Milk Thistle Extract

Milk thistle is the name of an annual plant with red or purple flowers and shiny green leaves. It is now found all over the world, but originally it was native to eastern Europe and Asia. Only the seeds of the plant are used in herbal liver supplements. In fact, it has been shown that the silymarin from these seeds can be life saving in cases of poisoning from death cap mushroom.

However, silymarin is not used only for medical purposes, as bodybuilders who use anabolic steroids take milk thistle extract on cycle (typically oral cycles).

silybum marianum plant

Fig 1. Silybum Marianum plant

Table of Contents

What is Silymarin?

Each seed contains about 5% of silymarin (which is the active ingredient used), and the extract from the seed will contain about 75% of silymarin, being the rest fatty acids, such as linoleic acid. The molecules within the extract are a mixture of polyphenolic molecules that make up silymarin. They are known as silybin A, B, isosilybin A and B, etc.

Clinical Studies

According to clinical trials, 600 milligrams (mg) of milk thistle daily will do a great job to help type II diabetics with heart ailments and cholesterol. Studies have shown that silymarin has hepatoprotective properties. That means it can protect liver cells against toxins.

It is proven that milk thistle and dandelion extracts can be used as a supplement aid for organs after alcohol consumption. They help the organism get rid of toxins and can, therefore, alleviate hangovers.

Herbal remedies in traditional medicine

Milk thistle is very popular in traditional Chinese medicine to clear heat and toxins, soothe the liver, and increase bile flow. Herbalists prescribe milk thistle extract for such liver diseases as jaundice and hepatitis.


Bodybuilders use different kinds of anabolic steroids with two basic administration routes – oral and injectables. Usually, oral steroids are protected against the first liver pass with 17alpha alkylation. However, this chemical structure puts the liver under considerable stress.

Common examples of oral steroids are:

Milk thistle extract is beneficial for steroid users because it stimulates new liver cell growth and repairs damaged liver cells. Furthermore, milk thistle can also prevent more damage from being done. Therefore, it's a great idea to run milk thistle both during steroid cycles, and post cycle therapy (PCT), in order to repair liver cells.

Another benefit is on the heart - milk thistle extract actually helps lower bad cholesterol, which will help raise good cholesterol too. This is an important point because certain anabolic androgenic steroids (AAS) can exert a negative influence on lipid levels.

Furthermore, milk thistle acts as an anti-oxidant and as an anti-inflammatory too, which will save your joints when using dry compounds such as winstrol or masteron.

Side Effects

Studies have shown that no issues have been reported even after a year of continuous use of milk thistle. Those with allergies to ragweed may get allergic reactions, but this is unusual.

Where to Find It

As you can imagine, this amazing supplement is extremely popular. Hence, you can buy it from just about every vitamin store or health food store. However, the major problem is that a lot of times manufacturers save money by adding fillers to the ingredients, including cancer causing dyes. This means that instead of getting 250mgs of actual milk thistle extract, you are getting less than half that, and a bunch of other stuff you don't want.

Nonetheless, there is one supplement on the market that not only contains milk thistle, but also has dozens of other ingredients that promote organ health. It is designed by bodybuilders, for bodybuilders, and it is called N2Guard version 1.0 from


Dosages will vary, but the general consensus is 350-700mgs per day for liver and cholesterol health.

Other names

Milk thistle extract, silybum marianum, cardus marianus, blessed milk thistle, marian thistle, St. Mary's thistle, Mediterranean milk thistle, scotch thistle, variegated thistle.


Want to read about Milk Thistle Extract on our forums? check out these threads:


Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.