If you are looking for a natural supplement that can help you treat your fatty liver, you’ve probably already heard about milk thistle. Some doctors will even recommend taking this powerful antioxidant for fatty liver especially!
The ‘detoxifying’ effects of milk thistle aren’t a new discovery. For generations, milk thistle as an herbal remedy has been passed down. But now, with more scientific knowledge and studies to confirm the effects of milk thistle, we’ve developed these supplements especially for treating fatty liver.
In this guide, we’ll start by cutting to the chase and giving you the top 10 supplements for a fatty liver! Below that, you can find a very useful and informative guide to choosing and buying a supplement and a helpful FAQ section.
Let’s get started.
The Top 3 Best Milk Thistle Supplements for Fatty Liver
Best Overall, Nature’s Craft Liver Support Supplement, for a great range of antioxidants and herbal ingredients to help maintain healthy liver functions… at a great price!
Best Organic, Gaia Milk Thistle Supplement, for going above and beyond to test the ingredients and providing information about their source.
Best Cheap, Jarrow Formulas Milk Thistle Supplement, for a large number of capsules per pot, only one capsule per dose, and a very affordable price.
Quick Summary – What is Milk Thistle?
Milk thistle is a spiky plant that has green leaves with white veins and a purple-red flower – it looks like a typical thistle! Originally, it grew in Europe but now it grows all over the world and is pretty common.
You might have heard milk thistle called silymarin, but that’s technically inaccurate. Silymarin is a very important antioxidant that’s found in milk thistle. It’s this component that makes it so good for treating fatty liver, and that’s why the plant is sometimes called by this name.
On many labels, you’ll see the milk thistle ingredient labeled as a seed extract. This is because silymarin is found in the plant’s seeds, so it is extracted to create a concentrated dose that’s effective at treating fatty liver.
To learn more about milk thistle, how it helps a fatty liver, and how to find good supplements, scroll down to read our buyers guide!
10 Best Milk Thistle for Fatty Liver Supplements
To select the best ten supplements, we carefully researched every option. If you plan to find your own milk thistle supplement, you should do the same. As a minimum, a supplement should have:
- Clear labels showing how much milk thistle is included in each dose,
- A full list of other ingredients – Google any that seem weird,
- Positive reviews for the supplement and company,
Check Reddit, social media channels, and third-party websites for reviews. Don’t just rely on Amazon.
For a full list of things to look for, from third-party testing to non-GMO ingredients, check our buyers guide below.
Nature’s Craft Liver Support Supplement: Best Overall
- Type: capsules
- Dose: 2x capsules (100mg each)
- Other Ingredients: zinc, choline, beetroot, artichoke, chanca piedra, dandelion, chicory root, yarrow, jujube,
This liver support supplement by Nature’s Craft is our favorite choice for fatty liver. It contains a decent amount of milk thistle, at 100mg per capsule, and a range of other herbal ingredients that are shown to aid with general liver health.
Most notably, 50mg of dandelion per dose is great as a digestive tonic, and 50mg of artichoke stimulates blood flow in the liver.
When it comes down to price, these supplements aren’t the cheapest on the market but they aren’t the most expensive either. As they are made in the USA and contain a decent dose of milk thistle, we thought the cost was very reasonable.
Finally, we were blown away at how many people were happy, pleased, and impressed with this supplement. We spent hours scrolling through reviews and spoke directly with a handful of users – anyone with liver complaints noticed a real difference after taking this supplement regularly.
Why it’s so great: it’s made in a GMP-certified facility, which is a third-party check that confirms higher standards of care and quality.
Gaia Milk Thistle Seed Supplement: Best Organic
- Type: capsules
- Dose: 3x capsules (90mg each)
- Other Ingredients: N/A
Gaia supplements are great if you want an organic, natural supplement that provides a mild dose of silymarin without any extras. These vegetarian capsules only contain one potent ingredient – the milk thistle extract. There’s 90mg of silymarin per capsule and you’re advised to take 3 capsules (270mg) per day.
Designed for healthy liver function, the Gaia supplements contain concentrated herb extract in a patented vegetarian capsule design. Besides being free of corn, dairy produce, gluten, peanuts and tree nuts, shellfish, soy, sugar, and yeast, Gaia also put their ingredients through purity testing.
Gaia tests the purity of their ingredients and carefully examines their potency. This includes tests for heavy metals, pesticides, and microbes! Furthermore, although their ingredients come from all over the world, they are formulated into supplements at Gaia’s Blue Ridge Mountain center in North Carolina.
If you want an organic, responsibly sourced, US-made supplement, Gaia is your best choice.
Why it’s so great: besides Gaia’s quality assurance tests, they also allow you to trace back where the milk thistle is from. The current batch, at the time of writing, is from a certified organic farm in Spain!
Jarrow Formulas Milk Thistle Supplement: Best Cheap
- Type: capsules
- Dose: 1 to 3 capsules (150mg each)
- Other Ingredients: N/A
If you keep an eye out for sales and discounts, Jarrow Formula is easily the cheapest milk thistle supplement for fatty liver. But even if it’s not discounted, at 1 capsule per dose and 200 capsules per bottle, it’s a long-lasting and affordable option.
As you’d expect for the lower price, there are no additional ingredients or special formulas in this supplement, it’s just plain milk thistle. Each capsule has 150mg of milk thistle, which is about 80% flavonoids (silymarin). That’s still a decent dose, and don’t forget that you can take up to three for a total of 450mg.
The veggie capsules are vegan and non-GMO, but they do contain silicon dioxide and magnesium stearate, plus there’s no information about where the thistle is sourced from. But you don’t go looking for cheap supplements if organic, responsible sourcing is important to you.
Why it’s so great: to get one 150mg serving of milk thistle, you only need to take one capsule, rather than two or three like most supplements. Furthermore, the large tub contains 200 capsules, so it could last you 200 days!
Rejuvica VitaLiver Advanced Liver Support
- Type: liquid drops
- Dose: ¼ teaspoon, 1 to 3 times a day
- Other Ingredients: chanca piedra, artichoke, dandelion, angelica
If capsules and pills aren’t an option for you, this is a good alternative. The only thing to be wary about is the ingredients list – Rejuvica does not clearly state how many milligrams of milk thistle are included in this formula. So, it’s extra important to follow the instructions on dosage. Start small!
Besides the silymarin from milk thistle, this plant-based formula also contains chanca piedra, an herb from the Amazon rainforest. It’s a good natural remedy for kidney stones and also has detoxifying benefits for your liver and digestive system.
One off-putting thing about this supplement is the price. It’s only a small bottle and it’s almost double the price of other supplements on our list. It is third-party tested though, so that does explain some of the cost.
Why it’s so great: it’s a great alternative to pills and capsules. You can drop the supplement straight on your tongue or add it to a cup of tea, for example.
Nature’s Bounty Milk Thistle Pills
- Type: capsules
- Dose: 1 capsule (250mg)
- Other Ingredients: N/A
Nature’s Bounty offers US-made milk thistle supplements for fatty liver and general liver health. Their capsules are lab-tested, non-GMO, and free from a long list of ingredients, like yeast, gluten, sugar, artificial flavorings, etc. They do still contain some filler ingredients, however, like magnesium stearate, vegetarian gelatin, and silica.
The 250mg of milk thistle in each capsule contains a standardized 80% silymarin, which means you get 200mg of silymarin per dose. That’s quite high, plus with 200 capsules per pot, this supplement will last you quite a long while.
One thing we liked about these capsules is that you can take up to three per day, or you can open the capsules and pour the contents into a drink, like a nice cup of herbal tea. This is a great way to introduce other herbal remedies for fatty liver, like combining dandelion tea with milk thistle extract.
Why it’s so great: made in the USA and lab-tested, Nature’s Bounty top quite a few lists of supplements we’ve researched. This is a great brand to consider.
1MD LiverMD Supplement
- Type: capsules
- Dose: 2 capsules (40mg each)
- Other Ingredients: vitamin E, EVNolMax, Siliphos, N-Acetyl Cysteine, alpha-lipoic acid, zinc, selenium
Even though the 1MD supplements contain very little milk thistle, just 40mg per capsule, it’s the extraction method that makes it so great. The Siliphos is a patented silybin which they’ve put through clinical trials to show that it’s 10x more absorbable than most silymarin milk thistle extracts.
That’s not the only ingredient in the LiverMD supplement, however. Zinc and selenium are also included for general wellbeing and to support your liver. The EVNolMax is a patented type of vitamin E (1MD really love a cool science name that they can patent) which should help cleanse the liver of harmful fatty cells.
We particularly like that even though 1MD clearly cares more about science and clinical studies than organic and naturally sourced remedies, their capsules are still vegan. They’re also preservative-free, dairy-free, gluten-free, and sugar-free.
The only downside? These fatty liver supplements are super expensive!
Why it’s so great: even though this supplement falls back on science rather than nature, there are no glues or filler ingredients in these capsules.
Naturentics LiverSmart Milk Thistle Extract
- Type: capsules
- Dose: 1 capsule (250mg)
- Other Ingredients: dandelion root, artichoke leaf, yellow dock root, protease, beetroot
These LiverSmart supplements are great if you’re looking for an herbal/natural supplement for your fatty liver. They’re non-GMO, made in Oregon, and not tested on animals. Each capsule contains 250mg of milk thistle, which is roughly 145mg of silymarin per dose. You only need to take one capsule per serving too, so there’s no counting pills all day long.
Naturentics (the name tells you a lot about what to expect from this brand) use a proprietary blend alongside the milk thistle, relying on natural ingredients. We’ve seen dandelion root and artichoke featured in a lot of liver supplements, but the yellow dock root, protease, and beetroot add additional antioxidants to help your liver cleanse and function healthily.
Finally, these supplements are third-party tested, to check for dangerous components (bacteria, pesticides, heavy metals, etc.) and calculate the total silymarin content. That’s how you know that this supplement will really work.
Why it’s so great: the milk thistle in this supplement is hand-picked in Europe and goes through a patented, temperature-controlled process before it’s sent to the USA. Impressive!
Toniiq Ultra High Strength Milk Thistle Capsules
- Type: capsule
- Dose: 1 capsule (500mg)
- Other Ingredients: N/A
If you want the highest dose of milk thistle for your fatty liver, this supplement is a good choice. Each capsule/serving contains 500mg of milk thistle extract, which is made from 25000mg of the milk thistle plant. This highly concentrated formula is not only great for helping you get a good dose from a single capsule, but it improves bioavailability too. Basically, you’ll absorb more of it.
80% of the 500mg is silymarin, the antioxidant you should be looking out for, which works out as 400mg. Again, this is much higher than most supplements. If you need a really strong, powerful dose, then go for Toniiq because they have the strongest milk thistle supplements on the market that we can find.
Unfortunately, there are no additional ingredients in this supplement to support your liver, so you’re relying solely on the milk thistle. But that’s not all bad – the simple, one-ingredient formula allows Toniiq to offer these high-strength capsules at a super reasonable price.
Why it’s so great: every batch is tested for quality and purity by Toniiq, so you know that when they say you get 500mg of milk thistle, you really are getting 500mg!
NOW Double Strength Silymarin Supplement
- Type: capsules
- Dose: 1 capsule (300mg)
- Other Ingredients: dandelion root, artichoke
These vegan supplements contain a good dose of silymarin through milk thistle, plus dandelion and artichoke extracts for additional liver support. In each capsule, there’s 300mg of milk thistle, which gives you approximately 240mg of silymarin. That’s slightly above average, but it’s nowhere near as strong as the Toniiq option (see above).
Make sure you keep an eye out for the double strength version of this product, as NOW also has a normal strength option that only contains 150mg of milk thistle per capsule. You can buy these capsules in bottles of 100 or 200.
One of the things that made us consider NOW was their history. NOW has been run and operated as a family business since 1968 and its production facilities are located in Miami rather than abroad. They have decades of experience, a good track record, and hundreds of happy customers. It’s good to support US business!
Why it’s so great: these capsules are made in a GMP-certified facility in the USA, which gives you quality reassurances. More specifically, this tests for the supplement’s stability, potency, and general product formulation.
Opportuniteas Organic Liver Detox Tea
- Type: powder
- Dose: 1 scoop (500mg)
- Other Ingredients: matcha, coconut water, cinnamon bark, spirulina, ginger root
The last supplement on our list is a curveball. Milk thistle… as tea! This Liver Detox formula by Opportuniteas is a green powder that you scoop into drinks as a different way to take the supplement. It contains 500mg of milk thistle per scoop but doesn’t give a figure for how much silymarin is included.
Furthermore, you need to watch out for the matcha in this blend! Even though 700mg of matcha isn’t much, it will still contain caffeine so be careful if you’re highly sensitive to caffeine. Don’t drink this one before bed.
We would recommend this tea for the mornings. Antioxidants and energy from coconut water, spirulina, and matcha give you a nice boost, while cinnamon and ginger create a nice flavor and help settle your stomach.
A good way to boost the liver detox effects further would be to add a scoop to a hot cup of dandelion root tea, or other herbal tea that’s good for your liver function.
Why it’s so great: this powder is versatile. Make it into a nice matcha tea, add a scoop to a smoothie bowl, or freeze it with yogurt or make ice cream!
Milk Thistle Supplements Buying Guide
Here’s how it should work: you notice fatty liver symptoms, you get your doctor to diagnose it, you ask your doctor for a recommendation, then you buy milk thistle supplements.
Milk thistle is a very targeted ingredient. It specifically treats liver problems, focusing on repair and preventing liver damage. It’s not a replacement for medicine, however. You need to take whatever your doctor gives you for your fatty liver, using milk thistle as an extra boost on the side.
How Effective is Milk Thistle?
Quite effective! Milk thistle is one of the most studied remedies for liver problems, and many studies have confirmed that milk thistle reduces liver injury.
The key ingredient is silymarin, an antioxidant. When consumed, it reduces free radical production (free radicals cause damage, including cancer) and blocks toxins, so it’s great for anyone suffering from a toxin-induced liver problem. You can also take milk thistle for preventative measures, as it will help a healthy liver work at optimum.
It’s not a cure, however, and it’s not effective against everything. While it’s helpful for fatty liver, it’s not shown great results for treating hepatitis, for example.
Benefits and Side Effects
Like any herbal remedy, supplement and medication, there are pros and cons to consider before you buy.
- Detox your liver by preventing toxins from binding,
- Boosts healthy liver function,
- Prevents harmful free radicals from forming,
- Widely recommended by doctors for fatty liver.
Potential Side Effects
- Some people are allergic to it (ragweed plant family),
- Causes nausea and headaches in very large doses,
- Interacts with some medications, including diazepam and warfarin,
- May speed up liver cancer when consumed with alcohol (more research needed).
Whether you have some allergies or just aren’t sure if milk thistle will interact with your current medications, we recommend talking to your doctor before you take it. Side effects of taking milk thistle are extremely rare.
If you do encounter any side effects, dial 911 if it’s an emergency! You should also let the FDA know, as even though they don’t regulate the release of supplements, they do keep track of any that have adverse side effects.
How to Choose a Milk Thistle Supplement
You should know by now that reading the label and checking the online reviews are the first thing you should do when you’re checking out a supplement. But here are a few other things to look out for.
Locations – does the brand state where the milk thistle is grown and where the supplements are made? Aim for US-made supplements, as our factories tend to have stricter requirements than those abroad. Most milk thistle is grown in the EU for our supplements.
Organic – do they just say that it’s organic, or do they have a certification? Look for the USDA organic label or an international equivalent.
Non-GMO – it’s the same for organic measures. Look for the NSF logo of a butterfly on a green tick, to verify that it is non-GMO.
Third-party tested – does it just say that they clinically test their ingredients, or does it give a third-party name? Supplements that are checked by an independent group have better quality assurances.
Factory certifications – a GMP-certified facility has been checked for ‘good manufacturing practices’ and is commonplace across the USA. Most supplements have this certificate, but you may find some that don’t.
Alternative Supplements and Treatments for Fatty Liver
To treat fatty liver, you need to see your doctor about a prescribed medication. There’s no way around that! The supplements and herbal remedies are simply extras to help speed up the process and support your liver during recovery. Some other remedies you might want to try include:
- Omega-3 supplements to reduce liver fat,
- Vitamin E to reduce inflammation caused by fatty liver,
- Resveratrol, coffee, green tea, turmeric, and garlic can help, according to these studies,
- Avoid sugary and unhealthy foods, to give your liver a break from extra fat,
- Increase your daily activity – go for a walk, hit the gym, etc.
Milk Thistle: More FAQs
Too busy to read the full buyers guide? These questions and answers will tell you the basics of what milk thistle is and how it can help your fatty liver.
What is milk thistle?
Milk thistle is a plant that grows all over the world. The seeds of the plant contain an antioxidant called silymarin which can treat liver problems, including fatty liver.
How does milk thistle help fatty liver?
Milk thistle can soothe the inflammation of a fatty liver and promote normal healthy function of the liver when it is used in combination with medicine/treatment prescribed by your doctor.
How effective is milk thistle for fatty liver?
It is quite effective – some doctors will even recommend it to you along with your prescribed medications. However, it won’t cure your fatty liver alone, and there is limited evidence that it is effective against other liver diseases, like hepatitis C.
Which is the best milk thistle supplement for fatty liver?
Our top pick is the Nature’s Craft Liver Support Supplement, which gives you a 200mg dose of silymarin through milk thistle seed extract. If you want a totally organic, responsibly sourced option, check out Gaia’s supplement, or choose Jarrow Formulas for the cheapest available.
Does milk thistle have side effects?
It has some mild side effects if you take a very large dose (nausea, headaches, wind) and you can have an allergic reaction to it. Talk to your doctor if you take any other medications, as milk thistle may interact with them.
How much milk thistle should I take for fatty liver?
Clinical studies have used anywhere from 100mg doses to 500mg doses, all at once or spread across a day. There is no recommended dose by the FDA or other organizations. If you’re worried about the effects of milk thistle, talk to your doctor about what dose you should take or start with a very low dose that you can gradually increase.
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