You owe a lot to your liver – really! This humble and often forgotten organ is responsible for a number of complex biological functions that keep you on your feet and moving day in and day out, including:
- Filtering the blood
- Converting waste into urea
- Synthesizing bile to aid in digestion
- Recycling antioxidants
- Regulating blood sugar
- Creating red blood cells
The liver works tirelessly to digest and process the food (and alcohol) we consume daily. It’s known as the “clean-up crew” of your organs because it’s constantly flushing out harmful toxins.
But your liver doesn’t just stop there, it’s involved in so many different body functions, it is absolutely essential to ensure that it stays healthy.
Little Known Liver Problems Can Wreck Your Health
Did you know…that your liver is also one of the most sensitive organs in your body?
Lifestyle choices, such as being sedentary, overweight, consuming large quantities of alcohol, eating a poor diet, and smoking can all harm your liver and hamper its ability to perform.
Even the use of popular painkillers, like acetaminophen, can cause damage when used regularly over time.
Acute liver dysfunction can lead to Hepatitis A, B, and C; while a more severe case of dysfunction can result in atrophy, depleted glycogen stores, cirrhosis, and even diabetes.
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) affects nearly 25% of population in the United States, is the result of high stress and poor diet. This leads to an accumulation of fat in liver cells, which causes the liver to become inflamed and inefficient.
NAFLD can be difficult to diagnose, but two common symptoms are fatigue and weight gain. It can lead to scarring of the liver and even cirrhosis.
These issues can spell disaster for your body, but you can learn how to protect your liver naturally with milk thistle to combat these dangerous health problems and nurse your liver back to health.
What Exactly is Milk Thistle?
Milk thistle is an herb extracted from a beautiful yet spiky purple flowering plant native to Europe and Northern Africa. It’s been used since the time of the Romans and around the 19th century milk thistle became highly valued by German physicians for its ability to treat blood problems, cleanse the intestines, and detoxify the liver.
The active ingredient in milk thistle is called silymarin, and it is an incredibly powerful compound.
In fact, scientific studies have shown that milk thistle can not only improve liver function, but also help to repair damage to the organ. There are a number of different benefits of consuming milk thistle.
How To Protect Your Liver With Milk Thistle
Milk thistle prevents the absorption of toxins and supplies your body with large quantities of antioxidants.
This boosts your liver’s ability to prevent inflammation. In most cases damage to the liver is done by excess inflammation, so by reducing inflammation and reversing its dangerous effects is one of the best ways to heal your liver.
Milk thistle also helps to repair the damage a fatty liver creates. When used in combination with a diet packed with liver loving turmeric, cinnamon, parsley, cilantro, and cruciferous veggies like broccoli and cauliflower, these help increase the amount of the liver enzyme glucosinolate. This natural enzyme gets rid of carcinogens and flushes out toxins. Which can even help reduce your cancer risk.
Milk thistle is a natural liver remedy that may be able to treat even the most severe of cases of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
A typical dosage of milk thistle is about 1,000 milligrams per day, and most professionals recommend splitting this into 3 doses of 300mg each day. If you go searching for milk thistle you will likely find it in capsule form, or as an extract. Keep in mind that the name on the bottle may be silymarin, the active ingredient in milk thistle.
Talk to your health care practitioner if you are taking any other medications to make sure that there are no adverse reactions.
Note: Silymarin breaks down estrogen, so if you’re on estrogen discuss with your health care practitioner.
Be kind to your liver! After all, you’ve only got one and it does so much for you, the least you can do is give a little back. Milk thistle is a potent herb that can love your liver and help it take care of you for a long time to come.