nos-trum. pronunciation: \nos'-trum\. noun. Etymology: Latin, neuter of noster our, ours.
1. a medicine of secret composition recommended by its preparer but usually without scientific proof of its effectiveness.
2. a usually questionable remedy or scheme.
See here for more discussion.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Another Bizarre Supplement Fad: Milk Thistle Caps For A Healthy Liver

Another supplement sold in health food stores shown to be effective only in emptying your wallet.

Scientific jargon warning:  Silymarin is one of the flavonolignans found in the Milk Thistle plant (Sylibum marianum).

Got that?

This chemical has been shown to have antiviral activity when used against viruses in a lab, and appears to have some beneficial effect when administered intravenously for Hepatitis C in people.

So, naturally (pun intended), this was something the supplement industry could really make a bundle at.  Since there are no laws to regulate supplements, anybody can produce them, and claim anything about them.

We now have Milk Thistle Extract capsules, at ~$10 for 100 [175mg of extract containing ~140mg silymarin].

This study was just published in the Journal of Clinical Pharmacology (Apr, 2010), showing no improvement in measures of liver function when taking up to 10 times the recommended oral dose.  Investigators were unable to show significant blood levels even at these excessive doses.

For Onion Peelers:
Four cohorts of 8 patients with well-compensated, chronic noncirrhotic hepatitis C who failed interferon-based therapy were randomized 3:1 to silymarin or placebo. Oral doses of 140, 280, 560, or 700 mg silymarin were administered every 8 hours for 7 days.  No meaningful reductions in abnormal liver enzymes, or in viral numbers, ("titers") were obtained.

We are Born Free and Live Free in this country.  You can spend your money any way you want.  Here's another wacky way to exercise your freedom.


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