Berberine, a chemical compound, is one of the most powerful natural supplements out there.
Amazing health benefits, with an impact on the cellular level.
Researchers have found that berberine has many benefits, including lowering blood sugar, causing weight loss, and enhancing heart health.
It’s one of the few natural remedies that’s been shown to work just as well as a prescription medication.
Read on for an in-depth analysis of berberine and all the good it can do for your body.
Berberine: What Is It?
It is possible to isolate the bioactive compound berberine from a wide variety of plants, including the Berberis family of shrubs.
It is chemically classified as an alkaloid. It’s commonly used as a yellow dye due to its vibrant hue.
Various ailments were treated with berberine for a long time in traditional Chinese medicine.
Now, cutting-edge research has established its impressive health benefits for a wide range of conditions.
The chemical compound known as “berberine” can be obtained by processing a wide variety of plants. It’s been used for centuries in TCM, the ancient Chinese medical system.
So, how exactly does this thing function?
There have been hundreds of studies done on Berberine.
Numerous biological systems have been shown to feel its potent effects.
Berberine is absorbed after being ingested and then distributed throughout the body via the circulatory system. Finally, it makes its way into individual cells.
It enters cells and alters the function of various “molecular targets” by binding to them. The mechanism of action is very much like that of pharmaceutical drugs.
The biological mechanisms are complex and varied, so I won’t go into much detail here.
While berberine has many functions, one of its primary effects is to stimulate the production of an enzyme called AMP-activated protein kinase within cells.
The term “metabolic master switch” has been applied to this enzyme.
It’s a component of the cells that make up your brain, muscles, kidneys, heart, and liver, among others. It is widely believed that this enzyme is crucial for metabolic regulation.
Berberine may also influence which genes are turned on or off by interacting with other intracellular molecules.
The molecular level is where berberine’s effects can be felt, as it serves multiple purposes within cells. As one of its primary roles, it stimulates the metabolic regulator enzyme AMPK.
There is a dramatic drop in blood sugar after taking it.
In the last few decades, type 2 diabetes has spread worldwide and is now the leading cause of preventable death, killing millions of people annually.
Condition marked by high blood glucose levels due to insulin resistance or insufficient insulin production.
High blood sugar levels have been linked to tissue and organ damage, a host of medical complications, and a decreased lifespan over time.
Berberine has been shown in numerous studies to significantly lower blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes.
Its efficacy is on par with that of the widely used diabetes medication metformin (Glucophage)
This effect appears to occur through a number of different pathways.
- Reduces insulin resistance, increasing the efficacy of the hormone insulin in controlling blood sugar.
- Boosts glycolysis, a process that helps the body use sugar for energy.
- We need to get the liver to slow down on the sugar production.
- Reduces the digestive system’s ability to metabolise sugar.
- Helps the gut grow more good bacteria
- One gramme of berberine daily reduced fasting blood sugar by 20% in a study involving 116 diabetic patients, from 7.0 to 5.6 mmol/L (126 to 101 mg/dL), or from diabetic to normal levels (12Trusted Source).
Additionally, it improved blood lipids such as cholesterol and triglycerides, and decreased haemoglobin A1c (a marker for long-term blood sugar levels) by 12%. (12Trusted Source).
A meta-analysis of 14 studies found that berberine is just as effective as oral diabetes medications like metformin, glipizide, and rosiglitazone
Very effective alone, and even more so when combined with dietary and other lifestyle changes in an effort to lower blood sugar, it has additive effects when used in combination with other medications (2Trusted Source).
Discussions online reveal that this supplement has helped many people whose blood sugar levels were through the roof bring them back to normal.
Everything you read here has been proven effective in both academic research and real-world applications.
Diabetes is characterised by high blood sugar and elevated haemoglobin A1c, both of which berberine successfully reduces. It’s efficacy is comparable to that of pharmaceutical medications.
- Possible Weight Loss Benefits of Berberine
- Berberine shows promise as a potential weight-loss aid.
- Two studies with a high level of trust have looked at the effects on weight.
500 milligrammes (mg) three times a day resulted in an average weight loss of about 5 pounds (2.2 kg) in a 12-week study involving obese individuals. As a result, 3.6% less body fat was lost by the participants.
An even more impressive study was done on 37 individuals with metabolic syndrome (men and women). The participants in this study took 300 mg three times daily for a total of three months.
In just 3 months, the participants went from being obese to being overweight by lowering their body mass index (BMI) by 6.5 points. They were able to reduce abdominal fat and improve numerous health indicators.
The improved performance of fat-regulating hormones like insulin, adiponectin, and leptin is credited by the researchers as the primary cause of the weight loss.
Furthermore, berberine appears to have a molecular effect on fat cell growth.
Though berberine has been shown to help with weight loss, more study is needed to confirm these claims.
Researchers have found that berberine can help people lose weight and improve their health in a wide variety of other ways, as shown in two separate studies.
- It reduces cholesterol, which in turn may lower the risk of cardiovascular disease.
- At this time, heart disease is responsible for more deaths than any other single cause worldwide.
- There are numerous risk factors for cardiovascular disease that can be measured in the blood.
- Many of these factors have been shown to improve with berberine supplementation.
- A meta-analysis of 11 studies suggests that it may
Drop LDL-C by about 24 mg/dL (0.6 mmol/L).
Reduce LDL cholesterol by 0.65 mmol/L (25 mg/dL), based on a reliable source.
Reduce triglyceride levels in blood by 0.50 mmol/L (44 mg/dL).
Improve high density lipoprotein cholesterol levels by 2 millimoles per deciliter (mmol/L).
Apolipoprotein B, a major contributor to heart disease risk, has also been shown to be reduced by 13–15%.
Some research suggests that berberine achieves its effects by blocking the activity of PCSK9. The result is increased clearance of bad LDL cholesterol from the circulatory system.
Also, keep in mind that this supplement appears to be effective in lowering the risk factors for cardiovascular disease that are diabetes, high blood sugar, and obesity.
It’s possible that berberine’s beneficial effects on all these risk factors mean it can significantly lower the risk of heart disease.
The HDL (“good”) cholesterol is increased while total cholesterol and triglycerides are decreased in studies with berberine. It may have a long-term beneficial effect on reducing the probability of developing heart disease.
Extra Health Advantages
Additionally, berberine may have many other health benefits, including:
Results from tests on rats suggest it may be useful in the treatment of depression.
Studies in vitro and in vivo have shown that it inhibits the growth and metastasis of a wide variety of cancers.
Powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects have been observed in some studies.
Research shows that it is effective against a wide variety of infectious microorganisms.
For those who suffer from NAFLD (non-alcoholic fatty liver disease), it can help reduce liver fat (35, 36Trusted Source).
One study showed a significant decrease in mortality and improvement in quality of life for patients with heart failure.
More research is needed before concrete recommendations can be made, but the existing evidence is very encouraging.
The preliminary research on berberine suggests it may be useful in treating a variety of health problems, including anxiety, cancer, infections, fatty liver, and heart failure. It is also an effective antioxidant and anti-inflammatory.
Ingredients and Potential Adverse Reactions
Dosages ranging from 900 to 1500 milligrammes per day were used in many of the studies cited.
- The typical dosage is 500 milligrammes (mg), taken thrice daily before meals (a total of 1500 mg per day).
- Due to its several-hour half-life, berberine must be dosed multiple times daily to maintain steady blood levels.
- Consult your doctor before using if you have a medical condition or are taking any medications.
- If you are currently taking medication to lower your blood sugar levels, this is of utmost importance.
There are no known safety concerns with berberine use. The most commonly reported adverse reactions are digestive in nature and include gastrointestinal symptoms like cramping, diarrhoea, flatulence, constipation, and stomach pain (10Trusted Source).
Take 500 milligrammes (mg) half an hour before each of three daily meals. Some people have experienced digestive side effects from taking berberine.
- Only a handful of supplements can compare in efficacy to pharmaceutical drugs, and berberine is one of them.
- Positive effects on health, especially in relation to blood sugar regulation, are substantial.
- If you are interested in trying a berberine supplement, you can find a wide variety of high-quality options on Amazon.
- People with metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes will benefit the most.
- However, it may also be beneficial as an anti-aging supplement and as a general defence against chronic disease.
- If you take any kind of supplement, berberine might be a good one to add to your collection.
- For the past few weeks, I’ve been taking it to help my overall health.
- I intend to keep taking it and am eager to learn the results of future studies on this promising health enhancer.
What Role Does Berberine Bark Extract Play?
Like many other naturally occurring compounds, berberine was used in traditional Chinese medicine for hundreds of years. Traditional practitioners have used it to improve cardiovascular health, and contemporary scientists are warming up to the idea as well.
When you take berberine orally, it travels through your bloodstream to all of your body’s cells. Key organs like the brain, muscle, liver, heart, and kidneys all have a protein kinase called AMPK (adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase) that berberine molecules bind to and activate.
Relationship Between Berberine Bark Extract and Cardiovascular Health
There are a number of factors, including cholesterol, blood pressure, blood glucose levels, and weight management, that contribute to a healthy heart, but maintaining a healthy heart is especially important for Americans. Diet, exercise, general health habits, and nutritional supplements can all help in this regard.
a pair of eyeglasses in red and white
One such supplement that helps to maintain cardiovascular and heart health is an extract of the bark of the berberis plant.
Cholesterol: the bad kind is called low-density lipoprotein (LDL), and the good kind is called high-density lipoprotein (HDL). As a result of lowering LDL cholesterol, HDL (good) cholesterol levels can rise when berberine bark extract is used. You can keep your cholesterol in a healthy range with the help of berberine and other healthy lifestyle choices.
Blood pressure: Berberine promotes healthy blood vessels and circulation by aiding in the maintenance of normal cholesterol levels. As part of a healthy lifestyle that also includes a balanced diet and regular exercise, berberine can aid in maintaining arterial strength and proper circulation.
Taking berberine three times daily helps maintain normal levels of cholesterol, blood pressure, and overall body mass. Brown adipose tissue is activated by berberine, and its ability to convert food into heat aids in maintaining a healthy weight.
Reduced Blood Glucose and Berberine Bark Extract
As it works to aid in weight management and support healthy blood pressure and cholesterol levels, berberine can also be a useful tool for treating a variety of other health conditions. Yet this botanical compound has even further applications. Berberine’s compounds promote arterial, circulatory, and metabolic health by keeping blood sugar levels steady.
hands holding a syringe in a close-up shot
Berberine helps maintain normal blood sugar levels by a number of different means:
By increasing glycolysis, the body is better able to metabolise sugars within cells; by decreasing the rate at which carbohydrates are broken down in the gut; by encouraging healthy insulin activity and glucose absorption; by bolstering the diversity of good bacteria in the gut; and by decreasing the production of sugar by the liver.
Further Advantages of Berberine Bark Extract
The extract of berberine bark has multiple health-promoting properties. Berberine’s positive effects on health are far-reaching, and it does more than just boost the cardiovascular and metabolic systems.
Vitality of the Immune System
To better defend itself against external aggressors, the body benefits from taking berberine extract, which helps support immune cell activity and promotes healthy immune responses.
Wellness in the Stomach and Small Intestine
Healthy digestion, nutrient absorption, and a reduction in the occasional indigestion that can occur after eating are all supported by a diverse gut microbiome, which is encouraged by berberine bark.
Maintaining Good Health as We Get Old
The enzymes within cells can have their functions altered by berberine, which can lead to less oxidative stress and a more robust cellular lifespan.
illustration of a fish in extreme detail
Using an Extract of Berberis Vulgaris
Berberine should be taken at a daily dose of 900 milligrammes to 1500 milligrammes. You should preferably take two 500mg doses, one each before breakfast and lunch. The reason for this is that berberine only lasts for a few hours before it starts to lose its effectiveness. Regular dosing throughout the day helps you reach and keep optimal levels of the compound in your blood.
Some people experience side effects from taking berberine, including cramping, diarrhoea, constipation, and abdominal pain, but these symptoms typically only occur at higher dosages. Before taking berberine bark extract, you should talk to your doctor if you have any preexisting medical conditions or are taking any other supplements or medications.
Maintaining normal blood sugar levels is important for the health of your heart, blood vessels, and metabolism, all of which are supported by the many beneficial plant compounds found in berberine bark. Supporting healthy ageing and heart health, berberine is a useful addition to a healthy lifestyle that also includes a nutritious diet, regular exercise, and stress management.