Silymarin as an Anti-Stress Agent

Silymarin is a group of phytochemicals present in the milk thistle (Silybum marianum) plant. Studies have investigated the effects of silymarin extracts in animal studies and found them to have mood elevating effects. For example, in one study administration of silymarin to mice caused increases in brain levels of the monoamine neurotransmitters particularly serotonin in the cortex, and dopamine and noradrenaline in the cerebellum. These changes were accompanied by significant decreases in the depressive-like behaviour of the mice. The administration of silymarin to the mice was also shown to significantly reduce experimentally induced mild stress, suggesting that the extract may be acting as an anti-stress agent. The same study also showed that silymarin extract was able to increase brain levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor in the mice. Brain-derived neurotrophic factor is a growth factor that is known to provide neuroprotection and allow the regeneration of neurones in the brain. 

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Thakare, V. N., Patil, R. R., Oswal, R. J., Dhakane, V. D., Aswar, M. K. and Patel, B. M. 2018. Therapeutic potential of silymarin in chronic unpredictable mild stress induced depressive-like behavior in mice. Journal of Psychopharmacology. 32(2): 223

About Robert Barrington

Robert Barrington is a writer, nutritionist, lecturer and philosopher.
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