What Are the Health Benefits of Milk Thistle?


Quick Answer

Studies suggest milk thistle may help those with Type 2 diabetes. Use of milk thistle can decrease blood sugar levels and improve insulin resistance. Some studies suggest that milk thistle lowers cholesterol and improves liver function, although more those claims need more research, according to WebMD.

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What Are the Health Benefits of Milk Thistle?
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Full Answer

Several studies show that milk thistle can lower LDL levels of cholesterol of people with diabetes, which can lower the prevalence of heart disease. It is not clear if milk thistle affects the cholesterol of those without diabetes, says WebMD.

Some experts contend that milk thistle improves liver damage on those with alcohol-related liver disease. Some evidence also suggests that milk thistle improves livers that have been damaged by industrial toxins. Researchers need to conduct more studies before these claims are conclusive, according to WebMD.

There is also some very preliminary evidence that milk thistle can help those with a variety of other diseases, such as obsessive compulsive disorder, heartburn and allergies, according to Mayo Clinic. These studies also need much more research.

Individuals take milk thistle via a tea or a pill supplement. Those interested in exploring the benefits of milk thistle, particularly diabetics, should consult with their doctor before they begin any new supplements, advises WebMD. Women should not take milk thistle while pregnant or breastfeeding. As milk thistle may affect estrogen levels, women with breast or ovarian cancer should not take the supplement.

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