Milk Thistle And Your Liver: A Match Made In Heaven

When I start talking about toxicity issues to patients and students alike, many are shocked at just how much we poison we are truly getting exposed to daily.

This is mostly due to a combination of lack of knowledge, poor public policy and protection, and bad, sometimes lazy lifestyle habits.

Thankfully, there are ways we can easily help ourselves, and one of my favorite and first suggestions to many is by means of the dynamite herb milk thistle!

Milk thistle is a long-time perennial favorite amongst herbalists and holistic doctors to prescribe for many reasons, which is what we’re here to discuss today!

Detox Support

One of the significant advantages of milk thistle, compared to some other various detoxification supports, is that it supports BOTH phases I and II of the liver’s detoxification efforts.

This means that it is less likely to cause detox reactions for individuals, as both aspects of detox are getting a boost.

When phase I or II are out of balance, our odds of having what we call a herxheimer reaction are increased.

Milk thistle, if anything, lessens this as it is working on helping your body metabolize toxins effectively and at speed, it can handle through both phases.

This is far, however, from the only benefit of milk thistle. Milk thistle also naturally works to boost glutathione, your body’s master antioxidant.

And for those with liver damage from heavy drinking, fatty liver, or infections such as Hep C, milk thistle has been shown in clinical studies to instigate liver regeneration, which is, of course, an incredible benefit!

Metabolizes Toxins Better

Because milk thistle is helping your liver clear and metabolize toxins better, it also helps unburden the liver from this very important job.

This then allows the liver to work more efficiently in other ways, such as helping you with digestion by means of bile production.

Remember, the liver produces bile, which helps you break down fat by releasing it via the gallbladder (the liver’s next door organ neighbor, which acts as the ‘holding tank’ for the bile the liver produces).

The liver must also metabolize fat and blood sugar, and milk thistle has also improved blood glucose and lipid levels in diabetics, according to research.

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When In Doubt, Support Your Liver

Due to a deluge of chemical exposure in most individuals’ lives, routine detoxification support has never been more important to help out our beleaguered liver.

By incorporating regular exercise, a healthy diet, and great supplemental supports, you can be assured your liver will be in better shape than most!


  1. Mulrow C, Lawrence V, Jacobs B, et al. Milk Thistle: Effects on Liver Disease and Cirrhosis and Clinical Adverse Effects: Summary. 2000. In: AHRQ Evidence Report Summaries. Rockville (MD): Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (US); 1998-2005. 21.
  2. Abenavoli L, Capasso R, Milic N, Capasso F.. (2010). Milk thistle in liver diseases: past, present, future.. Phytotherpay Research. 24 (10), p1423-1432.
  3. Mengs U, Pohl RT, Mitchell T. Legalon® SIL: the antidote of choice in patients with acute hepatotoxicity from amatoxin poisoning. Curr Pharm Biotechnol. 2012;13(10):1964–1970. doi:10.2174/138920112802273353

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