Best Milk Thistle Supplements – 4 Recommended Choices

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By Leslie Waterson

Reviewed by Juliana Tamayo, MS, RDN - Last Updated

Best Milk Thistle Supplements

Milk thistle is known to have plenty of health benefits and is used for a variety of ailments. In fact, milk thistle has been used as a healing property for thousands of years, very prevalent in ancient medicine.

Some of the health benefits linked to milk thistle in contemporary natural medicine include benefits to our liver health, for pain relief purposes, and a good source of antioxidants.

One of the ways to get milk thistle is by simply growing them in your garden or backyard – that is, if gardening is one of your hobbies. However, if not, then you do not need to worry – all you need to do is simply buy milk thistle supplements to get its antioxidant and detoxifying properties. Milk thistle supplements are made by intentionally extracting the best compounds of milk thistle to get the most of its benefits.

In this article, we will go over the best milk thistle supplements. We will also cover the following:

  • What are milk thistle supplements?
  • Benefits of milk thistle supplements
  • How to take milk thistle supplements?
  • Do milk thistle supplements really work?
  • Are milk thistle supplements right for you?
Best Milk Thistle Supplements

What Are Milk Thistle Supplements?

Milk thistle supplements are simply supplements made from milk thistle extract to get the health benefits brought by said herb.

Milk thistle, known for its active ingredient silymarin,  is a flower that is related to the ragweed and daisy family. Milk thistle is native to the Mediterranean region. To not be confused, some people also call milk thistle as “holy thistle” or “Mary thistle.”

Milk Thistle

As already mentioned above, milk thistle is known to cure a variety of health problems. Milk thistle is especially helpful for the liver, including liver-related diseases such as hepatitis and cirrhosis.

Milk Thistle Supplement Benefits

There is a range of health benefits you can experience by taking milk thistle supplements, but some are more prevalent than others. Below are some of the most common benefits of taking milk thistle.

Milk Thistle capsule

1) Benefits Liver Health 

Perhaps, the most commonly known health benefit of milk thistle is its benefit for the liver. Milk thistle is mainly and commonly used to treat liver problems and diseases.

To further understand and verify this claim, researchers decided to conduct a study about it. Specifically, research conducted in 2016 showed that milk thistle improved liver damage caused by certain diets. However, this was tested on mice, and we are yet to see if these benefits can happen in human life as well.

Some researchers do believe that this is the case. This is because of silymarin, an active ingredient in milk thistle that also has antioxidant properties. This antioxidant property of silymarin is believed to be what is most beneficial to the liver.

2) Milk Thistle Is Good For Weight Loss

One research study in 2016 showed that silymarin helps in weight loss for mice that were fed a diet that is supposed to cause them to gain weight. Although conducted on animals, this research suggests that milk thistle can help us in losing weight – though, this also needs further research to confirm its benefit.

3) Milk Thistle Reduces Cholesterol

Milk thistle can also help lower your cholesterol, so if this is something you experience, it might be worth checking out. In 2006, a research study suggested that milk thistle can play a key role in keeping cholesterol at a healthy level. It was found out that people who took milk thistle have lower cholesterol levels compared to those who took a placebo.

4) Milk Thistle Can Limit The Spread Of Cancer

There have been a variety of studies that have shown milk thistle to stunt cancer growth. A 2016 review discovered that milk thistle’s extract could inhibit the growth of cancer cells related to colorectal cancer. More research is a need, though, to see how much effect milk thistle has against cancer – such as if milk thistle can help in fighting cancer.

5) Beneficial For The Skin

Milk thistle is found to have antioxidant and even anti-aging effects on human skin cells based on research conducted in a laboratory environment. Further study is needed to see how much benefits we can get to our skin when we use milk thistle.

Here are some more benefits of milk thistle:

  • It can reduce insulin resistance
  • It can support bone health
  • It can improve allergic asthma symptoms
  • Helps in improving one’s cognition
  • It can boost our immune system

How To Take Milk Thistle Supplements

Milk thistle supplements often come in capsule or pill form. So, to take milk thistle supplements, simply take them the same way you would take your capsule or pill medicine.

Of course, be sure to check the proper dosage, which can vary based on your health condition (for example, if you are averagely healthy, pregnant, or is undergoing a certain medical condition).

Do Milk Thistle Supplements Really Work?

Milk thistle supplements do work, although finding a good milk thistle supplement can take time. This is because of the less regulation made by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) compared to other industries it regulates, such as the medical industry.

One way to make sure you are getting a stellar and effective supplement is by checking the label and being sure that you are getting the correct ingredients and nutrition that you want. So, yes, milk thistle supplements do work, but doing some research to find the most beneficial is important.

Are Milk Thistle Supplements Right For You?

Under general circumstances, milk thistle supplements are safe to use for the average person. However, if you are pregnant or suffering from a certain medical condition, it is best you consult your doctor first before taking a milk thistle supplement to make sure that you will not experience any unexpected side effects.

Best Milk Thistle Supplements

There is a variety of milk supplements on the market. To help you narrow down the best ones you can buy, we analyzed a variety and narrowed down our list to four. These supplements are all moderately priced and incredibly effective.

Natures Bounty Milk Thistle ($22)

Natures Bounty Milk Thistle

These milk thistle capsules from Natures Bounty are a great choice if you want a moderately priced supplement that works well. Aside from liver support, Natures Bounty says that their supplement may even help fight cell-damaging free radicals in the body.

Gaia Herbs Milk Thistle Seed ($24)

Gaia Herbs Milk Thistle Seed

Gaia is a great supplement brand that provides high-quality supplements at a moderate price. This supplement is not only easy to take, but it is 100% Plant-Based, making it a great choice for many people.

Pure Encapsulations – Silymarin ($20)

Pure Encapsulations - Silymarin

Silymarin is the main active ingredient in milk thistle that brings about liver cleansing benefits. This supplement is a highly concentrated milk thistle extract to support healthy liver functioning. It’s easy to take if you prefer capsule supplementation.

Milk Thistle Liquid from Natures Answer ($24)

Milk Thistle Liquid from Natures Answer

If you don’t like taking supplements in capsule form, this milk thistle liquid from Natures Answer might be best for you. It’s easy to take, moderately priced, and extremely effective.

Milk Thistle Supplement Alternatives

If you don’t want to take milk thistle or do not have access to it, dandelion root is a great alternative. Similar to milk thistle, dandelion is a great supplement to help heal, cleanse, and regenerate your liver. If you are seeking a supplement because of liver issues, taking both of these together is also a great idea.

If you are thinking about adding a milk thistle supplement to your diet, now is a great time to try it out. Milk thistle supplements are easy and safe supplements to test that carry a variety of benefits with it. If you start taking a milk thistle supplement and experience any negative symptoms, contact a medical professional for help.

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Leslie Waterson

Leslie has been passionately involved in the health and fitness industries for over a decade. She is constantly reviewing the latest scientific research and studies in order to take a research-backed approach to lifestyle optimization. Her main areas of interest include nutrition and supplementation. Leslie shares her findings on Fitness Clone to help other health enthusiasts choose the products and routines that will help them achieve their goals.