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Milk Thistle: Everything You Need to Know as a Diabetic

Raise your hand if you never even HEARD of milk thistle before 🙋🏻‍♀

I have been reading up on and trying out on myself as a guinea pig a bottle of milk thistle tincture this past month, and I've had some interesting blood sugar results to share with you. But first, I want to tell you a little about why I vote you get some milk thistle in your life.

Health Benefit #1: Milk Thistle Can Lower Blood Sugar Levels for People With Diabetes

From, "Milk thistle extracts have a number of effects that could help prevent the development or progression of diabetes. Benefits of milk thistle include:

  • Boosts antioxidants and antioxidant activity in the pancreas. (182)

  • Stimulates growth of insulin-producing cells in damaged pancreatic tissue. (183)

  • Inhibits key enzymes that break down carbohydrates, which can reduce glucose absorption as well as blood sugar levels after eating. (184)

  • Lowers high blood sugar levels (type 1 and type 2 diabetes models). (185)

  • Protects against damage to the pancreas, nerves, and kidneys by free radicals induced by diabetes. (67, 69, 182)

  • Counters insulin resistance (including in people with liver disease). (66)

  • Reduces risks of diabetic complications, such as diabetic nephropathy and diabetic retinopathy. (67)"

Health Benefit #2: Potential help against Alzheimer's

From, "Milk thistle has been used as a traditional remedy for neurological conditions like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease for over two thousand years (13).

Its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties mean that it is possibly neuroprotective and could help prevent the decline in brain function you experience as you age (14, 15).

In test-tube and animal studies, silymarin has been shown to prevent oxidative damage to brain cells, which could help prevent mental decline (16, 17)."

Health Benefit #3: Protects Against Osteoporosis

From PubMed, "Silymarin appears to play a crucial role to prevent bone loss and might regulate osteogenesis and may be beneficial for fracture healing. If silymarin is considered for the use of post menopausal women, it may be used for the treatment of osteoporosis."

Health Benefit #4: Aids in Heart Health

Dr. Axe tells us, "Milk thistle benefits heart health and helps lower high cholesterol levels by reducing inflammation, cleaning the blood and preventing oxidative stress damage within the arteries.

Although more formal research is still needed, preliminary studies show that when silymarin is used in combination with other traditional treatment methods, it can improve levels of total cholesterol, bad LDL cholesterol and triglycerides.

Something important to keep in mind, however, is that existing studies on possible heart benefits of milk thistle have only been done involving people with diabetes, who tend to have high cholesterol levels."

My Results After Using Milk Thistle for One Month:

I began using milk thistle after Christmas after seeing something about it on an Instagram post of a crunchy granola lady I follow. I used to use it in the UK, but hadn't since we had moved back to the US three years ago.

My blood sugars this month don't seem to spike as high after my workouts (exercise makes me spike, but I've talked it over with my endocrinologist and he says the benefits of exercise outweigh the temporary rise in blood sugars). One the days I put milk thistle in my coffee before I go workout I don't need to take as much insulin to help my blood sugar come back down.

When I took it while living in the UK I was not exercising at all so this was a new experience for me. Anything I can do to not need to take as much insulin I'll give it a go. This is something I will continue to do! It's easy and tasteless. And it works!

How to Use Milk Thistle in your Day-to-Day:

It seems as though it is most bioavailable to us when it is consumed in the form of a tincture. I bought this one that I use each morning in my coffee.

I shake my bottle well and put a full dropper in, stir, and drink. If it tastes like anything the coffee hides it. I have tried it in herbal teas as well over the past month, and cannot taste it in those either.

Do you use milk thistle? I'd love to hear from you if you do!

Just a reminder that I go Live in my free Facebook group, Coach Mary Beth's No Blood Sugar BS on Thursdays at 2:30pm central time. Come join us for a free coaching session that will help to get your blood sugars under control and your mind in the right place!

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