“Nature itself is the best physician” – Hippocrates (father of medicine).
The most prominent figure in the field of medicine sure knew the importance of natural remedies and treatment. Human beings are natural creation and thus natural products are the best medicines they can administer. The human medicinal journey started with natural and herbal medicines. Chinese herbal products have been very prominent in this journey and date back to almost 500 years before. Chinese herbal medicines have helped a lot of patients treat and heal since the very beginning of medicinal treatment. One of those wondrous Chinese herbal medicines is Berberine, particularly may be helpful in diabetes and also improving the overall health of the human body. Researchers and medical scientists have studied Berberine and Diabetes and came to the conclusion that Berberine has unbelievable positive impacts on diabetic patients. Recent findings of the negative impact of artificial medicines have got doctors and scientists’ thinking of an alternative to these harmful products and what is better than nature to treat nature. So the medical experts are now reverting to the old school method of addressing ailments with natural solutions. This article describes the incredible effects of this beneficial natural supplement in detail with a special focus on berberine and diabetes.
What is Berberine?
Berberine is a bioactive compound made from the extract of different plants like Goldenseal, Barberry, Oregon grape and tree turmeric. It is growing in popularity in the United States lately but has been in use in Chinese and Indian medicines for thousands of years. The extensive healing and beneficial effects of the herb have now been recognized and backed by modern medical studies as well. Normally herbal medicines are very slow in their activities but it is considered as one of the most effective natural supplements like pharmaceutical drugs. Berberine affects our body at the molecular level and induces positive effects in various areas of the body. Medical research has proved it beneficial for lower blood sugar, weight loss and cardiac health, to name a few. Berberine has been called the natural metformin alternative which is an oral diabetes drug. Chemically, it belongs to a class of compounds called alkaloids. It has a strong yellow color which is the reason for its use as a dye. This author does not suggest replacing the advice of your doctor where medication is concerned.
How Does It Work?
Rigorous medical research on the effectiveness of Berberine has shown a very positive outcome. It has very strong effects on the different biological systems in the body. When we intake Berberine, it gets into the bloodstream and eventually reaches the body’s cells. It performs like pharmaceutical drugs inside the cells i.e. it binds to the various molecular targets and changes their function. This broadly describes the course of action as the biological mechanisms get too complex for the general public. However, one of the primary actions of Berberine is to activate an enzyme inside cells called Activated Protein kinase. The enzyme is also known as the “metabolic master switch” and is found in the cells of many organs, namely the brain, muscles, kidney, heart and liver. The enzyme performs the important function of regulating metabolism. Berberine and diabetes are closely related as it is proved to be very effective in countering type-2 diabetes. Berberine also affects various other molecules inside cells, and may even affect which genes are turned on or off.
The Incredible Hidden Treasure Berberine Benefits
Natural medicines are considered beneficial with no side effects but consumers complain of the slow and limited effects. Berberine, however, is one of the very few natural medicines that are as effective as pharmaceutical drugs. Various benefits of incredible herbal medication are as follows:
- The most advertised positive effect of this natural drug is countering diabetes. Berberine proves very effective in controlling the blood sugar levels and this is now backed by medical research as well. It is considered as effective as the popular diabetes drug metformin and is considered to be an alternative to pharmaceutical drugs.
- Studies have also shown that Berberine reduces cholesterol and triglyceride levels, while raising high-density lipoproteins ‘HDL’, sometimes referred to as the “good” cholesterol. This may lead to a decreased risk of a heart attack in the long term.
- A few studies have indicated that Berberine can cause significant weight loss while improving overall health. The scientists think that weight loss is a result of the improved function of fat-regulating hormones, such as insulin, adiponectin and leptin. Berberine appears to hinder the growth of fat cells at the molecular level as well but more research is required for a final opinion on this finding.
- Berberine has been termed as the wonder natural drug and has extensive positive impacts on the overall health of the human body. Concrete evidence is yet to be furnished by medical scientists. However, Preliminary studies show that Berberine might prove helpful in depression, cancer, infections, fatty liver and heart failure. It also has strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.
Berberine and Diabetes
Diabetes is a serious disease that has become extremely common in recent times, resulting in millions of deaths every year. It is indicated by elevated blood sugar (glucose) levels. Insulin resistance or lack of insulin is the primary cause of the disease. The elevated blood sugars levels damage the body’s tissue over time resulting in various health issues and a shortened lifespan. Numerous medical studies claim that Berberine may reduce blood sugar levels in patients with type 2 diabetes. Berberine has positive effects on blood sugar, triglycerides, and insulin and fat regulating hormones. Case studies have shown that Berberine is even better than pharmaceutical drugs in use. A combination of Berberine and sugar level reducing drugs worked more effectively than the drugs alone.
Berberine counters diabetic patients by inducing many positive effects as given:
- It decreases insulin resistance resulting in the effectiveness of insulin, which is the natural sugar level regulating hormone.
- Decreases sugar production in the liver.
- Reduces the breakdown of carbohydrates and increases the number of beneficial bacteria in the gut.
- It also activates activated protein kinase, which helps in regulating the way the body uses blood sugar.
All of these effects make Berberine one of the most effective diabetic medicines. It is likely to replace the common pharmaceutical drug metformin since patients with heart diseases, liver and kidney problems have side effects with metformin or other synthetic drugs. Berberine is preferred because of its natural origin and minimal side effects. Again, please do check with your doctor and discuss how Berberine might be a good fit for you.
Medical Studies Proving Efficacy of Berberine in Patients with Type 2 Diabetes
The positive effects of Berberine on Diabetic patients have been acknowledged by medical scientists as well. While it may take some time to get it acknowledged from the drug regulating authorities, its efficacy has been proved by a number of case studies. A couple of these are given below to let our consumers know that the hype about Berberine is real.
- ‘In summary, Berberine is a potent oral hypoglycemic agent with a modest effect on lipid metabolism. It is safe and the cost of treatment by Berberine is very low. It may serve as a new drug candidate in the treatment of type 2 Diabetes. ‘
Reference: Jun Yin, a,b, Huili Xing, a and Jianping Ye, “Efficacy of Berberine in Patients with Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus,” Metabolism Journal, May 2008 Volume 57, Issue 5, Pages 712–717.
- Metformin and Berberine share many aspects of actions and mechanisms despite different structure. Our findings and few other studies directly compare the efficacy of metformin and Berberine in treating Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus (T2DM). Since the side effects of Berberine are tolerable and controllable (usually gastrointestinal discomfort), clinical investigations to compare these two drugs are definitely feasible. Hopefully, more clinical investigation on the use of Berberine will be conducted in the near future.
Reference: Haoran Wang, Chen Zhu, Ying Ying, Lingyu Luo, Deqiang Huang, and Zhijun Luo, “Metformin and Berberine, two versatile drugs in the treatment of common metabolic diseases,” PubMed Case Study, 2018 Feb 9; 9(11): 10135–10146.
Best Berberine Supplement
Berberine supplement has been the recent trend in the medicinal field. Berberine was extensively used in Chinese herbal medicines and Indian Ayurveda. The extraction methods and use were different back then. Contemporary usage involves its use as a supplement. The best berberine supplement containing the natural herb helps to regulate blood sugar, reduce cholesterol, and provide digestive support. The effects last up to 20 hours so it is advised to take it once a day. Some of the unproven yet claimed benefits of the supplement include increased concentration and memory, as well as weight loss aid. Care must be taken while adding a supplement to your routine. The concentration, dosage and other components in the supplements must be checked to ensure positive impacts without any associated risks.
Berberine Hydrochloride (Berberine HCl) is considered to be the best supplemental form of Berberine. This form of Berberine has been widely studied and believed to be absorbed better by the body. The body most easily absorbs Berberine HCl (hydrochloride) which results in a stronger heartbeat and eases the negative effects of high blood sugar. Normally, it comes in bottle packing containing 500mg capsules. The advised dosage is two to three capsules a day and patients on other medications must consult their doctors about the exact dosage. Different companies are selling the supplement via their retail stores or online stores. However, consumers must practice caution while buying these products and should try to go for trusted natural health food stores only.
Possible Berberine Side Effects
Overall, Berberine has an outstanding safety profile and most of the studies haven’t associated any serious side effects with its usage. However, some of the reported side effects are given here for caution:
- It is reported to cause some digestive problems, such as an upset stomach, constipation or nausea. It may also cause a rash or headache in some people.
- Pregnant or breastfeeding women are not advised to use Berberine and any usage must be approved by a credible healthcare provider. Children must also prohibit their use.
- Berberine can lower blood sugar to harmful levels as well. Diabetic patients using Berberine with other blood sugar controlling medicines can experience very low blood sugar levels. Therefore, it must be used with caution in people with ongoing diabetes treatment.
- Berberine can lower blood pressure too. Berberine usage might increase the risk of blood pressure becoming too low in people who already have low blood pressure. Blood pressure patients should be careful in its use.
NOTE: Drinking plenty of water will lessen any “detox” effects Berberine may have. Water is also important to those with insulin resistance to help with blood sugar metabolism.
Contemporary and emerging research suggests Berberine as a promising supplemental aid for several conditions, including diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. Berberine is a natural remedy that is as effective as some pharmaceutical drugs. It has excellent therapeutic properties but may cause problems rarely so it’s always helpful to consult your doctor before using any new supplement.