Top 10 Milk Thistle Benefits

What Does Milk Thistle Do in the Body?

Herbalists have know about the long list of milk thistle benefits for over 1,000 years. Milk Thistle decreases inflammation, modifies the activity of important liver enzymes, and increases bile production.

As a result, it helps the body deal with liver disease, heart disease, diabetes, and skin conditions, and reverse the toxic effects of air pollution, industrial chemicals, antibiotics, and prescription medications. All of these milk thistle benefits are found in the seeds of this common weed.

What Does Milk Thistle Look Like?

Milk thistle is an ordinary plant that offers extraordinary benefits. If you live in any of the world’s temperate zones between the tropics and the poles, chances are that you have seen milk thistle.

It flourishes in fields and flower beds where it is not “supposed” to grow. Milk thistle has lance-like leaves with prickly edges. Purple flowers bloom from the top of the plant, which may grow from 1 to 6 feet (25 to 300 cm) tall.

 

milk thistle field omnibiotics liver health

 

The leaves have milk-white veins and yield a milky white sap that gives the plant its name. The plant can be eaten as a vegetable, but a group of seven healing chemicals known as silymarin is usually extracted from its seeds. The terms “silymarin” and “milk thistle” are used interchangeably.

Sometimes a specific component of silymarin has more healing efficacy than others, but silymarin always contains all seven healing milk thistle chemicals. It is one of the main contributing factors to most of the known milk thistle benefits.

What Are the Benefits of Milk Thistle?

The list of milk thistle benefits is quite long. It ranges from the mundane, such as fighting hangovers, to the life-saving, such as protecting the liver from fatal tissue changes after poisoning with the Amanita death cap mushroom. Milk thistle supports the structure and function of your body to:

  • Transform potentially deadly toxins into harmless substances.
  • Fight viral infections.
  • Stop liver damage caused by alcoholic liver disease.
  • Reverse the effects of fatty liver disease.
  • Protect against breast, cervical, liver, prostate, and skin cancers.
  • Lower blood sugar levels in type 2 diabetes.
  • Heal sun-damaged skin.
  • Stop seasonal allergies.
  • Help lower cholesterol.
  • Help prevent gallstones.

Let’s take a look at these ten healing benefits of milk thistle and the milk thistle extract called silymarin one by one.

1. Milk Thistle Extract Can Save Your Life

There’s no more commonly toxic mushroom than Amanita phalloides, the “death cap” mushroom. Looking a lot like some of the button mushrooms you might buy at the supermarket, this mushroom contains the deadly amatoxin, which can cause fatal liver failure over a period of two to five days.

Death cap mushrooms are found in the wild in Europe and in the United States. Poisoning by death cap mushrooms is surprisingly common in the United States. In a single 14-day period in 2016, 13 people were poisoned by wild-crafted death cap Amanita mushrooms just in the San Francisco Bay Area.[1]

There are only two treatments for amatoxin. One is a liver transplant. The other is treatment with silybin, the most abundant chemical in milk thistle seed. Doctors usually would give mushroom poisoning patients silybin by IV, but sometimes it is taken as capsules.

milk thistle seeds leaf for liver support omnibiotics supplement

 

Milk thistle can help you avoid a liver transplant

In a two-year period in Germany, 17 out of 18 death cap poisoning patients treated with this milk thistle extract made full recoveries, as long as treatment was started within 48 hours of eating the mushrooms.[2]

Milk thistle as a treatment for amatoxin poisoning can save your life, and it can also spare you from having a liver transplant. How would you convince a skeptical doctor to give you the herb that could save your life? Most doctors want to know how silymarin works in these cases.

The evidence is that it stimulates the production of an enzyme called nucleolar polymerase A. This enzyme protects the outer membranes from a process called lipid peroxidation. It also stimulates the production of RNA that allows the liver to build the proteins it needs to repair damage by the toxin.

If your doctor understands how silymarin works, you are more likely to get this life-saving treatment. This is one of the milk thistle benefits that can potentially, and literally, save your life.

2. Milk Thistle Fights Viral Infections

Many people who have chronic viral hepatitis take milk thistle, with good reason.

Twelve clinical trials confirm that the milk thistle extract silymarin is as effective as standard medications for lowering liver enzymes (ALT and AST) and preventing fibrosis of the liver in hepatitis B. (However, that doesn’t mean that prescription medications don’t work, the combination of prescription medication plus silymarin works better than either used alone.)[3]

Milk thistle also works as a lead-in therapy for “hard-to-treat” hepatitis C infections. It doesn’t cure hepatitis C all by itself, but it helps medications work better if the silymarin is used first.[4] And it can make a huge difference in quality of life. Your skin won’t be as itchy. You won’t have as much vomiting and diarrhea, and your skin may return to its normal tone.

A clinical trial involving over 1,100 people who had hepatitis C found that people who took silymarin for several years had better liver enzyme levels (lower AST), better quality of life, and fewer symptoms. Participants in the study who took milk thistle had measurably less fatigue, nausea, liver pain, anorexia, and muscle and joint pain. They reported significantly better general health. They were also less likely to develop cirrhosis of the liver.[5]

 

healthy liver animation fighing virus

 

How Does Milk Thistle Stop Cirrhosis of the Liver in Viral Hepatitis?

Research shows that milk thistle benefits the liver in many ways. The way viral infections damage the liver is by setting off an inflammatory cascade. Inflammation “takes out” weak liver cells. As a result, the immune system generates still more inflammation to remove nearby healthy liver cells that are no longer connected.

The liver then fills in the gaps with fibrous tissue.[6] Milk thistle works by stopping the immune system from generating too much inflammation in the liver, which allows it to respond to other treatments.[7] Milk thistle doesn’t just help the liver recover from hepatitis B and C.

It also stops the hepatitis C virus from entering liver cells to cause the infection.[8] In addition, it can make HIV infected cells go into a kind of hibernation that keeps the AIDS virus from spreading.[9] And it keeps flu viruses from replicating themselves.[10]

Furthermore, clinical researchers suggest that one way to keep from coming down with the flu is to take milk thistle on a regular basis. Milk thistle by itself won’t absolutely stop the infection, however, it will limit the infection so that discomfort is minimal and recovery is swift.

3. Milk Thistle Stops Liver Damage Caused by Alcoholic Liver Disease

Silymarin from milk thistle helps heal liver damage in alcoholics in at least three important ways. This milk thistle extract:

  • Neutralizes free radicals generated by the breakdown of alcohol in the liver. Additionally, the antioxidant silymarin counteracts free radicals released when the liver processes over the counter pain relievers and common household chemicals.
  • Stimulates protein synthesis. As a result, increased activity of RNA allows the liver to make the proteins it needs to repair itself.
  • Enhances the antioxidant action of glutathione made by the liver. Silymarin boosts the natural free radical defenses of the liver.[11]

In the 1980’s, before the hepatitis C virus was discovered, researchers conducted a large clinical trial of silymarin as a treatment for people who had chronic liver disease and who drank. Some of the people in the study could have had both alcoholic liver disease and hepatitis C.

Nonetheless, the study found that taking milk thistle reduced the risk of cirrhosis even when people who had alcoholic liver disease continued to drink.[12] Another clinical study found that people who have alcohol-related liver damage but take silymarin produce more of the antioxidant glutathione.[13] So if you struggle with alcoholic liver disease, then this is one of the most important milk thistle benefits for you.

 

4. Milk Thistle Stops Liver Damage Caused by Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is a complication of having too much body fat. However, you don’t have to be obese to develop fatty liver disease.

Even though just 30% of Americans are obese, up to 46% have fatty liver disease.[14] Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease consists of a progression of liver problems that begin with non-alcoholic steatohepatitis and progress to fibrosis, cirrhosis, and liver cancer.

The initial symptoms of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease are usually vague.

You may feel tired all the time and not know why. Your skin color may be “off,” but not yellow the way it is in other liver diseases. You may find the willpower to diet but you don’t lose weight. Usually these symptoms occur a long time before your liver problems progress to fibrosis, cirrhosis, or even cancer. Sometimes something triggers liver cancer even before there are fibrosis and cirrhosis that your doctor can detect.[15]

 

healthy liver and fatty liver animation

 

How to Treat Fatty Liver Disease

The treatment for fatty liver disease is to lose your excess body fat by dieting. Dieting produces real rewards in reversing the condition.

  • Clinical trials confirm that losing 9 percent of your body weight leads to reductions in both inflammation and fatty deposits in liver tissue.[16]
  • Other clinical trials find that losing 8 percent of your body weight leads to lowering the amount of fat deposited in your liver.[17]
  • If you are able to lose 7 percent of your body weight by low-calorie diet, clinical research confirms that you will have less “ballooning” of liver tissue. Your liver will maintain its normal form and function for optimal blood circulation.[18]
  • And if you can lose at least 5 percent of your body weight by dieting, there will be significantly fewer fat deposits in your liver.[19]

The unfortunate reality is that most of have trouble losing even 5 percent of our body weight by dieting.

Fortunately, It’s Possible to Heal Your Liver With Milk Thistle.

One of the main reasons why there are so many milk thistle benefits is because milk thistle contains silymarin.

If you reduce your calories by any amount at all and also take silymarin, one clinical study tells us that you will see improvements in your liver enzymes faster. Dieting non-alcoholic steatohepatitis patients who took just a low dose of silymarin (210 mg a day) had improved ALT and AST in eight weeks.[20]

And silymarin even helps if you aren’t able to reduce your intake at all. A team of physicians in Naples (Italy) studied the effects of silymarin in 72 fatty liver disease patients who were able to eat the right foods, eliminating unhealthy fats and products like corn syrup, but who weren’t able to eat the right amounts, losing weight on a calorie-restricted diet. Here are the results:

After Three Months of Taking 540 mg of Silymarin Every Day:

  • ALT levels (a measure of liver cell death) fell from an average of 109 to an average of 75.
  • AST levels (another measure of liver cell death) fell from an average of 72 to an average of 48.
  • Ultrasound scans of the liver showed an average of 42 percent fewer fat deposits

Taking 540 mg of silymarin every day for three months did not completely reverse fatty liver, but it greatly improved it—even in patients who were not able to reduce their calorie consumption.[21] Silymarin will not be as helpful in patients who have advanced liver disease, and it has to be taken in a higher dose (700 mg per day) to help people in the advanced stages of fatty liver disease.

Even in these cases, however, clinical trials find that silymarin seems to cause a significant reduction in fibrosis, stopping the potentially deadly progression from fatty liver to fibrosis and more serious conditions.[22]

5. Milk Thistle Protects Against Cancer

Let’s be clear. Milk thistle or silymarin don’t cure cancer all by themselves. But they seem to help prevent certain kinds of cancer, and they increase the chances of successful treatment of cancer by medical and natural means. Here’s a look at how milk thistle benefits can help specific kinds of cancer.

Liver Cancer

The best evidence for silymarin/milk thistle in preventing and treating cancer is for hepatocarcinoma, or liver cancer. The silibinin component of silymarin (one of the seven plant chemicals that make up silymarin) kills cancer cells that are activated by hepatitis B.

It’s particularly useful in killing liver cancer cells that don’t have a “watchdog” gene called p53 that would ordinarily stop them from reproducing themselves.[23] Silibinin also stops the proliferation of liver cancer cells that is stimulated by alcohol (when people who have liver cancer continue to drink despite their disease).[24] If you take milk thistle extract, or silymarin, you get silibinin.

Breast Cancer

Milk thistle extract contains compounds that activate genes p21 and p53 so that they “turn off” breast cancer cells.[25] A clinical trial found that the healing chemicals in milk thistle extract that activate these genes are selectively absorbed by tumor cells.[26] Silymarin goes to the tissues where it is needed. Therefore, taking milk thistle benefits people who are struggling with or prone to breast cancer.

Colon Cancer

A clinical trial confirms that the colon absorbs the active chemicals in milk thistle. Colon cancer does not require IV silymarin. Cancer doctors who use natural drugs usually have a compounding pharmacy prepare them for intravenous infusion, at an expense of hundreds of dollars, but this is not necessary with silymarin for colon cancer.[27]

Taking both curcumin (the antioxidant from turmeric) and milk thistle extract increases the beneficial response to milk thistle.[28] The way milk thistle extracts work is by triggering a process called apoptosis, or “cellular suicide” in colon cancer cells. There are multiple chemicals in silymarin that stimulate apoptosis in colon cancer.[29] So, if you are dealing with colon cancer, then these milk thistle benefits might help you.

Prostate Cancer

There is some evidence that milk thistle extract as a whole (all seven chemicals, not just one of the seven chemicals in silymarin) slows angiogenesis, part of the process through which prostate cancer spreads to the rest of the body.[30]

Research studies tell us that it is a good idea to start taking milk thistle extract as soon as you know you have cancer, even before your treatment is scheduled. The healing chemicals in milk thistle extract don’t do all the work of beating cancer, but they can work with your body to ensure that you get the best possible results of a holistic treatment program.

6. Milk Thistle Lowers Blood Sugar Levels in Type 2 Diabetes

Milk thistle contains a compound called isosilybin that helps lower blood sugar levels in diabetes. It activates a cellular receptor called peroxisome proliferator activated receptor-gamma (PPAR-gamma). [31] This stimulates fat cells to take sugar out of the bloodstream and store it as fat. The result is lower blood sugar levels, but it is also weight gain unless you take other measures to control your diet.

If you can avoid weight gain, any PPAR-gamma activator is of great help in lowering your blood sugar levels and controlling your diabetes. It just requires some dietary restraint to work for your health overall. You will get better results using milk thistle for diabetes if you eat both less carbohydrates and fewer calories.

What Makes Milk Thistle Better Than Some Prescription Drugs that are Also PPAR-Gamma Activators?

It’s what milk thistle doesn’t do. Milk thistle stimulates the uptake of sugar out of your bloodstream. But the pharmaceutical PPAR-gamma activators also stimulate the production of new fat cells from your stem cells that otherwise would be making red blood cells. You do have to watch your diet when you use milk thistle for diabetes.

But you don’t have to worry about creating entirely new fat cells to soak up sugar and store fat even faster the way you do with some medications. How much difference will milk thistle make in your diabetes numbers?

One clinical study found an average blood sugar decrease of 10 mg/dl in people who used milk thistle for an entire year.[32] That’s not enough to call milk thistle a diabetes “cure,” but it’s about as much as you can expect from most diabetes medications. Therefore, the need for fewer medications is another check on the list of milk thistle benefits.

7. Milk Thistle Helps Heal Sun-Damaged Skin

The milk thistle extract silymarin heals sun-damaged skin from the inside out. Sometimes the UV-A rays in sunlight just cause inflammation. The skin heals inflammation with pigmentation. Tiny areas of inflammation produce spots that are darker than surrounding skin. Sometimes UV rays trigger the cellular suicide process called apoptosis in the skin.

Milk thistle benefits the skin because it’s chemicals known as silymarin block this process in the keratinocytes, the skin cells that create topmost, visible layer of your skin.[33]

Protecting keratinocytes helps to maintain your skin’s natural tones and normal contours, free of spots and sagging. Additionally, silymarin prevents the formation of skin tumors that become basal cell carcinomas and other forms of skin cancer.

It counteracts the formation of tumors, and it slows the production of tumors that have already formed.[34] Taking silymarin is not a substitute for using sunscreen, but it works with sunscreen to give your skin the greatest possible opportunity to rejuvenate itself.

 

woman with healthy skin beacuse of miilk thistle looking out window

 

8. Milk Thistle Stops Seasonal Allergies

If you haven’t found the right combination of lifestyle changes, nutritional supplements, and medication to control your hay fever or seasonal skin allergies, try milk thistle. Laboratory tests have shown that silymarin keeps your immune system from producing new T-cells that would trigger allergic inflammation.

At the same time, it helps keep existing T-cells alive so that they can fight infection.[35] It keeps T-cells from becoming exhausted by allergic response,[36] and it also stops specialized mast cells from releasing histamine. (Histamine is the chemical for which you take an antihistamine allergy medication.)

And while milk thistle won’t replace your emergency allergy medications, it reduces allergic responses so that severe allergic reactions are less likely. [37]

If you want to enjoy all of the milk thistle benefits for seasonal allergies, then you want to take it take every day, not just at the beginning of allergy season. It’s not something you take after your symptoms develop because it changes the reactivity of your immune system slowly, over a period of several days to several weeks.

When milk thistle works well, you don’t notice its effects. You just don’t have the allergic reactions you usually do.

9. Milk Thistle Lowers Cholesterol

Milk thistle helps your liver flush excess cholesterol away.

Most of your body’s cholesterol does not come from food. Instead, cholesterol is made by your liver. The liver releases some of its LDL cholesterol into the greenish-yellow fluid known as bile, which flows into the gallbladder and on to the small intestine. Bound to bile salts, this cholesterol mixes with stool and is removed with bowel movement.

Taking milk thistle extract on a daily basis will not have a big effect on your total cholesterol. Instead, silymarin stimulates your liver to remove the “bad” LDL cholesterol but lets it keep the “good” HDL cholesterol.

But there are other milk thistle benefits that help with lowering cholesterol. Silymarin also helps your blood vessels to generate a chemical called nitric oxide, which is also known as NO. The nitric oxide helps veins and arteries to relax. This lowers blood pressure and reduces the risk of blood clots. [38]

10. Milk Thistle Helps to Prevent Gallstones

Gallstones can be intensely painful. That’s despite the fact that they are usually composed of one or both of two soft substances, cholesterol or the liver pigment bilirubin. Gallstones don’t start as stones. They begin as gallbladder “sludge.” The liver doesn’t produce enough bile to push excess cholesterol down to the small intestine, so it accumulates in the gallbladder.

The fatty cholesterol sticks to proteins that are also found in the gallbladder, something like a greasy clog in a drain. Gallbladder sludge morphs into gallbladder gravel. These are harder bits of cholesterol- or bilirubin-laden debris. They can still be passed through the bile duct down to the small intestine, but they take longer and are only moved if the liver generates significantly more bile.

Gallbladder gravel can eventually solidify into gallstones. These hard accretions of wasted cholesterol and unneeded bilirubin are “stuck” in the gallbladder.

They can press against the sides of the gallbladder, especially when the liver restarts normal bile production. Usually the intense pain of a gallbladder attack occurs after a period during which the liver produced minimal bile, as during a low-calorie diet, followed by a period during which the liver produced extra bile to remove cholesterol absorbed from food, such as coming off a low-calorie diet.

The secret to avoiding gallstones is avoiding gallbladder gravel.nThe secret to avoiding gallbladder gravel is avoiding gallbladder sludge. And the way never to get your gallbladder filled with sludge is to encourage the healthy production of bile all the time. This is another one on the list of milk thistle benefits.

Silymarin Helps Your Body Produce Bile

Taking silymarin every day keeps your liver healthy so you don’t accumulate waste materials that can solidify in your gallbladder.

How do we know that silymarin really works for preventing gallstones? Clinical studies have found that taking 420 mg of silymarin a day for 30 days lowers the bile saturation index. This measurement is an indicator of how “sludge-like” bile is in the gallbladder or in the common bile duct in people who have had their gallbladders removed.[39]

Healthy changes in this index tell us that milk thistle extract doesn’t just help prevent gallstones. It also helps people who have had cholecystectomies (gallbladder removal) function as normally as possible. And what about that “mundane” application of milk thistle supplements, treating hangover?

The best way to use milk thistle to treat hangover is to take it every day whether you drink or not. That way silymarin stimulates the production of the enzymes the liver uses to detoxify alcohol even before you drink. This is one of the most popular and well-known milk thistle benefits.

What Is the Best Way to Take Milk Thistle?

Throughout this article we have used the terms “milk thistle” and “silymarin” interchangeably. That’s because the universally useful form of milk thistle is the silymarin extract. If you take silymarin, you are also getting all of its components, including silybin, isosilybin, silydianin, silychristin, and several others.

For almost every application of milk thistle, silymarin extract is best. It’s even used in treating Amanita mushroom poisoning. If you have a health problem that is immediately life-threatening, however, always seek medical care and follow your doctor’s advice.

What’s the Best Form of Milk Thistle?

While you can find powders and teas if you look hard enough, your best bet is a vegan capsule.

The capsule carries the silymarin to your small intestine where it is acted on in a more alkaline environment that keeps the healing chemicals intact. The best formulations of silymarin combine the chemicals that make up silymarin with at least a small amount (usually about 1000 mg) of the whole herb for maximum absorption.

 

man holding omnibiotics organic milk thistle supplement in nature

 

And How Much Silymarin is Enough?

Except in treating mushroom poisoning (which is really something that should be done in a hospital), 375 mg a day gets optimal results.

Milk thistle is not a natural product that works fast. You usually need to take milk thistle for about 30 days before you see the improvements in your health that you seek.

But trust us, it’s more than worth it. This list of milk thistle benefits doesn’t stop here. These are just some of the benefits we thought would be most useful for the reader. Here is another article for those who want to learn more about the benefits and uses of milk thistle.


9 Clinically Proven Supplements to Support the Liver

Proven Liver Supplements

The human liver is a wonderfully forgiving organ. It is constantly detoxifying the countless chemical toxins from our environment, from our food, and from excesses in drinking alcohol. The liver is resilient to years and years of abuse.

There is a point in many people’s lives, however, when the liver says “No more!” and it’s time for drastic medical measures. You may be able to delay that time by pursuing a liver-friendly diet, but taking herbs and liver supplements is key to maintaining a healthy liver.

What’s a Liver-Friendly Diet?

You don’t have to give up drinking alcohol forever and pursue a diet of tofu and bean sprouts just to support your liver health. Your liver is designed to detoxify nearly anything you throw at it, as long as you don’t give it too much to do. That is why clinical trials of calorie restriction have had some amazing results of diet in treating liver disease.

Cutting Back Your Calories Just 10 Percent is Enough to Make a Difference in Liver Health.

Reducing total calories consumed by just 10 percent is enough to reduce the inflammation in the liver generated by a high-fat diet. Reducing calorie intake by 10 percent also paradoxically reduces the production of the “hunger hormone” leptin, and it stimulates the production of repair proteins in the liver.

Losing fat mass over time, as you continue to manage your intake, will also increase the production of adiponectin. This is a hormone that helps to regulate blood sugar levels and reduce appetite. Mild calorie reduction may set of a positive spiral of weight control and better liver health, especially if you are also taking liver supplements at the same time.

Protein Restriction is Not Helpful (and may even be harmful) Unless You Have Advanced Liver Disease.

Many well-intentioned commentators who advocate vegan diets try to make the point that too much protein harms the liver, so everyone needs to pursue a vegan diet. There is indeed a point at which too much protein actually does harm a healthy liver.

However, that occurs in adults who eat a kilo (2.2 pounds) of meat or more every day, unless you are in the most advanced stages of liver disease. [1] That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t eat a vegan diet. It just means that you don’t have go completely vegan because you are afraid of developing liver disease.

Calorie Restriction is Even More Important for Liver Health Than Exercise.

A clinical study conducted at the Prefectural University of Kumamoto in Japan found that keeping calorie counts to the level needed to support ideal weight improved liver health with or without five hours of high-intensity exercise every week. [2] The bottom line from over 100 clinical studies is that if you want to keep your liver healthy, a very important aspect your lifestyle should be not to overeat.

You don’t have to go on a drastic diet. You probably only have to eat about 200 calories less every day. Or look at it this way: To keep your liver healthy, eat the right number of calories for the body you want to have. Do not to punish the body you have now to make it lose weight.

And even when you can’t keep your calories in control, it helps to take balanced liver supplements. This is why we created a proprietary liver supplement with 9 synergistic ingredients called Liver Reboot™.

 

omnibiotics liver support supplement capsules kitchen lifestyle scene


A Perfect Balance of Liver-Healthy Ingredients

There are nine safe, effective, well-known, and clinically tested natural therapies that make a documented difference in liver support. Outside of the United States, some of them are so well regarded that you can get them with a doctor’s prescription and your health insurance will pay for them.

All of these are among the best herbal and natural ingredients for liver health, which is why we put them all into our liver supplements to create the ultimate blend on the market. Liver Reboot is a proprietary supplement blend that you cannot find anywhere else.

Alpha-lipoic Acid is Probably the World’s Best Known Antioxidant Supplement.

One of the most common uses of alpha-lipoic acid is in treating the world’s most common liver problem, hangover. It reduces “colonic hypersensitivity,” the flatulence, diarrhea, and stomach cramps that can come with toxic injury to your liver, such as the injury to your liver from drinking too much alcohol. [3] There is also good clinical evidence that alpha-lipoic acid can help the liver come back from “shocks” that cut off circulation. [4]

Research on Alpha-Lipoic Acid Helping the Liver of Heavy Drinkers

The evidence is not as clear-cut as to whether alpha-lipoic acid can help the liver come back from the effects of chronic heavy drinking, but in a small-scale clinical study conducted about 35 years ago:

  • 11 percent of former heavy drinkers who quit using alcohol but did not take alpha-lipoic acid had better liver biopsies after six months.
  • 85 percent of former heavy drinkers who quit using alcohol and took alpha-lipoic acid every day had better liver biopsies after six months of supplementation.
  • 3 percent of heavy drinkers who did not quit drinking and did not take alpha-lipoic acid had improved liver biopsies after six months.
  • 42 percent of heavy drinkers who did not quit drinking and did take alpha-lipoic acid every day had improved liver biopsies after six months on alpha-lipoic acid, despite their heavy drinking.

The dose of alpha-lipoic acid used in this study was 300 mg per day. [5] A common question is “Don’t you want pure R-lipoic acid, not alpha-lipoic acid (which is a mixture of R- and L-lipoic acids)?”

The answer is, not necessarily. Alpha-lipoic acid is just as effective as R-lipoic acid when the target is blood plasma, outside of a cell. So, make sure your liver supplements contain alpha lipoic acid.

Bupleurum, Also Known in Chinese as Chai Hu, is a Favorite of Practitioners of Traditional Chinese Medicine for “Clearing External Wind Heat.”

The evil heat of the summer wind was thought to cause bloodshot eyes, a pounding headache, and dehydration. Does anything about that sound familiar? The ancient masters of Chinese herbal medicine used bupleurum to treat “liver depression.”The liver was thought to be the organ that housed emotions, keeping them in order until they were appropriately expressed.

A “depressed” liver was unable to contain emotions, causing anger to spill over into the rest of the body—especially the mouth (speaking anger) and eyes (seeing anger). What modern science knows is that bupleurum provides even stronger antioxidants than those in milk thistle.

It contains compounds that stimulate autophagy, a process through which liver cells can remove structures damaged by alcohol or other toxins. It’s a kind of detoxifier that works from the inside out rather than from the outside in. Clinical studies show that in people who abuse alcohol, bupleurum helps prevent the fibrosis of the liver that leads to the cirrhosis of the liver. [6]

Bupleurum is actually even more useful for maintaining the general health of your liver than it is for helping you recover from a hangover. If you keep your liver healthy, however, you will bounce back faster those (we hope) rare times you drink too much. To do so, you should regularly take liver supplements.

Globe Artichoke Extract has a Long History as a Hangover Cure.

The way artichoke extract fights hangover is well understood.

It prevents increases in two enzymes that measure tissue destruction in the liver, alanine aminotransferase (ALT) and aspartate aminotransferase (AST). It also increases levels of the liver-protective antioxidants glutathione and superoxide dismutase. Balanced liver supplements should contain globe artichoke because of this.

 

globe artichoke for liver support omnibiotics supplement

 

Compounds in artichoke leaf extract stimulate DNA repair processes that allow the liver to recover from exposure to toxic chemicals such as carbon tetrachloride. Globe artichoke extract also soothes burning stomach pain that alcohol can sometimes cause. Because the benefits of artichoke extract in treating hangover are so well known, no clinical trials have been conducted to confirm the usefulness of this herb in treating hangover.

However, other benefits of artichoke extract have been confirmed in clinical trials. Over the last 59 years sixty-nine human studies have shown to support the idea that regular consumption of artichokes increases protective HDL cholesterol. [7]

When the polyphenols in globe artichoke extract are processed by beneficial Lactobacillus paracasei bacteria in the colon, the bacteria release a compound that prevents inflammation of nerve endings. You get better results from artichoke extract, and greater relief from the headache and fatigue of hangover if you also regularly use probiotics that include L. paracasei. [8]

Ginger is Part of a Traditional Chinese, Japanese, and Korean Folk Remedy for Relieving Stomach Upset After Drinking too Much.

It is traditionally combined with tangerine pith and brown sugar to make kami-shoyo-san. This formula is so well respected in Japan that your doctor can write you a prescription for it and your insurance will pay for it. In addition to having been used in Japanese herbal medicine for hundreds of years safely and effectively, modern clinical experience supports its application used in conventional medicine in both China and Japan.

ginger root for liver support omnibiotics supplement

Chinese doctors use the formula for preventing fibrosis of the liver. Japanese doctors use it for extending life in liver cancer patients because the healing strength has been seen in 30,992 patients . [9] It’s also used to treat psychological symptoms of menopause. [10] You don’t really need the brown sugar or the tangerine peel to make the formula work.

They’re included in the traditional remedy because ginger tea can be hard to drink on its own. In Liver Reboot you get the ginger that protects your liver and makes you feel better without the added calories of the brown sugar. [11] Make sure to choose liver supplements without any added sugar.

Grapeseed Extract Encourages the Growth of Healthy, Probiotic Bacteria but Discourages the Growth of Disease-Causing Microorganisms.

Some of the probiotic bacteria that are protected by grapeseed extract release chemicals that prevent the creation of damaged, tangled proteins in the brain. [12] Grape seed extract specifically protects the liver from toxic chemicals that tend to oxidize its tissues, depleting the free radicals it needs to avoid fibrosis.

grapeseed extract for liver support omnibiotics supplements

 

Human clinical trials are underway to determine whether grape seed extract will protect the liver from metabolic syndrome, the well-known condition that causes prediabetes. In addition the trials are also researching whether it will protect the liver from high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and weight gain. [13]

Kutki Root, Also Known by its Botanical Name Picrorhiza Kurroa, is a Bitter Tonic that Comes to us from Ayurvedic Medicine.

Kutki root is a low-growing herb that is harvested in sandy soils at heights of 3000 to 5000 meters (about 10,000 to 16,000 feet) in the Himalayas. It is important to choose brands that are made with ethically sourced herbs because it has been harvested almost to extinction. Ayurvedic medicine uses kutki to pacify pitta, the energy that results in sharp pains, sour tastes, lightheadedness, and sweat.

For thousands of years, this property has made kutki root useful in hangover cures. It helps to reverse the symptoms of advanced hepatic steatosis, fatty liver disease. This Himalayan herb helps prevent liver dysfunction as you are getting over a hangover because it helps your circulatory system return to normal. [14] Kutki can also be helpful in viral hepatitis.

A small-scale clinical trial found that it lowers ALT, AST, and bilirubin in people who have hepatitis B. [15] As a result, including this ingredient in liver supplements may have other beneficial side effects.

Milk Thistle is Natural Medicine’s Best Known and Most Broadly Effective Tool for Liver Support.

The most effective form of milk thistle is an extract of the antioxidant constituents of the seed called silymarin.

Silymarin contains seven especially stable flavonoglignans including silibinin, isosilibinin, silychristin, isosilychristin and silydianin. In addition it contains another a flavonoid called taxifolin, which is a biologically active compound that is the principal active ingredient in dandelion extract.

Together, these compounds “turn off” inflammatory signals. In women, they help the liver regulate estrogen. In both sexes, they help the liver respond to insulin so you have fewer highs and lows in your blood sugar levels.

They “downregulate” a substance known as macrophage activation factor. As a result, you have less bulk around your waist or (in women) thighs and hips due to the accumulation of fluid around white blood cells trapped in fat.

mlk thistle for liver support omnibiotics supplements

 

And for people looking for an effective hangover treatment, the silymarin component silibinin is especially helpful in reducing inflammation. [16] For example, inflammation that causes headaches, sensitivity to light, and a burning stomach after drinking too much can be significantly reduced by taking an organic milk thistle supplement.

No matter what the cause of liver injury, milk thistle extract reduces it.

The hospital laboratory indicators ALT and AST have measured and documented the reduction. [17] But don’t just take milk thistle when you drink. Take liver supplements that have milk thistle in them such as Liver Reboot every day for continuous support of your liver health. While milk thistle alone is great, there are a handful of other ingredients that combine to create a more powerful effect in your body.

N-acetyl Cysteine (NAC) is Useful is Treating the Hepatotoxic Effects of Another Commonly Consumed Class of Beverages: Soft Drinks Sweetened with Aspartame (Nutrasweet).

Extremely high levels of consumption of aspartame can eat visible holes in the liver. Anyone who drinks more than 2 liters of soft drinks per day needs NAC because this is the quantity that causes liver damage. But even if you aren’t addicted to any soft drinks, NAC helps with overall liver health and is an important ingredient to look for when choosing their liver supplements.

Schisandra Berry is Traditional Chinese Medicine’s Wei Zi or Fruit of Five Flavors.

The herb is called the fruit of five flavors because as you bite into schisandra berries they ooze a flavor combination of sweet, bitter, sour, salty, and spicy. In a hangover remedy, they are used to help you get sleep because they contain compounds that reduce the time it takes you to fall asleep.

They also help you enjoy a deeper and longer sleep. In addition, they prevent restless legs syndrome and other muscle movements during the night, or at least that’s what centuries of successful use tell us. Furthermore schisandra supports the health of the heart, spleen, lungs, and kidneys as well as the liver.

schisandra for liver support omnibiotics supplements

 

It also works synergistically with acupuncture. Volunteer patients in a Chinese clinical study were found to have 203 to 315 percent more of the pharmacologically active chemicals in schisandra after acupuncture treatment.[18]

In large amounts, fructose is more or less a useless macronutrient because it goes straight to your liver to be used for fuel or to make fat. In small amounts when you have a hangover, however, fructose gives your liver the ready energy it needs to continue detoxifying alcohol and all of its byproducts.[19]

If you regularly drink too much, at least give your liver a break by not eating too much. Good diet habits, as discussed earlier in this article, can partially compensate for bad drinking habit.

Summary

Don’t just use natural liver support when you have a hangover.

Use liver supplements and herbs every day to support optimal liver health. This is key in order to maximize your liver’s ability to clear away toxins so you enjoy optimal energy, hormonal balance, and resilient good health.

The liver is one of the most important organs in the body, but many people overlook their liver health.

As a result, the liver is not able to remove toxins in the body efficiently, and these toxins build up over time. Do not be one of these people. If you want optimal health, then taking care of your liver is a necessary step towards that goal. Give your liver what it needs to function at its best, and the rest of your body will thank you.


Everything You Need To Know About Magnesium - Why Do We Need It?

Magnesium is the Energizer Bunny of essential mineral nutrients because it’s list of benefits seems to never stop. It is a critical structural component of over 300 enzymes that cells of the human body use every minute of every day in order to function properly. Because it is very difficult to get enough magnesium through one’s diet, it is important to add magnesium supplements to your daily routine.

 

Magnesium Supplements Are Essential For Optimal Health

In every cell of the human body magnesium plays a role in:

  • The use, transfer, and storage of energy. This includes respiration, which is the combining of glucose and oxygen to release energy, the storage of energy by converting ADP to ATP, and the safe storage of healthy fats.
  • Protein, carbohydrate, and fat metabolism, and
  • Maintenance of normal cell membrane function.
  • DNA synthesis.
  • RNA synthesis.
  • Structural stability of the ribosomes, where cells use RNA to code new proteins.
  • The production of proteins.
  • Making sure that DNA does not “unwind” in the double helix (unless it is supposed to). A detoxifying mechanism known as phosphorylation.

Every cell needs magnesium to stay alive. Therefore, magnesium deficiencies can disrupt nearly every organ system in the body. Magnesium is critical in the nervous system because it blocks the release of a chemical called acetylcholine. As a result, nerves don’t fire too often.

 

 

This is the reason magnesium supplements often have a calming effect. Magnesium also slows down the release of stress hormones from the adrenal glands. Magnesium is essential for the normal functioning of the parathyroid hormone, which in turn regulates calcium flows all over the body.

Even moderate deficiencies of magnesium can create vascular resistance and raise blood pressure. Most noteworthy is that fact that severe shortages of magnesium can and do result in fatal rhythm disturbances of the heart. Therefore, one can clearly see why it is so important to regularly take magnesium supplements.

Most of Us Don’t Get Enough Magnesium

There aren’t any minerals that are “more essential” than all the others, but an essential fact about magnesium is that most of us don’t get enough naturally. Here are the statistics derived from clinical observation. At any given time:

  • About 2 percent of the population suffers from a deficiency that would be diagnosed as hypomagnesemia (low magnesium), severe enough to justify in-hospital IV treatment.
  • From 10 to 20 percent of people in hospitals need magnesium treatment (usually by IV) to recover from their other illnesses.
  • Roughly 25 percent of diabetics suffer severe magnesium deficiency.
  • About 30 percent of alcoholics are critically deficient in magnesium.
  • From 50 to 60 percent of people who have recently had heart attacks are so deficient in magnesium that they need IV magnesium.
  • And about 75 percent of the population as a whole fails to get enough magnesium in their diets. [1]

How can you know whether you need to take magnesium supplements? Chances are you have absolutely no doubt that something is wrong. You already have a medical diagnosis. You just don’t know that magnesium can help to restore normal structure and function of your body to assist medicine in addressing it.

With 75 percent of people deficient in magnesium, it is no wonder that over a billion people worldwide suffer high blood pressure, insomnia, anxiety, and/or chronic fatigue.

Magnesium Deficiency and the Potential Side Effects

Furthermore, deficiencies of magnesium have also been linked to increased rates of allergies [2], aneurysms [3], asthma [4], attention deficit syndrome [5], calcium deposits in muscles [6], stiffening of muscle tissue [7], osteoporosis [8], fibromyalgia [9], congenital hearing loss [10], irregular heart rhythms [11], irritable bowel syndrome [12], migraines [13], menstrual cramps and/or irregular periods [14], muscle cramps [15], and temperomandibular joint (TMJ) syndrome [16].

If you have one of these conditions, chances are that you are deficient in magnesium, or your body is not responding to it because you are taking too much calcium. A simple and inexpensive blood test that any doctor can order can tell you for sure. You will probably want to take magnesium supplements regardless of the blood test, however, because it will help you either way.

What Foods Do We Need for Magnesium?

One of the most important tasks for magnesium in nature is enabling plants to use chlorophyll in order to make carbohydrates and release oxygen when they are exposed to sunlight. As a result, all leafy greens are rich in magnesium. In addition, nuts, seeds, and whole grains, however, are even better for getting your magnesium because they concentrate the mineral for the growing seedling.

 

 

Every adult needs about 400 mg of elemental magnesium every day. Here are some great sources of magnesium for your daily diet. Each one of the following delivers all the magnesium your body needs for an entire day:

  • A 3-1/2 ounce (100 gram) serving of rice bran contains 781 mg of magnesium.
  • A 3-1/2 ounce (100 gram) serving of dried seaweed contains 770 mg of magnesium.
  • A 3-1/2 ounce (100 gram) serving of wheat bran contains 611 mg of magnesium.
  • A 3-1/2 ounce (100 gram) serving of raw pumpkin seeds contains 535 mg of magnesium.
  • A 3-1/2 ounce (100 gram) serving of roasted pumpkin seeds contains 534 mg of magnesium. Roasting does not reduce mineral content.
  • A 3-1/2 ounce (100 gram) serving of ground flaxseed contains 392 mg of magnesium. Whole flaxseeds are not completely digested and do not release their nutritional content.

Adding Magnesium Rich Foods to Your Diet

If you are thinking, “Eww, I don’t want to eat two whole packages of dried seaweed every day,” you are not alone. We just don’t have the appetites for the foods that provide all of the magnesium we need. It is possible, however, to get your RDA of magnesium from a balanced diet rich in seeds, nuts, sea vegetables, and leafy green vegetables.

Here are some more options for getting your magnesium from food:

  • A 3-1/2 ounce (100 gram) serving of peanut butter contains 355 mg of magnesium.
  • A 3-1/2 ounce (100 gram) serving of blackeyed peas (cowpeas) contains 333 mg of magnesium.
  • A 3-1/2 ounce (100 gram) serving of almond butter contains 303 mg of magnesium.
  • A 3-1/2 ounce (100 gram) serving of edamame (whole soybeans) contains 280 mg of magnesium.
  • A 3-1/2 ounce (100 gram) serving of roasted almonds contains 274 mg of magnesium.
  • A 3-1/2 ounce (100 gram) serving of raw almonds, buckwheat, dark rye flour, lima beans, white beans, sesame-crunch candy, pine nuts, cooked mollusks, or quinoa contains 200 to 250 mg of magnesium.
  • A 3-1/2 ounce (100 gram) serving of sun-dried tomatoes contains 194 mg of magnesium.
  • A 3-1/2 ounce (100 gram) serving of raw or roasted peanuts contains 188 mg of magnesium.
  • A 3-1/2 ounce (100 gram) serving of spirulina contains 184 mg of magnesium.
  • A 3-1/2 ounce (100 gram) serving of Marmite yeast spread contains 180 mg of magnesium.
  • A 3-1/2 ounce (100 gram) serving of raw Irish seaweed contains 144 mg of magnesium.
  • A 3-1/2 ounce (100 gram) serving of instant mashed potatoes contains 98 mg of magnesium.
  • A 3-1/2 ounce (100 gram) serving of boiled fresh spinach or Swiss chard (silverbeet) contains 88 mg of magnesium. 3-1/2 ounce (100 gram) serving of boiled frozen spinach contains 84 mg of magnesium.
  • A 3-1/2 ounce (100 gram) serving of raw Swiss chard (silverbeet) contains 81 mg of magnesium.
  • A 3-1/2 ounce (100 gram) serving of raw spinach contains 80 mg of magnesium.
  • A 3-1/2 ounce (100 gram) serving of cooked sweet corn contains 28 mg of magnesium.
  • A 3-1/2 ounce (100 gram) serving of baked or fried white potatoes contains 27 mg of magnesium.

Why Supplementation is a Great Idea

Coffee, tea, and most spices are also rich in magnesium. The problem with the American diet is that most people try to get their magnesium from French fries or sweet corn rather than from greens, nuts, and whole grains.

In addition, the widespread use of antacids and a variety of prescription medications for heartburn and GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) compounds the deficiency of magnesium. Stomach acid is essential for releasing the magnesium from food because magnesium tends to be bound with fiber in the bran of seeds or in the fibers of green vegetables.

Between not eating right and treating heartburn, just about everyone in the modern world will benefit from magnesium supplements because they are convenient and easily absorbed by the body. We recommend that you make an effort to do both: add magnesium rich foods to your diet and supplement with magnesium glycinate. By doing so, you will ensure optimal levels of magnesium for your mind and body.

Which Magnesium Supplements Are Best?

There is an easy way to remember not to take the wrong magnesium supplement. Magnesium is what makes Milk of Magnesia laxative. Most magnesium supplements can cause diarrhea if they are taken in large amounts. It’s a good idea to take just 200 mg of magnesium at a time until you are sure that you will not experience stomach upset. This side effect usually wears off after 2 or 3 days while the intestine begins to regulate water balance.

Magnesium Glycinate to the Rescue

Your solution is simply to take a form of magnesium known as magnesium glycinate.

Magnesium glycinate is a kinder, gentler, non-laxative compound of magnesium. A glycinate is a compound containing the amino acid glycine. The body absorbs glycine compounds very easily. Glycinates pass easily through the blood-brain barrier so that the whole compound is more readily available to the brain than other forms of magnesium.

Once magnesium glycinate reaches the brain, it releases its calming magnesium. In addition, glycinates also help to regulate electrical impulses between neurons, likewise keeping them from firing too often as they do in anxiety states.

 

 

The glycine also frees up glucose in the liver, so it can release quick energy when the body needs it. Glycinate in the brain is calming, while glycinate in the liver helps it prevent slumps in blood sugar levels.

Furthermore, magnesium glycinate also has an antioxidant effect that other forms of magnesium supplements do not. It can immobilize iron compounds on the surface of the cell membrane. It keeps them at bay so they do not enter and oxidize vulnerable proteins inside the cell.

Magnesium itself is not an antioxidant, but when it is provided in its glycinate form, it is. Magnesium glycinate is the best kind of supplement for preventing the mild to severe magnesium deficiency that most of us have.

Taken in two 200-mg doses every day, it brings magnesium levels back to where they need to be, restoring them in a gentle way that supports calm, steady energy. When making a purchase, make sure to choose magnesium supplements with glycinate.

When You Take Magnesium, Remember:

Your body can’t absorb iron and magnesium at the same time. Iron and magnesium supplements should be taken separately. Your body can’t absorb the biphosphonate drugs used to treat osteoporosis and magnesium at the same time. If you take your medication for osteoporosis in the morning, you should take your magnesium in the evening, or vice versa.

Taking more than 30 mg of zinc per day will deplete magnesium (and copper) levels. If your doctor has told you that you need to take high-dose zinc, then you also need to take regular doses (but not “high” doses) of magnesium and copper.

Magnesium Interactions

Magnesium interferes with the action of tetracycline and quinolone antibiotics. There are dozens of antibiotics in the quinolone class, many of which have names that end in -floxacin. One of the most commonly used antibiotics in this class is ciprofloxacin, which is also known as Cipro.

Magnesium supplements are OK when you are using topical antibiotics to treat skin infections.

People who have a neurological condition called myasthenia gravis can have a very negative reaction to magnesium supplements. Taking excessive amounts of magnesium can cause muscle weakness and a “myasthenic crisis” as symptoms worsen. Therefore, make sure you take magnesium supplements in balance with the other substances you may be ingesting. You always want to consider the interactions of different substances and become aware of how they might affect your unique situation.

Conclusion

Magnesium is certainly one of the most important factors in your overall health, so you will most likely benefit from taking magnesium supplements on a daily basis. It is a critical component of optimal mental and physical health.

So, if optimal health is something that you are striving for, then you should try taking magnesium supplements with glycinate for at least one month and see what kind of difference it can make for you. Many people experience a wide range of positive effects once they begin taking a magnesium glycinate supplement on a regular basis.


Turmeric for Osteoarthritis: Natural Joint Pain Relief

The degenerative form of arthritis known as osteoarthritis is probably humanity’s most common cause of chronic pain. In the United States alone, epidemiologists estimate, about 27 million people have osteoarthritis. Worldwide, probably over half a billion people have the condition.

People who have osteoarthritis know all too well that inflammation leads to the destruction of the cartilage that lines the joints, and this destruction of cartilage leads to aching pain and stiffness that just won’t go away. Learn about turmeric for osteoarthritis, and you may find significant natural relief.

The Secret to Healing Osteoarthritis Is Not to Over-Treat It

There’s no medical cure for osteoarthritis aside from surgery. Joint replacements stop degeneration and inflammation by replacing natural tissues with synthetic materials, but the procedures themselves are painful and debilitating. There are medical treatments for osteoarthritic pain, but they also present their own problems.

Generic pain relievers can have a serious side effects. Most people who have arthritis take non-prescription, over the counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) pain relievers. Aspirin, acetaminophen, ibuprofen, and indomethacin are examples of medications in this class.

With NSAIDs, people often run into problems when they take too much. Aspirin can cause damage to the lining of the stomach when it is taken in excess. Acetaminophen is a no-no for anyone who has even a hint of liver disease. Overdosing on ibuprofen can lead to ulcers of the esophagus, kidney problems, high potassium levels, and sometimes fatal asthma attacks. Overdoses of indomethacin can result in dizziness, headache, confusion, “pins and needles” sensations, numbness of the arms and legs, nausea, and vomiting.

The Truth About NSAIDs

But these aren’t the most common complications of using NSAIDs. All of the NSAIDs can actually make osteoarthritis worse. One reason why NSAID medications can actually make osteoarthritis worse is because taking a synthetic pill never fixes the problem.

You take an aspirin, or two, or three, or four, but it does not target the cause of the problem. Your joint pain stops, so you go right back to doing whatever it was that was wearing out your joints. NSAIDs just mask osteoarthritis. They don’t cure it.

A bigger reason why NSAID medications can make degenerative arthritis worse is because some inflammation is actually necessary to the healing process. If you are constantly taking a pain reliever to stop your pain, your joints never get a chance to remove the damaged proteins in the linings of your joints so they can build new ones.

An inflammatory hormone called interleukin-1 (IL-1) is necessary for “cleaning up” damaged tissue in joints. When your body makes this particular inflammatory hormone, it clears a path for new collagen to be laid down to protect a damaged joint. However, this process also releases a natural COX-2 inhibitor that stops pain. [2] All inflammation is not bad.

Sometimes Inflammation Is What You Actually Need.

Your body does its best to limit that inflammation to taking out damaged tissue.

NSAID pain relievers cancel out the good inflammation along with the bad. It is important to remember that all pain is not bad. Agonizing pain, of course, is always bad. A little dull pain, just enough to know your joints are there, is a different matter. It takes just a little pain to activate IL-1. As the nerves respond to pain, the body sends out this inflammatory hormone to correct the source of the pain. [3]

Therefore, healing arthritis does not require utterly eliminating inflammation. A little inflammation is a good thing because it is part of the natural healing process. And it turns out there are some surprising natural remedies that give you just the right amount of relief from osteoarthritis for your joints to heal.

Organic turmeric for osteoarthritis is one of the most well-known sources of natural relief. Taking organic turmeric on a daily basis is one of the smartest things you can do if you struggle with osteoarthritis.

 

oragnic turmeric root and powder for inflammation omnibiotics supplements white bg

Edible Treatments for Osteoarthritis

Did you ever feel strangely good after you had a serving of strawberries? It turns out that there is a biological reason for that. Strawberries can relieve joint pain. In fact, they are clinically proven to relieve the pain of osteoarthritis while also accelerating recovery.

A group of 11 physicians, kinesiologists, and nutritionists at the University of Oklahoma, Oklahoma State University, University of South Carolina, and University of Nevada at Las Vegas recruited overweight men and women who had arthritic knees for their study.

The volunteers agreed to drink either a two-ounce strawberry smoothie or a vanilla smoothie every day for six weeks. Then, they skipped strawberry smoothies for two weeks and tried the other kind of smoothie for another six weeks. While the volunteers were drinking strawberry smoothies every day, they had not just less pain but also less loss of cartilage. [4]

The same researchers suggest that blueberries and raspberries should have a similar effect. No researchers have yet done clinical trials testing these berries for relieving arthritis pain, but there have been preliminary studies that suggest they should also work.

Other Plants That Have Shown To Help Osteoarthritis Symptoms

Enough people have reported relief of joint pain after taking the marine algae Spirulina, Chlorella, and Aphanizomenon (an algae you are more likely to get over the counter in Europe than in North America or Australia and New Zealand) that physicians have begun documenting their stories. [5] However, they have not done clinical testing of these products for osteoarthritis.

There were positive results in a small-scale clinical trial of Chlorella for joint pain caused by fibromyalgia, with just 20 volunteers [6], but it has not been tested for osteoarthritis. There have been other clinical studies of food for arthritis pain relief. A clinical trial with just 12 people showed that taking apple peel powder every day for 12 weeks reduced joint pain and increased range of motion.  [7]

 

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The University of Guelph in Canada performed a clinical trial with 62 people and found that drinking spearmint tea every day for 16 weeks significantly reduced stiffness in arthritic knees, but only if the spearmint was a special variety that is unusually high in a compound called rosmarinic acid. [8] 

 

spearmint tea for infllammation oon white background

Another clinical study by NIS Labs in Klamath Falls, Oregon involving 14 people found that daily consumption of açai berry pulp with other berry juices reduced joint pain caused by osteoarthritis. [9] A natural product called D-002, extracted from beeswax, reduced stomach pain in volunteers in a clinical trial who took the prescription drug piroxicam for osteoarthritis. [10]

acai berries for inflammation on white background

Finding The Best Natural Remedy For Osteoarthritis

There is no shortage of natural remedies for arthritis that relieve pain but that do not damage joints. The problem is finding a natural remedy that is really practical. Most of us like berries, but consuming them every day is not very realistic.

Most people cannot get berries year round, and if you eat berries all of the time, then you are also consuming all of the sugar that comes along with them.There is also a dietary consideration. Berries are not a high-calorie food, but their calories do count.

Apple peel powder is extraordinarily rich in a compound called quercetin. This compound also appears in grapefruit juice. It is the reason people on hundreds of medications are warned not to drink grapefruit juice. Unfortunately algae work on a different kind of joint pain, and beeswax is not easy to find.

What is needed is a natural product that stops pain and reduces inflammation, but does not stop the small bits of necessary inflammation that need to sneak through. In addition, it should be easy to take and naturally calorie-free. It should be something that won’t interfere with your enjoyment of food, and it shouldn’t cause any side effects.

The natural product that meets all these requirements is turmeric with curcumin. It is now widely accepted that many people use turmeric for osteoarthritis, and if you are someone who is looking for natural relief, then you may have just found your new best friend.

What Is Turmeric with Curcumin?

It is easy to get turmeric and curcumin confused. Turmeric is a spice. It is derived from the ground root of a tropical plant in the Ginger Family. Turmeric is one of many spices used to make curry powder. Curcumin is the best known healing plant chemical in turmeric. Curcumin is a plant chemical, not the plant. Turmeric is the plant, and curcumin is one of the plant’s chemicals. However, curcumin is not the only healing chemical in turmeric.

There are also compounds called polyphenols in the dried spice. Curcumin has a number of applications by itself, but you get better results from a combination of turmeric, the whole herb, and curcumin in treating the pain and stiffness of osteoarthritis. Therefore, when choosing a turmeric for osteoarthritis supplement, make sure to keep these things in mind. They all play a factor in how much pain relief you will find.

 

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How Do We Know Turmeric with Curcumin Relieves Osteoarthritis?

Why Is Turmeric Plus Curcumin Is Better than NSAIDs?

There have been eight well-designed clinical studies of the use of turmeric and curcumin in treating osteoarthritis. Five of them found that taking turmeric plus curcumin yielded pain relief greatly superior to taking NSAIDs. [11]

Three clinical trials found that taking turmeric plus curcumin yielded pain relief equivalent to taking NSAIDs. [12] In addition, some clinical trials found that people who took turmeric plus curcumin reduced their use of NSAIDs. [13]

Tests of how far patients could walk in six minutes, measurements of how much pain they reported from going up stairs, and time spent on a 100-meter walk were about the same for those taking turmeric plus curcumin and those taking NSAIDs such as ibuprofen.

Some clinical trials found that turmeric plus curcumin was clearly superior for treating knee arthritis. [14] Others found that turmeric plus curcumin was superior to chondroitin. [15]

If you were to “smoosh” the data of these eight studies together through a mathematical tool called meta-analysis, they would show that turmeric plus curcumin yields pain relief at least as good and usually better than what you would get form over the counter NSAIDs.

And of course the best part: it’s a naturally occurring plant, not a synthetic drug. Curcumin is also is at least as effective for improving flexibility and ease of walking and going up stairs.

Turmeric is the Clear Choice

There is one more very important reason for taking turmeric and curcumin instead of other pain relievers. Remember, the NSAID pain relievers accelerate the loss of cartilage.

The more synthetic pain pills you take, the more synthetic pills you need. NSAIDs are not really addictive, but you can get into a state in which you need more and more for the same amount of pain relief because your osteoarthritis is getting worse.

Turmeric for Osteoarthritis Doesn’t Just Relieve Pain.

It also helps stop and reverse the progression of arthritis, and dozens of other scientific studies have revealed how:

  • Curcumin regulates the activity of a specialized group of white blood cells known as macrophages. Macrophages are the “clean up” crew of the immune system. Curcumin blocks a factor that causes macrophages to destroy bone but allows a factor that stimulates macrophages to remove damaged collagen in joints. [16]
  • In addition, curcumin allows the production of a clean-up chemical called IL-1, but it stops the full-scale attack on joints by Natural Killer cells. [17]
  • Because curcumin restarts the production of collagen to repair the lining of the joints, it keeps the production of repair proteins in ligaments “turned on” by signaling their cells not to allow themselves to be destroyed by inflammation. [18]
  • Curcumin can sometimes prevent osteoarthritis before it starts. It encourages the “early retirement” of cells called synoviocytes so they never generate the free radicals that initiate the formation of inflammatory chemicals. [19]

But it isn’t just the curcumin that relieves joint pain. At least two studies have found other compounds in turmeric that also help to regulate the immune system and to reduce harmful inflammation. When choosing turmeric for osteoarthritis, make sure that the product offers both kinds of relief. It should contain both turmeric, the whole herb, and curcumin, the active plant chemical. [20]

The Bottom Line on Turmeric for Osteoarthritis

There is strong clinical evidence that turmeric and curcumin taken together every day can relieve the joint pain of osteoarthritis and improve flexibility. Furthermore, they can relieve pain during walking, work, and exercise. But even more importantly, in addition to relieving pain, they help the body correct the underlying process that causes osteoarthritis.

Unlike modern medicine, turmeric helps address the root cause of the pain, which is the only way to truly get rid of pain. Turmeric and curcumin together help the body get back to normal structure and function. The bottom line: there is clinical evidence supporting the use of turmeric for osteoarthritis, and there are many people every day using this supplement to find relief.

 

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Psychobiotics: The Little Known Connection Between Probiotics and Mental Health

Lactobacillus is a strain of friendly bacteria. In general, all of the probiotics you probably hear a lot about are helpful bacteria that keep bad bacteria in check and also help to regulate a surprising range of body functions. Some bacteria, however, are especially friendly.

These are the psychobiotics. These are Lactobacillus bacteria that beneficially help to regulate your brain, not just your gut. They can improve your self-esteem, and help you lose weight by losing fat even while you gain muscle. That’s what a clinical trial in Italy revealed.

Psychobiotics: Feel-Good Bacteria

Lactobacillus psychobiotics don’t just help your digestive functions work better. They also help you lose weight and  feel better about yourself. Nine Italian medical doctors recruited 48 women to participate in a three-week study. They recruited women who had various combinations of too much weight and too much body fat.

There were 13 women who had both normal weight and a normal percentage of body fat. There were 11 women who were not overweight, but whose bodies were overfat. And there were 24 women who were both mildly to seriously overweight as well as overfat.

In addition, the women were given a series of physical and psychological examinations. They underwent body composition analysis, psychological profiles, and eating behavior assessments.

Furthermore, they were also given psychological tests such as the body uneasiness test (BUT), an evaluation of body image perception (IC), and a test called the EDI-2 to identify unhealthy eating behaviors. Then the women were given either a placebo or a special probiotic mixture.

The probiotic mixture included Streptococcus thermophilus, Bifidobacterium animalis, Streptococcus thermophiles, Bifidobacterium bifidum, Lactobacillus delbrueckii spp. Bulgaricus, Lactococcus lactis subsp. Lactis SGLc01, Lactobacillus plantarum (which is a name you will see again a little later in this article), Lactobacillus reuteri SGL01. What difference did taking 3000 mg of these probiotics every day for three weeks make?

Psychobiotics Help Women Lose Weight, Lose Fat, and Gain Muscle

The mixture of psychobiotics not only helped women lose weight. Additionally, it helped them lose weight by losing fat even though they gained some weight by adding muscle.

 

 

In women who had normal weight but high body fat, there was both a significant decrease of weight and a significant reduction in body-mass index (BMI) while there was a significant increase in total body weight.

In other words, the women taking psychobiotics not only lost fat, they gained muscle. In the women who both weighed too much and had too much body fat, the result of using psychobiotics was significantly lower weight and significantly lower BMIs.

They lost around the waist and hips. In addition, they also lost fat and gained muscle. The women who didn’t need to lose weight or body fat didn’t lose them just because they took psychobiotics. These friendly bacteria don’t make changes that aren’t needed.

However, all of the women in the study had better orocecal transit time, which is a fancy way of saying their bowels moved better. They had less constipation, less bloating, and less gas. But the most telling change was improvement on the psychological tests that measured body image.

Women who were overweight or overfat began feeling significantly better about the way they looked in just three weeks.[1]

Psychobiotics Make You Feel Better About the Way You Look

The idea that psychobiotics can help you feel better about the way you look is not so strange when you consider all the ways that probiotics can lift your mood.

Here are some of the key facts that have emerged from psychobiotics research:
  • One of the undisputed facts about the use of probiotics is that they can relieve both constipation and diarrhea. It turns out that also makes these strains useful as psychobiotics. This property is important because a reduction in bowel irregularity (both constipation and diarrhea) leads to a reduction in pain all over your body. Stool consistency is correlated to pain perception.[2]
  • Consumption of psychobiotics increases the absorption of tryptophan.[3] This is the amino acid the brain uses to make serotonin, the antidepressant chemical. In addition, psychobiotics release chemicals that prevent the brain from breaking down serotonin too fast.[4]
  • Psychological stress increases the permeability or “leakiness” of the lining of the gut.[5] Psychobiotics help preserve the integrity of this lining by tightening the tiny junctions between its cells. As a result, this keeps waste products out of the bloodstream. In turn, keeping waste products out of the bloodstream lowers inflammation, and lowering inflammation reduces depression.[6]
  • Psychobiotic probiotics increase the production of antioxidants.[7] They increase production of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA).[8] GABA is the brain’s “downer” chemical that counteracts “upper” chemicals like glutamate, from aspartame and certain protein foods.
  • In addition, Psychobiotic probiotics increase the absorption of nutrients that are important to the brain.[9]
  • Psychobiotics have important effects on stress hormones. They reduce production of stress-induced increases in adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH),[10] corticosterone,[11] adrenaline, and noradrenaline.[12] As a result, these hormonal changes reduce the activity of the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal (HPA) axis, which is hyperactive in depressed patients.[13]
  • Also, psychobiotics increase expression of brain-derived neurotrophic factor,[14] a growth factor crucial for brain plasticity, memory, and neuron health[15] that is abnormally reduced in patients suffering from depression.[16]
  • Psychobiotics reduce the production of the inflammatory substances interleukin-1-beta (IL-1β) and interleukin-6,[17] which are associated with depression.

Even More Proof That Psychobiotics Improve Mood and Self-Esteem

These findings tell us how probiotics could influence mood, but what is the proof that psychobiotics actually do improve mood disorders in real people?

Researchers in New Zealand found that a significant majority of 212 women suffering postpartum depression found relief from anxiety and depression after taking psychobiotics during and after pregnancy.[18]  Additionally, a clinical study in Japan found that taking Lactobacillus helped restore sleep to study volunteers who had insomnia.[19]

 

 

Clinical studies suggest that Lactobacillus is probably better for treating mild depression than major depression, and that the longer you have been depressed, the longer it will take for the probiotic to work.[20]

Furthermore, there is a growing body of evidence that Lactobacillus makes consistent, moderate desirable changes in lifting mood even in people who do not need medical attention.

Here are some more examples:

  • One study with 124 psychologically healthy volunteers who suffered “bad mood” found that most reported a “good mood” after 20 days of taking psychobiotics.[21]
  • A study of 35 people who had been diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome found that taking Lactobacillus psychobiotics eased anxiety and depression after two months.[22]
  • Another study of people aged 60 to 75 found that taking Lactobacillus psychobiotics reduced somnolence (dozing off) and psychological measures of anger and hostility.[23]
  • In addition, a study of 44 psychologically healthy young adults found that taking Lactobacillus psychobiotics reduced brooding, dark thoughts.[24]
  • A study of students found that taking probiotics reduced anxiety about exams and lowered the number of cases of colds and flu around exam time.[25]
  • People who are inclined to social anxiety have fewer symptoms when they consume more probiotic foods rich in psychobiotics.
  • And a study of healthy young adults found that drinking dairy products cultured with psychobiotics led to lower scores on tests measuring self-blame and higher scores on tests involving problem-solving.[26]

What Is Special About Lactobacillus plantarum?

Clinical testing of psychobiotics for improving mood and cognition has used a variety of strains of both Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. A variety of strains of psychobiotics, the greatest variety possible, is a desirable feature in any probiotic supplement.

 

 

However, there is a good reason to favor products that include a particular species of Lactobacillus known as Lactobacillus plantarum.   What’s so special about Lactobacillus plantarum?

It’s something very basic. This strain is the most likely to survive passage through the digestive acids of the stomach on its way to the colon. It’s the most easily absorbed of all the psychobiotics. And this hardy psychobiotic has some potential applications that other strains do not:

  • A combination of Lactobacillus plantarum and Bifidobacterium animalis reduces brain inflammation in people who have multiple sclerosis (MS).[27]
  • Lactobacillus plantarum has promising preliminary results as part of supportive diet for autism.[28]
  • Lactobacillus plantarum has been helpful in managing anorexia.[29]

It’s not that Lactobacillus plantarum is the only species of the psychobiotics that you should take. The thing to remember about Lactobacillus plantarum is that any probiotic you take should include it. This especially friendly probiotic is the most likely to make the journey to your colon where it is needed, and offers some unique protective features.

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