Milk thistle reduces your risk of developing NAFLD

Milk thistle is flowering plant that is often used as a herbal remedy due to its healing qualities. When used correctly, milk thistle extract can provide a number of health benefits, including promoting liver health and protecting it from nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).

Your liver normally contains a small amount of fat. This fat can build up due to the food that you eat. If too much unhealthy fat builds up in your liver cells, this can damage your liver and put you at risk of developing obesity and fatty liver disease. There are many different types of liver disease. Some can often be caused by excessive intake of alcohol. However, even if you drink very little or no alcohol at all, you can still get NAFLD. Fortunately, milk thistle can be used to protect your body from developing NAFLD by helping to prevent liver damage. (Related: Milk thistle is a powerful herbal remedy that offers significant protection against liver disease.)

How milk thistle can lower your risk of developing NAFLD

Milk thistle contains a flavonoid called silybin. According to one animal study, silybin can be more effective at stabilizing your liver cells’ energy-handling metabolism than the pharmaceutical antidiabetic medication rosiglitazone. Silybin is also an extremely potent antioxidant and is often considered to be the most active ingredient among a group of other plant compounds found in milk thistle. This group of plant compounds is collectively known as silymarin. Milk thistle-derived silymarin is known to possess antioxidant, antiviral, and anti-inflammatory properties. All of these properties can allow milk thistle to help improve your liver function.

When your liver metabolizes toxic substances, it can lead to the production of free radicals. These free radicals can cause oxidative stress that can damage your cells. The antioxidant properties of silymarin can help combat these free radicals and reduce tissue damage resulting from oxidative stress.

Due to the liver-protecting effects of milk thistle, it is commonly used as a complementary therapy to help treat patients with liver damage or to protect the liver against certain toxins, such as amatoxin. Many studies suggest that milk thistle can help reduce inflammation of the liver and liver damage. In these studies, patients with liver disease who were given milk thistle supplements exhibited considerable improvements in liver function.

Furthermore, milk thistle can help to detoxify your liver, cleanse your blood of harmful toxins, and regulate your liver’s metabolism of fats. By suppressing the symptoms of inflammation and obesity, milk thistle can help protect your liver from NAFLD.

Other health benefits of milk thistle

Milk thistle is such a versatile herbal remedy that its potential health benefits are not limited to your liver. Here are a few other ways milk thistle can benefit the rest of your body:

  • Protect your bones. Progressive bone loss can lead to osteoporosis. According to experimental test-tube and animal studies, milk thistle has displayed the ability to stimulate bone mineralization. In this manner, milk thistle could potentially help protect against bone loss.
  • Prevent decline in brain function due to aging. For thousands of years, people have been using milk thistle as a traditional remedy for the treatment of neurological conditions, such as Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.
  • Lower blood sugar levels. For patients with Type 2 diabetes, milk thistle can serve as a useful complementary therapy to help manage blood sugar levels. It can also help increase insulin sensitivity by suppressing insulin resistance.
  • Help treat acne. Acne is chronic inflammatory condition of the skin. This inflammation may be linked to oxidative stress. The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of milk thistle can help to relieve the painful symptoms  of acne.

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