following is an excerpt from the above HCV E-book.
HEPATITIS C AND MILK
Milk thistle (Silymarin) is probably the most widely
used and popular "liver herb." Milk Thistle is a must have for anyone
with any form of hepatitis, including HCV, or any liver disease. Milk Thistle contains some of
the most potent liver protecting substances known.
AKA: St. Mary's Thistle
Latin Name: Silybum marianum,
Carduus marianus; Compositae
Herbal Properties: antioxidant,
Chemical and Nutrient Contents:
The active component is "silymarin",
a flavonoid with antioxidant ability.
bitter tonic, demulcent, antidepressant
Parts used: Fruits, leaves
Uses: Prevents free-radical damage
by acting as an anti-oxidant, protecting the liver, stimulates
the production of new liver cells and prevents formation of
damaging leukotrienes. Good for weakened immune system, hepatitis,
jaundice, all liver disorders. (3)
Suggested Dosage of Milk Thistle for those Hepatitis C (HCV):
200-400 milligrams 3 times daily. Some people take up to 900
mgs a day. Personally, I take 600 milligrams.
You have probably seen and never appreciated milk thistles before. I always thought of them as a weed with thorny leaves and pretty purple floweres. Milk thistles are thistles of the genus Silybum Adans and are flowering plants of the daisy family. The name "milk thistle" is apparently derived from the milky sap that runs out if you break the stalk or a leaf off.
Milk thistle inhibits hepatic damage by increasing
the intracellular levels of glutathione and superoxide dismutase,
inhibiting the formation of leukotrienes, and stimulating
hepatocyte regeneration.(1) It is also a direct antioxidant
and free radical scavenger. (2)
In a study done on chronic viral
hepatitis, silymarin was shown to result in significant improvement.
Used at a dose of 420 mg of silymarin per day, for periods
of three to twelve months, silymarin resulted in a reversal
of liver cell damage, an increase in protein level in the
blood and lower enzyme levels. (1)
According to many sources silymarin
is a very safe substance with no toxicity, even being used
by pregnant women. According to Michael Murray N.D.
in "The Enclyclopedia of Natural Medicine", "Because
of silymarin's lack of toxicity, long term use is feasible
Silymarin is also known to enhance
detoxification processes in the liver. "One of the key ways
in which silymarin enhances the detoxification reaction is
by preventing the depletion of glutathione. The level of glutathione
in the liver is critically linked to the liver's ability to
detoxify. The higher the glutatione content, the greater the
liver's capacity to detoxify. The reduction of glutathione
makes the liver cell susceptible to damage. Silymarin not
only prevents the depletion of glutathione induced by toxic
chemicals, but has been shown to increase the level of glutathione
of the liver by up to thirty-five percent." (1)
Milk Thistle is also considered
to be a "natural interferon booster".
Matthew Dolan describes
the benefits of milk thistle, "It contains some of the most
potent liver-protective substances known as well as exerting
a powerful antioxidant effect... It is also thought to help
prevent glutathione deficiency in liver cells. It is known
to positively influence the course of chronic hepatitis, even
where patients already have cirrhosis... It also reduces fat
deposits in the liver..." (5)
He continues by referencing The
American Journal of Gastroenterology, as summarizing liver
studies that have shown protection against genomic injury,
increased protein synthesis, decrease of tumor promoters,
stabilization of mast cells, and increased iron chelation.
In September 2009, a new study published in Gastroenterology states that, "Silymarin's ability to inhibit the proliferation and pro-inflammatory cytokine secretion of T cells [in vitro], combined with its previously described anti-viral effect suggests a possible mechanism of action that could lead to clinical benefit during HCV infection."
I personally think milk thistle/silymarin
is one of the
very most important things to have in ones wellness program
for anyone with HCV. It has been my experience that fairly
large doses of it can reduce symptoms very quickly and give
you a "lift". It is gentle, cleansing and tends to boost my
energy level, probably a side-benefit to improving liver function!
I have used several different brands. I first started with
the dry herb in a capsule. But through trial and error I have
found that the "Super Milk Thistle" formula by Enzymatic Therapy
(which happens to have an excellent reputation for quality
and credibility) works best for me. It is binded with phosphatidlycholine
(see choline) and uses the patented "phytosome" process. It
is a soft gel, which is more agreeable to my degestion and
seems to "go into" my system better. It is standardized to
contain 80% silymarin. In my opinion this product lives
up to its reputation, it is a little on the expensive side,
but I feel it is worth it (Its about $40 per bottle for 120 soft
There is another product, which
appears to be worth looking into, silibinin; it seems interesting
from its being compared to the "drug" used in Europe. It is
called "silbinin/silymarin extract" by Life Extension (www.lef.org).
The claim for this product is as follows: "The most biologically
active ingredient found in silymarin is silibinin, wheras
the silymarin-concentrate drug used in Europe ccontains a
minimum of 80% silibinin. Being able to obtain enough silibinin
is of particular importance for those who need to ensure effective
dosage for the treatment of various liver diseases, such as
cirrhosis or hepatitis C... (Silibinin/Silymarin Extract)
is imported the identical 80% silibinin extract that is sold
in Europe as a drug... the new combination product contains
primarily silibinin, with some silymarin to provide other
natural flavoligans found in milk thistle. "According to an article published in Gastroenterology, 2008 Nov., "Silibinin is a potent antiviral agent in patients with chronic hepatitis C not responding to pegylated interferon/ribavirin therapy."
SUMMARY: Milk thistle
is probably the most widely used,
widely accepted and well-documented herb for the liver. It
is a "safe" herb and can be used continuously. It is possible
that one of the best forms to take it in is the silymarin
Milk this is also an important part of Dr. Berkson's triple antioxidant treatment for Hepatitis C.
DOSAGE: I personally take
600 milligrams/day. I first
took about 200 milligrams, but didn't notice it that much,
when I increased to 600 mgs, I literally noticed a big difference
in my over all health. All the symptoms I was having; fatigue,
"brain fog", depression, swollen tenderness of the liver,
night sweats etc.; went away and have not returned since I
began this larger dose.
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