Using Milk Thistle for Gout Relief and Prevention

Milk thistle is a flowering herb whose medicinal history spans back to over 2,000 years. It is most commonly used for treating liver and gallbladder disorders. Its primary usage as a treatment for liver disorders stems from the active ingredient silymarin, found in milk thistle seeds that protect liver cells from toxic chemicals and drugs. Silymarin has also been observed to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.

Milk Thistle for Gout Relief and Prevention

Liver health is critical for gout relief and prevention because the organ is responsible for cleaning the blood and producing bile which helps carry waste out of the body. It is common for gout patients to have a poor liver due to the strain that high uric acid levels put on the organ. Silymarin, the active ingredient in milk thistle seeds is known to protect liver cells as well as stimulate the regenerative ability of the liver, creating new cells and maintaining optimal liver health. Maintaining a healthy liver can help provide relief and prevention from gout by ensuring this critical organ is able to break down and eliminate waste products and toxic substances.

Research Supporting Milk Thistle and Gout Relief and Prevention

Chronic liver disease patients were treated with Silymarin and observed to see the effects. The study found that silymarin helped stimulate cell survival as well as provided anti-inflammatory activity on the liver.

Milk Thistle Sources

Milk thistle is primarily available in supplements.

Milk Thistle Supplement Variations

Milk thistle is available in the following supplement variations:

  • Capsules (dried herb extracts)
  • Liquid extract
  • Tinctures
  • Silymarin phosphatidylcholine complex

Liquid extracts and silymarin phosphatidylcholine complex have been shown to be the most effective as they are absorbed more easily by the body. However, capsules can be just as effective if taken in proper dosage amounts.

How to Use Milk Thistle for Gout Relief and Prevention

Milk thistle can be introduced to the body via capsules or liquid extracts (for the most effective results). Milk thistle can be found in capsule form that contains about 120 – 140 mg of silymarin per capsule. It is recommended that you follow your bottle’s instructions for proper usage of milk thistle and consult with your doctor if you are concerned about risks and side-effects.

Precautions

Using herbs such as milk thistle as a complementary substance to a healthy lifestyle is considered safe, however like most drugs and medications it may cause side effects. Herbs can be extremely potent and can gradually influence changes in the body if taken carelessly or without proper supervision. Milk thistle should not be used by pregnant of breastfeeding women, or individuals with a history of hormone related cancers, including breast, cervical, uterine and prostate cancer. If you are allergic to ragweed, dandelions, marigolds, chamomile, daisies or chrysanthemums, it is recommended you not take milk thistle.

Side Effects

Milk thistle is generally safe, but may induce side effects that include an upset stomach, diarrhea, nausea or loss of appetite. Individuals with diabetes should monitor their blood sugar levels when taking milk thistle as the herb may lower blood sugar levels.

Interactions with other Medications

Milk thistle may interact with the following medications:

  • Birth control pills or hormone replacement therapy. Milk thistle may enhance the effects of estrogen and may strengthen the effects of these medications.
  • Medications changed by the liver. Milk thistle may decrease the functionality of the liver and can increase the effects and side effects of medications taken for the liver.
  • Medications used for lowering cholesterol. Milk thistle may increase or decrease the side effects and effects of these medications.