Silymarin is an ally against insulin resistance: A review

Ann Hepatol. 2021 Jul-Aug:23:100255. doi: 10.1016/j.aohep.2020.08.072. Epub 2020 Sep 17.


Silymarin is obtained from the Milk thistle plant Silybum marianum and has been used over the centuries to treat principally liver disease, although it has also been studied for its beneficial effects in cardioprotection, neuroprotection, immune modulation, and cancer among others. Importantly, silymarin's active component silybin is a flavonolignan that exhibits different activities such as; scavenger, anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, and recently revealed, insulin-sensitizing properties which have been explored in clinical trials in patients with insulin resistance. In this review, we summarize the most relevant research of silymarin's effect on lipid and carbohydrate metabolism, focusing the attention on insulin resistance, which is well known to play a crucial role in metabolic disease progression.

Keywords: Clinical trials; Diabetes; Insulin resistance; Liver disease; Obesity; Silymarin.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antioxidants / pharmacology*
  • Humans
  • Insulin Resistance*
  • Metabolic Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Silymarin / pharmacology*


  • Antioxidants
  • Silymarin