Single Ingredient Milk Thistle Capsules - What You Don\'t Know Can Hurt You

by Valerie Rosenbaum

Posted on Thursday 2nd of April 2009

Before you buy a single-ingredient milk thistle capsule, it is worth your while to learn some facts about the supplements currently on the market. While I am a strong believer in the need to increase your nutrient intake, there are some supplements that are simply a waste of money. The issue has to do with bioavailability.

If the nutrients are not absorbed into the bloodstream, then they are of no benefit. In order to be bio-available, some nutrients must be coated to prevent them from being broken down by stomach acid. Others must be combined with other nutrients. Otherwise, they will pass through the intestinal wall unchanged. Other nutrients must be provided in specific forms to insure their bioavailability.

For example, l-glutathione supplementation is highly beneficial. A shortage of the nutrient causes premature aging, plays a role in heart disease, increases your risk of cancer and causes many other health problems. But, supplements are only effective if they contain the “reduced” form of l-glutathione and they have an enteric coating.

A single-ingredient milk thistle capsule is worthless. Even some of the multi-ingredient formulations may as well not include it, because it will not be absorbed. It has very low bio-availability. It must be protected from stomach acid and the nutrient lecithin must be taken along with it, to increase its bioavailability.

Nutrients work most effectively when they are combined. Even the standard vitamins A, C and E are best absorbed when they are taken at the same time or when we eat a dish that contains all three.

As a side not, when you take a vitamin A supplement, it should be the vegetable form, either beta-carotene or other carotenoids. The animal form of vitamin A, which is found in cod liver oil and is known as retinol, is toxic. At high doses it can cause death. The liver can only store so much and when that amount is exceeded it causes cells to swell with fluid and rupture.

While a single-ingredient milk thistle capsule is a waste of money, it is a beneficial ingredient to look for in a multi-nutritional supplement. It supports liver health and function. It has been used for thousands of years by herbalists and traditional healers to treat cirrhosis and other diseases of the liver. Modern research has shown that it is a beneficial adjunctive therapy for people with chronic hepatitis.

Unlike a milk thistle capsule, a multi-nutritional supplement that includes it will prevent your risk of vitamin deficiencies. It has been noted that vitamin D deficiencies are on the rise. Low levels of vitamin D and calcium were recently connected to cancer and heart disease.

Scientists thought they had nailed down how much we need of essential vitamins and minerals every day, but they are finding that many of those recommended daily intakes are too low. They have also found that some nutrients that, at one time, were not considered essential are, in fact, essential for human health. So, instead of buying a milk thistle capsule, why not buy multi-nutritional supplements that contain the extract, instead? They cost about the same and are better for your health.

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