Berberine: the next super herb? Berberine is quickly becoming a go to supplement for oh so many conditions. It’s now being recommended by many of today’s thought leaders in functional cardiology, oncology, metabolic specialists, and nutritionists (and even by a few endocrinologists) for its multi-conditional applications. This one natural substance has an amazing array of therapeutic benefits for numerous health conditions.
Berberine is a constituent found in several plants. Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis), Oregon grape (Berberis aquifolium), Barberry (Berberis vulgaris), and Chinese Goldthread (Coptis chinensis) all contain berberine. You have probably heard of or even used one of these plants at some point in your lifetime. Chemically, berberine is classified as an isoquinoline alkaloid. These plants grow naturally in China and India where they have been used therapeutically for thousands of years.
Benefits of berberine
- Helps maintain normal blood glucose levels
- Helps maintain normal insulin levels
- Helps improve glucose tolerance
- Provides support of normal cholesterol and triglyceride levels
- Exhibits antimicrobial effects against bacteria, fungi (like Candida), protozoa (parasites), viruses, helminthes, and Chlamydia
- Exhibits antagonistic effects against of cholera and E coli heat-stable enterotoxin
- Helps reduce inflammation
- Stimulates bile secretion and bilirubin discharge
~If you suffer from fatigue berberine might help
Probably the most impressive aspect of berberine is how it acts on the body’s energy system.
Berberine modulates an enzyme called AMPK which acts as the central energy regulatory control switch regulating how energy is produced and used in the body.
The AMPK system senses and responds to changes in energy metabolism both on the cellular and the whole-body level. The AMPK system low energy status switches cellular metabolism from ATP-consuming anabolic pathways to ATP-producing catabolic pathways. AMPK regulates several biological activities that normalize lipid, glucose, and energy imbalances.
This has major impacts on a condition called metabolic syndrome.
~ Metabolic syndrome is defined as a cluster of biochemical and physiological abnormalities associated with the development of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.
Metabolic syndrome occurs when these AMPK-regulated pathways are turned off, triggering a syndrome that includes hyperglycemia, diabetes, lipid abnormalities, and energy imbalances.
AMPK has been proposed as a target for drug monotherapy treatment of metabolic syndrome. Currently metabolic syndrome treatment typically involves 3 to 5 different medications to manage the hyperglycemia, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, and inflammation. 
So could the substances in berberine which activate AMPK replace all of the medications used to treat these various aspects of metabolic syndrome? This exciting possibility seems plausible and is precisely how functional medicine providers work to address the cause rather than just treating symptoms. This is what has so many of us excited.
~ According to the Natural Medicine Journal berberine is particularly well suited for interventions in metabolic syndrome, inflammation, and cancer.
What else is berberine good for?
- Management of Type II diabetics
One pilot study was done to determine the efficacy and safety of berberine in the treatment of type 2 diabetic patients. In this study, “36 adults with newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes were randomly assigned to treatment with berberine or metformin (0.5 g t.i.d.) in a 3-month trial. The hypoglycemic effect of berberine was similar to that of metformin. Significant decreases in hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c; from 9.5% ± 0.5% to 7.5% ± 0.4%, P<0.01), fasting blood glucose (FBG; from 10.6 ± 0.9 mmol/L to 6.9 ± 0.5 mmol/L, P<0.01), postprandial blood glucose (PBG; from 19.8 ± 1.7 to 11.1 ± 0.9 mmol/L, P<0.01) and plasma triglycerides (from 1.13 ± 0.13 mmol/L to 0.89 ± 0.03 mmol/L, P<0.05) were observed in the berberine group.
- HPV-mediated cervical carcinogenesis (cancer)
In another study researchers found “berberine can effectively target both the host and viral factors responsible for development of cervical cancer. Berberine appears to target inhibition of AP-1 and blocking viral oncoproteins E6 and E7 expression. Inhibition of AP-1 activity by berberine may be one of the mechanisms responsible for the anti-HPV effect of berberine. We propose that berberine is a potentially promising compound for the treatment of cervical cancer infected with HPV.
- Good for the heart!
Berberine has also been shown to help those with arrhythmias. Berberine has been shown to prolong the duration of ventricular action potential. Its vasodilator activity has been attributed to multiple cellular mechanisms. 
- Antimicrobial Powerhouse
Among its uses, the extracts and decoctions have exhibited significant antimicrobial activity against a variety of organisms including bacteria, viruses, fungi, protozoans, parasitic worms, and chlamydia. Over time, the major clinical uses of berberine include bacterial diarrhea, intestinal parasite infections, and ocular trachoma infections.
- Short term memory
There are even new studies showing that berbeine seems to help with short-term plasticity in our brains. While these studies were done in rats, not in humans there is hope that berberine may help improve our short term memory.
With all the many benefits of this amazing natural substance isn’t it a shame more people don’t know about this amazing herb? Sadder yet, is that when it seems the plant kingdom is once again able to provide immense relief from suffering, these natural options are being widely ignored by the allopatic medical establishment.
Berberine is just one of many traditional herbals I use to help with conditions in my practice.
Would you like to learn more about plant based, non-drug options to help your body heal and recover from illness?
Contact me to see if I can help you by going HERE and completing my contact form. Once I receive your email I’ll set a time for a brief (no free) phone chat where we can see if I can help you.
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