If you’re someone who regularly takes ibuprofen for pain relief, you may have heard about the potential benefits of milk thistle for liver health.
But can these two substances be taken together safely?
In this article, we’ll explore the potential interactions between milk thistle and ibuprofen, as well as the benefits and risks of each substance on their own.
So, if you’re curious about whether or not you can safely combine these two supplements, keep reading to find out!
Can I Take Milk Thistle With Ibuprofen?
The short answer is that there is no clear answer. While there is no evidence to suggest that taking milk thistle and ibuprofen together is inherently dangerous, there is also no evidence to suggest that they are safe to take together.
Ibuprofen is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) commonly used to relieve pain and reduce inflammation. It works by blocking the production of certain chemicals in the body that cause pain and inflammation. However, long-term use of NSAIDs like ibuprofen can cause damage to the liver and kidneys.
Milk thistle, on the other hand, is a natural supplement that has been used for centuries to support liver health. It contains compounds like silymarin and sylimarin that act as antioxidants and stimulate the repair of the liver. Milk thistle has been shown to protect the liver from damage caused by hepatitis viruses, alcohol, and other substances.
While milk thistle may be beneficial for liver health, it is important to note that it can also interact with certain medications. Milk thistle can slow down or reduce the activity of enzymes in the liver that break down medications. This can lead to higher-than-expected levels of drugs in the body, causing side effects or intensifying already-existing side effects.
Ibuprofen is one of the medications that is processed by these liver enzymes. If milk thistle is taken with ibuprofen, it has the potential to raise levels of ibuprofen in the body, causing unpleasant or even dangerous side effects.
What Is Milk Thistle And How Does It Affect The Liver?
Milk thistle is a natural supplement that has been used for centuries to support liver health. The active ingredient in milk thistle is silymarin, a group of flavonoids that include silibinin, silidianin, and silicristin. These compounds are thought to help repair liver cells that have been damaged by alcohol and other toxic substances. Silymarin also protects new liver cells from being destroyed by these same toxins. It reduces inflammation and acts as a strong antioxidant, making it a popular choice for people with liver inflammation or hepatitis.
Milk thistle works by keeping toxins from attaching to liver cells and holding free radicals in check. These unstable molecules can harm healthy cells and lead to health issues. Medical research on milk thistle and liver health has led to mixed results. While studies show that silymarin may help ease inflammation and promote cell repair, other studies don’t show any effect against viral infections like hepatitis C.
Milk thistle helps stop oxidative stress and free radical damage in the liver. Research shows that milk thistle restores damaged cells and protects the liver against damage from alcohol and some prescription drugs. The liver is responsible for performing a number of essential detoxifying functions, and the condition of our blood throughout our whole body is mostly reliant on the health of our liver. Milk thistle has been historically used for a variety of liver diseases, including alcoholic liver disease, acute and chronic viral hepatitis, and toxin-induced liver diseases.
While milk thistle may be beneficial for liver health, it is important to note that it can also interact with certain medications like ibuprofen. Milk thistle can slow down or reduce the activity of enzymes in the liver that break down medications, potentially causing higher-than-expected levels of drugs in the body and causing side effects or intensifying already-existing side effects. Therefore, it is important to consult with a healthcare provider before taking milk thistle or any other supplement with ibuprofen or other medications.
What Is Ibuprofen And How Does It Work For Pain Relief?
Ibuprofen is a widely used painkiller that belongs to a class of drugs called non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). It works by reducing the production of prostaglandins in the body, which are chemicals that promote pain, inflammation and fever. Prostaglandins make nearby nerves more sensitive to pain and cause tissues to become inflamed and swollen. By decreasing the production of prostaglandins, ibuprofen can help reduce pain and inflammation caused by various conditions such as headache, dental pain, menstrual cramps, muscle aches, or arthritis.
Ibuprofen is available over the counter as tablets or capsules in doses of 200-400 mg and can be taken up to three times a day after food. Some tablets are designed to release the drug slowly over a period of time, which can be helpful for night-time pain relief. Higher doses of ibuprofen are available on prescription and can be used if you have rheumatoid arthritis or another type of inflammatory arthritis. Ibuprofen is also available in lipid-based soft capsules, which can be bought from pharmacies and are as effective as prescribed ibuprofen in relieving flaring joint pain.
It is important to note that ibuprofen can cause side effects such as stomach upset, nausea, dizziness, and headaches. Long-term use of NSAIDs like ibuprofen can also cause damage to the liver and kidneys. Therefore, it is important to follow the recommended dosage and speak to your doctor if you need pain relief over a long period of time or if ibuprofen does not provide enough relief from pain. Your doctor may be able to prescribe a stronger type of NSAID or a combination of drugs that will be more effective for your condition. Ibuprofen can usually be used in combination with paracetamol or a compound analgesic.
Potential Interactions Between Milk Thistle And Ibuprofen
According to a phase IV clinical study by eHealthMe, there have been reported interactions between milk thistle and ibuprofen. The study, which analyzed reports from 190 people who took both milk thistle and ibuprofen, found that common interactions included anxiety among females and drug ineffective among males.
It is important to note that this study does not definitively prove that milk thistle and ibuprofen should not be taken together, but it does suggest that caution should be exercised. Milk thistle has been shown to slow down or reduce the activity of enzymes in the liver that break down medications. This can lead to higher-than-expected levels of drugs in the body, causing side effects or intensifying already-existing side effects.
Since ibuprofen is one of the medications that is processed by these liver enzymes, taking milk thistle with ibuprofen has the potential to raise levels of ibuprofen in the body. This can cause unpleasant or even dangerous side effects.
If you are currently taking ibuprofen and are interested in taking milk thistle, it is important to talk to your healthcare provider first. They can help you determine whether it is safe for you to take these two substances together and can recommend alternative treatments if necessary.
Benefits Of Milk Thistle For Liver Health
Milk thistle is often promoted for its liver-protecting effects and has been used as a complementary therapy for people with liver damage due to conditions like alcoholic liver disease, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, hepatitis, and even liver cancer. Studies have shown improvements in liver function in people with liver diseases who have taken a milk thistle supplement, suggesting it could help reduce liver inflammation and liver damage. Milk thistle has been found to protect the liver from damage caused by hepatitis viruses, alcohol, and other substances.
Milk thistle contains compounds like silymarin and sylimarin that act as antioxidants and stimulate the repair of the liver. These compounds protect the liver cells from toxic substances and oxidative stress, which can cause damage to the liver. Silymarin has also been shown to reduce inflammation in the liver, which can help to prevent further damage.
One study found that milk thistle extract may slightly extend the life expectancy of people with cirrhosis of the liver due to alcoholic liver disease. However, the results from studies have been mixed, and not all have found milk thistle extract to have a beneficial effect on liver disease. Thus, more studies are needed to determine what dose and length of treatment are needed for specific liver conditions.
While milk thistle may be beneficial for liver health, it is important to note that it is not a substitute for medical treatment. People with liver disease should consult their healthcare provider before taking any supplements, including milk thistle. Additionally, milk thistle can interact with certain medications, including ibuprofen. If you are considering taking milk thistle with ibuprofen or any other medication, it is important to talk to your healthcare provider first to ensure that it is safe for you to do so.
Risks And Side Effects Of Ibuprofen Use
While ibuprofen is generally considered safe when used as directed, there are some risks and potential side effects associated with its use. Long-term use of NSAIDs like ibuprofen can cause damage to the liver and kidneys, as mentioned above. In addition, ibuprofen can increase the risk of gastrointestinal bleeding and ulcers, especially in people who are elderly or have a history of stomach problems.
Other potential side effects of ibuprofen use include:
– Nausea and vomiting
– Diarrhea or constipation
– Rash or itching
– Swelling of the face, lips, tongue, or throat
– Difficulty breathing
If you experience any of these side effects while taking ibuprofen, you should stop taking the medication and seek medical attention right away.
It is also important to note that ibuprofen can interact with other medications and supplements. For example, taking ibuprofen with blood thinners like warfarin can increase the risk of bleeding. Taking ibuprofen with other NSAIDs or steroids can increase the risk of gastrointestinal bleeding and ulcers.
Risks And Side Effects Of Milk Thistle Use
While milk thistle is generally considered safe, there are potential risks and side effects associated with its use. The most common side effect of taking milk thistle is mild gastrointestinal upset, including diarrhea, nausea, intestinal gas, fullness, and loss of appetite. Other potential side effects may include headaches, joint pain, or sexual dysfunction.
It is also possible to be allergic to milk thistle and have a serious allergic reaction. If you experience shortness of breath, swelling, hives, or a rash after taking milk thistle, seek medical attention immediately as this may be a sign of anaphylaxis. Those who react allergically to milk thistle usually cannot tolerate plants or supplements that are from the same family, such as ragweed, marigold, daisy, and chrysanthemums.
Milk thistle can also interact with certain medications, including ibuprofen. If you take medication for diabetes expressly to lower blood sugar or other anticoagulants like warfarin, it is best to avoid milk thistle as it can reduce the efficacy of your medication. Milk thistle can also produce estrogenic effects, so those who suffer from endometriosis or uterine fibroids should avoid milk thistle because of the possible contraindication.
It is important to note that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate herbal supplements like milk thistle. Therefore, it is essential to purchase from an accredited vendor and discuss with your doctor before beginning any type of treatment or herbal supplement. The dosage of milk thistle is merely a suggestion since it is not regulated. It is best always to discuss the proper dosage for yourself and your health issues with your doctor before ingesting milk thistle.