benefits of milk thistle for weight loss

Benefits Of Milk Thistle For Weight Loss & Usage Guide

Milk thistle is a flowering plant used for its medicinal properties for thousands of years. It is native to the Mediterranean region and has been traditionally used to improve liver and gallbladder disorders.

In recent years, milk thistle has gained popularity for its potential benefits in weight loss. This guide will explore the benefits of milk thistle for weight loss and provide a comprehensive usage guide for this powerful herb.

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Does Milk Thistle Help With Weight Loss?

milk thistle may help with weight loss

Silibinin is a flavonolignan compound that is a principal active constituent of milk thistle (Silybum marianum). Silibinin therapy demonstrated remarkable efficacy in mitigating adipose tissue inflammation and adipocyte hypertrophy.

Furthermore, it effectively halted the progression of weight gain and the development of obesity without significantly influencing food intake rates. This mechanism may contribute to the benefits of Milk Thistle for weight loss[1]

Notably, silibinin exhibited the capacity to reverse fatty liver disease and restore glucose homeostasis in subjects taken care of. Moreover, it successfully ameliorated hyperglycemia, hyperinsulinemia (insulin plays a significant role in regulating body weight), and hypertriglyceridemia.[1]

Benefits Of Milk Thistle For Weight Loss

Assists In Managing Cravings

Some supporters suggest that milk thistle's impact on blood sugar regulation could help control cravings. Stable blood sugar levels can contribute to a consistent energy supply and decreased feelings of hunger and cravings.

As cravings often lead to overeating, their management is a crucial aspect of successful weight loss.

Enhances Digestion

The liver plays a crucial role in digestion by producing bile, a substance that aids in the breakdown of fats. Some proponents of Milk thistle suggest that its liver-protective properties indirectly contribute to improved digestion and, by extension, weight management.

Improved digestion may contribute to overall well-being and metabolism. A healthy digestive system might help the body efficiently absorb and utilize nutrients, potentially influencing weight management.

Eliminates Body Fat

Advocates suggest that milk thistle's hepatoprotective properties could support liver health by preventing damage to existing cells.

This is due to its active compound, silymarin, which has potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It has been proposed that silymarin may help break down and eliminate fats from the body, thus potentially aiding in overall liver function and health.

Minimizes Bloating

milk thistle may help to minimize bloating

Bloating can result from various factors, including digestive issues, water retention, and gastrointestinal discomfort.

Some proponents of Milk thistle suggest that its liver-protective properties indirectly contribute to improved digestion, which could help reduce bloating.

However, the evidence in this area could be more robust, and more research is needed to establish a clear link between milk thistle and bloating reduction. Reducing bloating can help flatten your stomach and bring a feeling of lightness to your body.

How Does Milk Thistle Help With Weight Loss?

mechanism of milk thistle for weight loss

The mechanisms of how milk thistle helps with weight loss in some potential pathways:

Improved insulin sensitivity: The benefits of Milk thistle for weight loss may rely on enhancing the body's ability to utilize insulin, potentially leading to better blood sugar control.

This could contribute to weight management by preventing blood sugar spikes that encourage fat storage and promoting fat burning for energy.[4]

Anti-inflammatory properties: Chronic inflammation linked to obesity and metabolic syndrome can hinder weight loss efforts.

Milk thistle's anti-inflammatory properties offer some benefits by reducing this inflammation and creating a more favorable environment for weight management.[5]

Liver health: The liver plays a crucial role in metabolism and detoxification. Milk thistle's liver-protective properties could contribute to weight management by supporting these processes.

A healthy liver can more effectively metabolize fats and eliminate toxins that can contribute to weight gain.[5]

Appetite modulation: Milk thistle might have appetite-suppressing effects, potentially leading to reduced calorie intake and weight loss.

How To Take Milk Thistle For Weight Loss?

Form

Milk thistle comes in various forms, including capsules, tablets, extracts, and teas. Capsules and tablets are often the most convenient options, while extracts and teas may offer higher concentrations of silymarin. You can select the format that best suits your needs and is suitable for you to ensure optimal efficiency.

Timing

With or Without Food: Milk thistle supplements are generally well-tolerated and can be taken with or without food. However, some people may prefer taking them with meals to minimize any potential stomach upset.

Concentration of Silymarin

Milk thistle supplements often indicate the concentration of silymarin, the active compound. Look for products with a standardized amount of silymarin, commonly around 70-80%.

Duration of Use

Short-Term or Long-Term: The duration of use can vary. Some people may take Milk thistle for a specific period, while others incorporate it into their routine for more extended periods.

Based on the individual's financial situation and weight loss needs, determine whether short or long-term use is suitable. Consider short-term use if aiming to save money while using milk thistle for weight loss.

Conversely, if incorporating milk thistle into your daily routine and maintaining it as a habit is the goal, long-term use may be considered.

However, let's consult with a healthcare professional for guidance on the duration suitable for your situation.

How Much Milk Thistle For Weight Loss?

milk thistle dosage should take for weight loss

One study noted significant improvement after just 8 weeks of using milk thistle extract in obese patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.[2]

The study used 420 mg/day and divided it into 3 smaller doses for participants.[3] Not only did liver health improve significantly, but subjects did not report any significant side effects.[2]

Although the benefits of Milk thistle for weight loss in this dosage range are considered effective and safe, it is essential to carefully review the product's instructions for use or consult your doctor before deciding how much milk thistle is for weight loss, liver improvement, and overall health.

FAQs

Does Milk Thistle Help Liver Fat?

Silymarin has the potential to alleviate inflammation and facilitate cellular repair, which in turn may help relieve symptoms associated with liver diseases such as jaundice, cirrhosis, liver cancer, and fatty liver disease.[5]

Can Milk Thistle Cause Loss Of Appetite?

Milk thistle extract is generally considered safe for most individuals when consumed orally. However, in some cases, it may lead to side effects such as diarrhea, nausea, intestinal gas, feelings of fullness, loss of appetite, and possibly headaches.

Can Milk Thistle Cause Weight Gain?

While the scientific evidence regarding the connection between milk thistle and weight management is limited, it generally indicates that it may assist in weight loss rather than weight gain, as previously mentioned.

Conclusion

With its active compound Silymarin, Milk thistle may aid weight loss through liver detoxification, metabolism of fats, and appetite suppression. As the above testimonials suggest, milk thistle may also have beneficial effects on cholesterol levels, and it could aid in managing conditions like diabetes and fatty liver disease.

Suppose you're considering milk thistle for weight loss. In that case, it's advisable to consult with a healthcare professional to determine an appropriate regimen and milk thistle dosage for weight loss and to ensure it aligns with your health condition.

References

[1] Alsaggar, Mohammad, et al. “Silibinin Attenuates Adipose Tissue Inflammation and Reverses Obesity and Its Complications in Diet-Induced Obesity Model in Mice.” BMC Pharmacology and Toxicology, vol. 21, no. 1, 23 Jan. 2020, https://doi.org/10.1186/s40360-020-0385-8. Accessed 21 Sept. 2022.
[2] Mirhashemi, Seyed Hadi, et al. “Effect of 8 Weeks Milk Thistle Powder (Silymarin Extract) Supplementation on Fatty Liver Disease in Patients Candidates for Bariatric Surgery.” Metabolism Open, vol. 14, June 2022, p. 100190, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.metop.2022.100190.
[3] “Milk Thistle Uses, Benefits & Dosage - Drugs.com Herbal Database.” Drugs.com, www.drugs.com/npp/milk-thistle.html
[4] MacDonald-Ramos, K., Layla Michán Aguirre, Martínez-Ibarra, A., & Cerbón, M. (2021). Silymarin is an ally against insulin resistance: A review. Annals of Hepatology, 23, 100255–100255. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.aohep.2020.08.072
[5] Bhattacharya, Sanjib. “Phytotherapeutic Properties of Milk Thistle Seeds: An Overview.” Journal of Advanced Pharmacy Education & Research, vol. 1, 2011, pp. 69–79, www.speronline.com/japer/Articlefile/10.pdf.
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Author

Ralph S. Albert, with over 10 years of expertise in nutrition and research, now heads the Research division at Vinatura Supplements. His dedication and extensive knowledge ensure top-quality articles on nutrition and health, collaborating with a skilled team. He has successfully completed The VINATURA Expertise Research Training Program, underscoring his commitment to Vinatura's mission. Ralph has also published numerous articles and conducted valuable research in the field, making him a trusted resource for individuals on their wellness journey.

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