Does milk thistle prevent colon cancer?

The results of a recent scientific study show that silibinin, the active substance in milk thistle, also known as milk thistle, helps limit inflammation in the intestines and also inhibits development and reproduction of cancer cells in the intestine.

The milk thistle is a plant whose fruits and seeds are effectively used in folk medicine to make various decoctions and medicines for diseases of the liver and biliary tract.

The active ingredient found in milk thistle – silymarin, whose main component is precisely silibinin – is a strong antioxidant that protects cells from damage and stimulates the regeneration of liver tissue.

Limits inflammatory processes

Scientists focus their research on the stem cells of colon cancer. These are cells that independently form and exist in conditions of inflammation.

The researchers who conducted the study on animals. Chemically treated mice to develop inflammatory-induced colon cancer were given either silibinin or nothing.

The results of the study are clear enough: in the mice treated with the active substance in milk thistle, there were significantly fewer cases of colon cancer.

While almost all rodents in the untreated control group developed the disease.
Furthermore, in the group treated with silibinin, the scientists found very little inflammation of the colon.

And the mice in the treatment group that had rectal bleeding and rectal prolapse were very few in number compared to the majority in the control group.

Scientists define the results of the study as encouraging, because feeding the mice with silibinin has a protective effect against the formation of malignant tumors.

In addition, to confirm the benefits of the preventive use of milk thistle extract, the authors of the study also indicate the mechanism of its action.

Cancer stem cells /SCs/ exist in tumors as a separate colony and are often not affected by conventional treatment of malignant diseases.

Thus, even when standard cancer therapies cure the patient, the malignant stem cells can cause recurrence and metastases.

Finding a way to target treatment to these specific cells is expected to increase the length and quality of life of cancer patients.

Cancer stem cells have been scientifically found to be self-renewing. Multiplying at a rapid rate, they cause colon cancer by being programmed to survive much longer than normal healthy ones cells.

A main element of the expansion and survival of PKS are the pro-inflammatory proteins interleukin 4 and 6, which are expressed by leukocytes. And these proteins are essential to increase the number of PCCs and also regulate their survival and function.

Silibinin blocks interleukin 4 and 6 signaling and thus limits the amount of self-renewing cancer stem cells.

Actually, the active substance in milk thistle affects colon cancer stem cell signaling within the malignancy itself.

But scientists involved in the research point out that it will be very difficult to get permission for clinical trials of chemopreventive agents because of the need to treat very healthy people with them, to have an impact on very few of them would develop the disease.

Other laboratory data suggest that milk thistle may also be used as a skin cancer preventative.

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