Friday, November 29, 2013

Silymarin may be the key...

I attended the seminar by Dr. Stephen Polyak on the study of silymarin. Silymarin is an extract from the seeds of the milk thistle plant and contains aspirin and caffeine. It's derived from ancient European medicine practices and was shown to prevent liver disease in experimental animal models. It acts primarily on the cells to elicits multiple cytoprotective effects. Cytoprotection is when chemical compounds provide protection to cells against harmful agents. (

Silymarin is widely consumed by people with chronic HCV or HIV. Some of the cytoprotective effects include blocking hepatitis C virus, inhibiting cellular pathways, blocking virus-induced oxidative stress, and by blocking t-cell proliferation and pro-inflammatory cytokines production. Silymarin and silybins also rapidly induce various cellular stress responses resembling energy and nutrients stress.Scientist use IPA to collect, test and interpret biological data. Ingenuity Pathway Analysis (IPA) is a web-based functional analysis tool for comprehensive omic data. The IPA steps include generating data, performing basic statistics, using query ingenuity knowledge base, analyze affected biology, and analyze visual data in context. ( Silymarin may ultimately prevent liver diseases and primary liver cancer.

1 comment:

  1. What is interesting is that according to WebMD, “It’s unclear what benefits, if any, this may have in the body.” They say this and then explain that, at this point there is not enough evidence to suggest whether or not milk thistle (silymarin) helps with liver problems but continue to suggest that it does benefit those with diabetes and those with potential heart diseases. As far as side effects are concerned, it can cause diarrhea, nausea, bloating, gas and an upset stomach. It seems to me that more research needs to be done before people make an uneducated assumption that it is working for them. Especially since Dr. Polyak mentioned that oral silymarin is ineffective. It upsets me that people are given the option to buy over-the-counter milk thistle if it does not improve their health in the way they think it does.