There are a few natural plants that are capable of lowering your blood sugar, improving your cardiovascular health, and even assisting you with weight loss. Berberine has been recently discovered as one of the more powerful plant compounds which are capable of providing you with all of these benefits.
Pharmaceutical drugs have been attempting to control your blood sugar efficiently ever since blood sugar has become a point of interest. Berberine can actually alter functions of your body on a molecular level and deliver results which rival these pharmaceutical drugs.
Berberine is extracted from berberis shrub and other plants which contain bioactive substances. It is an alkaloid which contains bright yellow pigmentation and has been used in the past for dyeing. It has also been frequently used in traditional Chinese medicine.
There are many studies which verify that berberine is capable of dropping overall cholesterol levels as well as improving the profile of LDL cholesterol, which essentially is the bad cholesterol that everyone talks about. There is also some research pointing to its ability to help manage Type 2 Diabetes.
Furthermore, more evidence has recently surfaced pointing to berberine’s ability to fight cancer.
There are different ways that berberine functions as a supplement. Let’s see how it can improve your overall health and which processes are involved in doing so.
Berberine Effects Your Metabolism
As you inject berberine it eventually ends up in your bloodstream, from there it can start to alter various functions in your body. The first thing that berberine does is look for specific molecules that it can bind to, and once this is done it is able to modify the way these molecules act. This molecular binding can also play a big role in defining gene expression since it can affect gene regulation.
This method of altering our system is the exact same way that most pharmaceutical drugs function.
Berberine is also capable of affecting our cellular energy homeostasis by activating an enzyme called adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase, also known as AMPK. This enzyme plays a huge role in your metabolism and is even referred to as the master switch. When activated, this fuel sensing enzyme can stimulate energy-generating functions like glucose uptake and decrease energy consuming functions like protein synthesis. It is found in major organs like your heart, brain, liver, muscles, and kidneys.
Because of its ability to affect AMPK activation, berberine is very good at treating the symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes, a chronic condition which is very common. This metabolic disorder which affects how you process glucose is a big problem, and 9.4% of the U.S. population, or about 30.3 million people, are suffering from diabetes. It is estimated that 12% of all deaths in the United States are caused by diabetes.
There are two things that occur when a person is suffering from diabetes. The first is lack of insulin production in the body. The second is high insulin resistance on a cellular level. Both of these situations are capable of inflicting serious physical damage to our organs and the tissues in our bodies over a long period of time.
Berberine is capable of reducing glucose levels very effectively amongst Type 2 Diabetics. Its effectiveness was measured and compared to a pharmaceutical drug known as metformin that is used to treat hypoglycemia. The results were very comparable.
Berberine functions through a few different mechanisms which end up affecting blood sugar. It can do the following:
- Reduce Sugar Production In The Liver
- Improve The Amounts Of Friendly Bacteria In Your Gut
- Boost The Effectiveness Of Insulin
- Lower Carbohydrate Breakdown Speed
- Improve Glycolysis
Additionally, berberine can also alter other bodily functions which are connected to blood sugar regulation. The previously mentioned gene expression and molecular function, as well as enzyme function, can all be affected by berberine.
A study which was performed to measure how effective berberine is in lowering blood sugar levels has concluded that just one gram of berberine every day for a 3-month period of time can lower continuously high sugar levels to a normal range. Furthermore, A1C was drastically improved as well, which is a long-term blood sugar level indicator.
Research was done to analyze the data from 14 different studies and the results showed that berberine is just as capable of reducing blood sugar levels as 3 different diabetes treatment medications. Glipizide, the previously mentioned metformin, and rosiglitazone have the same effectiveness levels as berberine.
Improved Weight Loss
There have been studies which were done to see what effect berberine supplements can have on people who are attempting to lose weight. The results were positive in nearly all trials.
A 12-week long trial was done amongst obese participants. The average amount of weight which was lost equaled to 5 pounds, which is about a 3.6% body fat loss. The patients took 500 mg of berberine 3 times per day.
A second 3-month study was done on 37 participants who were diagnosed with metabolic syndrome. These participants took less berberine than the previous study participants, and 900 mg of berberine was split into 3 doses per day.
The BMI, or body mass index, of the participating subjects was reduced from 31.5 to 27.4 throughout this trial. This successfully shifted the subjects from being obese to being overweight. One major observation was that belly fat had been reduced drastically in participants. Other improvements in overall health were also witnessed.
The cause of such drastic changes seemed to be berberine’s ability to alter and change the hormones in the body which are responsible for regulating fat storage. Insulin, leptin, and adiponectin are the major players in the body’s ability to store fat. It is believed that berberine is able to greatly reduce the formation of fat cells on a molecular level.
Improved Heart Health
Heart disease is by far the most common cause of premature death. Berberine is able to offer positive effects on several blood associated markers which play a big role in developing heart disease.
Many studies have been done regarding berberine’s ability to reduce factors which increase the risk of developing heart disease. The conclusion of this data analysis is as follows:
- Increased HDL cholesterol levels to as high as 0.05 mmol/L
- Decreased LDL cholesterol levels to as low as 0.65 mmol/L
- Overall cholesterol reduced by up to 0.061 mmol/L
- Triglyceride levels in the blood reduced by 0.50 mmol/L
Additionally, there was a drop in apolipoprotein B levels by as much as 15 percent in some of the noted studies, but not all. This is a huge marker for increasing the chances of developing heart-related diseases.
Inhibiting the production of PCSK9, an enzyme found in the body, is how researchers think berberine is able to alter the cholesterol levels in our systems. This inhibition results in LDL cholesterol removal from the blood.
One thing we should mention is that those who suffer from diabetes are more likely to develop heart-related issues. This means using berberine to help reduce blood sugar levels as a diabetic is an excellent way to also ensure that some of the risk factors associated with heart disease are also reduced.
Other Health Benefits
Although studies haven’t been performed on human subjects, it seems that berberine is capable of helping rats fight depression. It is possible that the same effect can be produced amongst people.
Other research which is being conducted on laboratory animals also points to berberine as being very effective in reducing cancerous tumor growth and preventing cancer growth overall. The results of these studies look very positive.
Berberine also carries antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, which have proven to be very valuable to our health. It has shown an ability to destroy fungi, viruses, parasites, bacteria, and many other pathogens.
Dosage And Possible Side Effects of Berberine
The half-life of a drug is the amount of time that it takes for our body to reduce the amount of the specific drug in our system by half. The half-life of berberine is equal to several hours. Because of this, it is most effective for you to split the amount of berberine you take throughout the day into 3 doses. Usually, taking between 900 mg to 1500 mg of berberine 3 times per day is very effective. Try to take berberine about 30 minutes before meals.
Overall, there haven’t been any side effects noted amongst those who have taken berberine in the past. There have been a few people who have experienced flatulence, cramping, diarrhea, and constipation, but these side effects were very rare. The supplement is considered to be safe to use.
As you can see, berberine can be extremely effective when attempting to lower your blood sugar levels if you are a Type 2 Diabetic. It is also capable of reducing your risks of developing heart disease, which is increased in those who suffer from diabetes. This makes taking berberine even more beneficial for diabetics.
Additionally, this supplement can help you lose weight and lower cholesterol levels. It is even capable of fighting all sorts of pathogens.
At the given moment, it might be difficult to find this supplement at your local health store location since berberine’s popularity as a supplement has increased very recently. However, there are numerous retailers who sell it online.
As always, we strongly suggest that you communicate with your doctor about any supplement that you are planning on taking. If you are diabetic and already take blood sugar medication, under no circumstances should you start taking berberine without consulting your doctor first. Neglecting to mention it to your doctor might result in serious complications.