taking prescription drugs.
University of Maryland Medical Center