Don’t take Tylenol without protecting your liver

Acetaminophen like Tylenol depletes glutathione and damages the liver (1), but chances are people won’t be getting away from using them anytime soon. What can be done is help protect the liver from damage induced through supplementation. 

Silymarin (from milk thistle) may serve as a support while taking acetaminophen. In a rat study, acetaminophen decreased glutathione and glycogen quickly (1). Unlike the control, rats taking silymarin showed no significant increase in lipid peroxidation or disruption of enzyme activities (1). Thus, while the silymarin didn’t prevent glutathione depletion in rats, it did protect the liver possibly through antioxidant properties and helped with restoring glycogen (1). 
Human studies have not yet been conducted, but many doctors already recommend silymarin supplements based on its recent research (2). 
1. Muriel, P; Garciapina, T; Perez Alvarez, V; Mourelle, M. Silymarin protects against paracetamol-induced lipid peroxidation and liver damage. J Appl Toxicol. 1992 Dec; 12(6): 439-42

Published by David Despain, MS, CFS

David is a science and health writer living on Long Island, New York. He's written for a variety of publications including Scientific American, Outside Online, the American Society for Nutrition's (ASN) Nutrition Notes Daily, and Institute of Food Technologists' (IFT) Food Technology magazine and Live! blog. He's also covered new findings reported at scientific meetings including Experimental Biology, AAAS, AOCS, CASW, Sigma Xi, IFT, and others on his personal blog "Evolving Health." David is also an active member of organizations including the National Association of Science Writers (NASW), the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the American Society for Nutrition, the Institute of Food Technologists, and the National Audubon Society. David has a master's degree in human nutrition from the University of Bridgeport, and a bachelor's degree in English from University of Illinois at Springfield. He also earned his Certified Food Scientist credential from the Institute of Food Technologists.

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