Milk Thistle and Diabetes

Milk Thistle and Diabetes

Diabetes is a nasty disease and can milk thistle help?  Milk thistle is a plant called for the white veins on its large irritable leaves. It has been used in Europe and Asia to treat a range of ailments for thousands of years.

Milk thistle is one of the traditionally used herbs that has actually been widely accepted by traditional science to have medicinal worth. Today we understand the active ingredient of milk thistle and its seed extract as a compound called silymarin.  Silymarin is a flavonoid thought to have antioxidant properties.

Milk Thistle Research

Research study on milk thistle usage for particular conditions reveals that Diabetes may benefit. Milk thistle might lower blood glucose in people who have type 2 diabetes. Taken in appropriate dosages, oral use of milk thistle seems safe. Taking milk thistle with diabetes drugs may cause additive results. So you need to carefully monitor your blood glucose levels.

One study found that people routinely taking silymarin experienced a significant reduction in their fasting blood sugar levels and HbA1c, a measure of blood sugar control.[1] But also noted more work is required for definitive findings.

Types of Milk Thistle Available

Milk thistle is offered as an oral capsule, tablet, powder or liquid extract. A lot of milk thistle extracts offered today consist of about 80 percent silymarin.

Taking milk thistle might interact with other medications, such as diazepam (Valium), warfarin and others. So please consult your doctor before taking it.

So while there are some studies – there have not been enough to make this finding rock solid.

Side Effects

When reported, side effects for milk thistle are generally gut disturbances like diarrhea, nausea or bloating.

Some people are advised to be cautious when taking milk thistle. These include:

Pregnant women: There are no real studies on its safety in pregnant women, so pregnant women are usually advised to avoid this supplement.

Those allergic to the plant: Milk thistle may cause an allergic reaction in people who are allergic to the Asteraceae/Compositae family of plants.  Always try a little on the skin first and see if an allergic reaction develops if you are concerned.

People with diabetes:  Already covered above but it is important so I repeat. The blood sugar-lowering effects of milk thistle may put people with diabetes at risk of low blood sugar.

Milk thistle can have estrogenic effects, which may worsen hormone-sensitive conditions, including some types of breast cancer. It is also a natural anti-inflammatory remedy.

Summary: Milk Thistle and Diabetes

Milk thistle is generally considered safe. But as noted – pregnant women and those allergic to the Asteraceae family of plants, those with diabetes and anyone with an estrogen-sensitive condition should seek medical advice before taking it.

Milk thistle is a generally safe supplement that shows quite a bit of potential as a natural and complementary therapy for various conditions, including liver disease, cancer, and diabetes.

Plus, it has thousands of years of use – and sometimes we must listen to old wives’ tales.! Also for the types of milk thistle products to take see our related post for our recommendations.

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