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Cholesterol and Milk Thistle

If you have been diagnosed with high cholesterol, consider milk thistle as an additional tool in your efforts to control your cholesterol balance. Silymarin, contained in the shiny brown seeds of the milk thistle flower, can help regulate LDL cholesterol - essential for a healthy heart.

It is important to differentiate between the "good" and the "bad" forms of cholesterol. Good cholesterol is known as high density lipoprotein, HDL. HDL transports lipids (fats) to the liver so the liver can dispose of them through bile. Researchers believe that an increased level of HDL may protect against heart attacks. Bad cholesterol is known as low density lipoprotein or LDL. Excessive LDL causes deposits of thick, fatty plaque in the arteries, causing them to narrow. As a consequence, the heart has to work extremely hard to force blood through these narrowed arteries, and the obstruction may eventually become too large to allow blood to pass. A blood clot then forms around the buildup, which can cause a heart attack.

It is purported that milk thistle may increase the HDL (good) cholesterol levels in your blood and help lower the LDL,(bad) cholesterol. It also assists the liver by processing excess fats quickly and removing them from the body before they can cause harm. This process is assisted when the liver's production of bile is increased, aiding in the removal of cholesterol buildup in the liver's bile ducts. This liver action reduces the amount of cholesterol absorbed by the body.

Milk thistle may be the extra benefit you need in regulating your beneficial cholesterol balance. As always, discuss with your healthcare provider first before adding any supplements (including milk thistle) to your diet.


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