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Author Topic: NAC vs. Milk Thistle  (Read 24910 times)

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Offline JohnOso

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NAC vs. Milk Thistle
« on: June 29, 2006, 11:36:02 am »
Anyone have any anecdotal evidence or just plain opinions about which is superior for liver protection?   

I have given NAC (N-acetyl-L-cysteine) a fair amount at the hospital for acetaminophen (Tylenol) overdoses, and recently started giving it to folks undergoing procedures involving IV contrast dyes (for renal protection).

Used to take milk thistle years ago and have heard of docs at UC-San Francisco giving it for Amanita ("Deathcap") mushroom poisoning.

Or am I just pissing away my money altogether?


Offline frenchpat

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Re: NAC vs. Milk Thistle
« Reply #1 on: June 29, 2006, 04:43:19 pm »
Hi John,

my doctor who is both an immunologist and a phytotherapy specialist has been giving me a variety of plant based things.

 Milk thistle is part of a liquid medication called Cholarest (in Italy) that also contains artichoke (depurative), fumaria (depurative and anti viral) and Macis (digestive helper) - this I take for lowering cholesterol levels

The foremost liver protector I have used is called Desmodium; I believe you can find it in liquid and solid forms. It detoxyfies the liver.

Aside from this and because I tend to believe in the fact that the food you eat can help heal your problems, I eat artichoke, black radish and other veg that our grand mothers knew were good for a weak liver.

hope this helps,

People have the power - Patti Smith

Offline Matty the Damned

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Re: NAC vs. Milk Thistle
« Reply #2 on: June 30, 2006, 10:45:03 pm »
It detoxyfies the liver.

Not wanting to doubt the efficacy of milk thistle nor the wisdom of anyone's grandmother, tell me how does one "detoxify" the liver? Given the role and purpose of the liver, the notion of "detoxifying" it sounds slightly ridiculous to me.

(Who didn't believe Sandra Cabot when she spouted off about this either)

Offline frenchpat

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Re: NAC vs. Milk Thistle
« Reply #3 on: July 01, 2006, 10:33:00 am »
Hi all,

"detoxify" is probably not the right term, you are right; apologies for this lack of accuracy but english is not my mother language.

Here are a few details re: Desmodium Ascendens. More info can be found on sites related to hepatitis.

BOTANIC NAME Desmodium ascendens
FAMILY Papillonaceae
PARTS USED Non flowering parts, stems and leaves, harvested after flowering.
HABIT Southern Sierra-Leone, North of Liberia in the equatorial forests of Africa.
# hepatoprotective
# hepatorestorative
# antihepatotoxic
# antiallergic
# antiinflammatory
# Viral hepatitis
# toxic hepatitis - accidental or due to drug addiction
# hepatic lesions of alcoholic origin
# hepatic lesions due to chemotherapy
# autoimmune diseases - asthma, allergies
# cirrhosis prevention
# nausea
# fatigue
# loss of appetite 
# rapid disappearance of icterus and asthenia (between 2 and 7 days)

Desmodium without any toxicity, does not work by antiviral action, but by regenerating and protecting the hepatic cells. It has a protective effect against lysis of the hepatocyte. It can lead to the normalisation of transaminases and the prevention of cirrhosis by alleviating antiinflammatory attacks.
Toxic hepatitis generated by carbon tetrachloride is much better tolerated when Desmodium ascendens is administered.


Now, and this is probably due to cultural differences, I am not aware of Sandra Cabot... could you enlighten me?


PS I LOVE the parrots!!
People have the power - Patti Smith

Offline lydgate

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Re: NAC vs. Milk Thistle
« Reply #4 on: July 10, 2006, 08:31:53 pm »
NAC: no question that it's a hepatoprotectant (after all, it's used to treat acute liver poisoning caused by acetaminophen). But whether the product you buy is pure enough or of pharmaceutical grade, and what doses are needed, or whether it works outside the clinical setting, I don't know. A useful summary of research:


Fewer rigorous studies of silymarin, unfortunately, though lots of promising data. The jury (as comprised by the FDA and liver specialists) is still out, though that may simply be because of poor clinical study design.



Maybe some people who actually use one or both of these supplements should chime in? Or those with Hep B or Hep C?


Her finely-touched spirit had still its fine issues, though they were not widely visible. Her full nature, like that river of which Cyrus broke the strength, spent itself in channels which had no great name on the earth. But the effect of her being on those around her was incalculably diffusive: for the growing good of the world is partly dependent on unhistoric acts; and that things are not so ill with you and me as they might have been, is half owing to the number who lived faithfully a hidden life, and rest in unvisited tombs.

George Eliot, Middlemarch, final paragraph

Offline frenchpat

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Re: NAC vs. Milk Thistle
« Reply #5 on: July 11, 2006, 02:25:24 am »
The product I buy contains Desmodium and a a small amount of Rosemary.

It is made by Sarandrea, http://www.sarandrea.it/ one of the most reputable labs for herbal preparations in Italy. (I am not that good with allopathic stuff but I've done my research when it comes to complementary medecine, maybe because I am a professionaly trained masseur and reflexologist too).

Another medecine I am on is Feronplex, wich is alpha 4D interferon. This I am told is an immunoregulator and is also used in some hepatitis cases. I don't always take it but it is added to my treatment when my liver is unhappy.

People have the power - Patti Smith

Offline manchesteruk

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Re: NAC vs. Milk Thistle
« Reply #6 on: July 13, 2006, 07:02:42 am »

When I was deciding what supplements to take I found Lark Lands website really helpful there is a really comprehensive guide about supplements for HIV+ people  http://www.larrylands.com/lark/larktreatments.htm

Theres plenty of information about NAC on there.  I myself went for the following:

Vitamin C
Omega 3

I don't always have all of these they'd be too expensive otherwise!

Diagnosed 11/05

"Life is too important to be taken seriously" Oscar Wilde

Offline JohnOso

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Re: NAC vs. Milk Thistle
« Reply #7 on: July 14, 2006, 03:32:52 am »
appreciate the link to Lark's Treatment Pages.  Really pulls together a lot of info onto one site.

I haven't heard of any of those formulas over in the US, but i'll admit i'm not up on the latest health-food store items.  very interesting about the types of foods/herbs that you eat to help you -- unfortunately if it's a choice between broccoli and a burger, i know which one i'm going for!   ;)

thanks for the links...the quality/efficacy of the "stuff" we buy at GNC and other places always seems to be the fly in the ointment.

I appreciate your input greatly!

Take care,

Offline frenchpat

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Re: NAC vs. Milk Thistle
« Reply #8 on: July 14, 2006, 05:06:25 pm »
Chris and Jay,

very valuable infos on the site you pointed at, thanks.

I have been a veggie for nearly 30 years, a burger would probably finish me off ;D broccoli is less risky...
My doc is in italy and besides consulting he also develops some of these concoctions with several labs. He is... unusual you could say, whilst being a highly respected oncologist and immunologist - so a rare breed of allopathy specialist with a high interest in plant based pharmacopea - wich suits me fine. Plus he always spends at least an hour with me when I visit.

I am pretty sure you can find Desmodium in the states, it is sometimes combined with stuff like extrxct of artichoke or black radish in liquid form... (bet you're running for that burger by now :D)

thanks for the help!

People have the power - Patti Smith

Offline water duck

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Re: NAC vs. Milk Thistle
« Reply #9 on: July 15, 2006, 01:21:48 pm »
Cher Pat,

Doucement  ;) ;) ;)

There are on the AM who still think homeopathy is alot of B S !!



Offline frenchpat

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Re: NAC vs. Milk Thistle
« Reply #10 on: July 15, 2006, 04:15:33 pm »
Thanks for the advice!

Actually the only thing homeopathic I take from time to time is for diarreah and it works...for me. The rest is not homeopathic but phytotherapy, i.e. plant extracts. After all the active principle in aspirin was derived from tree bark and lots of molecules produced by the big pharmas are copies of stuff found in plants or minerals.

Why do  these companies all have people scouring the few remaining jungles of the world and test marine life for new compouds? Just to pay their scientists a nice holiday? I doubt it... :D

Gosh, I hope I don't come across as pedantic or arrogant :o, I've given up being a denialist quite some time ago ::)

A friend of mine who eats plenty of meat calls artichokes "vegetarian hand grenades"...

People have the power - Patti Smith

Offline aztecan

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  • 36 years positive, 64 years a pain in the butt
Re: NAC vs. Milk Thistle
« Reply #11 on: July 19, 2006, 10:22:00 pm »
Gee Chris,
The only thing you take that I don't is the NAC and CoQ10.

I do take milk thistle, 200 milligrams standardized, each day. I have avoided CoQ10 because my doctor said there is some information possibly linking it with accelerated development of peripheral neuropathy.

I have been taking milk thistle for many years. I can't say that it prevented my liver from developing problems, but I have managed to stay on AZT for 10 years without it cratering, so that may be something.

Before the advent of the coctails, my doctor at the time had me taking relatively high doses of selenium. There wasn't too much else available that was working very well and it was worth a shot. I don't know whether it helped, but it didn't hurt.


"May your life preach more loudly than your lips."
~ William Ellery Channing (Unitarian Minister)


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