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ask: I drink wine every night. I am wondering what supplements I can take daily that would help detox my liver?

By kylagaer
 
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I drink wine every night. I am wondering what supplements I can take daily that would help detox my liver?

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Wisdom By Nature Expert

I agree with Alison that being in your 20's and drinking wine at night does not warrant taking milk thistle unless you have other health issues.

Our bodies are design to detox on its own up to a certain point. We are exposed to more toxins in a day than our grandparents were in their lifetime.

At this point you should've be aware of what you are eating. Being preventive food wise is the best medicine you can do.

I would like to clarify a statement made by Alison.

There is a lot of red tape when it comes to what you can say legally about anything alternative. If you say treat, cure, or use, you are then considered practicing without a license. We have to use words like, may be beneficial, you may try, it has been historicallly shown or studies have shown, and then reference to that study. Any person that does not follow protocol can be fined by the licensing board.

There are many legitimate studies proving the positive effects of herbs. The reason they are not use more is because you can not patent Mother Nature.
So it is up to us to read through the red tape, do our research and be proactive in our health.

You need the balance of both traditional and non traditional medicine.

April 16, 2011 - 1:43pm
Alison Beaver

According to the NCCAM (National Centers for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, "Laboratory studies suggest that milk thistle may benefit the liver by protecting and promoting the growth of liver cells, fighting oxidation (a chemical process that can damage cells), and inhibiting inflammation."

Please note the "may benefit" verbage is important, as this wording tells us milk thistle has been not proven effective. Clinical studies have shown mixed results of milk thistle.

What you want to do is weigh all of the pros/cons before taking a supplement, by reading all of the available information and research. The other information regarding milk thistle is equally important, as if you have any medical conditions (even those you don't know about or have not been diagnosed) or have certain types of allergies, you should not use milk thistle unless under the supervision of a medical doctor.

Side effects of milk thistle:
- allergic reactions
- lowers blood sugar levels (do not take if you are diabetic!)
- may cause GI effects (upset stomach, for instance)

Generally, milk thistle is "well tolerated" by most individuals, so that is some good news!

The other part of the puzzle is: supplements are not regulated by the FDA, and it is difficult to know what dose/strength of the supplement you are actually getting when you purchase the bottle.

Supplements are expensive, have side effects (they are a drug!), and should not be taken "just because". If a drug or supplement is strong enough to help you...it is also strong enough to cause harm. Please use caution before using any supplement, note its side effects, and talk with your doctor of pharmacist before taking any drug.

If you are worried about the health of your liver, women should not drink more than 1 drink daily, and not more than 2 drinks less-than-daily (say, a few drinks on the weekend). There is no supplement that will protect or improve your liver if you choose to drink alcohol in high quantities (unfortunately, two drinks every evening is a high quantity for women, especially if you are also drinking additional drinks on the weekend...this is difficult on your liver and milk thistle can not reverse liver damage or disease).

In other words, milk thistle is NOT a "detox" supplement, and will not protect your liver from future disease.

I just wanted to provide you with all of the information, so you can make the best choice for your body! You can read more about milk thistle at the link provided above, and please let us know if you have any additional questions.

April 10, 2011 - 6:57pm
kylagaer (reply to Alison Beaver)

wow! thanks for this thorough information and advice.

Very informative and I will take this seriously :)

April 13, 2011 - 3:27pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

Hi hylagaer,

I agree with Alison. There is not much you can do to force detoxification rather than time and possibly stopping any additional damage would be essential in the process also. Did you have a liver function test that is causing you concern?

Missie

April 10, 2011 - 9:25am
kylagaer (reply to Anonymous)

no liver condition - i'm still in my 20's, i'm thinking more preventative! i heard milk thistle was a good herb for the liver, to take in the mornings before breakfast. do you agree?

April 10, 2011 - 3:01pm
Alison Beaver

If you are drinking 1-2 glasses of wine every night (not more than 1 glass is ideal), you do not have any pre-existing health conditions, your liver does a great job of ridding the body of toxins on its own.

If you are drinking more than a glass (or two) of wine each night, the best way to help your liver do its normal function (of "detoxing" the body) is to reduce the amount of toxins (ie, alcohol) you are consuming. There are no supplements you can take (beyond the marketing hype) to cleanse your liver every night in order to drink excessive amounts of alcohol. (Unfortunately, "excessive" amounts of alcohol for women is more than 2 glasses of alcohol on a daily basis).

Does that help?

April 10, 2011 - 7:41am
kylagaer (reply to Alison Beaver)

generally its about 1-2 glasses a night. I heard milk thistle was a great herb to take, in the mornings before meals? Would you agree?

April 10, 2011 - 2:59pm
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