Are you wondering if it’s safe to take milk thistle and probiotics together?
These two supplements have gained popularity in recent years for their potential health benefits, but can they be taken simultaneously?
In this article, we’ll explore the benefits and potential interactions of milk thistle and probiotics, as well as any precautions you should take before adding them to your daily routine.
So, let’s dive in and find out if these two supplements can work together to support your overall health and well-being.
Can I Take Milk Thistle And Probiotics?
Yes, you can take milk thistle and probiotics together. Milk thistle is a natural herb that has been used for centuries to support liver health, while probiotics are live bacteria that can help improve gut health and boost the immune system.
Milk thistle is generally well-tolerated by the body, and it can be taken at any time of day with or without food. It is best known for its concentration of silymarin, a complex that has been studied for its ability to protect liver cells from chemical damage and restore liver function impaired by disease or exposure to toxins.
Probiotics, on the other hand, are found in various foods and supplements and have been shown to have numerous health benefits. They can help improve digestion, boost the immune system, and even reduce inflammation in the body.
While there are no known interactions between milk thistle and probiotics, a small clinical study has reported some drug interactions among people who take both supplements. These interactions include stomatitis among females and diarrhea among males. Therefore, it is important to consult with your healthcare provider before taking any new supplements, especially if you are already taking medications or have any underlying health conditions.
What Is Milk Thistle And How Does It Work?
Milk thistle, also known as Silybum marianum, is a flowering herb that is native to Europe and has been introduced to various parts of the world, including North America, South America, Asia, Africa, and Australia. The plant grows up to 2 meters high and has large, bright purple flowers. Milk thistle gets its name from the milky sap that comes out of the leaves when they are broken.
Milk thistle has been used historically for liver disorders and gallbladder problems. It is promoted as a dietary supplement for hepatitis, cirrhosis, jaundice, diabetes, indigestion, and other conditions. Milk thistle is commonly used to detoxify the body and promote liver and gallbladder health.
The active ingredient in milk thistle is silymarin, which is a complex of flavonoids that have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Silymarin is said to protect liver cells from chemical damage and restore liver function impaired by disease or exposure to toxins. Milk thistle may also help strengthen a person’s immune response by reducing chronic inflammation produced by the immune system.
Most studies show that milk thistle improves liver function and increases survival in people with cirrhosis or chronic hepatitis. However, problems in the design of the studies, such as small numbers of participants and differences in dosing and duration of milk thistle therapy, make it hard to draw any firm conclusions.
One reported effect of milk thistle is that it can boost breast milk production in lactating mothers. It’s thought to work by making more of the milk-producing hormone prolactin. However, more research is needed to confirm these results and the safety of milk thistle for breastfeeding mothers.
The Benefits Of Milk Thistle For Liver Health
Milk thistle has been widely studied for its potential benefits in promoting liver health. The active ingredient in milk thistle, silymarin, has been shown to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that can help protect liver cells from damage caused by toxins and disease.
Studies have found that milk thistle may be beneficial in treating liver conditions such as cirrhosis and chronic hepatitis, which can be caused by alcohol abuse, autoimmune disease, or viruses. Milk thistle may also help people whose liver is damaged by industrial toxins, such as toluene and xylene.
While the evidence is not conclusive, most studies show that milk thistle can improve liver function and increase survival rates in people with cirrhosis or chronic hepatitis. However, the design of these studies has been criticized for small sample sizes and differences in dosing and duration of milk thistle therapy.
Additionally, milk thistle has been shown to reduce damage to the liver caused by free radicals, which are produced when the liver metabolizes toxic substances. One study even found that it may slightly extend the life expectancy of people with cirrhosis of the liver due to alcoholic liver disease.
It is important to note that while milk thistle is commonly used as a complementary therapy for liver diseases, there is no evidence that it can prevent these conditions, especially if you have an unhealthy lifestyle. Therefore, it is important to consult with a healthcare professional before using milk thistle or any other herbal products or supplements, especially if you have a medical condition or are taking other medications.
What Are Probiotics And How Do They Work?
Probiotics are live microorganisms that are beneficial to your health, especially your digestive system. They are made up of good bacteria that help keep your body healthy and working efficiently. This good bacteria helps you in many ways, including fighting off bad bacteria when you have too much of it, helping you feel better, and supporting your immune system.
Probiotics are part of a larger picture concerning bacteria and your body — your microbiome. Your microbiome is a diverse community of organisms that work together to keep your body healthy. This community is made up of trillions of microbes on and in your body, including bacteria, fungi, viruses, and protozoa. Everyone’s microbiome is unique, and no two people have the same microbial cells – even twins are different.
For a microbe to be called a probiotic, it must have several characteristics. These include being able to be isolated from a human, survive in your intestine after ingestion (being eaten), have a proven benefit to you, and be safely consumed. When ingested, the bacteria in probiotics compete against potentially pathogenic microbes in the gastrointestinal tract to try and inhibit their harmful effects. They can do this by producing antimicrobial substances that can kill off opportunistic pathogens and by binding onto viruses themselves.
Probiotics can also “crowd out” any bad bacteria by competing for their food sources and space. They provide certain vitamins and short-chain fatty acids which are known to be beneficial for our health. Depending on the specific strain chosen, changes to the gut can be noted from as little as three days.
A healthy gut microbiome helps with digestion, boosts the immune system, contributes to blood sugar levels, and may even influence mood and mental health. Probiotics help keep the normal healthy balance of bacteria in your gut – specifically the lining of the gut which includes the microbiome. We are learning more and more about the body’s microbiome and how to maintain the balance of bacteria already growing there in addition to adding living bacteria into your system through probiotics.
The Benefits Of Probiotics For Digestive Health
Probiotics have been shown to have numerous benefits for digestive health. They are live bacteria that can help improve the balance of microorganisms in the gut, which is essential for overall health. The gut is home to trillions of microorganisms that make up the microbiome, and probiotics can help support the growth of beneficial bacteria in this community.
One of the main benefits of probiotics is their ability to aid in digestion. They can help break down food and improve nutrient absorption, which can lead to better overall health. Probiotics have also been shown to support healthy gastrointestinal movement, which can help prevent bloating and other digestive issues.
In addition to their effects on digestion, probiotics can also boost the immune system. They help support the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut, which can help prevent harmful bacteria from taking over and causing infections. Probiotics have also been shown to reduce inflammation in the body, which is important for overall health and wellness.
Can Milk Thistle And Probiotics Be Taken Together?
Yes, milk thistle and probiotics can be taken together. Milk thistle is known for its liver-protective properties, while probiotics promote gut health and boost the immune system. Both supplements are generally safe and well-tolerated, but it is important to note that a small clinical study has reported some drug interactions among people who take both supplements. These interactions include stomatitis among females and diarrhea among males. Therefore, it is recommended to consult with a healthcare provider before taking any new supplements, especially if you are already taking medications or have any underlying health conditions. Overall, taking milk thistle and probiotics together can provide numerous health benefits, but it is important to prioritize safety and consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new supplement regimen.
Potential Interactions And Precautions To Consider
Although milk thistle and probiotics are generally safe to take together, there are some potential interactions and precautions to consider. Firstly, if you are taking antibiotics, it is recommended to take probiotics at least 1-2 hours apart from your medication. This is because antibiotics can kill both harmful and beneficial bacteria in the gut, and taking probiotics too close to your medication may reduce their effectiveness.
In addition, if you are taking anti-fungal medication or natural supplements with anti-fungal properties, it is best to take probiotic yeasts, such as Saccharomyces boulardii, at a different time of day. This is because anti-fungal medications can also kill beneficial bacteria in the gut, and taking probiotics alongside them may reduce their effectiveness.
If you are taking immunosuppressant medication or steroid medication such as prednisone, it is important to speak with your doctor before taking probiotics. This is because probiotics contain live bacteria that may stimulate the immune system, which can be dangerous for people with weakened immune systems.
Finally, if you have any allergies or sensitivities to plants in the same family as milk thistle, such as ragweed or chamomile, you should avoid taking milk thistle altogether. Milk thistle may also lower blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes, so it is important to use caution if you have diabetes and are considering taking milk thistle.