Effect of 8 Weeks milk thistle powder (silymarin extract) supplementation on fatty liver disease in patients candidates for bariatric surgery

Metabol Open. 2022 May 21:14:100190. doi: 10.1016/j.metop.2022.100190. eCollection 2022 Jun.


Introduction: Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is the most common liver disease worldwide and is becoming the most frequent indication of liver transplantation. At present, since no Food and Drug Association (FDA) approved medication exists for NAFLD patients, bariatric surgery is indicated for the significant improvement in obesity-related comorbidities, such as NAFLD. However, alternative therapy is emerging to manage NAFLD. Problematically, many patients taking herbal remedies, such as Silymarin (milk thistle), with little/no understanding of its purported properties.

Methods: Fifty-two morbidly-obese (47.84 ± 6.48 kg m-2) patient candidates (mean age: 38.90 ± 10.28 years; n = 41 women and 11 men) for bariatric surgery with NAFLD were randomly assigned to determine the efficacy of eight weeks of Silymarin supplementation (140 mg four times daily for a total of 560 mg) on the aspartate transaminase (AST)/alanine transaminase (ALT) (AST/ALT) ratio, Fibrosis-4 (Fib-4) score, NAFLD score, sonographic grading, and fibroscan stages of NAFLD.

Results: Significant (p ≤ 0.05) improvements were found in AST/ALT ratio, BMI and sonographic grading. No significant change was found for fibroscan staging, Fib-4, and NAFLD scores.

Conclusion: Silymarin improved ultrasound fatty liver grading and liver enzymes morbidly-obese patient candidates for bariatric surgery with NAFLD after only eight weeks, without any adverse effects.

Keywords: Bariatric surgery; Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease; Obesity management.