Milk Thistle & Fasting

Fasting has been practiced for thousands of years as a way to improve health and well-being. In recent years, research has shown that fasting can have a wide range of positive impacts on the body, including improving metabolism, reducing inflammation, and even promoting weight loss. One supplement that may enhance the positive effects of fasting is milk thistle.

Milk thistle, also known as Silybum marianum, is a plant that has been used for medicinal purposes for centuries. One of the main active compounds in milk thistle is silymarin, which has been shown to have a wide range of health benefits, including liver-protective effects and antioxidant properties.

One of the ways that milk thistle may be able to enhance the positive effects of fasting is by helping to protect the liver. The liver is a vital organ that plays a key role in many metabolic processes, including breaking down fats and sugars. When we fast, our body starts to break down stored fat as an energy source, this process produces byproducts known as ketones, which can be toxic to the liver in high concentrations. Milk thistle has been shown to have liver-protective effects and may help to prevent liver damage caused by these byproducts.

Another way that milk thistle may be able to enhance the positive effects of fasting is by acting as an antioxidant. Fasting can cause an increase in oxidative stress, which is a process that can damage cells and contribute to the development of chronic diseases. Antioxidants such as silymarin, found in milk thistle, can help to neutralize these harmful free radicals, reducing the damage caused by oxidative stress and promoting overall health.

Fasting also has an impact on the gut, it can improve the gut microbiome, which plays a key role in overall health. Studies have shown that milk thistle can help to improve gut health by reducing inflammation and promoting the growth of beneficial bacteria.

It’s important to note that milk thistle should not be used as a sole treatment for fasting, and it’s always recommended to consult with a doctor or a nutritionist before making any changes to your diet.

In conclusion, milk thistle has been shown in recent research to have potential positive impacts on fasting. While more research is needed to fully understand the mechanisms behind these effects, milk thistle may be a promising addition to fasting plans for its liver-protective and antioxidant properties and its positive impact on the gut.


  • Saller R, Meier R, Brignoli R. The use of silymarin in the treatment of liver diseases. Drugs. 2001;61(14):2035-63
  • Sánchez-Muñoz F, García-Sánchez V, Fernández-Arroyo S, et al. Silybin as a therapeutic agent against liver diseases. Int J Mol Sci. 2019;20(12):2967.
  • Zou Y, Sun Y, Liu J, et al. Milk thistle and its active component silymarin protect against liver injury. Med Sci Monit. 2019;25:811-8.
  • Panahi Y, Kianpour P, Mohtashami R, et al. The effects of Silybum marianum (L.) Gaertn. (silymarin) on the gut microbiota: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Phytother Res. 2020;34(7):1566-72.

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