Effect of milk thistle ( Silybum marianum) supplementation on the serum levels of oxidative stress markers in male half marathon athletes

Biomarkers. 2022 Jul;27(5):461-469. doi: 10.1080/1354750X.2022.2056921. Epub 2022 Mar 27.


Context: Increased aerobic metabolism during exercise is a potential source of oxidative stress and the use of herbal medicines as a dietary supplement rich in antioxidants is an interesting and controversial concept that have been considered during the past decades. Objective: The purpose of the present study was to investigate the effects of Silybum marianum (SM) on exercise-induced oxidative stress in half marathon athletes.

Materials and methods: Phytochemical Analysis in aqueous extract of SM leaves and seeds were determined. Forty healthy male athletes were divided into four groups (n = 10): control group(G1), G2 supplemented with 100 mg of SM leaves/kg/day, G3 supplemented with 100 mg of SM seeds/kg/day, and G4 supplemented with 100 mg of SM leaves + seeds/kg/day. The effects of SM on malondialdehyde (MDA) and antioxidant enzymes [superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase (CAT), and glutathione (GSH)] were assessed.

Results: Aqueous extract of SM leaves have good DPPH free radical scavenging activity and the highest content of total polyphenols. A significant increase of serum SOD, CAT, and GSH levels and reduction in the levels of MDA in the serum of athletes supplemented with aqueous extract of seeds and leaves of SM was detected.

Conclusion: SM supplement offered protection against exercise-induced oxidative stress.

Keywords: Silybum marianum; antioxidant activity; lipid peroxidation; phenolic compounds; reactive oxygen species.

MeSH terms

  • Antioxidants* / metabolism
  • Athletes
  • Biomarkers / metabolism
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Flavonoids
  • Glutathione / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Lipid Peroxidation
  • Male
  • Marathon Running
  • Milk Thistle* / chemistry
  • Milk Thistle* / metabolism
  • Oxidative Stress
  • Superoxide Dismutase / metabolism


  • Antioxidants
  • Biomarkers
  • Flavonoids
  • Superoxide Dismutase
  • Glutathione