Diabetes MellitusMilk Thistle

Milk thistle improves A1c in people with diabetes

MayoClinic.com gives milk thistle (Silybum marianum seed extract [silymarin]) a “C” grade for its role in the treatment of diabetes. In other words, there is “unclear scientific evidence for this use.”

But this might change as a result of this study on the effect of milk thistle on A1c in people with type 2 diabetes.

A1c (aka: hemoglobin A1c) indicates a patient’s blood sugar control over the last 3 months. The American Diabetes Association (ADA) says A1c is the best test to find out if a patient’s blood sugar is under control over time.

Now, the results from this 4-month study.

  • 51 type 2 diabetic patients were studied
  • 25 took milk thistle 200 mg tablets 3 times a day plus conventional diabetes therapy
  • 26 got conventional therapy plus placebo instead of milk thistle
  • The milk thistle group had a significant decrease in A1c compared their values at the start of the study
  • The milk thistle group had a significant decrease in A1c compared to the other group at the end of the study
  • Fasting blood sugar also improved in the group getting milk thistle.

The effects of other CAM treatments on A1c are presented here.

Just for the record. The CDC has published the 2006 prevalence data on diabetes.

  • 11% of adults aged 40 to 59 years have diabetes
  • 23% of those 60 and older have diabetes

11/18/06 10:53 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at www.Vicus.com, a complementary and alternative medicine website.