Berberine has been used for years as a natural health remedy. Assyrians in the Middle East used berberine as a blood purifying agent from about 650 BC. The Assyrians got berberine from the fruit of the barberry plant.
Along with berberine healing powers, it is also used as a dye for fabrics as well as a dye used when observing cells under a microscope.
What is Berberine?
Berberine is a plant-based alkaloid that consists of organic nitrogen-containing substances which can have powerful effects in humans. Plant alkaloids make up a large portion of plants used in natural medicine.
What is Berberine’s medicinal value?
Historically berberine was used to address inflammation, infection, high blood sugar, and bowel dysfunction. Treating poisonous bites or stings, reducing weight, and wound healing are additional ways in which berberine has been used by practitioners over the centuries, just to name a few.
Today, berberine is mostly used to support immune function, reduce inflammation, and reduce blood sugar. While the way berberine does all of these wonderful things is still being researched, numerous studies in both animal and human subjects illustrate the powerful effects berberine has on regulating how our bodies process and get rid of sugar as well as other toxins.
Berberine Reduces Inflammation
Berberine is known to provide anti-inflammatory properties that benefit brain health, gut health, and nearly everything in between.
Anti-inflammatory effects of berberine have also been found in the gut by reducing pro-inflammatory substances known as cytokines.* Studies in animal subjects also found that berberine reduced inflammation and oxidative stress in abdominal fat tissue when the animals were fed a high-fat diet. Berberine helped regulate the expression of many pro-inflammatory genes commonly associated with a high-fat diet.
Berberine Helps Balance Blood Sugar
Balancing blood sugar may be one of the most popular uses for berberine today. Several studies have proven the powerful effects that berberine has on lowering blood sugar and improving insulin resistance.
Berberine improves how well glucose is metabolized and broken down. This is done by activating certain enzymes found in our cells, including adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase, or AMPK for short. AMPK is an enzyme connected to metabolism control and has a significant impact on metabolism and how our bodies use sugar.
Berberine help reduces reactionary insulin spikes which can occur after eating a fatty or high sugar meal. This regulation and steady release of insulin allows for better and more stable glucose tolerance because your body isn’t in a constant state of glucose spikes followed by insulin spikes
A study of human subjects with elevated blood sugar found berberine decreased glucose levels in both fasting and non-fasting states. Berberine was shown to increase glucose disposal rate, putting glucose to work rather than letting it sit around and raise insulin levels and cause other issues.
When glucose-lowering benefits of berberine were studied, researchers also found that berberine reduced oxygen consumption. At first, reducing oxygen sounds like a bad thing, but when it comes to chronically elevated blood sugar, overconsumption of oxygen is a big problem.
Insulin promotes oxygen consumption, taking vital oxygen away from adenosine triphosphate (ATP) which is the chemical compound responsible for converting nutrients into energy. By reducing the available oxygen, cellular damage and dysfunction can occur.
Berberine has been shown to reduce oxygen consumption, even in the presence of insulin, making it a great ally and promoter of anaerobic respiration (glycolysis). Why does this matter when it comes to lowering blood glucose? Glycolysis requires more glucose to create energy, which means more glucose (sugar) is used rather than being stored in fat cells.
Berberine truly attacks high blood glucose on all levels – it improves glucose use and metabolism, it regulates insulin stimulation and secretion. And by correcting imbalances in blood sugar, berberine helps people lose weight.
Numerous studies have evaluated berberine’s impact on weight gain, specifically when it comes to holding onto or developing adipose tissue (fat). Studies have looked at regular diets and high-fat diets and have concluded that the addition of berberine lowers both the risk of gaining weight and the rate of weight gain.
Berberine has many other benefits to the human body such as reducing inflammation, boost immunity, Anti-aging, antioxidative benefits, heart health, and gut health.
According to Consumer Choices the top five Berberine supplements are: