Feed Your Liver with Milk Thistle

May 24, 2011
Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS

Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS

Award-winning nutritionist and New York Times bestselling author.

Part three in our series on Fat Flushing supplements.

Did you know that weight gain, cellulite, and abdominal bloating are just a few of the signs that the liver is overburdened? It’s true. When your liver is sluggish, every organ in your body is affected, and your weight loss efforts are blocked. Some common reasons why the liver gets overloaded include environmental toxins, processed foods, overeating, and damaging factors such as alcohol, contraceptive pills, candida, and caffeine.

But, there’s good news! One of the worlds most thoroughly studied herbs, milk thistle is a powerful antioxidant that has been shown to support detoxification of the liver, speed up liver function, and help regenerate new, healthy liver cells. It also changes the makeup of bile, helping to reduce the risk of gallstones.

A member of the sunflower family, milk thistle gets its strength from a complex called silymarin, which scavenges free radicals and inhibits free-radical production. Silymarin defends the liver against toxins by changing the structure of liver cells so that toxins can’t get in, thereby protecting and curing the liver at the same time. So, support your liver and improve your chances to lose weight with a daily dose of milk thistle.

Just the Facts:
• Milk thistle has been used medicinally for more than 200 years and has been the subject of clinical trials for over 40 years.
• It is not uncommon to find milk thistle growing wild in a variety of settings, including by the side of the road. (But you should “harvest” your milk thistle in the form of a quality supplement.)

Boost the Benefits
• Although milk thistle is available as a tea, you’re better off taking it in capsule or tablet form. Milk thistle is not particularly water soluble, so steeping it in a tea diminishes its liver-protective benefits.
• While milk thistle may be purchased as a “stand alone” supplement, it is better absorbed when combined with choline. Sometimes taking milk thistle alone—especially a standardized milk thistle extract at high dosages (120 mg and above)—can prompt a powerful detox response creating styes and skin rashes. This is one of those herbs where a little goes a long way!

Recommended Usage: I recommend Weight Loss Formula. Taking one capsule three times daily provides 51 milligrams of milk thistle—and 336 milligrams of choline.

Part One: Fat Flushing CLA
Part Two: GLA: The Good Omega 6 that Flushes Fat
Part Four: Choline Clears the Fat Log Jam

Related Articles and Podcasts

Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS, is an award-winning New York Times bestselling author of more than thirty books including The Fat Flush Plan series and her latest book, Radical Metabolism. She’s been rewriting the rules of nutrition for more than 40 years and is internationally recognized as a pioneer in the field of diet, detox and women’s health issues. 

For a FREE daily dose of tips and strategies for maintaining healthy weight, conquering insomnia, and much more…check out my Radical Health Tips.

I’d like to meet and greet you on my Facebook groups, so won’t you check us out at the Radical Metabolism RevolutionFat Flush Nation, or my Inner Circle!


  1. Barbara Cooper

    Can you take GLA, CLA and Milk Thistle all at the same time?

  2. Administrator

    There do not appear to be contraindications to taking CLA, GLA, and moderate amounts of milk thistle together.

    • Bianca

      how many mg should be taken in a day?

      • Team ALG

        150-mg of milk thistle is what is recommended.

  3. Joy

    how about if you are breastfeeding? (Not an infant, a toddler)

  4. liz

    It’s better to take detox herbs when you are not breastfeeding.

  5. Cecily

    Would this help with abnormal abdominal bloating? My stomach bloats to the point I wear maternity pants!

  6. Sierra

    Cecily, for abnormal bloating, I would try the homeopathic yeast remedy called Y-C Cleanse (available through UNI KEY). Yeast is probably the most common cause of abdominal bloat. You certainly can use the Weight Loss Formula in conjunction with that in order to expedite results, but this is where I would start!

    • frances bourke

      Iam 65 and have has terriable bloating for a few years. One week ago I started taking milk thistle and today my bloating is just about back to normal, I really could not believe it has worked so fast.
      I also had to wear very large pants with a loose waist band, because of the pain.

  7. Victor Salinas

    I was diagnose with hepatitis c how can I get rid of it

    • Bruce J Alldis

      Get Intravenous Vitamin C

  8. John-Morgan

    Victor I myself have been diagnosed with the same, I have done a bunch of research and have come to the conclusion that Milk Thistle is the best solution…I will be starting a regimen this week and will have blood drawn in a month to find out the results. Will try to post the info

  9. Maggie

    Is milk thistle effective when your gallbladder has been removed?

    • Liz

      Yes it is effective. Milk thistle helps to detox the liver.

  10. Steve

    Yes I too took milk whistle because when I eat I get bloated bigtime…that, acv and mastic GUM are the only things that stop it in its tracks…why is that?anyone have answer? Bile? Thick bile from cholesterol???if so how can I stop it? I pretty cleaned out my liver after 3months,of milk thistle..it still happens if I don’t take one of the 3 mentioned

    • Ann Louise Gittleman

      Team ALG here: Usually thick bile is formed in a liver full of toxins. Unfortunately the environment is full of toxins so you may need some help with additional nutrients to keep it thin and flowing. Bile Builder supplies those nutrients and helps you produce quality bile and digest fat. https://unikeyhealth.com/products/bile-builder

  11. Robin

    I wouldn’t pick anything from the side of the road due to pollutants, but you can buy milk thistle seeds and plant them in your garden. However, be aware that it tends to be invasive.

  12. Dale

    Hi There,
    I am a pre diabetic and was taking MT to help lower my BG. I have found that after taking 7omg twice a day for the last 3 weeks has now kicked me into a fast weight loss cycle.
    While i was struggling to get below 187 lbs for the longest time, several months, but with no appreciable results, I have now dropped to 183 over the past few weeks. It’s kind of scaring me a bit as I feel that I am losing weight too fast and that could be a sign of other things.
    Is the MT helping me to lose weight here?

  13. Team ALG

    Hi Dale, yes the milk thistle can help you lose weight at the rate you have described.



  1. Fat Flushing CLA | Ann Louise Gittleman - […] Part Two: GLA: The Good Omega 6 that Flushes Fat Part Three: Feed Your Liver with Milk Thistle […]

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