Berberine has a long history of use in East Asian medicine. Research is now slowly bringing modern medicine around to recognize the many benefits of berberine supplementation. In hundreds of studies berberine has been shown to have effects on many important systems within the body. Yellow in appearance this supplement can be extracted from many different plants and has long been a mainstay of Chinese medicine.
Once ingested, berberine easily enters the bloodstream and travels to cells all over the body. One very important action of berberine is to activate an enzyme called AMPK, which is known as the “metabolic master switch”. This enzyme is found in all organs and tissues, thus berberine can help optimize wide-spread metabolic functions. A consequence of normalizing metabolism is the regulation of blood sugar. By helping your body metabolize more sugar more efficiently, berberine can significantly reduce blood sugar levels. In turn, this can lower high triglycerides and reduce the possibility of Type II Diabetes. Numerous studies have shown that supervised use of berberine has the ability to control blood sugar comparable to the common diabetes drug Metformin.
Because of its ability to increase metabolism of blood sugar and triglycerides, Berberine can also be effectively used to enhance weight loss. Unlike other weight loss supplements, berberine inhibits the growth of fat cells and improves the function of fat regulating hormones. Thus berberine improves overall body composition and significantly reduces fat in important locations, especially the waist Reducing fat around the waist improves other health markers, including reduction of aromatase, an enzyme that converts testosterone and DHEA to dangerous estrogens. So taking berberine can not only lead to a sleeker figure, but may reduce the potential for estrogen fueled cancers as well.
Berberine has also been shown to produce significant anti-microbial effects. As an antibiotic, berberine reduces the need for your immune system to create on-going inflammatory process to fight infection. If unchecked, a state of chronic inflammation can lead to excess cholesterol production, immune fatigue, depression, and metastasis of cancerous tumors. Indeed, berberine appears to hold a secret to regulating metabolic changes all over the body.
Appropriate use of berberine should take into consideration your current medical issues, current medications, and goal of treatment. The decision to include berberine in your supplementation plan should be made with a qualified provider. Just as there are many benefits to taking berberine there can also be some negative side effects if taken inappropriately. At Integrative Health Partners we are here to help you decide if berberine is right for you and to develop a supplementation plan to meet your goals.