The milk thistle plant, Silybum marianum, is best known for the presence of an active ingredient called silymarin. Silymarin is a substance that has been widely studied for its estrogenic effects—and with the help of milk thistle estrogen detox is made possible.
Uses and Benefits of Milk Thistle Extract (MTE)
MTE as a Natural Antioxidant
The role of antioxidants in our body is to eliminate harmful free radicals, generated via the process of oxidation. Production of these free radicals is elevated through the following:
- Environmental Pollution
- Alcohol Intake
- Ultraviolet Rays From the Sun
- Industrial Chemicals
An abundance of free radicals can cause oxidative stress, which is highly connected to the development of certain types of cancer, inflammatory diseases, ulcers, and neurodegenerative diseases (such as Alzheimer's disease).
Our body can fight these radicals through antioxidants acquired from food and supplements. As an antioxidant, the silymarin in milk thistle extract not only eliminates free radicals but also prevents them from forming in the first place (via stabilization of their electrons).
MTE as Treatment for Liver Disease
Milk thistle seed extract eliminates toxins in the liver cells produced by excessive alcohol consumption. It can even be used for the management of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, as proven through liver function tests.
The possible use of silymarin in the treatment of hepatitis and liver cirrhosis isbeing studied as well, especially in relation to the compound’s anti-inflammatory effects.
MTE for Estrogen Detox
Unusually high levels of estrogen can be unsafe.
It can lead to the development of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) and even cause prostate cancer cells to proliferate. Other notable effects of a state of estrogen dominance are:
If you’re suffering from estrogen dominance, it’s best to restrict consumption of products such as soybeans and related products, and instead consume other food that modulate estrogen's activity at the receptor site.
Although milk thistle (silymarin) has estrogenic potential, its phytoestrogen is not strong enough to increase the risk of breast cancer, but its anti-estrogenic effects are actually much greater.
The silymarin found in the extract binds to estrogen receptors to block the effects of strong estrogenic agents such as estradiol. By serving as an estrogen receptor blocker, it can reduce the effects of estrogen on the body.
Our liver is basically the one responsible for maintaining normal hormone levels—and that includes testosterone, which, by the way, is kept low whenever there’s too much estrogen.
Since silymarin mainly affects the liver, it can be said to help detoxify the body from excess estrogen. That is why, aside from treating liver disease, milk thistle extract can support hormonal balance.
Side Effects of Milk Thistle Extract (MTE)
Milk thistle extract is generally safe to use, with gastrointestinal side effects most commonly recorded. However, it is contraindicated with some medication taken for diabetes, and may reduce the potency of antibiotics.
It’s best to consult your physician or pharmacist if you want to start taking milk thistle supplements.
Targeting the Estrogen Problem
There are a lot of dietary supplements out there and they serve all sorts of purposes—as for milk thistle, estrogen detox and liver support are the primary focus.
If you’re struggling with estrogen dominance and other related issues caused by excessive levels of estrogen, MTE might just be what you need.