When is the Best Time to Take Milk Thistle

When is the Best Time to Take Milk Thistle?

Milk thistle is a plant with a long history in herbal medicine and is renowned for its liver-supporting properties. As more people become aware of this herb, understanding its benefits and the best time to take milk thistle becomes essential. This article delves into the best time to take milk thistle, whether it should be taken with food, and other important considerations.

Before exploring further, please read the disclaimer located at the end of this webpage.

Key Takeaways

  • Milk thistle is primarily used for liver support and detoxification.
  • The best time to take milk thistle depends on individual needs and health conditions.
  • It can be taken with or without food, but consistency is key.
  • Consultation with a healthcare provider is recommended before starting any supplement regimen.

When to Consider Milk Thistles?

When to Consider Milk Thistles

Milk thistle, scientifically known as Silybum marianum, is a flowering plant native to the Mediterranean region and traditionally used for its medicinal properties.

Today, scientific research has confirmed its surprising benefits for liver health. If you have any of the following problems, you can consider using milk thistle for its benefits:

Liver Support

Milk thistle is believed to have many positive effects on the liver and is widely used worldwide.

Surveys have found that milk thistle is the most commonly used liver protectant or hepatoprotective agent among patients at clinics.

It has been listed in monographs for the treatment of indigestion, cirrhosis, and toxin-induced liver damage [1].

Fatty Liver Disease

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a common condition that milk thistle can help manage.

The main compound, silymarin, has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that reduce fat accumulation in the liver.

“Silymarin is the main component of Silybum marianum…has been used for the treatment of numerous liver disorders such as fatty liver diseases or impaired liver function” [2].


Several smaller studies have also suggested that milk-thistle compounds might have antiviral and anti-inflammatory effects [3].

Therefore, milk thistle can also positively affect hepatitis patients by reducing the progression and worsening of symptoms.


Cirrhosis, characterized by severe liver scarring, can benefit from the regenerative properties of milk thistle. While it cannot reverse cirrhosis, milk thistle can help manage symptoms and slow progression [4].

However, Mr. Jerry Allen, who studied AAS Drug and Alcohol Counseling (Graduated 2008), shared on Quora and received a lot of agreement that Milk Thistle cannot cure liver damage caused by alcohol use and is entirely dependent on the liver's ability to self-repair fibrosis.


Detoxification is one of the remarkable potential benefits of milk thistle. Specifically, the detoxifying effects of milk thistle can be demonstrated through several pieces of scientific evidence.

A review of more than 2000 patients exposed to amanita mushrooms in Europe and North America suggested that intravenous silibinin was the most effective therapy available against this toxin [2].

When is the Best Time to Take Milk Thistle? Morning or Night?

When is the Best Time to Take Milk Thistle Morning or Night

Determining the best time to take milk thistle depends on your lifestyle and health goals. Here are some considerations for taking milk thistle at different times of the day:

  • Morning: Taking milk thistle in the morning can kickstart your liver's detoxification processes, aligning with your body's natural rhythms. It can also be beneficial if you're looking to support digestion throughout the day.
  • Night: Taking milk thistle at night can aid in liver regeneration during sleep, a time when your body undergoes repair and detoxification processes. However, some individuals may experience mild digestive discomfort when taken before bed.

Should You Take Milk Thistle with or Without Food?

Should You Take Milk Thistle with or Without food

In fact, there is no specific advice on whether to take milk thistle with or without food. Therefore, you can take milk thistle before or after meals without any issues. However:

  • With food or after taking food: Taking milk thistle after meals may be suitable for those who need digestive support or have a less healthy gut. When taken, it can enhance absorption and reduce the risk of digestive discomfort.
  • Without Food: Taking it before meals or even on an empty stomach can boost the benefits of milk thistle and does not require strict timing adherence. Taking milk thistle before meals acts as a preparation for the liver before the body's digestive activity.

Things to Remember Before Taking Milk Thistle

Although milk thistle is relatively safe and does not require strict usage instructions, to ensure absolute safety and effectiveness, you should adhere to the following:

  • Consult a Healthcare Provider: This is the first thing you should do before using milk thistle or any other supplement. This is especially important for those with liver conditions, underlying health issues, or specific allergies.
  • Start with a Lower Dose: To assess tolerance and avoid potential side effects such as gastrointestinal discomfort, start with a small dose to help you adjust more easily.
  • Monitor for Allergies: As with any supplement, be aware of allergic reactions or unwanted side effects and address them promptly.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Long Does It Take For Milk Thistle To Work?

The effects of milk thistle can vary. Some people may notice improvements in liver function and digestion within a few weeks, while others may need several months of regular use. Therefore, patience is necessary when starting to use milk thistle.

Does Milk Thistle Cause Insomnia At Night?

Reports of insomnia caused by milk thistle are rare, so you can rest assured when choosing milk thistle products. However, if you have difficulty sleeping, consult your physician for detailed advice. Since the liver works at night, your inability to sleep will affect the liver's function and milk thistle's effects.

Is It Ok To Take Milk Thistle Before Bed?

As mentioned earlier, the liver works primarily at night, so taking milk thistle before bed can help the liver function more efficiently. Therefore, you need not fear any adverse effects if you use milk thistle at night.


Milk thistle is a powerful herb with numerous benefits for liver health and detoxification. Determining the best time to take it—morning or night, with or without food—depends on your lifestyle and health goals.

Always consult a healthcare professional before starting any new supplement regimen, particularly if you have existing health conditions or are taking other medications.

Starting with a lower dose can help assess tolerance and minimize potential side effects. With regular use, milk thistle can become a valuable part of your wellness routine, supporting your liver and overall well-being.


  • [1] Siegel, Abby B., and Justin Stebbing. “Milk Thistle: Early Seeds of Potential.” Lancet Oncology/Lancet. Oncology, vol. 14, no. 10, Sept. 2013, pp. 929–30. https://doi.org/10.1016/s1470-2045(13)70414-5.
  • [2] Bahmani, Mahmood, et al. “Silybum Marianum: Beyond Hepatoprotection.” Journal of Evidence-based Complementary & Alternative Medicine, vol. 20, no. 4, Feb. 2015, pp. 292–301. https://doi.org/10.1177/2156587215571116.
  • [3] ---. “Milk Thistle: Early Seeds of Potential.” Lancet Oncology/Lancet. Oncology, vol. 14, no. 10, Sept. 2013, pp. 929–30. https://doi.org/10.1016/s1470-2045(13)70414-5.
  • [4] “Immunostimulatory Effect of Silybum Marianum (Milk Thistle) Extract.” PubMed, 1 Nov. 2002, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12444368.
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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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