Best Milk Thistle Supplements – Top 10 Brands Ranked for 2018

best-milk-thistle-supplements-to-buy

Jump Ahead to the Top 10 Milk Thistle Products

Ancient herbal remedies have started to become recognized in the modern day for their ability to improve health. Many herbal remedies have caught the attention of conventional medicine, and are being studied for their efficacy and potential benefits.

One of these herbal remedies is known as milk thistle, which has been used by ancient Romans, Greeks and Europeans in the Middle Ages. It was traditionally used for treating liver, kidney and gallbladder problems as well as other ailments for over 2,000 years!

Today, this ancient herb is available as a natural supplement for protecting the liver, boosting immunity and slowing the aging process. This guide is all about the best milk thistle supplements on the market.

What is Milk Thistle?

Milk thistle is a plant native to Europe. It gets its name due to the milky white liquid that comes from the stem when it is broken. The plant itself has a long stem with white-dotted green leaves and pink and purple flowers.

The supplement form comes from ripe milk-thistle seeds, which are rich in the group of beneficial flavonoids known as silymarin. Silymarin is what makes milk thistle medicinal – it has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, and may help the liver grow new cells to repair itself by raising levels of reparative glutathione. The most effective milk thistle supplements are available in forms such as pills, capsules, tinctures, extracts and silymarin complexes.

Uses & Benefits of Milk Thistle

Milk thistle can help to boost the immune system, neutralize free radicals and support the health of your liver. Its anti-inflammatory benefits also help to reduce inflammation that can harm your joints, digestive system and more.

Some primary milk thistle benefits include:

  • Antioxidant: Milk thistle has a rich content of bioflavonoid antioxidants, the most abundant of which is called silymarin. Milk thistle helps to draw toxins out of the body, reducing oxidative stress and lowering the risk of a huge variety of health concerns including cancer, kidney stones, diabetes, skin damage and more. In the body, beneficial milk thistle compounds function similarly to other antioxidants like vitamin C and vitamin E. Milk thistle’s lipophilic extracts act as potent bioflavonoid antioxidants which protect against damage caused by free radicals in the body. This also means that milk thistle may have some anti-aging properties, although more research is needed.
  • Liver health: Milk thistle is thought to help remove toxins from the liver, potentially improving liver function and health. It’s been used throughout history to treat liver disease, and modern researchers have found it effective in minimizing oxidative stress in the liver. These effects are thought to be due to milk thistle’s content of bioflavonoid antioxidants, which help to protect from oxidative stress damage and improve immunity.
  • Cancer: Milk thistle shows some promise for inhibiting cancer cell growth and potentially lowering the risk for developing cancer in the first place. These effects are due to the flavolignan content in milk thistle – namely, the high content of silymarin, a potent antioxidant. Silymarin is thought to potentially help decrease the risk of developing cancer, by fighting damage to DNA, improving immune function, and reversing the growth of cancer cells. The University of Minnesota found in a review of several clinical trials that silymarin has strong preclinical evidence to suggest anticarcinogenic and hepatoprotective effects, and may help to inhibit cancer cell growth in breast, skin, prostate and cervical cancer. More research is needed, but results so far are promising.
  • Cholesterol: Milk thistle may help to lower high cholesterol. This is due to milk thistle’s anti-inflammatory properties, which are well documented. A reduction in inflammation can help improve heart health, clean the blood, and reduce oxidative stress – all of which can potentially lower cholesterol. Initial evidence suggests that total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol levels improve when milk thistle is taken in combination with traditional cholesterol treatment medicines. This effect has mostly been observed in people with diabetes, and only when milk thistle is used in combination with other treatments. More research is needed.
  • Diabetes: Diabetic patients may find that silymarin, the active antioxidant compound in milk thistle, may help to improve glucose and insulin levels. This effect is thought to stem from milk thistle’s positive effect on the liver, because the liver plays a key role in regulating hormones and insulin.

Milk thistle has shown significant promise in a number of research trials. The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects are well documented, and these properties can have widespread potential benefits. Overall, milk thistle is a promising supplement that needs more clinical research.

Are There Any Side Effects?

Milk thistle does not usually cause negative side effects, and has been used safely for over 2,000 years. However, some people may experience side effects such as nausea, bloating, headache etc. Allergic reaction may also occur in some people.

Who Can Benefit from Milk Thistle?

  • Those who Drink Alcohol -Alcohol is an ancient beverage that is widely consumed in the United States, with 86.4% of people in 2015 saying that they have consumed it at least once in their lifetimes. Consuming alcohol in moderation is usually not harmful, but when too much is consumed at one time, your liver struggles to detox the body.
  • Aging Adults – Aging adults can benefit from anti-inflammatory and antioxidant milk thistle benefits. The active ingredient in milk thistle known as silymarin is a powerful antioxidant that can help to support the immune system and protect it from oxidative damage, as well as the digestive system.

How to Take Milk Thistle

These supplements should be taken with a full glass of water. Many milk thistle products can be taken effectively with or without food. If you are on any medications that are metabolized by a liver enzyme called CYP3A4, you may not be able to take milk thistle.

Stacking Milk Thistle

Milk thistle can be stacked with some other supplements for improved efficacy, synergistic benefits or to tailor benefits to a particular health issue. It is a very stackable supplement with many variations available, but here are a few good milk thistle stacks:

  • Milk Thistle and Artichoke Extract and/or Dandelion Root – Artichoke extract and dandelion root both help to stimulate the flow of bile from the liver, helping to ensure healthy digestion and detoxification. When taken with milk thistle, it creates a good stack for liver health.
  • Milk Thistle and Turmeric – Turmeric is a highly studied and effective anti-inflammatory. It can help to support the immune system benefits of milk thistle, and also protect the liver from the damaging effects of inflammation. Turmeric also contains powerful anti-aging antioxidants.
  • Milk Thistle and Berberine – Berberine is a compound found in many herbal remedies that has a beneficial effect on the metabolism and cardiovascular health, and also functions as a potent antioxidant. These two supplements make a powerful milk thistle stack for boosting immunity, alkalizing and detoxifying the body.

What to Look for in a Good Milk Thistle Supplement

A good milk thistle supplement should be made using the seed of the milk thistle plant. The seed is where the active flavonoids, known as silymarin, are located. Some of the most effective milk thistle supplements include standardized extracts with at least 80% silymarin content. It should also be manufactured by a GMP certified facility to ensure that FDA standards are followed.

Make sure that the supplement label does not contain complexes that could potentially disguise hidden ingredients – you should be able to tell exactly what is in your supplement. Overall, the top milk thistle supplements are manufactured or distributed by well-known reputable brands, and have quality milk thistle extracts.

Top 10 Milk Thistle Products Compared

Heads up, there are affiliate links in this article, so if you buy something, we get a cut of the sale.


1. Jarrow Formulas Milk Thistle

best milk thistle supplements

Jarrow Formulas Milk Thistle is a highly concentrated milk thistle supplement that is standardized to yield 80% total flavonoids, which is known as silymarin. Silymarin has antioxidant properties.

This powerful milk thistle supplement helps detoxify the body and improve overall health, making it one of the best milk thistle supplements on the market!

Highlights:

  • Affordable
  • Free from wheat, gluten, soybeans, dairy, eggs, shellfish, peanuts and tree nuts
  • Non-GMO
  • Suitable for vegans and vegetarians
  • Powerful concentrated milk thistle extract
  • Powerful source of antioxidants

Who Makes It?

Jarrow Formulas is a supplement distributor based out of Los Angeles, California. They were founded in 1977 and incorporated in 1988, and today they offer a complete line of vitamins, minerals, herbs, probiotics, amino acids, enzymes and more. All Jarrow Formulas products are manufactured in GMP certified facilities.

What’s In It?

  • 150 mg milk thistle seed 30:1 extract

Bottom Line: Jarrow Formulas Milk Thistle manages to be effective, high quality and affordable all at the same time. Produced in a GMP certified facility by a reliable brand, this milk thistle pill is formulated with milk thistle seed extract standardized for silymarin flavonoids. If you want a simple, affordable and effective milk thistle supplement, Jarrow Formulas Milk Thistle is the product for you!

ⓘ If you buy something using the links below, we get a small commission.

VendorPriceLink
amazonvendorlogo$ Buy Now

2. Gaia Herbs Milk Thistle Seed

gaia-herbs-milk-thistle-seed

These top quality milk thistle pills are standardized to 80% silymarin flavonoids, making it a highly effective milk thistle supplement. It has been laboratory tested for purity, 100% vegetarian, dairy free, and gluten free, and its liquid form makes it easy to absorb.

Highlights:

  • Concentrated for silymarin content
  • Laboratory tested for purity
  • 100% vegetarian, dairy and gluten free
  • Vegetarian liquid phyto-caps
  • Easily absorbed
  • Antioxidant-rich

Who Makes It?

Gaia Herbs is an herbal supplement brand that produces herbal remedies from their own farm! The Gaia farm is 100% organic, and each batch of herbs is numbered for their traceability program. This program is the first to allow consumers to trace the exact source of their supplements.

What’s In It?

  • 450 mg milk thistle seed extract (360 mg silymarin)

Bottom Line: This is one of the top milk thistle supplements on the market and is great for people searching for the highest quality. It is traceable to the source, laboratory tested for purity and completely suitable to vegetarians.

ⓘ If you buy something using the links below, we get a small commission.

VendorPriceLink
amazonvendorlogo$ Buy Now

3. Solaray Milk Thistle Extract

solaray-milk-thistle-extract

Solaray Milk Thistle Extract is a one of the best milk thistle pills that is standardized for 80% silymarin content. It also is fortified with a liver support complex of turmeric, dandelion root and artichoke. Overall, this is one of the better milk thistle supplements on the market!

Highlights:

  • Guaranteed potency
  • Fortified with turmeric, dandelion root and artichoke
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Rich source of antioxidants

Who Makes It?

Solaray is the flagship brand for a natural supplement producer with over 1,000 different supplements available. They were founded in 1973 in Utah and acquired in 1993. Their supplements are manufactured by Nutraceutical Corporation and distributed in all 50 states and 60 countries worldwide.

What’s In It?

  • 175mg milk thistle extract (standardized for 80% silymarin)
  • Liver support base (turmeric root extract, dandelion root, artichoke leaf)

Bottom Line: This is one of the most widely available brands of effective milk thistle supplements, and provides milk thistle benefits. The formula includes additional herbal benefits of anti-inflammatory turmeric, dandelion root and artichoke as well. Overall it is one of the best milk thistle supplements on the market!

4. Solgar Milk Thistle Herb Extract

solgar-milk-thistle-herb-extract

Solgar Milk Thistle Herb Extract is a blend of standardized herbal technology and and traditional herbal medicine – it includes milk thistle seed extract standardized for silymarin content, as well as milk thistle powder.

This milk thistle pill is also fortified with an antioxidant blend of natural beta-carotene, and L-ascorbic acid. This product is free from gluten, wheat, dairy, soy, yeast and sodium. It is even suitable to vegetarians, making it a good milk thistle supplement for almost anyone!

Highlights:

  • Gluten, wheat and dairy free
  • Suitable for vegetarians
  • Fortified with additional antioxidants
  • Formulated using milk thistle extract and powder

Drawbacks:

  • Expensive

Who Makes It?

Solgar is a well-known supplement producer that has been producing quality nutritional supplements since 1947. Their products are exclusively distributed in the natural products industry to ensure that consumers are provided with accurate advice. Their manufacturing facilities go above and beyond the GMP certification standards.

What’s In It?

  • 175 mg milk thistle extract (80% silymarin)
  • 300 mg milk thistle powder
  • PhytO2X antioxidant blend (natural beta-carotene, L-ascorbic acid)

Bottom Line: This is a good milk thistle supplement produced by a reliable company with years of experience in the natural supplement industry. It is fortified with an antioxidant blend. However, it is pricier than some alternative products.

5. GNC Herbal Plus Milk Thistle

gnc-herbal-plus-milk-thistle

GNC Herbal Plus Milk Thistle is a powerful milk thistle supplement that comes in the form of caplets. It is an extra strength standardized herbal supplement. Manufactured by GNC, a well-known supplement distributor that was founded in 1935, you know that it is produced with high quality control standards in GMP certified facilities.

Highlights:

  • Powerful milk thistle supplement dosage
  • Produced by GNC
  • Vegetarian
  • Powerful antioxidant

Drawbacks

  • Only 50% silymarin extract
  • Expensive

Who Makes It?

Many people are familiar with the supplement industry’s largest brand, GNC. Founded in 1935, GNC is a powerful supplement franchise that ensures high quality control and consumer satisfaction. They offer vitamins, minerals, protein and fitness supplements, herbs, natural remedies, digestive aids, superfoods, weight management and personal care supplements.

What’s In It?

  • 1300 mg milk thistle extract (standardized for 50% silymarin)

Bottom Line: This is a good milk thistle pill that is manufactured by a well-known company. It offers all of the essential the milk thistle benefits. However, it only is standardized to include 50% silymarin content, and it is more expensive than some alternatives.

6. Pure Encapsulations Silymarin

pure-encapsulations-silymarin

Pure Encapsulations Silymarin is a concentrated hypoallergenic herbal supplement. It is one of the most effective milk thistle pills available. It is free from gluten, wheat, egg, peanuts, coatings and shellacs, hydrogenated oils, artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners and preservatives. This powerful milk thistle pill is made of pure milk thistle extract inside a vegetarian capsule.

Highlights:

  • Standardized for 80% silymarin
  • Vegetarian capsule
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Antioxidant rich

Drawbacks

  • Very expensive

Who Makes It?

Pure Encapsulations is a hypoallergenic supplement producer that produces some of the highest quality nutritional supplements on the market. Their products are designed to “deliver predictable and desired results.”

What’s In It?

  • 250 mg milk thistle seed extract (80% silymarin)

Bottom Line: This is a great milk thistle supplement produced by a very reliable brand. It is hypoallergenic and purely milk thistle. However, this purity comes at a high price. There are other effective milk thistle supplements that are more affordable.

7. Bluebonnet Standardized Milk Thistle Fruit & Seed Extract

bluebonnet-standardized-milk-thistle-fruit

BlueBonnet Standardized Milk Thistle is a milk thistle fruit and seed extract that is formulated in an easy-to-swallow vegetable capsule. It is an effective milk thistle supplements for vegetarians and vegans. Standardized to 80% silymarin content, they use a clean and gentle water based extraction process to provide you with this strong milk thistle supplement.

Highlights:

  • Water based extraction method
  • Suitable to vegans and vegetarians
  • Standardized to 80% silymarin
  • Extracted from the fruit and seed
  • Rich in antioxidants

Drawbacks:

  • Some consumers complain of lower quality
  • Uses milk thistle fruit and seed

Who Makes It?

BlueBonnet Nutrition is a natural supplement producer that has been creating supplements as close to nature as possible since the 1980s. Their products are certified USDA organic and non-GMO, and held to high quality control standards.

What’s In It?

  • 175 mg milk thistle fruit and seed extract (80% silymarin)

Bottom Line: BlueBonnet Standardized Milk Thistle is an effective milk thistle supplement. However, some consumers say the product and packaging is lower quality. It also uses both the fruit and the seed of milk thistle, when the important compounds are located in the seed.

8. Paradise Herbs Milk Thistle

paradise-herbs-milk-thistle

Paradise Herbs Milk Thistle is a 100% pure milk thistle supplement. It is a holistic extract formulated with vegetarian capsules using a natural extraction method. The extract is standardized to 80% silymarin, and is free from common allergens. It is also free from fillers, flows, fractionalizing gases and harsh chemicals.

Highlights:

  • 100% pure milk thistle supplement
  • Standardized to 80% silymarin
  • Grown naturally without chemical fertilizers, pesticides or preservatives
  • Antioxidant rich

Drawbacks:

  • More expensive than some equitable products
  • Some consumers complain of lower quality

Who Makes It?

Paradise Herbs is an herbal supplement brand that draws from ayurvedic, Chinese, Tropical and Euro-Native Euro-Native American herbal traditions. They were established in 1994 and have been dedicated to providing premium health products that reflect nature’s intentions.

What’s In It?

  • 250 mg milk thistle seed extract (80% silymarin)

Bottom Line: This is a good milk thistle supplement produced by a reliable brand. It provides milk thistle benefits. However, there are more affordable equitable products, and some consumers feel it is lower quality.

9. Herb Pharm Milk Thistle

herb-pharm-milk-thistle

Herb Pharm Milk Thistle is an easily absorbed liquid milk thistle extract that can be dropped into water or juice for consumption. The extract compound mirrors the composition of the herb, meaning that it has the same ratio of phytonutrients that milk thistle seeds do. This supplement takes a more traditional herbal approach to the formulation.

Highlights:

  • Affordable
  • Traditional herbal formulation
  • Certified organic and purity verified
  • No synthetic solvents
  • Easily absorbed

Drawbacks:

  • Not standardized
  • Some dislike the taste
  • Formulated with cane alcohol

Who Makes It?

Herb Pharm is a liquid herbal extract producer that was founded in 1979 and takes a traditional approach to natural supplements. Their products mirror the composition of the herbs they are extracted from, instead of concentrating them for specific compounds. Their products are free from synthetic solvents.

What’s In It?

  • 645 mg milk thistle seed extract

Bottom Line: Overall, Herb Pharm Milk Thistle is a great choice for the traditional herbalist. If you are interested in getting a supplement as close to the herb as possible, this is the product for you. However, it may be less effective, and some people dislike the taste. It also contains cane alcohol as a solvent.

10. NutraBio Milk Thistle

nutrabio-milk-thistle

NutraBio Milk Thistle is a good milk thistle pill that is made in a GMP certified facility in the United States. It is standardized to 80% silymarin content and independently tested for purity and accuracy. This strong milk thistle supplement is also free from fillers, excipients and undeclared ingredients.

Highlights:

  • Made in the USA
  • Free from fillers, excipients and undeclared ingredients

Drawbacks:

  • Includes artificial sweeteners
  • Lower quality control
  • Pricier than some equitable products

Who Makes It?

NutraBio was founded in 1996 and offers a variety of supplementary products. These products include amino acids, sport and muscle supplements, vitamins, minerals, weight loss supplements, proteins, herbs, goal-specific and kosher supplements.

What’s In It?

  • 600 mg milk thistle extract (80% silymarin)

Bottom Line: This is a relatively affordable milk thistle supplements that provides you with a powerful milk thistle supplement dosage. However, it NutraBio does use artificial sweeteners and consumers complain of lower quality control. Some similar products can also be purchased at a more affordable price point.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *