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Milk thistle, does it help?
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Milk thistle, does it help?

Im trying to help my husband through what seems to be a flair up of hep c related pain and suffering. He is a very active guy who suddenly, in the past two months has been suffering increasingly severe pain in his right shoulder. He cannot lift his right arm at all without extreme pain. At first he thought old age had suddenly hit, or sudden attack of gout or arthritis. He went to to doctor, had x rays, no sign of arthritis, went to the chiropractor, he cant find any relif. He has been diagnosed with hep c about 14 years ago, but has mostly had few symptoms, mostly his biggest complaint, fatigue, but he has worked through it. His regular md prescribed vyvanse several years ago to get him off the couch.  I think giving him this drug, basically speed, has masked the fatigue symptom and allowed him to over work himself to end up where he is now. As I was web searching yesterday I started seeing others on the site complaine of right shoulder pain, itchy skin, which he is experiencing, and also a tooth dying.  I see milk thistle is sometimes used,  so Iwent out and bought a bottle for him and also some saw palmetto. He is now taking those herbs and still also the vyvanse, hydrocodone for pain and if that dosent work, he will pop an aleve.  Anyone out there have any luck with the herbs? And how is the pain relivers and adhd medication effecting his liver? Is it doing more harm than good. Sorry, i have so many questions!
23 Comments Post a Comment
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4670047_tn?1375734001
Was the hep c ever treated?? I' don't know about right arm pain with hep c. Has his liver ever been checked??
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Avatar_n_tn
Yes, he has been checked. He has had the biopsy 6 years ago and he was 1A and his levels over the years had remained the same.  The last test 4 months ago he had an elevated number so he was sent back to the specialist. They reccomended the treatment, but after telling him the success rate, the side effects and the cost he has decided to see if he can wait for the new much better treatment. That is when I started reading about milk thistle, maybe he could by some time if it works. But with his present condition being so bad Im not so sure. At the same time, the treatment sounds like it will make him feel much worse before it maybe makes him better.  Not much of a choice.
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4670047_tn?1375734001
Milk thistle will do nothing for hep c. It's asked on here all the time. I think I have 2 extra bottles here. Arthritis does not always show up on an exrays. If you are insured I would say go to an orthopedic surgeon. From there he will possibly get an MRI. As far as his hep c are you sure the dr. was ok with him waiting for the new drugs. His shoulder is not related to hep c. Liver is possible. I'm sorry they did recommend treatment. I had to read the post three times daaa!! It's time to suck it up and do what the dr says, the virus is harming his liver. Treatment is not easy. But would be worth it to save his liver.   Good luck to you both.
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Avatar_f_tn
My experience with milk thistle was a miracle.Before starting the hcv treatment hubby took milk thistle just for a month and it reduced his alt ast levels from above 150 to 65 and 60......Dnt take heavy dose just 400mg a day and if it dnt give any benefits it will also dnt harm.......it's very safe............
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4670047_tn?1375734001
But it does not cure hep c, or liver damage.
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Avatar_m_tn
As for Milk thistle, save your money. Your husband shoulder pain, has your doctor ruled out a rotator cuff tear??? That would be my guess. Good luck
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3211536_tn?1359389169
Medics in the U.S have been brainwashed by pharmeceutical  companies.Of course they don't want anyone to believe that Milk Thistle doesn't work!Who told you Milk Thistle does nothing?
http://65inamerica.com/complementary/botanical/nih_botanicals.htm This is just one site I was able to find,just google "'Milk Thistle usage in emergency rooms in europe"  .Interestingly enough,they use it intravenous.
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Avatar_f_tn
I think many on here will tell you that relying on a six-year old biopsy and "levels" (I assume you mean ALT and AST) is a mistake as is trying to "control" the effects of HCV with any supplement. The condition of his liver could have deteriorated and I don't believe the ALT and AST levels will reveal the condition of his liver. For that matter I don't know if a viral count can either. Regardless, he should find out the condition of his liver as that is the only thing that could help determine if he can wait for tx.  Are his other blood levels normal, like his platelets? Low platelets can be indicative of liver damage.

I hope you will consider seeing a good hepatologist, or a gastro with years of experience in treating HCV. Not all doctors are created equal and some have only treated a few HCV patients. Cirrhosis may not have any symptoms that stand out to a doctor until it is too late to treat.

Also, be careful not to fall into the trap of attributing every symptom to the HCV as they could be totally unrelated to the virus, and for the most part HCV is said to not have many symptoms nor is the liver itself a source of pain. Other things do "breakdown" as we get older. :)  Atypical aches and pains can be indicative of heart, kidney, gall bladder, etc. issues.

Others on here know far more than I do and hopefully they will chime in.

Good luck and I wish you good news as you move forward.
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1840891_tn?1383280315
I believe that milk thistle can help some people to lower liver enzymes and to maybe feel a little better, and my hepatologist told me it wouldn't hurt to take it. However, it has no effect on the virus itself and its possible effect on the liver enzymes is of questionable value. Liver enzymes fluctuate a lot on their own, and the actual numbers say nothing about the relative health or sickness of your liver. I had my highest numbers when my biopsy showed grade 1 fibrosis, and years later my numbers stayed quite low for years while my liver had actually progressed to cirrhosis. If it makes you feel better, go ahead, but just don't think you are actually making a difference to the disease. You are mostly making a difference to your wallet. BTW, I took it for several years before joining this forum, and it never seemed to make any difference at all other than upsetting my stomach sometimes. I kind of wish I had saved my money for the real treatments.
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Avatar_m_tn

Intravenous vs. Oral

In this study, IV silibinin appears to have potent anti-HCV activity. However, according to the study team, oral doses of milk thistle extract did not share this effect. The study team suspects that this is likely due to the extensive processing and breakdown of the extracts in the intestine and liver. Previous studies have found that oral formulations of milk thistle result in very low levels of active extracts in the blood. These levels are much lower than seen in lab experiments with liver cells. Taking this into account, it is perhaps not surprising that another study has found that oral milk thistle had no effect on HCV levels in people. Future research will likely use highly purified milk thistle extracts given intravenously.

http://www.thebody.com/content/art50316.html
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3093770_tn?1389742726
Looking to a website and believing that this is true?
What makes you think that if it is shown on google means that it has any foundation

The link you have posted has a reference to a study where IV milk thistle was used to counteract acute liver failure due to mushroom poisoning

That does not mean that some capsules from some health shop will have any effect on hep c related issues

I think that the "alternative" companies are using as much brainwashing as the pharmaceutical ones, in fact more as they are lying in most of the cases
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3093770_tn?1389742726
In many cases pain in the right shoulder can be caused by gall bladder issues

Of course if this is the case, the pain will be more of an irradiating nature rather than not be able to lift your arm for example. This can be checked with a gall bladder ultrasound to eliminate the possibility of stones
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Avatar_f_tn
This is a very old controversy that I had hoped time had cooled off.
Milk Thistle does not harm the liver, that much is certain.

It also does not touch the virus, so it is logical if someone wants a cure they will need to use the drugs developed by the Pharmaceutical companies.

Having said that, people have the right to support their livers using milk thistle, coffee, curcumin and any other herb that has been tested and proven *not* to be harmful and in some cases helpful.
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4670047_tn?1375734001
I was wondering if you would jump in. This is also an old boozers trick before dr. appt. ( I took it multiple times) also people would take it if jobs required blood tests. I sold many, many bottles of it. Remember the powdered choline to cut cocaine. I don't know if you can still buy it in that formulation but it was a great product. ( I did not use it for cutting anything).  It was for memory, wait or did I oh well I can't remember.  Milk thistle is great, not going to cure us.
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Avatar_m_tn

'Remember the powdered choline to cut cocaine"

No but I would sure like to find those A-holes that used to use baby laxatives... YIKES..:)
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Avatar_f_tn
LOL!
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901131_tn?1293748153
No but I would sure like to find those A-holes that used to use baby laxatives...

But it sure kept you regular didn't it..LOL
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Avatar_m_tn
don't know about milk thistle but as far as symptoms I have just been diagnosed and started treatment but have has quite a few symptoms for 10 years but every time I went to the Dr he stated I'm just getting old after a year or so sleeping 16 to 18 hours a day I went to the state Dr the first blood test he stated my thyroid levels where dangerously low and started treatment for it after almost a year of me complaining I decided to get on Chant ix to quit smoking that's when they found the hep c I'm also full of server arthritis have only been on the treatment for the hep for 3 months and some symptoms are starting to go away but the Arthur seems to be getting worse as I'm having to use my cane more and more. after 8 weeks on the treatment in showing no virus in the tests all I can say is he needs to get on the treatment and heal this problem before its to late
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766573_tn?1365170066
I think the issue is what exactly the area one is hoping the Milk Thistle will help. Since this is an HCV Forum I suppose it is natural one might wonder if  Milk Thistle would be to aid with the virus. Or reducing liver enzymes.

Here is one that says concluded higher than customary doses of silymarin did not significantly reduce serum ALT levels more than placebo in participants with chronic HCV infection unsuccessfully treated with interferon-based therapy.
http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=1217238
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Then another:
""This is the first well-designed study on milk thistle in hepatitis C patients, and despite the use of higher-than-customary doses of milk thistle, there was no impact on measures of liver enzymes," Sammy Saab, MD, MPH, associate professor of medicine and surgery at the University of California, Los Angeles told Medscape Medical News. Dr. Saab was not involved in the study."

July 19, 2012 Chronic HCV: No Benefit From Milk Thistle
http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/767724
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On the other hand, I'm not sure if Legalon will ever be available in the US.
Legalon -> Silymarin ->Milk Thistle

But as Cree pointed out it was studied and apparently may have alternative use in other forms: Legalon® SIL: The Antidote of Choice in Patients with Acute Hepatotoxicity from Amatoxin Poisoning

Intravenous Milk Thistle (Silibinin-Legalon) for Hepatic Failure Induced by Amatoxin/Amanita Mushroom Poisoning
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3414726/

jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=1217238
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So I suppose there is pro and con to it
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4670047_tn?1375734001
This might be out of context but ill say it anyway. One of my problems with the milk thistle is it can alter a blood test. I knew there was something wrong with me. So by summer of 2012 I wasn't drinking much and not taking the milk thistle, for what ever reason. But that's when the rheumatologist got a true reading on the ast/alt levels. The second test 4wks later I didn't take even a vitamin, that's when they had gone up to 290 and what ever they were both were high. Bottom line is nursewifes question was:
          Anyone have any luck with herbs?
My answer is not gonna cure ya.
Sounds like he's trying to avoid the treatment because of side effects. Don't blame him. I just hate to see someone who's already been diagnosed swallowing over the counter anything in hopes of a cure. I also don't want someone who hasn't been diagnosed to try and lower there ast/alt levels that can be the catalyst for the hep c test. Does this make any sense??
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Avatar_f_tn
Pharmaceutical companies are the biggest liars of all and it is more detrimental to the average citizen in this country because they TRUST what the FDA has to say. Premarin which contains equine estrogens for example- who on earth would think that this patented poison would be safe for another SPECIES to use? And it isn't, turns out. If you don't believe me, read about the Women's Health Initiative Study, 1996 that was terminated EARLY due to the danger posed to women taking these unnatural (to human) poisons. How about antidepressants? 70 plus percent of prescriptions for these drugs are written for OFF LABEL uses which means there is not enough science to conclude efficacy for conditions for which they are prescribed, yet pharma companies have commercials running day and night pushing these poisons on us. Add to that, we are now finding out that the SSRI model of depression causation is not sound and that SSRI medications can actually HARM the brain further..don't get me started.
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Avatar_f_tn
Pharmaceutical companies are the biggest liars of all and it is more detrimental to the average citizen in this country because they TRUST what the FDA has to say. Premarin which contains equine estrogens for example- who on earth would think that this patented poison would be safe for another SPECIES to use? And it isn't, turns out. If you don't believe me, read about the Women's Health Initiative Study, 1996 that was terminated EARLY due to the danger posed to women taking these unnatural (to human) poisons. How about antidepressants? 70 plus percent of prescriptions for these drugs are written for OFF LABEL uses which means there is not enough science to conclude efficacy for conditions for which they are prescribed, yet pharma companies have commercials running day and night pushing these poisons on us. Add to that, we are now finding out that the SSRI model of depression causation is not sound and that SSRI medications can actually HARM the brain further..don't get me started.
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3093770_tn?1389742726
I agree with what you are saying, however that does not make alternative options safe, which is what I was saying in my earlier post.

I know that many herbal stuff is sold through "health" shops, but just because the word health is used that does not make those herbs healthy or safe

I heard tons of lies coming from herbal supplements proponents. I wish they will stop playing with people hopes and bring more substance to their claims. Evidence base medicine is what I am standing for these days
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