Sunday, 6 January 2013

Milk Thistle and Liver Cancer

Milk thistle, a prickly composite herb that is native to the Mediterranean region, has been used medicinally for over 2,000 years, primarily as a treatment for liver and gallbladder disorders. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, several animal studies support the possibility that milk thistle has anti-proliferative effects against liver cancer, but results from human trials have been mixed. If you have liver cancer, consult with your doctor before using milk thistle supplements.

In vitro and animal studies have shown that the medicinal ingredient found in milk thistle may help treat liver cancer, according to the University of Minnesota. Phytochemicals silymarin and silybin in milk thistle protect against hepatotoxicity caused by toxic chemicals, thus protecting liver cells. This suggests that milk thistle has the capacity to prevent cancer or other kinds of injury from toxic chemicals.

Milk thistle shows promise in protecting the liver from oxidative stress and inflammation. Oxidative stress occurs when the balance between reactive oxygen species, or ROS, production and scavenging is disrupted. From literatures, it is appear that there is a general concept that chronic oxidative stress can lead to chronic inflammation, which in turn could mediate chronic diseases such as cancer, say Wilkes University professors.

There is one case report of an individual with hepatocellular carcinoma. The patient began taking 450 mg of silymarin per day. With this regime the patient was much better with a significant reduction in tumor size and had no symptoms including upper abdominal pain, nausea and loss of appetite. The same dose was continued further and the patient remained well in the absence of initiation of anti-cancer therapy.

Milk thistle may have anti-cancer effects, but it has not been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Milk thistle may contain substances that can trigger side effects and interact with other herbs, supplements and medications. Talk to your doctor before you decide to use milk thistle or any other supplements. This is particularly important for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.


Shaklee DTX Complex contains a proprietary blend of extracts, containing milk thistle, schizandra, dendalion, reishi mushroom, tumeric and artichoke.
Traditionally used as a liver tonic.*
No artificial flavours, sweeteners, colours, or preservatives added.
* This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any diseases.

Jun 5, 2011 | By Henry Pitot

University of Maryland Medical Center; Milk Thistle; March 2009
University of Minnesota; Masonic Cancer Center: Milk Thistle; June 18, 2010
Wilkes University; Medical Attributes of Silybum Marianum - Milk Thistle; Amanda Gryskewicz, et al.; July 2007
Article reviewed by Tad Cronn Last updated on: Jun 5, 2011
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