Milk thistle (Silymarin Marianum) is commonly thought of as a prickly weed. However，this is an herbaceous plant with amazing ability for liver detoxification. It is worth mentioning that it has more than 2000-year history of medicinal use. When it comes to weight control, it shows potential as weight-loss treatment in some ongoing studies. And a chemical called silymarin is considered the key, active ingredient in helping lose belly fat.
As mentioned above, this herb is often suggested as a treatment for liver problems. And there’s evidence that it has done so. Silymarin is a unique flavonoid complex derived from the ripened seeds of milk thistle plant. It is rich in antioxidants and an anti-inflammatory agent.
Liver can help reduce fat. It may sound odd to say, but in some ways it is true because the liver plays a key role in fat metabolism and blood purification. That’s to say, enhancing liver function is first priority here. Unfortunately, most people, though, do not realize that this organ can help their weight-loss efforts.
Obesity-associated liver diseases include cirrhosis (cryptogenic cirrhosis), hepatocellular carcinoma, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, and so on. Since silymarin is able to increase the function of liver, it helps metabolize the fat quicker and eventually lead to weight loss. Looked at this way it’s no surprise that many people incorporate milk thistle supplement to their daily routine to get in shape.
If the liver has been damaged for a long time, it won’t function properly. For example, the patients with cirrhosis often fail to filter out all harmful toxins through the blood. Luckily, that is where silymarin comes in because it is good at minimizing the liver’s exposure to toxins. In other words, this chemical has an effect on how body cells absorb toxins.
At the same time, silymarin can reduce inflammation. This property is key to its ability to lose weight. A lot of people complain they can’t lose weight even though they are exercising so much or eating a healthy diet. In this case, large and inflamed fat and liver cells should be blamed for the obesity. The good news is that taking milk thistle is helpful for some with obesity because it can reduce the above-mentioned cells.
According to researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center, immature, or “baby,” fat cells can grow into the adult fat cells and then cause weight gain. Normally the immature ones lurk in the walls of the blood vessels. Once they get excess calories, they will develop quickly and mature. Unfortunately, the adult ones have a weaker ability on burning calories. Reportedly this herb contains chemical ingredients that can inhibit the development of immature fat cells. As a result, it helps people stop gaining weight for this reason.
As a complementary and alternative medicine, milk thistle has been used for a variety of health concerns. In comparison, the use for weight loss purpose has grown only recently. Today, it is mainly available at local health food stores in capsule form. It should be noted that studies have found that this herb has some limited effectiveness on burning fat. Besides, it is a good idea to consult a doctor before taking it as it may not be safe for all.