Best milk thistle supplement 2023: Our top herbal picks

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Finding the best milk thistle supplements can be tricky at times if you're not sure what ingredients to look out for.

The good news is that we have scoured the web to find out which milk thistle supplements are worth considering according to their price, ingredients, and customer reviews.

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Why take milk thistle? Well, like some of the best bitter orange supplements, milk thistle is said to contain antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. However, milk thistle is perhaps best known for its potential ability to protect your liver.

As a result, milk thistle is one of the most commonly used herbal remedies right now and, therefore, could be a supplement you're missing out on.

With that in mind, if you're looking for some milk thistle capsules, like these from Nature's Bounty, or milk thistle in liquid form, like Nature's Answer Milk Thistle Extract, then we've got everything you need to kick off your search right here.

We've also answered some of the most commonly asked questions surrounding milk thistle to help you determine whether it's right for you and your diet. Before that though, here's our list of top picks...

Best milk thistle supplement

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Best milk thistle supplement capsules - Nature's Bounty Milk Thistle Capsules

Best milk thistle supplement Nature's Bounty product image of a green bottle with a white and gold label.
Credit: Nature's Bounty
Brand: Nature's Bounty | Capsules: 200 | Amount per Serving: 250mg

Nature's Bounty Milk Thistle Capsules have been designed with milk thistles' traditional use of supporting your liver in mind.

The company has leaned into this potential health benefit by including 250mg of seed extract in one serving.

However, Nature's Bounty has made sure to keep any artificial sweeteners, flavours, and colourings out so you're only reaping the rewards of milk thistle when using this supplement.

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Moreover, milk thistle is said to have anti-inflammatory properties due to the active ingredient silymarin, so taking just one of these capsules a day may help you recover if you pick up an injury during sports or exercise.

Ultimately, if you're searching for a quick and easy way to supplement your diet, then these milk thistle capsules could be for you.

Best liquid milk thistle supplement - Nature's Answer Milk Thistle Seed Fluid Extract

Best milk thistle supplement Nature's Answer product image of a brown bottle with a white and green label featuring the purple plant.
Credit: Nature's Answer
Brand: Nature's Answer | Size: 30ml | Amount per Serving: 2,000mg

Although capsules are popular, you can also find milk thistle in liquid form, evidenced by Nature's Answer Milk Thistle Seed Fluid Extract.

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Being a liquid, Nature's Answer has managed to pack the equivalent of 2,000mg of the dry herb into its supplement, giving your body a ton of silymarin which comes with several potential health benefits.

Nature's Answer recommends adding 1-2ml to water three times a day to see any potential improvements, and boasts its product is alcohol and gluten-free to make it suitable for more people.

On the whole, we feel this supplement extract is definitely worth considering if you're looking to add milk thistle to your diet in liquid form.

Best softgel milk thistle supplement - Puritan's Pride Milk Thistle 4:1 Extract

Best milk thistle supplement Puritan's Pride product image of a green bottle with a purple and blue label.
Credit: Puritan's Pride
Brand: Puritan's Pride | Capsules: 180 | Amount per Serving: 250mg (1,000mg equivalent)

Puritan's Pride is a brand we've featured before in our list of the best garlic supplements as it's one of the leading companies around right now producing herbal remedies.

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The company's Milk Thistle Extract is a particularly interesting option to consider as its concentrated 4:1 ratio equates to 1,000mg of the whole herb from just 250mg of milk thistle extract.

Therefore, it seems as though you're getting a lot for your money if you opt for these particularly softgel tablets.

Moreover, Puritan's Pride says its products are tested as many as 15 times throughout the manufacturing process. This should give you a little more confidence that this particular product is likely safe to consume.

Coming in 180-capsule containers as well, Puritan's Pride Milk Thistle Extract looks as though it has you covered if you're looking to add milk thistle into your diet for a long period of time.

Best extra strong milk thistle supplement - NOW Supplements Double Strength Milk Thistle Extract

Best milk thistle supplement NOW Supplements product image of a white container with an orange and green label.
Credit: NOW Supplements
Brand: NOW Supplements | Capsules: 200 | Amount per Serving: 300mg

We've featured NOW Supplements before in our list of the best cod liver oil capsules; however, we're focusing on the company's Double Strength Milk Thistle Extract in this article.

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One capsule contains 300mg of milk thistle extract, which is pretty impressive as far as tablets go, but also contains dandelion root and artichoke.

Like milk thistle, dandelion root and artichoke have been linked to improving liver health, with dandelion root, in particular, also containing a potent antioxidant known as beta carotene which is associated with protecting against cell damage and oxidative stress.

The result is a 450mg capsule that has been designed to deliver all the potential health benefits of milk thistle in just one extra-strong tablet.

Best vegan milk thistle supplement - E2H All-Natural Liver Support

Best milk thistle supplement E2H product image of a brown bottle with a blue label.
Credit: E2H
Brand: E2H | Servings: 59ml | Amount per Serving: Unspecified

Milk thistle is a plant and, as such, is inherently vegan at its core; however, not all milk thistle supplements are suitable for a plant-based diet. E2H All-Natural Liver Support is one of the vegan options though despite containing more than just milk thistle in its formula.

In fact, this extract is designed to deliver exceptional liver support through ingredients such as turmeric root alongside the aforementioned artichoke and dandelion.

All six of the ingredients in the proprietary blend are herbal though, so, alongside vegetable glycerin and purified water, this particular liquid supplement is completely vegan-friendly.

E2H also boasts you get 48 servings per bottle of its extra-strength formula, giving you more than enough time to assess whether milk thistle is right for you.

Frequently asked questions about milk thistle supplements

Finding the right supplements to incorporate into your diet can be daunting. Don't worry though because we've answered some of the most frequently asked queries surrounding milk thistle to get you started.

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What does milk thistle do?

Milk thistle contains a group of plant compounds collectively known as silymarin which has been linked to antioxidant, antiviral, and anti-inflammatory properties.

However, milk thistle is perhaps best known for its apparent ability to protect your liver. In fact, some studies, including one of particular note by Polachi et al., have shown improvements in liver function in people with liver diseases who have taken a milk thistle as a supplement.

Due to its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, milk thistle is also associated with slowing age-related decline. For instance, research by Neha et al. found silymarin significantly reversed high-fat-diet-induced cognitive deficits and subsequent biochemical changes.

The possible health benefits don't end there though. Some studies have shown it to stimulate bone mineralisation and, therefore, improve bone health, improve acne, and potentially lower blood sugar levels for people with diabetes.

Can you take milk thistle every day?

According to Healthline, milk thistle is safe to consume every day. More specifically, current evidence suggests that dosages as high as 420 mg should be safe to take three times per day.

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However, it's worth baring in mind that you may encounter a few adverse side effects to this kind of milk thistle intake. One of the most commonly reported issues is a disturbance in normal digestive function which, in turn, may induce nausea.

There's also not a ton of robust data out there to prove the absolute safety of milk thistle, which may put some people off taking it every day. That said, the Mayo Clinic has deemed it as generally safe to consume as part of your diet. As a result, it remains one of the most popular herbal supplements on the market right now.

How long does milk thistle take to work?

There's not really a true answer to this question as it will vary from person to person as to how long it will take to see any potential benefits.

The general consensus seems to be around a few months to see any significant results from using milk thistle. However, some may see improvements after just a few weeks.

The key to seeing improvements though seems to be regular intake, preferably daily, to provide your body with its nutrients regularly for it to then use.

How much should you spend on milk thistle supplements?

Like some of the best taurine supplements, milk thistle tends not to be overly expensive, so you shouldn't need to break the bank to add them to your diet.

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In fact, you can pick up a good year's supply from just a couple of containers worth of capsules if you opt for the right one. Therefore, you really don't have to spend much on milk thistle at all.

How much you spend on a particular supplement will come down to you though and your available budget, and you can of course spend more opting for bigger, more well-known brands.

Just be sure to check the supplement you're looking to buy has been tested before purchasing, especially if you're looking at something from a lesser-known company.

Can milk thistle supplements be harmful?

The National Center for Complementary and Integrated Health (NCCIH), a US government agency that explores complementary and alternative medicine, believes milk thistle to be safe to use in recommended doses.

However, some people experience allergic reactions to it, which is typically more common among people who are allergic to plants in the same family.

Milk thistle may also lower blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes, so the NCCIH also raises caution there.

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For more people though, milk thistle appears to be a safe supplement to add to your diet.

Read More: Best beef liver supplements - Our top picks