Natural Antioxidant—Great for Liver Health

Milk Thistle Help for Diabetes

Milk thistle helps lower blood sugar and prevents complications of diabetes.

Milk thistle extracts have a number of effects that could help prevent the development or progression of diabetes. Benefits of milk thistle include:

  • Boosts antioxidants and antioxidant activity in the pancreas. (182)
  • Stimulates growth of insulin-producing cells in damaged pancreatic tissue. (183)
  • Inhibits key enzymes that break down carbohydrates, which can reduce glucose absorption as well as blood sugar levels after eating. (184)
  • Lowers high blood sugar levels (type 1 and type 2 diabetes models). (185)
  • Protects against damage to the pancreas, nerves, and kidneys by free radicals induced by diabetes. (6769182)
  • Counters insulin resistance (including in people with liver disease). (66)
  • Reduces risks of diabetic complications, such as diabetic nephropathy and diabetic retinopathy. (67)

Clinical Evidence of Milk Thistle's Anti-Diabetic Effects

Effects on Patients with Diabetes and Insulin Resistance
Study Information Outcome

23 month open, controlled, clinical trial (66)

60 patients with alcoholic cirrhosis of the liver and diabetes (66)

600 mg milk thistle's silymarin compounds a day or standard therapy alone (66)

Those who took silymarin along with their diabetes medications showed better outcomes than those who took the drugs by themselves:

  • Lowered fasting blood sugar levels. (66)
  • Decreased average blood sugar levels. (66)
  • Reduced fasting insulin levels. (66)
  • Improved HbA1c and malondialdehydes levels. (66)

45 day randomized, triple blind, placebo controlled clinical trial (186)

40 patients with type 2 diabetes controlled by conventional diabetes drugs (186)

140 mg 3 times a day of dried milk thistle extract (186)

Milk thistle extracts work better than diabetes drugs alone at reducing hs-CRP levels. Silymarin also significantly increases antioxidant levels. (186)

3 month randomized, double blind, placebo controlled 2-arm parallel clinical trial (68)

60 patients with type-2 diabetes with diabetic nephropathy progressing despite drug treatment (68)

140 mg milk thistle's silymarin compounds 3 times a day or placebo (68)

  • Reduced urinary albumin excretion. (68)
  • Blocked inflammatory proteins. (68)
  • Decreased signs of free radical damage. (68)
  • Reduced markers for fibrosis in the kidneys. (68)

Study results suggest silymarin could help slow the progression of kidney disease caused by diabetes. (68)

4 month randomized, double blind, placebo controlled clinical trial (187)

51 patients with type-2 diabetes (187)

200 mg milk thistle's silymarin compounds 3 times a day, along with conventional diabetes drugs (metformin and glibenclamide) (187)

  • Lowered fasting blood sugar levels. (187)
  • Reduced HbA1c and malondialdehydes levels. (187)
  • Decreased total cholesterol levels. (187)
  • Lowered LDL cholesterol levels. (187)
  • Improved triglyceride levels. (187)

Milk thistle compounds significantly improved markers for type 2 diabetes over placebo and over baseline measurements in patients. Those who took silymarin also showed some weight loss and reduced diastolic blood pressure, but these effects were not significant. (187)

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Alpha-glucosidase and alpha-amylase. (184)