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Milk Thistle Extract Silymarin

Jun 21, 2019

Silymarin is an antioxidant and a drug that is derived from a plant called Milk Thistle Extract and is one of the main active ingredients of the plant. The drug is approved for the treatment of hepatic poisoning, chronic hepatitis and cirrhosis, but its effectiveness has not been fully established. Silymarin is a standard extract of chyle, and its main components are several flavonols in addition to silymarin.

Although silymarin possesses multiple hydroxyl groups, its water solubility is not high. Silipide (trade name Siliphos) is a supramolecular compound of phosphatidylcholine and silymarin, and its bioavailability is greatly enhanced. 


Two studies have indicated that Silipide is 4.6 times more bioavailable and 10 times than unmodified silymarin. In addition, the literature reports that the water-soluble compounds of silymarin and β-cyclodextrin are also significantly improved, while the silymarin glycosides have higher water solubility and stronger liver protection.

As a flavonoid, silymarin inhibits P-glycoprotein-assisted extracellular flow. Since many drugs are substrates for P-glycoprotein, the regulation of P-glycoprotein may alter the absorption and bioavailability of other drugs. Furthermore, silymarin can inhibit cytochrome P450 enzymes, so silymarin is likely to interact with most drugs.

Milk Thistle

The first phase of clinical studies in patients with advanced prostate cancer indicated that silymarin, which is up to 13 grams daily, is well tolerated. The most common side effects are asymptomatic liver dysfunction, such as elevated bilirubin and alanine aminotransferase. No embryo toxicity detected in animal models.