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Silymarin cures Fatty Liver?

Posted on February 9, 2019 | No Comments on Silymarin cures Fatty Liver?

Question: My doctor told me I have a fatty liver. Can I take silymarin to cure this?

Answer:
Fatty liver is a very common condition. This condition is present when the liver cells are replaced by fat. In some persons with fatty liver, there is also significant liver injury that can lead to progressive liver disease. Most persons with fatty liver have no symptoms and often, the diagnosis of fatty liver is made either with laboratory testing or ultrasound examination during routine medical check-up.

There are many causes of fatty liver, among them are excessive alcohol intake, overweight or obesity, diabetes mellitus, high levels of cholesterol and/ or triglycerides, certain medications,and certain abdominal surgeries. Persons who consume excessive amounts of alcohol can develop alcoholic fatty liver. In these persons, abstinence from alcohol use leads to the improvement and even disappearance of fatty liver.

Those who do not consume excessive amounts of alcohol are considered to have nonalcoholic fatty liver. These persons often have one or more of the conditions that are part of the metabolic syndrome. These conditions include diabetes mellitus, being overweight or obese, and high levels of cholesterol and/ or triglycerides. For these persons, addressing these conditions can lead to improvement or disappearance of nonalcoholic fatty liver.

Persons who are either overweight or obese are advised to lose weight through lifestyle modification that involves a healthy diet and exercise. Weight loss should be gradual achieving a seven percent to 10 percent decrease in weight over a period of six months. This is the same advice given to those who have diabetes mellitus and/or high levels of cholesterol and/or triglycerides. In addition, these persons may need medications to control their blood sugar or cholesterol and/or triglyceride levels.

One of the common questions regarding fatty liver is whether there is a medication that can be taken for fatty liver. Many medications have been studied as treatment for fatty liver however none of these have been proven effective. Examples of medications evaluated include vitamins E and C, ursodeoxycholic acid, diabetes medications such as metformin, rosiglitazone, or pioglitazone, and betaine. Silymarin has been used for the treatment of liver diseases. Silymarin is the active ingredient of the extract from the milk thistle plant (Silybum marianum). The beneficial effects of silymarin on the liver have been attributed to its antioxidant properties, its ability to increase production of new liver cells, and its ability to prevent scar tissue formation in the liver. Clinical trials on the use of silymarin in alcoholic fatty liver have not shown a significant advantage over placebo. Data in nonalcoholic fatty liver disease is very preliminary.

At this time, more studies are needed to evaluate the efficacy of silymarin in fatty liver before it can be recommended to all patients with fatty liver. Emphasis should be given instead to addressing the risk factors associated with fatty liver, which are alcohol use, and conditions associated with the metabolic syndrome. Because of the lack of a proven effective treatment, prevention is thus the key by avoiding excessive alcohol intake and maintaining a healthy weight and normal cholesterol and blood sugar levels.

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