The Best Thing to Do to Reduce Fat in Your Liver

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Avoid These 3 Common Holiday Liver Hazards

UltraThistle Raises the Bar for Thwarting NAFLD

In unison with lifestyle modifications, supplementing with UltraThistle’s silybin phytosome complex greatly increases the odds in your battle against fatty liver.

Most who have investigated liver cell protection recognize that milk thistle supports liver health. However, the milk thistle formulation contained in UltraThistle dramatically increases its therapeutic value. For the millions of Americans at risk for or already managing a fatty liver, UltraThistle is one of the most effective supplements available for maintaining an ideal liver lipid balance.

Excessive alcohol consumption is not the only way to acquire a lifestyle-induced chronic liver problem. While drinking lots of alcohol is a surefire route towards liver damage, poor dietary habits and low levels of physical activity also help set the stage for liver woes. Affecting an estimated 30% of American adults, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is the buildup of extra fat in liver cells that is not caused by alcohol. Despite the lack of medical treatment for NAFLD, certain lifestyle changes and milk thistle supplementation offer an effective strategy for preventing or even reversing fat accumulation in the liver.


In the absence of alcohol abuse and other identifiable sources of liver injury, NAFLD is characterized by liver fat accumulation exceeding 5% of your liver’s weight. Excess fat accumulation in your liver is one manifestation of metabolic syndrome, an increasingly common umbrella diagnosis that includes:

  • Obesity
  • Elevated blood lipids
  • Insulin resistance
  • Glucose intolerance
  • Type 2 Diabetes

In general, NAFLD exists in two stages:

  1. The milder stage of fatty liver (steatosis) consists of fatty tissue that has not yet caused inflammation. If addressed with lifestyle changes and liver cell support, this stage is considered to be reversible.
  2. The more advanced stage of fatty liver is nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). NASH is characterized by liver cell inflammation and may result in liver injury.

If NAFLD worsens from steatosis to NASH, significant liver damage and end-stage liver disease may occur. Currently, NASH is the third most common indication for liver transplantation in the United States, just behind Hepatitis C and alcoholic liver disease. Nonetheless, NASH is estimated to become the most common cause for a liver transplant between 2020 and 2025.

Treatment for NAFLD – and metabolic syndrome as a whole – is based on lifestyle intervention. At this point, the complexity of metabolic syndrome has prevented the development of any viable pharmaceutical solutions. Lifestyle changes for a fatty liver revolve around losing excessive weight by eating a healthy diet and getting plenty of exercise. As such, the Mediterranean diet is one of the approaches being closely examined for reversing the early stage of NAFLD, because it has shown positive clinical improvement in the areas of:

  • insulin sensitivity
  • blood lipid profile
  • cardiovascular risk

The combination of eating a Mediterranean diet and engaging in regular exercise shows great promise in reducing obesity and fat accumulation in your liver.

Milk Thistle and NAFLD

In addition to achieving an ideal weight with diet and exercise, liver cell protection with milk thistle appears to add another layer of support for ridding your liver of excess fat. Many published studies describe milk thistle’s value to liver health as a result of these three therapeutic properties:

  1. antioxidant
  2. anti-inflammatory
  3. promotes the breakdown of unhealthy cells

Found in the seeds of the milk thistle plant, the active ingredient in milk thistle is silymarin. Silymarin is primarily composed of 6 compounds – of which silybin has been found to bestow the majority of this herb’s health benefits. Most studies show the difference between silybin and silymarin bioavailability to be around 10:1. Thus, it would require approximately 1,000 mg of milk thistle to equal the health benefits found in that of 100 mg of silybin.

As noted in a January 2017 edition of the Swiss journal Molecules, researchers discovered that silymarin and silybin inhibit the progression of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease in several ways.

Silymarin and silybin reduce:

  • oxidative stress (which minimizes inflammation)
  • insulin resistance (which prevents the development of type 2 diabetes)
  • liver fat accumulation (which directly lowers NAFLD risk)
  • mitochondrial dysfunction (which improves the liver’s metabolic functioning)

Silybin Phytosome

While silybin is the most active constituent of milk thistle, its bioavailability is further enhanced when bound to phosphatidylcholine. This is because being bound to phosphatidylcholine improves its solubility, bioavailability, and intestinal absorption.

Various studies indicate that when paired together, the silybin phytosome complex is 7-8 times more absorbable than silybin alone, and at least 10 times more absorbable than silymarin alone. Thus, a silybin phytosome complex is the best way to capitalize on milk thistle’s liver health benefits.

In a 2012 edition of the journal Free Radical Biology and Medicine, researchers evaluated a silybin phytosome formula in a phase III, double-blind clinical trial on patients with NAFLD. The researchers found that treatment with the silybin phytosome formula for one year was associated with improvement in liver enzymes, insulin resistance and liver histology – all without increases in body weight.

A silybin phytosome complex is the most bioavailable and easily absorbed form of milk thistle. Because UltraThistle consists of a high potency silybin phytosome, it is one of the most effective supplements for preventing or reversing fat accumulation in your liver. When combined with eating a healthy diet (such as the Mediterranean diet) and exercising regularly, UltraThistle increases your chance of minimizing liver inflammation, reducing insulin resistance, thwarting liver fat accumulation and boosting your liver’s metabolic function. Finding all of these actions in a supplement that is not a pharmaceutical is a bit of a miracle – and could help change the prognostic approach for NAFLD., New potential approach to nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, L. Abenovoli, MD, PhD, et al, Retrieved October 17, 2017, Expert Review of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, April 2015., Silybin Vs. Milk Thistle – Far Superior Bioavailability for Liver Disorders, Retrieved October 15, 2017, Brendan Gaughran,, 2017., Silybin-Phosphatidlycholine Complex, Retrieved October 15, 2017, Alternative Medicine Review, Thorne Research, Inc., 2009., NAFLD, Retrieved October 17, 2017, American Liver Foundation, 2017., Silybin and the liver: From basic research to clinical practice, C Loguerico, et al, Retrieved October 19, 2017, World Journal of Gastroenterology, May 2011., Silybin combined with phosphatidylcholine and vitamin E in patients with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease: a randomized controlled trial, Loguercio, C, et al, Retrieved October 17, 2017, Free Radical Biology and Medicine, May 2012., Silymarin/Silybin and Chronic Liver Disease: A Marriage of Many Years, Federico A, et al, Retrieved October 15, 2017, Molecules, January 2017.

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About the Author

Nicole Cutler, L.Ac., MTCM, Dipl. Ac. (NCCAOM)®

Nicole Cutler, L.Ac., MTCM is a long time advocate of integrating perspectives on health. With a Bachelor's degree in Neuroscience from the University of Rochester and a Master's degree in Traditional Chinese Medicine from Five Branches Institute, Nicole has been a licensed acupuncturist since 2000. She has gathered acupuncture licenses in the states of California and New York, is a certified specialist with the National Acupuncture Detoxification Association, has earned diplomat status with the National Commission of Chinese and Oriental Medicine in Acupuncture and Chinese Herbology and is a member of the Society for Integrative Oncology. In addition to her acupuncture practice that focuses on stress and pain relief, digestion, immunity and oncology, Nicole contributes to the integration of healthcare by writing articles for professional massage therapists and people living with liver disease.

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