Milk Thistle is a plant known for its beneficial effects on the liver. It is used by many to detox, promote bile flow, and support overall liver health. However, most of these positive effects have never been verified in studies. On the other hand, if milk thistle’s protective attributes are true, the applications would be endless. For instance, chemotherapy can be extremely toxic to the liver. So much so, that at times, life saving treatments must be stopped due to hepatoxicity (liver damage). If liver damage can be prevented by taking Milk Thistle during chemotherapy, it would minimize the need to suspend cancer treatments prematurely. But can milk thistle during chemotherapy really offer protection against such potent drugs?
Milk Thistle During Chemotherapy Helps.
Impressive results were found in a randomized, controlled, double blind, pilot study in the treatment of childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). 50 children were enrolled and were either given MT (Milk thistle) or placebo. The MT group had chemotherapy reduced 11% less then the placebo group. This is especially impressive because the MT group were all given higher doses of chemotherapy. Another positive finding was that MT did not antagonize the effects of chemotherapy used for the treatment of ALL. Methotrexate, Mercaptopurine, and Vincristine showed no conflicts with MT. All the protective benefits did not reduce the anticancer effects of chemotherapy whatsoever.
The study used 240 mg milk thistle capsules containing 80 mg of silibinin (silybin A and B). Dosage was calculated by body weight with a target of 5.1 mg/kg/day of silibinin. A patient weighing 134 to 154 lbs would have taken 320 mg/day.
Nothing has ever been found that can protect the liver during chemotherapy until now. This is the first study showing that milk thistles liver protection is real and not just hopeful thinking. For a simple natural herb to protect the liver against potent chemotherapy drugs, is nothing short of amazing. Future studies will test other dosages on different types of cancers to see if the results can be replicated or even improved. But for now, these results or more then just enough.