Volume 3, Issue 16
April 29, 2010
Stop skin cancer with this extract from a weed
Most people consider the milk thistle plant a weed. They'd just as soon pull it as find any useful benefits from it. But that's what a group of researchers did recently. We've known for years that an extract of milk thistle is extremely valuable in the treatment of virtually any kind of liver ailment. But these researchers found that it also may prevent the cancer-causing effects of excessive sunlight exposure.
The researchers were from the Department of Dermatology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. They wanted to discover ways other than sunscreens to protect us from overexposure to the sun. So they reviewed all of the available literature regarding skin cancer prevention and silymarin. Silymarin is a concentrated extract of the milk thistle weed.
In the process, they found that silymarin protects from more than just skin cancer caused by the sun. It also protects us from the cancers caused by chemicals.
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The researchers' review showed just how effectively silymarin inhibits skin cancer. They looked at experiments where animals were exposed to various chemicals that cause skin cancer. These include the use of 7,12-dimethylbenz(a)anthracene, mezerein, benzoyal peroxide, and okadaic acid. All of these chemicals failed to produce cancer when they applied silymarin topically to the skin. The same thing happened with solar-induced cancers. Why?
Silymarin possesses antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and immune-protective properties. This is similar to other cancer-fighting compounds, such as Pycnogenol and resveratrol.
Unfortunately, topical silymarin is hard to find. But it is available. I'm currently using a cream from www.skinactives.com. A five gram tube sells for $6.50. You can mix it in with any other cream you may be applying already. But do you have to put it on topically to get the same results? Maybe not.
Researchers from the University of Colorado Cancer Center have studied the anti-cancer effects of silymarin extracts for years. They found that the major active anti-cancer and detoxification ingredient in silymarin is a substance called silibinin.
They performed several studies to determine how efficiently various tissues absorb silibinin when they fed it to mice. They found that when the mice ate a dose of 50 mg/kg, they had levels of silibinin in their skin within an hour. And the levels were very significant — 1.4 micrograms of silibinin per gram of skin. For a 150-pound person, this would equate to a dose of 3,500 mg of silibinin.
Based upon these findings you can figure that you should have the same skin levels if you took a dose of 3,500 mg of silibinin about one hour before sun exposure. And that the dose would last about three hours at best. The best price on silibinin that I can find is from Life Extension Foundation (www.lef.org). A 3,500 mg dose will cost you about $4. Perhaps a smaller dose will be just as effective, but might not last as long. We just don't know right now.
If you have a history of skin cancers, or if they run in your family, consider adding in the regular topical use of silymarin cream. Be on the lookout for new products coming on the market. As the word gets out, you should be seeing them become increasingly available.
Finding your Real Cures,
Frank Shallenberger, MD
Copyright 2010 Soundview Publishing, LLC
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