How to Use Milk Thistle for Liver Detox

By , Category : General Health

Disclaimer: Results are not guaranteed*** and may vary from person to person***.

Marchione_260216Milk thistle, a member of the Asteraceae family of plants from which daisies and sunflowers belong to, has been used for over 2,000 years to treat gallbladder and liver problems. It is the number-one herb (a weed, actually) used to detoxify the body, in particular a liver detox.

It has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, and a milk thistle liver detox is used to help increase bile production and create better digestive function.

What Is a Liver Detox?

The liver provides an incredibly important function in the human body. As the second-largest organ in the body, the liver is in many ways a workhorse because it performs many functions involving digestion, the immune system, the metabolic system, and how nutrients are stored in the body. When fatty, rich foods or alcohol are consumed, the liver has to work harder than normal to filter the toxins.

After decades of compensating for poor nutritional habits, chemicals in our food, and heavy metals in our main sources of water, the liver can become tired and over-exerted, and needs a good cleansing and detoxification to get it back to where it can operate at optimal levels. A milk thistle liver detox is an ideal way to cleanse the liver.

Using Milk Thistle to Detox the Liver

A milk thistle liver detox is quite simple to do and can be done without the help of a naturopathic doctor or health professional. The herb has been shown to be very safe when taken internally, and studies have reported no side effects when taken in large doses over a long period of time.
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A study published in the journal Molecular Carcinogenesis revealed that milk thistle could actually help the body detox from the effects of radiation. This is a concern to some people, because radiation waves are found in cell phones, microwaves, and other common items, though study results on the matter are inconsistent and more research is needed. A milk thistle liver flush will help get it back on track and remove the toxic buildup.

Milk thistle liver detox dosages vary from person to person depending on weight and overall health, so the following numbers are meant as guidelines and can be adjusted. The most common amount administered for a milk thistle liver cleanse is anywhere from 140 mg to 300 mg, taken two to three times a day. When shopping for milk thistle, look for a high content of silymarin (the name of the group of plant compounds found in the plant).

Some milk thistle formulations are combined with phosphatidylcholine complex; you can take a lower dose of these (100 to 120 mg, once or twice a day) because the complex makes the milk thistle easier to absorb.

A milk thistle liver detox is an important step in maintaining a properly functioning liver. Over the years the liver gets bogged down by heavy metals, fatty foods, alcohol and chemicals, and becomes sluggish. Get it back in working order so it can function at optimal levels by detoxing your liver with a milk thistle flush.

Some people might experience loose bowels for the first few days, but this will eventually pass. After the liver cleanse has been done, you can continue taking milk thistle, at lower levels, as a nutritional supplement every day to keep the liver healthy going forward.

Sources for Today’s Article:
“7 Milk Thistle Restorative Health Benefits,” Dr. Axe web site; http://draxe.com/milk-thistle-benefits/, last accessed February 25, 2016.

“Milk Thistle Detox for Heavy Metals, Chemotherapy, and Radiation,” Dr. Axe web site; http://draxe.com/milk-thistle-detox-for-heavy-metals-chemotherapy-and-radiation/, last accessed February 25, 2016.
“Does Milk Thistle Cleanse a Fatty Liver?” Livestrong web site; http://www.livestrong.com/article/519605-does-milk-thistle-cleanse-a-fatty-liver/, last accessed February 25, 2016.
“Liver Detoxification: Fact or Fad?” Web MD web site; http://www.webmd.com/men/features/liver-detoxification—-fact-fad, last accessed February 25, 2016.
“Liver,” Innerbody web site; https://www.innerbody.com/image_digeov/card10-new2.html, last accessed February 25, 2016.
“Liver Health and Milk Thistle,” Heartspring web site; http://www.heartspring.net/detoxification_liver_health.html, last accessed February 25, 2016.
“Milk Thistle Improves Liver Health and Detoxification,” Needs web site; http://www.needs.com/product/NDNL-0608-01/a_Milk_Thistle, last accessed February 25, 2016.
Narayanapillai, S., et al., “Silibinin Inhibits Ultraviolet B Radiation-Induced DNA-Damage and Apoptosis by Enhancing Interleukin-12 Expression in JB6 Cells and SKH-1 Hairless Mouse Skin,” Molecular Carcinogenesis, January 2013; doi: 10.1002/mc.22000.
“Cell Phones and Cancer Risk,” National Cancer Institute web site, last updated February 1, 2016; http://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/risk/radiation/cell-phones-fact-sheet, last accessed February 25, 2016.


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Dr. Victor Marchione, MD

About the Author, Browse Victor's Articles

Victor Marchione, MD received his Bachelor of Science Degree in 1973 and his Medical Degree from the University of Messina in 1981. He has been licensed and practicing medicine in New York and New Jersey for over 20 years. Dr. Marchione is a respected leader in the field of smoking cessation and pulmonary medicine. He has been featured on ABC News and World Report, CBS Evening News and the NBC Today Show and is the editor of the popular The... Read Full Bio »