Berberine for Blood Sugar Control
It’s not unusual for patients to ask me what I think of a variety of alternative medicines.
I take a very holistic view of medicine, but I know that just because a natural “medicine” has existed for eons, doesn’t mean it works…but it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t either.
Chinese or Indian Ayurvedic practitioners may not have known why something worked—just that it did.
That’s why I’m always interested in modern studies that explore age-old medicines. More often than not, we see there’s some truth hiding below the surface.
Today, I want to tell you about one ancient medicine that is proving its worth time and again, in study after study.
You’ve probably never heard of it. Drug companies have no interest, because it can’t be patented, bottled, and sold at an outrageous premium.
But it just might be a better way to deal with a whole host of conditions that are especially prevalent in today’s modern world.
It’s time you met berberine.
The yellow alkaloid that cleans your blood
Berberine is a yellow alkaloid—a compound found in many different types of plants. Everything from tree turmeric, to goldenseal and goldthread, to philodendrons, to European barberry.
It’s long been found in Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine, and as we research just what berberine can do, it’s easy to see why.
Berberine has a profound effect upon AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK). This protein is very involved in regulating your metabolism. When AMPK is activated, it helps us in a myriad number of ways.
It stimulates the uptake of glucose in your cells, lowering your blood sugar. Doubling the effect, it also reduces the production of glucose in the liver. And it increases your insulin sensitivity.
Put together, berberine has been shown to reduce blood sugar levels up to 57%, making it a godsend for diabetics.
In the days before insulin treatment, berberine was the closest thing to a cure that diabetic sufferers had.
Indeed, modern studies now say that berberine is an effective and useful treatment for, at the least, type II diabetes—it has proven just as effective as a common drug used to treat type II diabetes.
But that’s not the end of the story.
Berberine has positive cholesterol effects as well. Indeed—in one lab-controlled study, berberine reduced serum cholesterol 29%, it reduced triglycerides 35%, and it reduced LDL (the “bad” cholesterol) 25%.
Those are huge numbers. They compare favorably to any statin drug that is on the market. But berberine acts in an entirely different, safer, way.
And, just to sweeten the pot, berberine also has anti-inflammatory and antibiotic properties. It boosts your immune system. It can be used to clean wounds in a pinch. It even has anti-diarrheal properties.
Berberine deserves to be in your cupboard
For all these reasons, I recommend all my patients take berberine supplements daily.
A gram a day is enough.
Since inflammation is the greatest source of pre-cancerous cell damage, berberine’s anti-inflammatory properties can help fight cancer.
By helping fight invading bacteria, while boosting your immune system, berberine can help keep you healthy through the worst of cold and flu season.
And, if you are diabetic or have cardiovascular issues, berberine could help save your life. There are mountains of studies now proving berberine is one of the most effective regulators of blood sugar, and of cholesterol.
Best of all, it achieves these miracles without serious side effects. About the worst thing that happens is cramping or constipation when taking 1000 mg or more in a single dose. That’s why I recommend taking smaller doses several times a day—500 mg twice or thrice, for instance.
However, it can interact with some drugs that are broken down through the liver. Make sure you discuss berberine with your pharmacist before starting to take berberine or, if you’re already taking berberine, starting a new medication.
Once you’ve cleared that hurdle, though, I highly recommend you take berberine supplements daily. I’ve only just scratched the surface of berberine’s benefits. While the studies aren’t yet conclusive, there’s already good evidence that berberine can also help treat depression and reduce belly fat.
Berberine is easily one of the most accomplished and amazing supplements I’ve ever come across. Considering how many ills it can treat—and prevent—you should absolutely add it to your daily routine.
- Examine.com, “Berberine”, https://examine.com/supplements/berberine/
- Nature Medicine, “Berberine is a novel cholesterol-lowering drug working through a unique mechanism distinct from statins”, Wong et al, Dec. 10 2004 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15531889
- Artherosclerosis, “Berberine and plant stanols synergistically inhibit cholesterol absorption in hamsters”, Wang et al, Mar 2010 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19782362
- The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and And Metabolism, “Treatment of type 2 diabetes and dyslipidemia with the natural plant alkaloid berberine”, Zhang et al, July 2008 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18397984
- Metabolism, “Efficacy of berberine in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus”, Yin et al, May 2008 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18442638
- Whitaker, “Berberine: Research and Benefits”, Dr. Julian Whitaker, Nov. 11 2015 http://www.drwhitaker.com/what-is-berberine-research-and-benefits/
- Mercola, “Benefits of Berberine”, Dr. Mercola, Jun 22 2015 http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2015/06/22/berberine-benefits.aspx