Every Benefit You Need to know About Berberine
The Ultimate List of Berberine's Benefits; an Ingredient that Could Restore Absolute Health to a Sickly Universe
I'm a natural-minded person, but I'll tell you for free that three things are better than finding a homeopathic remedy that seems to work.
Finding several useful herbs? That's quite alright.
Discovering a molecule that several herbs have in common? Pretty cool.
Realizing that this molecule could be as effective (or even better) than any prescription drug ever made for a chronic condition like diabetes? Hot damn!
Behold Berberine, a herbally-derived ingredient with a laundry list of health benefits. And although the West is just discovering its remarkable powers, ancients have used it for its healing modalities for epochs.
For starters, Berberine balances blood glucose levels and improves insulin sensitivity. Besides, it reduces symptoms of metabolic syndrome and is useful against Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS).
Before I give you the complete lowdown on Berberine's therapeutic potential, let's get acquainted with the ingredient first.
What is Berberine?
Berberine is an isoquinoline plant alkaloid. Several plants have been found to contain this ingredient, and it is derived explicitly from the amino acid tyrosine.
The ingredient was initially named after the plant berberis aristata, aka Indian barberry or tree turmeric.
Other plants in which Berberine occurs naturally include:
- Barberry (berberis vulgaris)
- Oregon Grape (mahonia aquifolium)
- Goldenseal (hydrastis canadensis)
- Yellowroot (xanthoriza simplicissima)
- Amur cork tree (phellodendron amurense)
- Chinese goldthread (coptis chinensis)
- Heart-leaved moonseed (tinospora cordifolia)
- Prickly poppy (argemone mexicana)
- California poppy (eschscolzia californica)
- Huang Lian (rhizoma coptidis)
The plants named above have historical usage as medicinal herbs and were recommended for similar conditions – intestinal ailments and blood-related complications that signified low insulin sensitivity. Scientists recently discovered that these plants' therapeutic potential was tied to their common ingredient, Berberine.
How Does Berberine Work?
Berberine uses different mechanisms of action and targets various tissues and organs. The fascinating thing about this compound is that it activates the AMPK (adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase) pathway.
The AMPK pathway is a vast area of research focus among anti-aging scientists. The reason? This pathway is crucial for mitochondrial energy production. And anything we can do to boost our mitochondria's energy output is vital for our cells' long-term health.
Have you ever heard of the drug metformin? It has been used since the 1950s to treat diabetes but has recently brewed a ton of interest due to its ability to activate the AMPK pathway.
As such, dozens of trials are underway regarding the use of metformin to prevent or treat cancer, and it's also being studied as perhaps the first anti-aging drug. Remember, all this fuss is because of metformin's ability to activate the AMPK pathway.
Well, folks, all Hail Berberine as scientists have proven that this ingredient effectively activates the AMPK pathway.
And don't you love it that Berberine is a natural compound and not a patent of the big bad wolf Big Pharma?
More than 5000 studies of Berberine published on PubMed, and this speaks volumes on the considerable interest this wonder ingredient has stirred among scientists and natural-minded individuals.
Let's jump into the individual benefits of Berberine right away.
Benefits of Berberine Explained
Berberine has been used in Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years to treat a broad spectrum of ailments.
It has numerous benefits within the cells – it's quite the utility player!
Imagine if you had a football player who was extremely useful in various positions – quarterback, wide receiver, linebacker, and still fit in perfectly as a cornerback. That's Berberine for you, folks.
Here are the million benefits of Berberine explained in detail.
1. Berberine regulates blood sugar and reduces insulin resistance
Findings from clinical studies reveal that Berberine can reduce blood sugar and lower insulin resistance in people with metabolic syndrome or type 2 diabetes.
This plant alkaloid reduces glycated hemoglobin (hemoglobin A1c or hbA1c). As a result, it:
- Lowers fasting blood glucose levels
- Reduce post-prandial (after meals) glucose levels
- Improves lipid metabolism (ability to convert fats into fuel)
As mentioned earlier, Berberine's ability to improve insulin sensitivity and balance blood sugar is similar to common prescription drugs metformin, rosiglitazone, and glipizide, minus the side effects, of course.
And how does Berberine reduce insulin resistance? Here's how.
- It enhances the activity of the blood sugar hormone, insulin
- Increases insulin sensitivity
- Boosts sugar metabolism (glycolysis), which helps your body utilize sugar more effectively
- Decreases the absorption of sugar during digestion
- Inhibits the production of sugar in your body (gluconeogenesis)
- Raises the number of beneficial bacteria in the stomach
For the best results, try pairing Berberine with a healthy adjustment in lifestyle.
2. Reduces inflammation and oxidative stress
There exists a delicate balance between the reactive oxygen species (ROS) and antioxidants in your body. An unhealthy lifestyle or health issues like insulin resistance can increase ROS inflammation, tipping the scale towards an inflammatory state.
Excessive inflammation and oxidative stress are linked to a variety of health conditions, such as:
- Metabolic syndrome
- High cancer risk
- Heart disease
Luckily, anti-inflammatory foods and plant compounds such as Berberine can help soothe your body's inflammation, thereby protecting the cells in your brain, central nervous system, and heart.
Apart from activating the AMPK pathway, Berberine reduces inflammation by improving glucose metabolism and suppressing the Nuclear Factor Kappa B (NF-kB) and the toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4). These two pathways reduce swelling in your body by enhancing cell survival, DNA transcription, and stimulating inflammatory signaling compounds called cytokines.
3. Berberine could help prevent or treat cancer
Human cancer trials using Berberine might not exist yet, but numerous animal studies have been conducted, and this compound is showing significant promise. A group of scientists recently published an article calling the ingredient an 'epiphany against cancer.'
Oxidative stress, insulin resistance, and inflammation are all cancer risk factors. As such, it's not surprising that Berberine could prevent the growth of cancer cells.
Besides reducing these risk factors, Berberine is also cytotoxic to cancerous cells – it marks cancer cells for destruction without harming healthy cells. By improving mitochondrial function, Berberine wages a deadly war against cancer.
The current research on Berberine's cancer-healing potential shows that it could be effective against:
- Breast cancer
- Gastric carcinoma
- Colorectal cancer
- Pancreatic cancer
- Malignant pleural mesothelioma
This compound can also help with cancer cachexia, the catabolic syndrome associated with cancer.
4. Berberine is good for your heart
Once more, insulin resistance aggravates the risk of heart attack and other grave cardiovascular conditions. Berberine can improve your heart health by reducing inflammation in cardiac tissues.
Studies show that by activating the AMPK pathway, Berberine can reduce heart disease by preventing cell death. It can also reduce the blood levels of C-reactive protein, among other indicators of inflammation.
What's more, Berberine soothes inflammation in the endothelium, the smooth cells that line your arteries and veins.
Finally, this supplement can also prevent heart arrhythmias (heart rhythm problems), which occurs when the brain's electrical impulses fail to work correctly, causing the heart to beat slowly, too fast, or irregularly.
5. It could lower blood pressure
Berberine has the potential to lower blood pressure safely and effectively. Its hypotensive effects are likely due to:
- Increasing bioavailability of nitric oxide
- Inhibiting ACE (angiotensin-converting enzyme)
These two processes help to relax your veins and arteries, lowering the blood pressure.
Given that high cholesterol, Type 2 diabetes, and high blood pressure often occur together, scientists have suggested that Berberine could be an ideal first-line therapy to aid with these conditions. This is especially helpful for individuals who might find it challenging to afford expensive prescription medication.
6. Berberine lowers cholesterol levels
Berberine is an effective treatment for dyslipidemia, aka high levels of bad cholesterol.
Various studies have shown that Berberine improves cholesterol by boosting the number of LDL receptors, thus effectively regulating LDL cholesterol levels.
Additionally, it reduces the synthesis of lipids (fat molecules and cholesterol) in the liver.
7. It improves gut health
Berberine has been used to relieve diarrhea in Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine for ages.
Further scientific evidence indicates that this plant supplement can improve gastrointestinal health and help with gastroenteritis, diarrhea, and inflammation in the digestive tract.
In this regard, Berberine reduces inflammation, increases good bacteria such as bifidobacterium, and reduces levels of harmful bacteria such as E. coli.
8. Berberine can reverse dementia and other neurodegenerative conditions
Will you be surprised if you learned that the development of Alzheimer's disease, Dementia, Parkinson's, and other neurodegenerative disorders are linked to inflammation?
Besides, chronic inflammation, coupled with insulin resistance, increases an individual's risk of dementia and other neurological problems.
With that said, apart from improving your long-term risk factors for such conditions, Berberine also functions to protect the cells in your brain and nervous system from harm.
Overall, Berberine reduces oxidative stress and boosts the brain's antioxidant levels, thus improving cognitive behavior, preventing memory loss, and lowering learning and memory impairments.
9. Could relieve symptoms of depression
Science shows a connection between people with depression and elevated levels of oxidative stress and inflammation. And by suppressing these factors, Berberine could reduce the possibility or severity of depression.
This alkaloid also boosts the production of dopamine, serotonin, and noradrenaline – neurotransmitters known to reduce depression.
10. Berberine can contribute to weight loss
By regulating insulin, leptin, and adiponectin, Berberine can serve as an effective weight loss supplement.
Besides, this plant compound can suppress fat cells' growth, prompt the conversion of white adipose to brown adipose tissue, ultimately improving metabolism and fat-burning.
Studies indicate that Berberine can improve one's body mass index (BMI) and cause loss of body fat in individuals with metabolic syndrome.
11. Helps eradicate infection
Scientists have uncovered a positive connection between Berberine and the outcome of infections.
Various studies have positioned this plant supplement as an effective treatment against viral, fungal, and bacterial infections such as:
- SIBO (Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth)
- Methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MSRA)
- H. Pylori
- H1N1 influenza
- Hepatitis C
12. Berberine is an effective remedy for PCOS
Berberine is nothing short of a miracle.
There is sufficient scientific evidence indicating that this nutritional supplement may be the light at the end of the tunnel for women living with PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome).
PCOS is a hormonal disorder affecting women of reproductive age. Women with PCOS often experience infrequent or prolonged menstrual periods or excessive androgen (male hormone) levels. Sometimes, their ovaries might develop many small collections of follicles and fail to release eggs regularly.
Berberine can improve fertility in women with PCOS, and a recent study showed that it could boost ovulation by up to 25% after taking this supplement for four months.
In a nutshell, Berberine is a potent yet relatively safe supplement. Suppose you've been searching for a highly effective dietary supplement with minimal risk. In that case, It should be at the top of your list, especially if you have insulin resistance or are overweight.
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