Beyond the Liver: Milk Thistle’s 4 Extra Benefits
These three liver-related reasons are enough motivation for someone with chronic Hepatitis C to take milk thistle, but they are not exclusive. The following four additional areas of the body benefit from milk thistle supplementation and can be helpful when battling Hepatitis C infection.
- Brain – Research shows that milk thistle can help protect the nervous system, a benefit for those with advanced Hepatitis C that have or are at risk for hepatic encephalitis (HE). HE is a brain disorder caused by excessive toxins in the bloodstream due to the liver’s inability to detoxify the blood. Thus, milk thistle may help protect against the forgetfulness, confusion, poor concentration and irritability typical of hepatic encephalitis.
- Skin – Technically, the body’s largest organ is the skin – which appears to benefit from the free radical neutralization properties of silymarin. Because those with advanced Hepatitis C frequently suffer from skin itching due to a buildup of toxins in the blood, milk thistle’s ability to defend against inflammation from free radical oxidation in the skin could be particularly soothing.
- Blood Pressure – If Hepatitis C causes a significant amount of liver scarring, portal hypertension can develop. Blockage of the blood vessels due to liver damage inhibits blood flow through the liver and causes high pressure (portal hypertension), which can have a range of severe consequences. Silymarin has been shown to reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol, which reduces blood pressure – a welcome bonus for those with portal hypertension.
- Blood Sugar – Many studies have linked Hepatitis C to the development of insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. Thus, managing blood sugar levels is of high importance to anyone with Hepatitis C. According to the National Institute of Health, research demonstrates that silymarin helps with glycemic control. The effects of milk thistle’s antioxidants are reported to help decrease blood sugar levels in insulin-resistant patients.
http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2015/09/14/milk-thistle-benefits.aspx, Magnificent Milk Thistle, Retrieved December 13, 2015, Dr. Joseph Mercola, 2015.
http://draxe.com/milk-thistle-benefits/, Milk Thistle Benefits: Detox the Liver and Glutathione, Retrieved December 13, 2015, DrAxe.com, 2015.
http://www.liver.ca/liver-disease/types/cirrhosis/hepatic-encephalopathy.aspx, Hepatic Encephalopathy, Retrieved December 13, 2015, Canadian Liver Foundation, 2015.
http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/762581, Association of Hepatitis C With Insulin Resistance and Type 2 Diabetes in US General Population, M. Stepanova, et al, Retrieved December 13, 2015, Journal of Viral Hepatitis, 2012.
http://www.webmd.com/digestive-disorders/digestive-diseases-portal, What is Portal Hypertension, Retrieved December 13, 2015, WebMD, LLC, 2015.
http://www.webmd.com/hepatitis/features/hepatitis-c-alternative-treatments, Hep C and Supplements: Help or Hurt?, Retrieved December 13, 2015, WebMD, LLC, 2015.
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