Milk Thistle (Silibinin) Protects Against Skin Cancer

Written by on February 1, 2013 in natural treatments, research with 1 Comment

milk-thistle

Whilst not exactly new news, some research is confirming that an extract found in Milk Thistle, Silibinin will kill skin cells that have been affected by UVA radiation and also protect against UVB radiation.

Rosacea sufferers might know of Silibinin as an active component of Silymarin. Silymarin is an ingredient in the modest rosacea treatment known as Rosacure.

Silymarin has a number of known benefits on the skin.

Wikipediea: Silymarin

Silibinin (INN) (silybin, Legalon®) is the major active constituent of silymarin, the mixture of flavonolignans extracted from plant Milk thistle (Silybum marianum). It is used in treatment and prevention of liver diseases because of its hepatoprotective (antihepatotoxic) properties. Clinical tests showed also its ability to protect against certain types of cancer (skin and prostate), probably due to its antioxidant properties.

This research may lead to new possibilities for sunscreens. The group undertaking this research plan further studies of silibinin in cancer prevention and do plan human trials of silibinin-based therapeutics.

Two University of Colorado Cancer Center Studies Show that Silibinin, Found in Milk Thistle, Protects Against UV-Induced Skin Cancer

Aurora, COLO (PRWEB) January 30, 2013

“When you have a cell affected by UV radiation, you either want to repair it or kill it so that it cannot go on to cause cancer. We show that silibinin does both,” says Rajesh Agarwal, PhD, co-program leader of Cancer Prevention and Control at the CU Cancer Center and professor at the Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences.

The first study, published in the journal Photochemistry and Photobiology worked with human skin cells subjected to UVA radiation, which makes up about 95 percent of the sun’s radiation that reaches Earth. The Agarwal Lab treated these UVA-affected cells with silibinin. With silibinin, the rate at which these damaged cells died increased dramatically.

Specifically, the study shows that pretreatment with silibinin resulted in higher release of reactive oxygen species (ROS) within the UVA-exposed cells, leading to higher rates of cell death.

The second study, published this month by the same authors in the journal Molecular Carcinogenesis shows that instead of beneficially killing cells damaged by UVA radiation, treatment with silibinin protects human skill cells from damage by UVB radiation, which makes up about 5 percent of the sun’s radiation reaching Earth.

Again, remember Agarwal’s suggestion that the prevention of UV-induced skin cancer can happen in two ways: by protecting against DNA damage or by killing cells with damaged DNA. With UVA, silibinin kills; with UVB, it protects, in this case by increasing cells’ expression of the protein interleukin-12, which works to quickly repair damaged cells.

“It has been 20 years of work with this compound, silibinin,” Agarwal says. “We first noticed its effectiveness in treating both skin and solid cancers, and we now have a much more complete picture of the mechanisms that allow this compound to work.”

Agarwal and colleagues continue to test the effectiveness of silibinin in cancer prevention and treatment in cell lines and mouse models, and are working toward human trials of silibinin-based therapeutics.

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About the Author

About the Author: David Pascoe started the Rosacea Support Group in October 1998. .

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1 Reader Comment

  1. Doug says:

    So did they use a topical? or a supplement taken orally?

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