Milk thistle alters thyroid hormone transport - Thyroid UK

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Milk thistle alters thyroid hormone transport

helvella profile image
helvellaAdministrator

Milk thistle (and extracts) have long been recommended, uncritically, for those with thyroid issues, especially if they seem to have liver problems.

This new article is long and detailed - and questions its safety and the effects it might have.

Milk thistle alters thyroid hormone transport

By thyroidpatientsca on January 16, 2022

thyroidpatients.ca/2022/01/...

I'll not try to summarise - much better to go and read the article.

57 Replies

It’s very interesting. Thanks for posting

Sorry to hear of your shingles I hope it isn’t too painful. I got terrible headaches, pains in my left shoulder and felt nauseous for about a week, I felt absolutely dire the day before - I had to lie down - prior to waking up looking like I’d gone 6 rounds with Tyson. The pain was excruciating. I got antivirals quickly and my eye was checked several times at the eye hospital. I had endless headaches - migraines, cluster, dehydration…around then and for another 10 years. They all disappeared once treated for hypothyroidism. Hope you feel better soon.

helvella profile image
helvellaAdministrator in reply to TSH110

Well, I won't be taking any milk thistle!

It's very different to how I expected from what I have read. It was the deep, deep pain right inside my shoulder and neck that was worst.

TSH110 profile image
TSH110 in reply to helvella

That sounds exactly like what I got but the swollen face and the vesicle stage topped that by a long chalk. I cried in front of the doctor it was so painful. Like millions of tiny excruciatingly painful needles stabbing randomly with no respite. Glad you’ve been spared that.

helvella profile image
helvellaAdministrator in reply to TSH110

I have a pretty impressive range of blisters and sores over much of my shoulder and neck area. They are drying now.

And painful hair roots over the top of my head. And unbelievably tired - though at least some of that could be due to medicines.

TSH110 profile image
TSH110 in reply to helvella

It’s very debilitating. I didn’t feel right for two years after so take it steady. I think if it’s on the optic nerve it’s supposed to be the worst one of all. Can’t determine if yours is the trigeminal nerve too. It’s a darn nasty thing to suffer.

helvella profile image
helvellaAdministrator in reply to TSH110

Seems to have affected the occipital nerve - the areas most affected indicate that.

LindaC profile image
LindaC in reply to helvella

💚💛💚 You look after yourself!!! Very Best To You. x

TSH110 profile image
TSH110 in reply to helvella

Explains the painful hair roots and where you are affected. I hope it’s true that locations other than on the eye are less awful. I can’t imagine any location could be other than dreadful to be honest.

jgelliss profile image
jgelliss in reply to TSH110

I still have nerve discomforts after some years ago having shingles in my thighs. I was told that stress can bring it on.

TSH110 profile image
TSH110 in reply to jgelliss

Sorry to hear that I think I was very lucky not to have further complications/recurrence of pain, bar the two years of feeling under par.

JGBH profile image
JGBH in reply to helvella

Yes, I had forgotten about the pain in shoulder and neck , all on left side of body. That’s where I still get itching and some nerve pain… Hope you can feel better soon… but it lingers. Courage…

TSH110 profile image
TSH110 in reply to JGBH

Mine didn’t linger in terms of pain the antivirals seem to put a stop to it. I just didn’t feel 100% for a long time after. It sounds awful that you still get the unspeakable pain. I don’t think the antivirals are as effective in everyone.

JGBH profile image
JGBH in reply to TSH110

Indeed we’re all different. Yet the antivirals were started very early after diagnosis. I also had tremendous pain and itching on my scalp and the itching, though much reduced, still happens. I feel like a monkey scratching my head… My GP said this could last for years. I was on Baricitinib treatment, a biologic for RA, at the time. Getting shingles was noted as a possible side effect. I assume that’s what happened. On Tocilizumab now but this has similar possibility of getting singles…. So am not sure. My RA consultant said I should get the shingles vaccine before starting Tocilizumab (can’t remember name just now, but it does not have the live virus, Shingrix?)… but apparently this can reactivate the virus again, so I didn’t really want risking getting shingles again… don’t think I could cope with it again plus all the other RA pain, so refused it. Recently a nurse at my surgery said I was on their system to get this vaccine but told her I wanted to think about it… No idea what to do. Nothing is ever straight forward.

TSH110 profile image
TSH110 in reply to JGBH

Didn’t know the vaccination could set it off again, that’s a rum deal. I can understand why you’ve declined it. Damned if you do and damned if you don’t 🙄

JGBH profile image
JGBH in reply to TSH110

It’s what my RA consultant told me, that there was a risk.

archipoeta profile image
archipoeta in reply to JGBH

The vaccine has a huge range of side effects.

TSH110 profile image
TSH110 in reply to archipoeta

It gets less and less appetising doesn’t it?

archipoeta profile image
archipoeta in reply to TSH110

Particularly when you read the British Medical Journal's story about the Pfizer whistleblower. The one Facebook won't let you post because it's "Fake News". The BMJ! The editors wrote to Zuckerberg and complained. The amount of lying and manoeuvring that's gone on to get this experimental gene technology into the marketplace is horrendous, and, as for the side effects, we ain't seen nothing yet.

JGBH profile image
JGBH in reply to archipoeta

I am not anti vaccine but have to amit I have always felt uneasy about such vaccines... It is interessting to hear some doctors and other medical staff members have refused to be vaccinated. I have had all my vaccines and third primary. Fingers crossed there won't be any nasty side effects.

TSH110 profile image
TSH110 in reply to archipoeta

I had no problems with the Pfizer vaccine much better than AZ . Given how ill a relative was with Covid I’ll take my chance with the jabs. I’d be less inclined to have a shingles jab if it could reactivate the condition, but it would depend on the chances of that happening vs whatever it was being recommended for. I lived in Kenya for a while some years back, it was a reminder of what life must have been like before the advent of vaccines. Polio and TB were rife - it wasn’t good. So I am pro vaccination. I may not have got shingles if I had been old enough to get the chickenpox jab but it got me very early as a baby.

Interesting! Milk thistle is often recommended to do liver cleanses and to keep the liver healthy....even on thyroid health blogs. I would never have thought that it could affect thyroid hormone levels. Thanks for posting!

helvella profile image
helvellaAdministrator in reply to

That is why I felt it so important to post.

It is, as you say, widely recommended.

in reply to helvella

And, on top of it, to cleanse the liver in order to improve T4 to T3 conversion...!

Thanks for that helvella I’m so sorry to hear about your shingles, it all sounds painful and really miserable. Look after yourself and get as much rest as you can.Can I ask if you have had the shingles vaccination?

helvella profile image
helvellaAdministrator in reply to Fruitandnutcase

Thank you!

No - I have not. Never been offered. :-(

Was going to say you are probably too young.

When it came out first it was offered to people within certain years of birth. I didn’t come into them. I was offered it recently but I’m an injection phobe and I’d just psyched myself up to have the covid vaccinations for the greater good even though I was quite happy being a recluse - then I had my first ever flu one too.I had shingles when I was about 17 so I didn’t take up the offer of that and the pneumonia one when it was made a couple of months ago. I’m still working on being brave.

Anyway, look after yourself and get well soon.

helvella profile image
helvellaAdministrator in reply to Fruitandnutcase

From what I have read so far, it is recommended to get a vaccination even if you have had shingles. (But I am only finding these things out now for the first time!)

pennyannie profile image
pennyannie in reply to helvella

And don't we all know only too well your last sentence in the brackets !!!

I thought you had got bogged down in making a chart for those of us suffering with a Cut and Paste Allergy :

Take good care, miss you overseeing my sometimes assumptions though I think I'm getting better at it !!!!

My mother swore by a hot bread poultice - it worked - as I never complained again :

RedApple profile image
RedAppleAdministrator in reply to helvella

helvella, it is recommended to get a vaccination even if you have had shingles.

Nothing about that on this NHS page. So presumably you still have to wait until you're 70. nhs.uk/conditions/vaccinati...

helvella profile image
helvellaAdministrator in reply to RedApple

I searched on something like "shingrix after shingles infection" and found many references. Cannot now remember where - quite possibly not all UK. And it might be advised to wait a year after infection.

This is a USA link: cdc.gov/vaccines/vpd/shingl...

Re-occurrence of shingles is, apparently, reasonably common.

Apparently, Shingrix might be restricted in the UK and if you do not meet the criteria, you will only be offered the other ones.

RedApple profile image
RedAppleAdministrator in reply to helvella

I think they offer the vaccine much earlier in US. Over 60yrs.

My husband had the shingles vaccination and promptly got it on his shoulder. I am glad I refused it. I wish you well helvella.

I thought you couldn’t have it till you were in your 70’s at least not on the NHS

RedApple profile image
RedAppleAdministrator in reply to TSH110

This is true:You're eligible for the shingles vaccine when you're aged 70 to 79. nhs.uk/conditions/vaccinati...

TSH110 profile image
TSH110 in reply to RedApple

Is it primarily designed for those who never had shingles do you know?

RedApple profile image
RedAppleAdministrator in reply to TSH110

'It's fine to have the shingles vaccine if you've already had shingles. The shingles vaccine works very well in people who have had shingles before, and it will boost your immunity against further shingles attacks. ' nhs.uk/conditions/vaccinati...

RedApple profile image
RedAppleAdministrator in reply to RedApple

'Do I need the shingles vaccine if I've never had chickenpox?

Yes. The chances are that you have had chickenpox at some point without knowing it. Some people have chickenpox without displaying any of the typical chickenpox symptoms, such as a rash.' nhs.uk/conditions/vaccinati...

TSH110 profile image
TSH110 in reply to RedApple

Thanks that’s very helpful 😉

But this is the first time I have read anything even remotely negative about milk thistle...it has always been touted as a safe and effective way to cleanse your liver and improve thyroid health. I admit I was bit shocked to read this article...it seems you can never assume anything is safe...!

radd profile image
radd in reply to

Me too!

TSH110 profile image
TSH110 in reply to

Looks like no one has bothered to check effects on thyroid hormones, before this paper. I had a poorly whippet (brain tumour) who used to eat it or some very similar thistle wherever he could find it growing. He lived for two years with minimal symptoms. I often wondered if it was helping him. None of the others ever touched it.

Get well soon helvella. x

Hope u feel better soon and thnxs for sharing

helvella,

Food for thought as I usually love milk thistle but extremely complex..

'As mentioned in the introduction, the metabolic effects of milk thistle are complex. Its effects on health will depend on:

The severity of an individual’s disorders in MCT8-dominant tissues,

The circulating FT4 and FT3 levels prior to dosing milk thistle,

The integrity of the individual’s HPT axis including thyroid gland secretion rates, and

Any type of thyroid hormone dosing that may interfere with FT3’s relationships with other hormones.'

Thank you for posting & hope you feel better soon 😊

I was right. Why so late in the day it seems daft.

Interesting about sage didn’t know that, might have saved me a lot of power surges as they call them in. The States - makes them sound almost desirable 🤣🤣🤣

Thanks for posting this . It's good she's calling attention to the need for more research.

She says, "If you’re a patient, you could ask your physician or endocrinologist something like this question:

“How do you think milk thistle dosing may change my body’s response to circulating thyroid hormones, given the fact that milk thistle is a potent inhibitor of MCT8 thyroid hormone transporters?”

I had a laugh imagining some of us having that exchange with our doctors.

Sorry you've got shingles, helvella. Hope you're very much better soon.

Thank You, helvella - just began taking it again!! I'll read this, for sure!

I just recently [Thurs] got out of hospital from emergency ruptured appendix surgery! Eek second BIG Bacterial Bullet [meningococcal meningitis, 1991]. Alive and well - both times kind of left a little longer than usual - no ill effects... well, not so's anyone can really notice!😀😍

helvella profile image
helvellaAdministrator in reply to LindaC

That is bad. Be careful and make sure you are gentle on yourself.

Thanks for another informative post. What a star you are.

Sorry to hear you are laid low with shingles. It’s grim isn’t it. I only had it once and now confident it will not strike again as I finally became eligible for the vaccination last year. Why 70 I asked but the nurse pointed out that response was well above her pay grade. 😊

Hope you are soon firing on all cylinders again .

Sorry to hear you have shingles Helvella, My father had it and I was quite young at the time but it stood out to me....I know it can be tough. I sincerely hope the symptoms don't linger too long. Get better soon x

Helvellla sending you healing hugs. Thank you for posting this very interesting and very helpful post for me. I was told that Milk Thistle was very helpful for the liver. Yet when I did use it I felt awful and would have skin breakouts. I think Now I know why. It's not conducive for us that are totally thyroid meds dependent.

Feel well very soon. I hope your not having a hard time . Shingles are not fun. I had it a few years ago .

Best Wishes.

Ah thanks for posting I’ve been doing dry January and talking it and I’ve felt absolutely awful and thought I was just detoxing so I’ll stop the milk thistle now I thought I was helping myself! X

Sorry to hear you've got shingles. I read recently but can't remember where, that certain B vitamins can help with singles nerve pain. Might be worth researching. Also B12 tends to get depleted with illness so might be worth testing.

Personal anecdote :

I was recommended milk thistle on a forum well over a decade ago - I can't remember what for now. At the time I didn't research any health information, and the phrase "I know nothing" would have been accurate for me, at least in relation to health. All it did for me was make me severely nauseous.

That is a whopping big article! My thyroid brain didn't quite get to the conclusion about milk thistle and its effect on thyroid function 😧

helvella profile image
helvellaAdministrator in reply to M33R4

I didn't think summarising would do it justice. Maybe try again another day?

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