Why is milk thistle bad for you

When the liver groans ... the milk thistle as a herbal helper

Free from the liver - what does it actually do?

At around 1.4 to 1.8 kg, the liver is the central metabolic organ in humans and at the same time the largest gland in our body. The size of the organ gives an indication of the variety of tasks performed by the liver.

Almost all nutrients that are absorbed through the digestive tract first reach the liver via the portal vein and are used by the liver. In addition, the liver takes care of the formation of bile, the production of vital proteins and antibodies as well as the storage of vitamins, glucose, fat and other metabolic products.

At the same time, the liver is also our body's detoxification center. Harmful substances are broken down by the liver or converted into substances that can easily be excreted in the urine. For example, the liver is responsible for ammonia detoxification: Ammonia is produced when amino acids are broken down by the body. The liver ensures that the ammonia is converted into urea, which is then excreted in the urine.

Stresses on the liver - alcohol, food, drugs, diseases

Alcohol is also broken down almost exclusively through the liver. Only about 10% of the alcohol consumed is excreted unchanged via the kidneys, lungs and skin. Especially at New Year's it can happen that the liver is briefly confronted with higher amounts of alcohol than it can break down.

Since alcohol (chemically: ethanol) is a cell poison, it is converted as quickly as possible by the liver into acetaldehyde and then into acetic acid. If the harmful acetaldehyde is not converted quickly enough due to the amount of alcohol, the well-known "hangover" occurs. An interesting detail is that the pain receptors in the walls of the blood vessels are stimulated - which is known to be painful.

Alcohol is not the only thing that can severely affect the liver. Fatty foods, nicotine, medication, pollutants from the environment and viruses can also pollute them.

The liver is the detoxification center of our body - liver protection is particularly important during festive times

The liver renews itself - as long as it can

Compared to other organs, the liver has a particularly strong ability to regenerate. Will the Liver cells damaged by injuries or pollutants, they can formed again become. The prerequisite for this is that the trigger for the damage has been removed and that more than 50% of the functional liver tissue is still present. However, physical complaints and impaired liver function can occur during long-term exercise.

Damage to the liver is not easy to prove. There are no nerve cells inside the liver, so pain is rarely felt in liver diseases and symptoms are not recognized for a long time. Liver problems are primarily expressed by pronounced tiredness and an increase in liver enzyme values ​​in the blood serum. A doctor should therefore be consulted at the first suspicion of liver damage.

Widespread disease fatty liver

Fatty liver is one of the most common and well-known liver diseases. This is a storage of fat (mainly in the form of triglycerides) in the liver. It occurs when there is an imbalance in the energy metabolism. If more energy is supplied through food than is consumed by the body (e.g. through exercise and sport), the excess energy is stored as fat.

Alcohol is a common trigger for fatty liver. But genetic factors and nutritional errors also play a role here. In medicine, a distinction is made between two forms:

  • Alcoholic fatty liver disease (AFLD): liver disease caused by alcohol damage
  • Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD): Liver disease that occurs as a result of nutritional deficiencies.

Major cause of the Non-alcoholic fatty liver are too high an energy intake with too little exercise, diabetes and high blood lipid levels. Special carbohydratessuch as table sugar (sucrose) and fruit sugar (fructose) have a major impact on the liver. Many foods such as muesli, yoghurt and ready-to-eat meals are sweetened with glucose-fructose syrup, which has a much higher sweetening power than table sugar and is easier to process in liquid form. Consuming these foods alone leads to increased sugar consumption - without even having consumed a sweet.

As the first Indications of the disease Fatigue and exhaustion also apply here. As a result, it can lead to inflammation of the fatty liver (steatohepatitis) and in the terminal stage also to Cirrhosis of the liver come.

In cirrhosis of the liver, liver cells die due to chronic overload and are replaced by non-functional scar tissue (connective tissue). These cells can no longer regenerate. The liver shrinks and its surface becomes knotty and wrinkled.

Milk thistle - purely vegetable liver regeneration

In order to promote the function and regeneration of a stressed or damaged liver, the intake of milk thistle has proven itself.

The milk thistle (Silybum marianum) is considered the medicinal plant of the liver. It was already known in antiquity and has been used for liver diseases since the middle of the 18th century. The dried fruits of the milk thistle are used medicinally. In the past, milk thistle herb was also used for preparations, but no clear therapeutic benefit could be determined for the herb.

The milk thistle - prophylaxis for liver function and aid for liver regeneration


Silymarin - the liver protection factor

Silymarin is responsible for the positive properties of milk thistle. Silymarin is a natural mixture of different flavonolignans (plant substances):

Silibinin, Isosilibinin, Silychristin and Silydianin.

Milk thistle fruits naturally contain between 1.5 and 3% silymarin and an average of 30% fatty oil.

Diverse active profile of milk thistle

In the last 40 years, the effects of milk thistle have been investigated in numerous clinical studies and scientifically proven. The active ingredient complex silymarin protects the liver from harmful substances (anti-hepatotoxic effect) and promotes its regeneration.

This effect unfolds in several ways:

  • Stabilization of the liver cells: Silymarin changes the outer shell (cell membrane) of the liver cells and thus makes it more difficult for pollutants to penetrate the inside of the cell.
  • Antioxidant properties (Catching cell-damaging free radicals): As a cell-protecting antioxidant, Silymarin reduces the production of free radicals and the peroxidation of lipids (= cell-damaging breakdown of fats), which are often caused by alcohol or medication.
  • Stimulation of liver regeneration: Silymarin increases protein production and in this way stimulates the formation of new liver cells. At the same time, the repair of damaged liver tissue is promoted.
  • Anti-inflammatory: Silymarin also has an anti-inflammatory component that prevents additional liver damage from inflammatory factors.

It has been proven that milk thistle is as effective in prevention as it is in therapeutic use. Milk thistle fruits are therefore also ideal for detoxification cures, for example during fasting or after excessive consumption during the holidays. “Detoxification cures” over several weeks to months are recommended.

Application forms of milk thistle

Milk thistle extracts with standardized silymarin content are used as herbal medicinal products to support the treatment of liver problems and to improve liver function. The recommended dosage is on average between 200 and 420 mg of silymarin per day. For example, it is suitable as an optimally dosed herbal medicine for the liver Dr. Bohm® Milk thistle 140 mg capsules with a total of 420 mg silymarin per daily dose (divided into 3 capsules).

Also Teas from milk thistle fruits are taken occasionally. Because of the bland and oily taste, tea preparations made from milk thistle fruits are often combined with other plants such as fennel. However, since silymarin is poorly soluble in water, tea preparations are not suitable for use in the case of liver problems. However, they can be used for the relief of mild indigestion.

In the homeopathy Milk thistle is also used for the liver and gall bladder. Here, potentiations from D1 to D6 are mostly used to stimulate the self-healing powers in the case of liver problems.

Milk thistle products are generally very well tolerated and have practically no side effects, even in high doses.

Note: The milk thistle is a daisy family and must therefore not be used in the case of a daisy family allergy.