Your gut is one of the most richly populated microflora ecosystems on Earth! It contains an astounding number of bacteria that are necessary to not only impact your digestion but your overall health. Research has demonstrated that the microflora contained in the gut impacts the function of the gut, immune system, development of diseases such as obesity and diabetes, and possibly most importantly, the gut microflora can be greatly impacted by what you choose to put into your gut!
Berberine is a significant component of many Chinese herbal formulas and for a good reason, berberine can have a significant impact on the microorganisms in the gut and thus the health of your body. The effects of Berberine on the gut has stood the test of time in clinical practice and now modern research shows it has a significant impact as an antimicrobial aagent against dangerous gut bacteria, parasites, worms, and viruses. Specifically, Berberine can significantly reduce Staphylococcus, Salmonella, Clostridium, Proteus, Shigella, Vibrio, and klebsiella. Quite an impressive list; many of these names probably sound familiar from warnings about food spoilage and disinfectant advertisements.
Importantly, berberine has demonstrated effectiveness in combating Escherichia coli diarrhea and other microorganisms that can negatively impact the function of the gut. While acting against all of these dangerous berberine has been shown to have no impact on beneficial species like lactobacilli and bifidobacteria (the stuff in your probiotic).
Berberine is thought to act topically and to be poorly absorbed in the gastrointestinal tract. This means that berberine might be able to modulate important gut bacteria levels without having any direct systemic effects. But despite the fact that berberine is not absorbed by the gastrointestinal tract, it can still systemically affect your body because the microflora in the gut affect the entire body.
The benefits of Berberine are becoming so widely known it is rapidly becoming the “new tumeric”. Talk to your health care provider and ask if a Berberine containing supplement might be right for you.
Many people as they age notice their memory isn’t as good as it once was. Because this tends to happen as we get older we naturally tend to point the blame on “aging”. But could it be that as the years roll by the colony of microbes in your gut is slowly deteriorating, causing a lowering in your mental acuity? The more we understand about the gut microbiome the more we understand that, though “normal aging” may be the norm for our culture, age related diseases are not just a function of birthdays. Gut bacteria are in large part responsible for the health of our immune system, create important nutrients and enzymes for our health, and now, appear to have a direct relationship to our cognition and mental acuity. The gut microbiome is like a garden in your gut. Like any garden, this ecosystem needs a particular type of care and feeding for the system to remain in balance and flourish? Many people believe that by simply taking a probiotic or eating yogurt they are doing all they can to maintain their gut health. But this falls woefully short of the attention needed to create a happy microbiome. In fact, the notion that yogurt is good for you leads some people to eat copious amounts of yogurt every day, which can actually create an adverse terrain in the gut, causing the microbial flora to be out of balance. Instead of putting emphasis on getting in “good bacteria” you want to shift your attention to supplying the existing bacteria, some of which you can’t supplement anyway, with the type of food they want to eat. What do bacteria like to eat, you ask? Soluble fiber (not sawdust), which comes from eating vegetables and fruits (note the order of importance). So once again we are back to the fundamental truth, that you (and your microbiome) are what you eat, and that tending your garden properly can make all the difference in how you function and experience life as you age.