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Chronic Liver Disease and Silymarin: A Biochemical and Clinical Review

Sean P. Tighe, Daud Akhtar, Umair Iqbal, Aijaz Ahmed
Journal of Clinical and Translational Hepatology , Volume 8, pp 1-5; doi:10.14218/jcth.2020.00012

Abstract: Chronic liver disease (CLD) is an under-recognized epidemic that continues to increase in prevalence and is a major health concern. Silymarin, the active compound of Silybum marianum (Milk thistle), has historically been used in CLD. A significant barrier to silymarin use is its poor bioavailability. Attempts at improving the bioavailability of silymarin have led to a better understanding of formulation methods, pharmacokinetics, dosing, and associated drug interactions. Clinically, silymarin exerts its hepatoprotective effects through antioxidative, antifibrotic, anti-inflammatory, antitoxin, and anticancerous mechanisms of actions. Despite the use of silymarin being extensively studied in alcoholic liver disease, metabolic-associated fatty liver disease, viral hepatitis, and drug-induced liver injury, the overall efficacy of silymarin remains unclear and more research is warranted to better elucidate the role of silymarin in CLD, specifically regarding its anti-inflammatory effects. Here, we review the current biochemical and clinical evidence regarding silymarin in CLD.
Keywords: bioavailability / Efficacy / chronic liver disease / Anti Inflammatory / silymarin in CLD

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