Saw my Doc yesterday and I told him I was starting to take milk thistle...He scolded me, said DO NOT take any kind of herbal treatments...He said a lot of them can cause harm to the liver...Now I am totally confused because of all the good things I have heard on this forum regarding herbs and relating mostly to milk thistle....Is this something that the physicians poo poo and people go ahead and take it anyway or do I just have a "non holistic" attitude in my Doc....
Ideally to find a Medical Doctor and a ND to work together would be my ultimate dream. But, it is not happening with me. My first GI said go ahead and take the Milk Thistle but you have to tx anyway. My second GI said get off all herbs and vitamins, my ND said stay on all vitamins. So, I do what my body likes and stay on the vitamins and milk thistle. I still have not decided what I am going to do when I start tx, but for now I feel really good. I went off my vitamins for 2 weeks and felt so fatigued. That was a good test. Good luck and you will find lots of research on Milk Thistle on this forum. Washington State Un. is looking for volunteers who have not cleared to do a study with MIlk Thistle, must be something to it.
I guess the bigger question is what exactly is in the herbs people are taking?
I saw an acupuncturist/herbologist three years ago prior to starting treatment. My idea was to boost my immune system, etc., to give myself a better chance with SVR.
My ALT was 57 before I started treatment and jumped to 592 within two weeks. Egads! Unfortunately, I also took my Hep B booster shot during that same time period so I cannot be 100% sure if it was the herbs, the booster shot, or perhaps a combination of the two.
In any event, my heptologist and myself agreed to put off treatment until my enzymes returned to normal. That took almost 9 months.
I haven't heard anything bad about milk thistle, and I truly believe that some chinese herbs may have an anti-fibrotic effect.
The question is which are the good herbs and who exactly do you trust. In my case, I'm totally paranoid now about herbs and am putting my faith in Pegasys and Riba.
I know there are a few studies out now on certain herbs and their anti-fibrotic effect but nothing conclusive that I've found. Hopefully, more studies will be done in the future.
I appreciate your confusion on this issue as I seemed to get mixed messages about Milk Thistle based on where I investigated it's potential. When I went to my gasto doctor for the first time after learning from my PCP that I had Hep C I was told to immeadiately drop all over the counter drugs, herbs, aspirin, and vitamins and of course alchohol. Then after 3 months of this detox routein the doctor did my biopsy....learned my stage I was at....and then advised me to not take any MIlk Thistle, but to start taking a multivitamin as well as vitamin B12. I then started treatment in another 3 months (took a long time to work out details of treatment of geno 4 as well as getting the drugs). I was told these herbs including Milk Thistle can compromise how the Interferon works. It must be a fairly powerful herb IF I was advised to stay away from it....and then I went online and learned alot of people are taking it both off treatment as well as some while on treatment...so I too am confused. I personally felt more at peace however NOT doing the milk thistle as I didn't want anything to negate the effects of the Interferon...even if they were not sure! I know this didn't help you in your struggle to get an answer...I suspect you will find as many opinions about Milk Thistle as there are Hep C'ers!
Best to you, Scott
Don't know what the mixture was and that is often the problem with alternative medicine. This fellow was a third generation oriental healer and came highly recommended by someone close to me at the time. To give the benefit of the doubt, it may have been the hepatitis b vaccine or a combination of the two that did it. No way to ever really know.
One of the first things my dr. told me to do, after quit drinking, was to start taking milk thistle. He also told me there was no medical research to go on but that there was plenty of other research. He also told me that it wouldn't hurt. I never talked to him about taking while on treatment and had not found this site yet and was pretty green at this.
I feel pretty comfortable that milk thistle is good while not on tx but still have not decided if I will use it when I start my next round. I still have several months and will continue to get as much info as I can until then.
I personally haven't had any success with herbs including milk thistle. I have asthma on top of having Hep C. The milk thistle caused my asthma to flair up so I couldn't take it. I've tried various vitamins and all of them give me belly aches and abdominal pain. However, I believe that a lot of people get a lot of benefit from various herbs and from milk thistle. My current liver doctor said that milk thistle and vitamins were fine, just no iron!! So, those of you who handle your milk thistle and vitamins, and it makes you feel better, I say, GO FOR IT! But, make sure you do your research because some herbs can actually be lethal to your liver. Just like drinking and taking Tylenol. You have to be sensible, careful, etc.
Sorry to jump on this milk thistle bandwagon so late. Prior to my tp I drank MT tea, tea made from the MT seeds. It tasted rather "organic" but I knew it was being absorbed into my blood stream. Did it do any good? Don't know. My liver did feel better after each drink - didn't feel as swollen.
I'm posting because from my experience the majority of MT being sold isn't water soluable. Try it, drop yours in water in see if it disolves. I tried a dozen brands and all failed. So I thought, if it doesn't disolve how does it get absorbed into your blood? Wouldn't this cause the liver to work extra hard in attempt to process the undisolveable granules? I even gound up some seeds and they too did not disolve in water. Just my thoughts.
I'm familiar with the names siliphos (Idena Italy registered) and Life Extension's silibin both forms of sylimarin and both claiming super absorbancy. But are they really? Regular milk thistle disolves like a granite rock. My normal home joe grinder doesn't turn it into fine dust. Perhaps that's the trick. I don't know.
Just out of curiosity, empty a capsule of siliphos into a glass of warm, not hot, water. Tell me if it disolves before it hits the bottom or how long it takes for it to completely disolve. Do not stir or shake.
I should reiterate that I did use the milk thistle on two different occasions while OFF of treatment. I wasn't on anything else so it was definitely the milk thistle that caused me to wheeze. I checked the bottle at the drugstore and it says clearly on the label, 'if you have asthma or hay fever, this may aggravate those conditions'. The bottle that I had did not put that precaution on there. So, as I said, be careful. I need to be able to breathe, too, not just have a healthy liver!!
Just because something doesn't dissolve in water, does not mean the Digestive system cannot process and absorb it...I know Valium is not water soluble but I also know it gets readily absorbed. My caret will not dissolve when I place it into a glass of water. The stomach has Hydrochloric and sulfuric acids along with many enzymes to aid in digestion and absorption.
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