Is There a Connection between Milk Thistle and Weight Loss?

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  • Written By: Anna B. Smith
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 07 February 2020
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Studies are ongoing about the relationship between milk thistle and weight loss, but some have shown that this herb can regulate the size of body fat cells. This plant is traditionally used to boost the functioning of the liver. It is often prescribed by doctors as a necessary supplement for individuals suffering from different types of liver disease. Individuals with these diseases are frequently diagnosed with a high rate for obesity, diabetes, and fatty blood cells.

The primary chemical contained in milk thistle is silymarin. This chemical, which is found in over 80% of the ripened seeds of this plant, contains a significant amount of antioxidants and is also an anti-inflammatory agent. Silymarin in the body can affect the absorption properties of body cells. It is known to protect the liver from the absorption of harmful toxins which may not be filtered out through the blood by those with cirrhosis of the liver.

The natural anti-inflammatory property of silymarin is the primary link between milk thistle and weight loss. Some fat and liver cells in those diagnosed with obesity remain large and inflamed, often despite the amount of diet and exercise undertaken. Adding milk thistle to this diet may help reduce those cells and encourage weight loss in these individuals. It may also aid in the reduction of fatty liver disease, which is commonly associated with diabetes and other forms of insulin resistance.


When researching the connection between milk thistle and weight loss, researchers noted that the chemical ingredients appeared to react with baby fat cells inside the body, and prevented them from further developing into adult fat cells. Baby fat cells have a greater ability to burn calories than adult fat cells, which tend to hold onto those calories and cause weight gain. Adult fat cells cannot be converted back into baby fat cells. They must be halted in their growth structure early in their development.

Those interested in studying the relationship between milk thistle and weight loss can purchase this product online or at local health food stores. It is available in capsule form, or as a powder that can be dissolved in liquid. Some liquid milk thistle formulas are also for sale in an already mixed, ready to drink packaging. A health care professional should typically be consulted prior to adding this supplement to a regular diet to receive dosage recommendations, and to ensure it will not react negatively with any other ongoing medications.


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Post 5

I started taking 900mg a day (300 mg, one with each meal). I have lost six pounds in about two weeks.

Post 4

I have been taking 1000 mg a day and losing weight.

Post 3

@fBoyle-- I think milk thistle can help with weight loss because it helps regulate sugar. My blood sugar doesn't go up as high when I take it and I know that changes in blood sugar triggers the storage of fat in the body.

Post 2

@turkay1-- It doesn't matter what type you take, 500mg a day is usually a good dose. But I don't think it's going to help you lose weight.

I've been taking milk thistle for six months for liver support and it has not affected my weight at all, and I am also trying to lose weight.

I think like most supplements, the benefits of milk thistle is also exaggerated. It does have some benefit for the liver, but not for weight as far as I'm concerned.

Post 1

This sounds like a great supplement. I am obese and I have type 2 diabetes. There is also fatty liver disease in my family history. I'm having difficulty losing weight so milk thistle sounds like the all-in-one supplement for me.

How much do I need to take to see its weight loss effects? Does it matter if I take capsules or powder?

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