Silymarin Milk Thistle Extract (100 mg) - Life Extension - 60 Capsules - TwinPak

Silymarin Milk Thistle Extract (100 mg) - Life Extension - 60 Capsules - TwinPak
Item# LEF-01884x2
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Silymarin, 100mg, 90 vegetarian capsules, Item# 01884 (formerly Item# 01684) - 2 Bottle TwinPak

Silymarin is an active component of the extract of milk thistle, a member of the compositae or daisy family. Silymarin is considered a flavonolignin, which is a unique type of bioflavonoid.

Silymarin is a collective name for a mixture of flavonoids or, more technically, flavolignans. Both flavonoids and lignans are often loosely grouped together with isoflavonoids (soy), phytosterols and coumestans into a category of compounds known as phytoestrogens. Structural and chemical similarities between flavonoids and human steroid hormones, and thyroid hormone are particularly intriguing. Molecular biologists have begun studying the complex hormone-like actions of flavonoids, including the modulation of various enzyme activities and signaling pathways. Eventually this may lead to a fuller understanding of how diets rich in phytoestrogens help protect against a variety of cancers, including breast cancer, prostate cancer and colon cancer.

Milk thistle (Silybum marianum) is a member of the aster family, which also includes the artichoke, a close relative. A handsome plant with milky white veins on spiky leaves, milk thistle is native to the Mediterranean region, but it is now widely grown for medicinal use in the United States, Africa and South America. Its extract has been used as folk medicine for more than 2000 years. It was first mentioned in writing by the ancient Greek scholar Theophrastus (372-287 B.C.). Interestingly, the physicians of the ancient world recommended milk thistle root mixed with honey as a cough medicine.

Medieval monks and nuns spread the use of milk thistle throughout Europe; it was one of the most common herbs grown in cloister gardens, and was known as Heal Thistle or Saint Mary's Thistle. Various parts of the plant were used for medicinal extracts, including flowers and leaves. Mystical properties were ascribed to the Heal Thistle; it is one of the symbolic plants that appear in medieval paintings.

The use of milk thistle for bronchitis persisted for many centuries; only in the fifteen hundreds it became known that milk thistle was an excellent detoxifier. It was also established that the seed had the most potent medicinal properties, and that the extract of crushed milk thistle seeds was effective in many cases of indigestion, liver problems and toxic liver damage. Later milk thistle was recommended as a remedy against gallstones, jaundice and spleen disorders.

Modern science has validated many of these medicinal uses. The active ingredients of milk thistle extract were identified in 1960. The main active ingredient, silibinin, was extracted in 1980, making higher doses more affordable. As potent antioxidants and anticarcinogens, milk thistle extract (silymarin) and silibinin are now attracting more and more attention as effective adjuvant therapy for various liver disorders, including cirrhosis and hepatitis C.

In Germany, where herbal products are required to be tested for effectiveness, milk thistle extract has been officially approved for the treatment of both chronic and acute liver disorders by the world-renowned Commission E. Some American alternative clinicians favor the standardized German product for the treatment of hepatitis and cirrhosis. Research on silibinin, however, seems to confirm that silibinin is approximately equivalent to silymarin in effectiveness.

One exciting discovery is that milk thistle appears to be a "smart herb," able to enhance new cell growth where needed for repair, but arresting cell division in tumor tissue; likewise, it can enhance the activity of certain enzymes, but inhibit others. The flavonoids in milk thistle seem to have special affinity for Type II estrogen receptors. There is also emerging evidence that milk thistle extract is a COX-2 inhibitor-another example of its "smart," selective action. We are discovering more and more about the multiple benefits of this ancient healing herb.

Supplement Facts:

Serving Size: 1 capsule

Servings Per Container: 90

Amount Per Serving:

  • Silymarin [from milk thistle extract (seed)] - 100 mg
  • Citrus bioflavonoid complex bitter orange (peel and fruit) - 25 mg


Other ingredients: microcrystalline cellulose, vegetable cellulose (capsule), silica, stearic acid.

Dosage and Use: Take one capsule, three times daily, or as directed by a healthcare professional. This product can be taken with or without food.


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