To get into peak shape and shed those extra pounds, it is crucial that you not only consistently spend time in the gym, but even more importantly that you feed your body what it needs to keep your vital organs working to the best of their abilities.
The liver is one of the most important organs to pay special attention to when you are looking to lose weight and get into shape. Essential to health and wellbeing, this organ is a key component of digestion and detoxification of the body. The liver regulates the glucose, protein and fat composition of your blood. It processes and converts nutrients into usable forms, filters toxins and produces proteins and cholesterol.
When our digestion is working properly, our blood is full of what we need to heal quickly and keep our energy levels high, delivering nutrients and proteins throughout the body.
You have likely heard a lot of talk around cleansing the liver to keep it functioning well. With the way we live currently, we work our livers to the max: alcohol, prescription and over-the-counter drugs, processed foods and smoking can cause extra pressure on our livers that they were not evolved to handle.
Wouldn’t it be great if there were something simple we could do to compliment our dieting and exercise to help us lose fat and keep our bodies functioning properly?
There is: milk thistle.
Milk thistle has been used for thousands of years to support liver health and treat chronic liver diseases. The active component that is responsible for the positive effects of milk thistle is silymarin.
Silymarin is believed to help regulate blood sugar levels through beneficial effects on the liver. A 2007 study published by the Journal of Medicinal Food found that silymarin coupled with diabetes medication helped to control blood sugar levels as well decrease body mass index over 120 days as compared to groups using only the medication. Diets that maintain steady blood sugar levels are beneficial in losing weight and controlling cravings and energy crashes.
What are the positive effects of silymarin on the liver? Silymarin is known to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. It inhibits the ability of toxins to bind to liver cell membrane, thus protecting from drugs and even chemotherapy. By suppressing cellular inflammation, cellular repair and survival is strengthened. Simply put, silymarin can help to keep your liver healthy by protecting liver cells and promoting cellular growth.
Research has also found that milk thistle can protect your liver against alcohol, and even has some anticarcinogenic effects. Nearly all of us enjoy alcohol from time-to-time, and taking milk thistle can help us protect our bodies while we relax our minds.
A healthy liver is crucial for a healthy, slim you, so how much do you need to take to reap the benefits?
The standard dose is 200 milligrams two to three times daily, however you can take less – 100 to 200 milligrams twice daily – if the extract is bound with phosphatidylcholine, so find a supplement that contains this ingredient.
When purchasing supplements it is very important to be sure that they contain what they claim to; look for “USP Verified” mark. This indicates that the supplements have been tested by the U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention.
To get even more liver benefits, you can take milk thistle with a cold-pressed juice of carrots and beets to increase the detoxification of your liver and add in some healthy vitamins and minerals!
Discuss with your doctor prior to taking milk thistle to be sure that it does not interfere with any medications, and that you do not have any health risks that milk thistle could impact.
You can feel the difference when your liver is functioning well. Not only can taking milk thistle help you to stay healthy, but it can also boost your energy. With a cleaner liver, your whole body will work more efficiently, breaking down toxins and delivering nutrients you need throughout your body.
- WebMD: What the Liver Does
- Health: Liver Cleansing Overview: Liver Cleaning Benefits
- Mercola. Magnificent Milk Thistle by Dr. Mercola
- Antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and hepatoprotective effects of silymarin on hepatic dysfunction induced by sodium nitrite. European Cytokine Network. 2013 Jul-Sep;24(3):114-21
- Advances in the use of milk thistle (Silybum marianum). Integrated Cancer Therapies. 2007 Jun;6(2):104-9.
- Alcademics. The Safety of Milk Thistle.
- Livestrong: The Recommended Dose of Milk Thistle
- WebMD: Milk Thistle: Benefits and Side Effects
- In Vivo Efficacy Study of Milk Thistle Extract in STAM Model
- Benefits of Milk Thistle in Weight Loss