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What is Berberine? A Powerful Supplement With Many Benefits

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What is Berberine? A Powerful Supplement With Many Benefits
Table Of Contents
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Berberine was first used in Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurvedic medicine in China and India thousands of years ago. Both of these medical systems originated in China and India.

Berberine powder looks similar to turmeric powder and has numerous pharmacological effects, such as antimicrobial, antitumor, anti-inflammatory, and blood glucose-lowering abilities, which have been demonstrated in scientific studies.

Extracts and supplements made from this compound, such as berberine HCL, are known to have wide-ranging antibacterial properties, are generally safe to use, and can be purchased for a low cost. They might even be able to treat conditions naturally without the need for antibiotics to be administered.

What is Berberine?

Berberine is an isoquinoline alkaloid discovered in many plants, including goldenseal, barberry, goldthread, Oregon grape, and tree turmeric. Berberine hydrochloride is another name for this compound.

The plants containing the alkaloid berberine have berberine in their stems, bark, roots, and rhizomes (underground stems resembling roots). The deep yellow color of this plant has made it a popular natural dye in the past.

The shrub plant genus Berberis is where you'll find the Berberine compound. It is the primary active component in the Coptidis rhizoma and Phellodendri Chinensis cortex, both used in alternative medicine.

These herbs have been used in treating diabetes in Traditional Chinese Medicine since ancient times. This chemical has been used for decades to treat bacterial gastroenteritis, diarrhea, and other gastrointestinal disorders.

The term "alkaloids" describes a group of organic compounds found in plants and have a basic nitrogen structure. The physiology of the human body can be significantly altered after ingesting them, especially the cardiovascular system and metabolism.

There is evidence emerging from an increasing number of studies that the benefits of berberine may include protection against the following:

  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Diarrhea and other GI problems
  • Risk of cardiovascular disease
  • Auto-Immune diseases
  • Joint Pain
  • weak bones
  • Metabolic disorders
  • Depression
  • Cancer

Health Benefits

As mentioned above, Berberine has many benefits, with many studies backing it up. Following are some of the most prevalent benefits of berberine.

Potential Diabetes Treatment

In one study, berberine was found to help reduce blood sugar levels. This can potentially prevent and treat type II diabetes and its complications, such as cardiovascular disease and neuropathy.

Patients suffering from metabolic syndrome may improve their glucose-lipid metabolism, inflammation, and insulin resistance by using berberine.

In another study, the compound was compared to metformin used for regulating blood sugar and lipid metabolism at a dosage of 500 milligrams taken two to three times daily for a period of three months. According to the researchers, berberine was just as effective as this drug.

Berberine also helps improve glucose uptake as well as lipid disorders. Some findings suggest that the effects of this compound on insulin sensitivity may help prevent kidney damage.

May Help Lower Cholesterol & Blood Pressure

There is evidence that berberine can help reduce high levels of bad cholesterol, total cholesterol, and blood pressure.

Serum cholesterol and triglyceride levels were lowered by berberine in a study of people with type 2 diabetes published in the journal Metabolism. According to the Harvard Medical School study, it reduces cholesterol by inhibiting PCSK9.

Red yeast rice is known for its natural ability to lower cholesterol. A study found that taking it with berberine may offer greater protection against cholesterol with fewer serious side effects than statin therapy.

Studies on animals have shown that berberine can reduce abnormally high blood fat and lipid concentrations by increasing cholesterol excretion from the liver and decreasing cholesterol absorption in the intestines.

Women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) can also benefit from its use due to its ability to reduce insulin resistance, improve lipid profiles (particularly low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and triglyceride levels), lower testosterone levels, and improve body composition (particularly the waist-to-hip ratio).

Combined with a healthy diet high in antioxidants or supplements like folic acid, coenzyme Q10, and astaxanthin, it can improve blood pressure and circulation in people with metabolic syndrome.

May Help Lose Weight

An enzyme called AMPK can be found in human cells and helps control metabolism. Adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase (or AMPK) is triggered by berberine. This hormone is also referred to as the "metabolic master switch."

By activating AMPK, Berberine has the potential to prevent the accumulation of fat and to shield against metabolic syndrome.

In a study published in Phytomedicine, obese adults were given berberine in dosages of 500 milligrams, three times per day, for a period of 12 weeks. The patient's body weight, metabolic panel, blood lipid and hormone levels, inflammatory factor expression, complete blood count, and electrocardiogram were analyzed to determine whether or not the treatment was effective and whether or not it was safe.

Based on the findings of this study, berberine is a powerful lipid-lowering compound that also leads to moderate weight loss.

If you pair berberine with a fat burner, the results will be remarkable and will surely help you achieve the look you want.

Supports Heart Health

Because of berberine's ability to help keep blood sugar levels and obesity in check, both factors that can increase the risk of coronary heart disease, the compound has some beneficial effects on heart health.

Additionally, it encourages the release of nitric oxide, which is a signaling molecule that relaxes the arteries, boosts blood flow, reduces blood pressure, and guards against the development of atherosclerosis.

In a study published in the World Journal of Cardiology, people who took berberine had better heart function and were better able to exercise than those who took a placebo. The study looked at how the two groups compared. Because of its effects on the cardiovascular system, berberine may also have potential clinical applications in managing arrhythmias and treating heart failure.

May Improve Lung Health

According to the findings, berberine's anti-inflammatory properties benefit lung function. It has even been demonstrated that this alkaloid can mitigate the effects of the acute lung inflammation brought on by cigarette smoke.

For one study published in the journal Inflammation, mice were subjected to cigarette smoke to induce acute lung injury. Following this, the mice received an intragastric injection of berberine at 50 mg/kg daily. Cigarette smoke was found to cause inflammation of the lung's alveoli and cellular edema, another name for abnormal fluid retention. This was discovered through an examination of lung tissues.

However, pretreatment with berberine, which has anti-inflammatory properties, significantly reduced lung inflammation and improved the acute lung injury caused by cigarette smoke.

May Protect the Liver

There is preliminary evidence that berberine can help the liver by lowering blood sugar, insulin resistance, and triglycerides, all of which are markers of liver damage in people with diabetes and viruses like hepatitis.

Although more study is needed to confirm its protective effects against liver diseases, preliminary studies show that it may also benefit the liver.

Those afflicted with fatty liver disease may also gain from taking this supplement. In studies, berberine was found to have beneficial effects against hyperglycemia and dyslipidemia. Fatty liver disease may be treated more effectively by addressing the underlying causes and increasing glycolipid metabolism.

Potentially Has Anti-Cancer Effects

Increased attention is being paid to berberine hydrochloride's potential role in controlling the metabolism of cancer cells. This is because berberine has shown promise in inducing cancer cell death.

It is likely to become a natural component of the nanoparticulate delivery systems used for cancer berberine therapy due to its anticancer activity, specifically inhibiting the growth and proliferation of cancer cells. Studies at China Medical University demonstrated, for instance, that berberine induced apoptosis in human tongue cancer cells.

Dosage and Recommendations

You can purchase berberine in the form of a supplement, most frequently as berberine HCL, either on the internet or in the supplement section of most health food stores.

Be careful not to confuse berberine with piperine, an extract of black pepper, berberrubine, a metabolite, or berberol (a brand name mixture of tree turmeric and milk thistle).

Because berberine has such a short half-life, it is generally necessary to take this supplement in divided doses (for example, three times a day) to maintain consistent levels in your blood.

The daily dosage recommendation ranges from 900 milligrams to 1,500 milligrams. It is generally advised that 1,500 milligrams be consumed daily, with a dosage of 500 milligrams taken three times daily.

It is best to consume it while eating a meal or shortly after to capitalize on the spike in blood glucose and lipid levels naturally occurring after eating. Berberine's potential to cause stomach upset, cramping, and/or diarrhea, when taken in large doses all at once, is another compelling argument in favor of spreading your dosing throughout the day.

It is possible to determine the most effective dose for you by working with a professional specializing in natural health care.

Berberine is also applied directly to the skin to treat burns, and it is applied directly to the eye to treat bacterial infections such as trachoma, which can frequently lead to blindness. It has been demonstrated to be effective against various skin-afflicting bacteria, protozoa, and fungi.

Safety and Precautions

Before taking it, it is strongly suggested that you discuss it with your primary care physician if you have a medical condition or are currently taking any medications, including antibiotics.

Because it has the potential to lower blood sugar, diabetics who are already taking insulin or other medications to control their blood sugar levels should exercise extreme caution when using this supplement to prevent experiencing dangerously low blood sugar levels.

It also has a natural tendency to lower blood pressure; therefore, individuals with low blood pressure should also exercise caution when using it.

Nursing mothers or pregnant women should not take berberine.

If you intend to take it as a dietary supplement for longer than 12 weeks, you should discuss your plans with a medical professional.

All things considered, the safety profile of this alkaloid is exceptional. The most common and relatively mild adverse effects are associated with digestion. These include cramping, diarrhea, flatulence, constipation, and stomach pain, among other things.

Again, it is possible to steer clear of berberine's potential minor adverse effects entirely by adhering to the recommended lower dosages and taking them at regular intervals throughout the day and after meals.

FAQs

Why can't you take berberine long term?

It has been used for many years as a herbal treatment for intestinal infections, supported by extensive research. Despite this, it comes with a warning that its long-term use must be avoided because it may have unintended and antimicrobial effects on the gut.

It may kill the beneficial bacteria in your intestines, leaving you bloated and sick, and may even cause diarrhea.

It is generally agreed that you should not take berberine more than three months for two to three times per week. 

How long does it take for berberine to be effective?

Most studies looking at berberine are 90 days long. Therefore, it is reasonable to assume that you can anticipate seeing results within three months. However, some patients claim that they experience a reduction in their blood sugar levels within the first month of taking berberine.

What should you not take with berberine?

The risk of bruising and bleeding may increase if you take berberine with other medications that also slow clotting. Aspirin, cilostazol (Pletal), heparin, ticlopidine (Ticlid), and other medications are anticoagulants that prevent or delay the formation of blood clots. It’s best to ask your physician before using berberine.

What is the best form of berberine to take?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as the best form of berberine will vary depending on the individual and their specific needs. However, most people find that taking berberine in capsule form is the easiest and most convenient way to take it.

Conclusion

Berberine is a naturally occurring alkaloid found in various herbs. It is utilized in both Ayurvedic and traditional Chinese medicine treatments. It has been demonstrated to have antibacterial, antimicrobial, antitumor, and anti-inflammatory effects, lowering blood glucose levels. Berberine's benefits include, but are not limited to, its potential to treat diabetes, reduce high cholesterol, overcome obesity, protect against neurological diseases, support heart health, and enhance lung functions.

In addition, preliminary research suggests that it may effectively treat digestive problems, osteoporosis, burns, bacterial infections, and even depression; however, more studies are required.

Berberine's adverse effects are uncommon when the supplement is taken in recommended dosage. However, because of its potential to lower blood sugar and blood pressure, individuals taking medication should exercise caution when taking this supplement.

Reading List

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