Milk Thistle Is A True Power Plant For Liver Health – InVite Health Podcast, Episode 299
Invite Health Podcast, Episode hosted by Amanda Williams, MPH
The liver is a very important organ and it is critical to nearly all biological functions in the body. There is a high rate of chemical reactions that make the liver uniquely susceptible to chemical stresses and inflammation, as well as loss of energy balance and function, which can lead to a number of progressive liver disorders and diseases. None are more important than when we look at non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
The risk of liver-related death
This is very very important because when we realize that over the course of the last 15 years, liver-related deaths have jumped 65% in this country. When we look at mortality due to cirrhosis and liver cancer in the United States between the years of 1999 and 2006, it has gone up more than 65%. That is incredibly scary. We can look at a lot of different factors in terms of why the rate has gone up so high and so fast. Certainly diet plays a very big role into this when you look at the rate of metabolic syndrome in this country, which is a perfect example as to why this has become such a major problem.†
We used to always think that the main threat was alcohol and alcoholic cirrhosis of the liver. Then, of course we know about the different viruses that target the liver such as hepatitis, but we don’t often think about the foods that we’re eating and how detrimental those can be. We also have to look at other things because the liver is our detoxifying organ. We have to look at air pollution, toxins from what we put on our skin and toxins from what we put on our foods. This is why we have to take care of our liver as we get older. This is something that we don’t want to wait until something goes haywire and then decide to act.†
Obesity and that excess body weight can also contribute to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. 40% of adults are clinically obese in this country and that’s a major problem.
Learn more about various factors that can negatively impact your liver health by tuning into the full podcast episode.
Milk thistle for liver health
So what should we be doing that would be beneficial for us? First, we want to make sure that we have a healthy lifestyle. We want to make sure that we have foods that have powerful antioxidants that can help the liver cells called hepatocytes be able to do what we need them to do and go through all those different phases of detoxification. Many people have probably heard of milk thistle. Milk thistle contains several natural compounds that have been shown to have the ability to basically defend the liver from injury. These compounds work by multiple different mechanisms in terms of enhancing liver function and leading to liver protection.†
When we think about milk thistle, I want us to look at some of the clinical science behind it. We know that milk thistle and its constituent silymarin in particular are very powerful ways in which the liver can utilize that as kind of a scrubber. It goes through and helps scrub out those bloated-up hepatocytes. Milk thistle itself contains all of these different compounds. It has really powerful antioxidants in it and these powerful phytochemicals including things such as silibinin and silymarin. It is these two constituents that really yield an enormous amount of antioxidant capabilities, which are important to fend off oxidative stress within the liver.†
Tune into the full podcast episode to hear about studies discussing the benefits of milk thistle, silibinin and silymarin for the liver.
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