Today, many people turn to Western medicine alternatives to treat their medical issues. Alternative remedies are beneficial because they are less expensive and cause fewer side effects. They allow individuals to be more in control of their treatments.
Berberine is a plant-based chemical that could help people reach their wellness goals. It may improve heart health and fight chronic diseases. Read on to learn more about the potential effects of berberine.
What is Berberine?
Berberine is a yellow chemical with a bitter taste. It is found in plants like tree turmeric, Oregon grape, phellodendron, and goldenseal. It belongs to the alkaloid chemical class.
This chemical has long been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Modern researchers believe it may treat various health conditions.
How Does Berberine Work?
Studies reveal that berberine works by activating an enzyme inside AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) cells. The cells play a role in cellular energy homeostasis. It activates glucose and fatty acid uptake when cellular energy is low.
In terms of overall health, berberine regulates metabolism and energy. It may also affect which genes are activated and which are dormant. It has the potential to prevent several health conditions.
What are Berberine Benefits?
Lowers Blood Sugar
Studies reveal that berberine may lower blood sugar levels. It may decrease insulin resistance, aid the body in breaking down sugar inside cells, reduce sugar production in the liver, slow carbohydrate breakdown in the digestive system, and boost “good bacteria” in the gut.
A 2008 study showed berberine can lower blood fasting sugar by 20%. It can also reduce A1C, a marker of blood sugar regulation by 12%. It improves total cholesterol levels.
Aids with Weight Loss
Berberine’s effects on the metabolism may make it an effective weight loss aid. One study showed that people who took berberine daily lost about five pounds of weight and 3.6% of body fat over 12 weeks.
A review of 12 studies revealed that it can reduce BMI, belly fat, and weight. It also decreases the inflammation marker C-reactive protein. It may also prevent fat cell growth.
A review of 16 studies shows berberine can lower overall cholesterol, increase good cholesterol, and reduce bad cholesterol. It also decreases blood triglycerides, a type of fat that circulates in the bloodstream. Its potential to balance cholesterol makes it a heart-healthy option.
It also reduces apolipoprotein, a heart disease risk factor. It lowers risk factors for high blood sugar, obesity, and diabetes which contribute to cardiovascular conditions.
Other Health Benefits
Other studies show that berberine may:
- May Support Mood Health: Animal studies have found berberine to be an effective mood promoter.
- May Support Against Inflammation and Oxidative Stress: Berberine’s antioxidant properties provide anti-inflammatory effects and reduce oxidative stress to lower the risk of chronic disease.
- May Benefits Liver Health: Berberine may reduce fat buildup in the liver and lower the risk of fatty liver disease.
- May Help Fights Infection: Test tube studies reveal that the chemical may help fight viruses, fungi, and bacteria.
- May Reduce Heart Failure: One study suggests that berberine can reduce symptoms and reduce fatalities associated with heart failure.
Many studies suggest that berberine has beneficial health effects. It may improve heart health, protect against disease, and boost mood. However, more research is needed to establish its medical advantages. Be sure to speak with your healthcare provider to see if berberine is right for you.
Will you add it to your medicine cabinet? To learn how to shop for berberine properly, read our article about selecting the best berberine supplement.