Milk Thistle and Diabetes

Harry Hirsute

New member
Apr 12, 2006
Propecia, CA
Small Study Shows that Adding Silymarin to Conventional Therapy for Type 2 Diabetes May Improve Glycemic Parameters

Huseini HF, Larijani B, Heshmat R, et al. The efficacy of Silybum marianum (L.) Gaertn.

(Silymarin) in the treatment of type II diabetes: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial. Phytother Res. 2006;20:1036-1039.

Milk thistle (Silybum marianum) seed extract contains flavonolignans called silymarin. Silymarin has powerful antioxidant properties. Oxidative stress has been implicated in the pathogenesis of diabetes. The purpose of study was to evaluate the effect of silymarin on the glycemic profile in patients with diabetes.

Patients (n=51) of the Shariati Hospital, Tehran, Iran, with type 2 diabetes participated in this randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Patients received either placebo or a 200 mg silymarin tablet (Institute of Medicinal Plants, Tehran, Iran) 3 times per day before meals for 4 months. In both groups, patients continued on conventional oral hypoglycemic agents. Blood samples were analyzed.

At baseline, there were no significant differences between groups, with the exception of triglyceride levels. The average fasting glucose and HbA1C (average glycosylated hemoglobin) levels significantly decreased after 4 months in silymarin-treated patients (156 to 133 mg/dL and 7.8 to 6.8%, respectively; P<0.001) and significantly increased over time in placebo treated patients (167 to 188 mg/dL and 8.3 to 9.5%, respectively; P<0.0001).

Silymarin treatment also significantly lowered blood levels of total cholesterol, lower density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, triglyceride, liver enzymes (SGOT and SGPT).

The mechanism of action for the aforementioned benefits is not known. It is hypothesized that silymarin induces a positive effect on diabetic metabolic abnormalities through its antioxidant activity.

The authors conclude that adding silymarin to conventional therapy reduces in the glycemic state in patients with type II diabetes. A large, multicenter study is needed to verify the findings.

Heather S. Oliff, PhD