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Silybum Marianum & Healthy Liver

Liver is one of the vital organ of the body. It provides protection by neutralizing the harmful toxins produced by the body (bilirubin, ammonia) or ingested (alcohol, drugs). Liver is a filtration and detoxification factory of our body. Liver also produce clotting factors and albumin a protein vital for our blood. It also help in digestion by producing bile. Liver take up many types of vitamins and minerals from the blood and store them. A healthy liver ensures healthy body. Now we know chemicals found in common households like perfumes and cleaning goods are more toxic than previously thought. A good health is not simple matter of eating healthy and exercising. The study, published in the journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings, shows that seven out of 10 Americans take at least one prescription drug. The blood is transported to the liver via the portal vein, which carries multiple toxic substances including ethanol (Et-OH), drugs, pharmaceutical toxins Our liver is in constant fight to keep us healthy preventing us from the external or internal toxins.

As we know how important is liver for us, are we doing enough to keep our liver healthy? There is no doubt that a healthy diet and exercise is good for our liver, is it enough? I came across with a natural herb which can help our liver to fight efficiently. The Silybum marianum commonly known as milk thistle. Silybum marianum is mainly found on high fertility soils. Silybum marianum (the botanical name for milk thistle) is native to the Mediterranean region of Europe. Despite milk thistle's long history of being used to treat liver and biliary problems, it was not until 1968 that silymarin was isolated from the seeds of the plant. Silymarin contains at least seven flavoligands and flavonoid taxifolin.The hepatoprotective and antioxidant activity of silymarin is caused by its ability to inhibit the free radicals that are produced from the metabolism of toxic substances. When a free radicals cannot be destroyed, their accumulation in the body generates a phenomenon called oxidative stress. This process plays a vital part in the development of chronic illness such as cancer, autoimmune disorders, aging, cataract, rheumatoid arthritis, cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases. Silymarin enhances hepatic glutathione and contribute to the antioxidant defense of the liver.

Glutathione (GSH) is often referred to as the body's master antioxidant. Composted of three amino acids - cysteine, glycine, and glutamate - glutathione can be found in virtually every cell of the human body. The highest concentration of glutathione is in the liver, making it critical in the body's detoxification process. Silymarin is perhaps the most frequently used natural compound for the treatment of hepatic diseases worldwide due to its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-fibrotic activities.

Study conducted with guinea pigs examining hepatic fibrosis induced through the administration of Et-OH for 90d revealed a significant reduction of lesion markers such as ALT, AST, and γ-glutamyl after silymarin treatment.

Clinical study conducted in 170 cirrhosis patients treated with 140 mg of silymarin three times daily for 41 months showed significant improvement, especially in the subgroups with alcoholic cirrhosis.Studies also suggest that silymarin and other active substances in milk thistle may have anti-cancer effects by preventing angiogenesis. Angiogenesis is the formation of new blood vessels. This process plays a role in several diseases, including cancer. A tumor needs nutrients and oxygen to grow and spread. Silymarin also been known to improve symptoms of Diabetes Mellitus, probably regulating the release of insulin into the bloodstream.