Démystifions le chardon-Marie

Milk thistle is a plant native to Europe. It was introduced to North America by the first settlers. Like chamomile and echinacea, it belongs to the asteraceae family. Milk thistle is also known as silymarin, the active and powerful antioxidant found in its seeds and sap. In terms of its medicinal properties, milk thistle could in particular protect the liver (seeGamma Force Liver Formula andATP Lab Hepatik Defense) against certain diseases and the harmful effects of alcohol. It is also said to improve blood sugar control in people with diabetes. Let's take a look at what the research suggests about the health effects of this dietary supplement.

Milk thistle and the liver

A systematic review with meta-analysis published in 2017 evaluated the effect of silymarin on different biochemical indicators in individuals with liver disease. Various liver problems (eg, cirrhosis) can increase the blood levels of alanine aminotransferase (ALT), aspartate aminotransferase (AST) and gamma glutamyl transpeptidase (γGT), the three biochemical indicators used in this study. The results of the meta-analysis indicate a significant, but clinically irrelevant, reduction in ALT and AST levels after the use of silymarin. In contrast, the results do not observe any significant change in γGT levels. Subgroup analyzes do not show a significant difference depending on the type of intervention, the time of intervention (6 months or <6 months) and whether silymarin is isolated or combined with other nutrients. In addition, the studies evaluated exhibit a high degree of heterogeneity and low methodological quality. In conclusion, the results of the present meta-analysis suggest that silymarin minimally, but not clinically relevant, reduces the levels of ALT and AST in individuals with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, a liver disease that can cause advanced cirrhosis. However, studies with greater methodological quality are needed to confirm the observations..

Milk thistle and type 2 diabetes

A systematic review and meta-analysis published in 2018 assessed the effects of silymarin supplementation in individuals with type 2 diabetes. Seven studies including a total of 370 participants were included in the meta-analysis. The results of the meta-analysis show that silymarin supplementation can decrease fasting blood sugar, hemoglobin A1C, insulin and LDL cholesterol (the bad cholesterol) and increase HDL cholesterol (the good cholesterol). However, the results do not observe a significant effect of silymarin on total cholesterol or triglycerides. In conclusion, the data from this study suggests that silymarin supplements have beneficial effects in patients with type 2 diabetes. However, current evidence is insufficient and more studies are needed to confirm the effectiveness of silymarin. .ine.

Possible side effects of milk thistle

No serious side effects have been reported. Digestive side effects have sometimes been reported. Finally, consuming the above-ground (non-soil) parts of milk thistle is not recommended for women with hormone-related illnesses, such as breast cancer and endometriosis.

Possible interactions of milk thistle with drugs

Milk thistle may interact with drugs used to lower blood sugar levels and drugs used to treat HIV.


  1. https://www.merckmanuals.com/fr-ca/professional/sujets-sp%C3%A9ciaux/compl%C3%A9ments-alimentaires/chardon-marie
  2. https://www.merckmanuals.com/fr-ca/accueil/sujets-particuliers/compl%C3%A9ments-alimentaires/chardon- mariequery = Chardon% 20Mariee
  3. https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/milk-thistle
  4. https://www.groupeproxim.ca/fr/article/laboratoires/aspartate-aminotransferase-ast
  5. https://www.groupeproxim.ca/fr/article/laboratoires/alanine-aminotransferase-alt
  6. https://labtestsonline.org/tests/gamma-glutamyl-transferase-ggt
  7. https://www.merckmanuals.com/fr-ca/professional/troubles-h%C3%A9patiques-et-biliaires/prise-en-charge-du-patient-pr%C3%A9sentant-une- h% C3% A9patopathy / st% C3% A9atose-h% C3% A9patique-non-alcoholic
  8. Hadi, A., Pourmasoumi, M., Mohammadi, H., Symonds, M., & Miraghajani, M. (2018). The effects of silymarin supplementation on metabolic status and oxidative stress in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus: A systematic review and meta- analysis of clinical trials.Complementary therapies in medicine,41, 311319. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ctim.2018.08.0100
  9. de Avelar, C. R., Pereira, E. M., de Farias Costa, P. R., de Jesus, R. P., & de Oliveira, L. (2017). Effect of silymarin on biochemical indicators in patients with liver disease: Systematic review with meta-analysis.World journal ofgastroenterology,23(27), 50045017. https://doi.org/10.3748/wjg.v23.i27.5004

Article written by:

Marie-Noël Marsan, Nutritionist


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