One of the questions that we’re most often asked is “How do I cope with Candida Die-Off?” Die-Off can be a combination of headaches, nausea, breakouts and many other symptoms, and it’s the number one reason why people give up their Candida treatment.
An herb named Milk Thistle can help, and you can take it all the way through your treatment. Your body needs all the support it can get to reduce the effects of Die-Off, and that’s where Milk Thistle comes in.
Milk thistle is a plant with impressive medicinal properties. It repairs your liver and protects it from future damage, and is often used to treat liver conditions. It has been used as a detox remedy for centuries, but also has many other health benefits. (1)
What’s So Great About Milk Thistle?
Milk thistle’s seeds contain a powerful flavonoid called silymarin, which is an important antioxidant and one of the most potent liver purifiers in nature. Silymarin can give your liver the protection and support it needs to process and remove Candida toxins like acetaldehyde.
Silymarin is known as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory remedy. As well as liver and gallbladder disorders, it can help to promote breast milk production, prevent and treat cancer, and even protect the liver from snake bites, alcohol and other environmental poisons. (4)
How Does Milk Thistle Help With Candida?
When the yeast cells in your gut start dying off, you may experience something called Candida Die-Off. As the Candida cells die, they release their toxic metabolites into your bloodstream – up to 79 of them, in fact!
These toxins tend to build up in your lymphatic system faster than your body can remove them – especially if your liver is already overburdened with waste. As a result, you may experience ‘Die-Off’ symptoms such as headache, fever, skin breakouts, muscle pain and brain fog. (5)
The worst of these toxins include ethanol and acetaldehyde. When these accumulate in your body, they can make you feel pretty terrible.
Acetaldehyde is particularly harmful. Although it’s usually broken down fairly quickly into acetate, acetaldehyde can still cause serious damage to cells and tissues. Research suggests that it can upset the normal functioning of the cell’s mitochondria, which in turn compromises their breakdown of other toxins. (6)
This can create a vicious cycle as the acetaldehyde accumulates and prevents the liver from getting rid of harmful compounds. Acetaldehyde can also cause enzymatic reactions with other molecules such as proteins, changing their structure and function.
A healthy, efficient liver is crucial for managing symptoms during a Candida cleanse. That’s why we recommend taking a Milk Thistle supplement during your recovery program. We recommend Liver Support by Balance ONE, which contains milk thistle as well molybdenum and other liver-supportive ingredients.
Milk Thistle can support not only your liver but many other of your body’s systems. Let’s take a look at the many benefits of this amazing plant…
7 Health Benefits of Milk Thistle
1. Milk Thistle Protects The Liver
Silymarin acts like a gatekeeper for your liver. It works by binding to the outside of the liver cell, fending off toxins by blocking their entry to the liver cell. (7)
Silymarin also takes care of toxins that have already entered the liver, neutralizing them and thus allowing them to be removed more easily from the body. Neutralized toxins can be converted into water-soluble forms which are then flushed out of the body as harmless waste, either through the bowels, in your urine or in sweat. (8)
Clinical research has shown that this activity helps to support liver health and significantly reduce the risk of long-term damage to the liver.
Milk thistle is often used by those with alcoholic liver disease, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, hepatitis and even liver cancer. Some research has also shown it can be effective against poisonous mushrooms, which contain the deadly toxin amatoxin. (9)
2. Milk Thistle Helps With Digestion
The liver is one of the most important organs involved in digestion. It produces bile, which is required for the digestion and absorption of lipids and fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K). Optimal liver function means healthy digestion and a more efficient metabolism.
Taking milk thistle as a supplement can significantly improve the rate at which your body is able to break down fats and proteins in the foods that you eat.
As well as supporting the health of liver cells and neutralizing the effect of toxins, silymarin has an important digestive function known as a ‘bitter tonic’. A bitter tonic stimulates the taste buds and digestive juices, promoting the flow of bile. Bitter herbs can be highly beneficial for those suffering from poor digestion. (10)
When used in combination with other herbs such as dandelion, milk thistle can help to optimize digestion and relieve nausea, gas and bloating.
Those affected by Candida overgrowth often suffer from digestive discomfort, both as part of their Candida symptoms and during a detoxification program. They may find that a bitter tonic containing milk thistle helps to alleviate their symptoms and make mealtimes more enjoyable.
3. Milk Thistle Breaks Down Candida Biofilms
Milk thistle is highly recommended as part of an anti-Candida program. As well as helping the liver to ward off harmful pathogens and flush out toxins, recent research has shown that it also protects against fungal overgrowth.
One study found that silymarin exhibited a powerful antifungal effect by killing off yeasts such as Candida albicans. It appears that one of silymarin’s properties is an ‘anti-biofilm’ activity against Candida. This simply means that it prevents the yeast from being able to form the protective biofilm that makes it so difficult to kill off. (11)
As mentioned above, it’s common to experience some unpleasant symptoms that may increase as the Candida dies off. This is sometimes referred to as the Herxheimer reaction. It happens as Candida cells break down and release their endotoxins.
These toxins can have catastrophic effects on the body, causing symptoms such as headaches, nausea and skin breakouts. Unfortunately, these unpleasant symptoms can put people off their Candida treatment program and make them quit early.
Milk thistle can be a savior when suffering from these effects – or in preventing them. Silymarin promotes protein synthesis in the liver, supporting the body’s detoxification pathways. At the same time, it can help to restore damaged liver cells that have been affected by Candida overgrowth.
4. Milk Thistle Can Support Skin Health
One of the many side effects of Candida die-off is skin breakouts and acne. This is often due to the body’s efforts in flushing out more toxins, which may irritate the skin. Animal studies have shown milk thistle to have anti-inflammatory effects when applied topically. (12)
Acne is a chronic inflammatory skin condition which can be painful and uncomfortable. It can also have severe effects on one’s self-esteem. If untreated, it may even leave scars that cause further damage to the skin.
Milk thistle’s ability to speed up the detoxification process in the body can also be hugely beneficial for chronic acne sufferers. The liver is involved in the production of hormones which can lead to the development of acne.
When certain hormones accumulate in the body, there may be an overproduction of sebum. This can lead to oil clogging the pores in the skin, which in can contribute to breakouts. Milk thistle helps to clear excess hormones from the body, which is one of the reasons it has long been used in Ayurvedic medicine as a blood purifier.
While the root of skin conditions tends to vary from person to person, research suggests that oxidative stress may play a part. Milk thistle also harbors amazing antioxidant properties, which may also help with acne-related skin conditions.
5. Milk Thistle Helps to Regenerate Cells
You may already know that our liver cells can regenerate themselves naturally. However, when going through a Candida detoxification program, the constant barrage of toxins slows down the regeneration process. This can mean the liver is less likely to keep up with its normal turnover rate.
Silymarin supports the regeneration of new liver cells by stimulating protein synthesis. This speeds up the production of healthy new cells.
Silymarin also reduces inflammation in the liver by inhibiting certain pro-inflammatory enzymes, such as 5-LOX, COX, and NFkB. These enzymes produce inflammatory cytokines and other molecules that contribute to liver damage. (13)
The most impressive part about this is that silymarin can help to restore the health of a liver that has already been damaged. Its powerful regenerative action boosts the liver’s ability to make new proteins and repair damage before it can get worse.
It’s also been found that supplementation with silymarin can prevent liver fibrosis, which is part of the last stage of advanced liver disease. This is all thanks to its mechanisms in protecting normal liver structural cells and blocking them from turning into fibrous cells. (14)
This is very important for successful recovery from Candida, as the new cells will replace old or damaged ones. This allows your liver to get on with its many other, important jobs.
6. Milk Thistle Protects You from Free Radicals
One of the most important components of natural detoxification is your body’s ability to produce glutathione. Glutathione is one of the best scavengers of free radicals, which is why the highest concentration of glutathione is in the liver. In fact, the antioxidant activity of glutathione is believed to be ten times more potent that of Vitamin E!
Glutathione helps to neutralize free radicals by “giving” one its electrons to the free radical molecule. This makes the free radical harmless.
Milk thistle is one of the best natural ‘helpers’ for boosting your body’s glutathione production. It’s been shown to increase glutathione by more than 35%! (15)
This is extremely beneficial to anyone who is often exposed to harmful free radicals, such as UV rays, alcohol, food chemicals, pollution, stress and other everyday dangers. Milk thistle also helps to prevent the depletion of glutathione, which is induced by alcohol and other toxins.
7. Milk Thistle Can Balance Your Blood Sugar Levels
Fluctuating blood sugar levels are a common ailment of men and women around the world. High and unstable blood sugar is linked to Candida overgrowth, and recent research shows that milk thistle may be able to help.
It’s been suggested that some of the compounds in milk thistle may work in a similar way to certain diabetic medications. These compounds help to improve insulin sensitivity and reduce blood sugar levels. One study even showed that patients who took silymarin supplements regularly experienced a significant reduction in their fasting blood sugar levels. They also showed lower levels of HbA1c, a measure of blood sugar control.
A study involving patients with diabetes and alcoholic liver cirrhosis found that a daily dose of 600mg silymarin for 6 months resulted in a significant reduction in fasting blood glucose and mean daily glucose levels. This effect was apparent within only four weeks of taking the supplement without causing any further increases in hypoglycemia.
An added bonus was that the patients’ insulin requirements were reduced by 20%. The researchers suggested that this could mean milk thistle can help to prevent insulin resistance. The patients’ HcA1c levels were reduced by 0.5% after the full 6 months of treatment. (16)
It’s also possible that the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of milk thistle may help to reduce the risk of developing diabetic complications such as kidney disease.
Milk Thistle Is Your Anti-Candida Ally
Coping with the unpleasant side-effects of Candida Die-Off can be much more manageable with a high quality milk thistle supplement. Your liver needs all the support it can get during your recovery process, and milk thistle is one of the best ‘liver nurses’ available in nature.
Not only will it help to protect and regenerate those liver cells, but it can help with a variety of other body systems: blood sugar, skin health, digestion, and protection from free radicals. These actions are all highly beneficial for somebody facing major health issues.
Most importantly, milk thistle will help you to get relief from the symptoms of Candida overgrowth and Candida Die-Off, which in turn will help to keep you on track.
Our recommended milk thistle supplement is Liver Support, which contains standardized European milk thistle extract, molybdenum, and other liver-supportive ingredients.
Beat your candida in 60 days with this detailed 5-step program
If you're looking for a more comprehensive Candida treatment plan, check out the Ultimate Candida Diet program, written by Lisa Richards and Dr Eric Wood. This plan is based on the latest research into Candida Related Complex, and contains everything you need to know to beat your Candida overgrowth.