Several months ago, I told you about a supplement that can protect and heal your liver. This nutrient's unique abilities also help you fight heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. But new research is showing it can help protect your brain as well.
In this new study, the researchers found that silibinin, the major active constituent of silymarin (which comes from milk thistle seeds), can successfully treat Cushing disease. What's more, it works in cell cultures, animal models, and human tumor tissue.
Cushing disease is the most common variety of Cushing syndrome. The cause is a benign tumor or excess growth of the pituitary gland. While Cushing disease is relatively rare, this finding can help with a variety of health issues. Here's why:
If you have Cushing disease, your pituitary gland releases too much adrenocorticotropin hormone (ACTH). ACTH is what stimulates production and release of cortisol. Cortisol, as you may know, is a stress hormone. So too much ACTH means your body is getting too much cortisol. This can lead to rapid weight gain, high blood pressure, muscle weakness, osteoporosis, an increased rate of infections, depression, and cognitive dysfunction.
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Since the pituitary gland releases cortisol during stressful situations, and many of us live very stressful lives, it's not uncommon for our cortisol production to be high even if we don't have Cushing disease. This is why this finding is so important for all of us. Too much cortisol can negatively affect your entire body, including your brain.
Because Cushing disease causes the release of too much ACTH, the researchers in this study wanted to find out how to stop this over production. They found that Cushing disease tumors contain incredibly high levels of heat shock protein (HSP90). This protein sticks to glucocorticoid receptor molecules and causes the overproduction of cortisol.
The researchers found that silibinin binds to HSP90 and allows the glucocorticoid receptor molecules to separate from the HSP90. When this happens, it slows the growth of Cushing disease tumors. In mice, the silibinin resolved all of the symptoms of Cushing disease.
While I haven't found any research proving silibinin will stop the over-production of cortisol in non-Cushing-disease situations, I believe it will. There are a lot of studies showing that silibinin protects your brain and reduces inflammation. It also improves brain energy metabolism. We also know that keeping your liver in great shape will help protect your brain from toxins. So there's every reason to think that silibinin will help all of us protect our cognitive function whether we have Cushing disease or not.
If you are interested in trying silibinin, or milk thistle, there are stand-alone products on the market that you can find at most health food stores or on the Internet. The product I use and recommend is Advanced Liver Support. The reason is because I don't think taking milk thistle is enough. Your liver needs much more. You can read all about it by following this link.
Your insider for better health,
Steve Kroening is the editor of Nutrient Insider, a twice-a-week email newsletter that brings you the latest healing breakthroughs from the world of nutrition and dietary supplements. For over 20 years, Steve has worked hand-in-hand with some of the nation's top doctors, including Drs. Robert Rowen, Frank Shallenberger, Nan Fuchs, William Campbell Douglass, and best-selling author James Balch. Steve is the author of the book Practical Guide to Home Remedies. As a health journalist, Steve's articles have appeared in countless magazines, blogs, and websites.