Berberine – A Powerful Supplement With Many Benefits

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Written by Eli Ben-Yehuda

On November 20, 2022

Berberine is an alkaloid found in the barks, leaves, twigs, rhizomes, roots, and/or stems of various plants, such as the barberry, Oregon grape, and tree turmeric. Traditionally, berberine has been used as an antimicrobial, antiprotozoal, and antidiarrheal agent in Ayurveda medicine and traditional Chinese medicine.

Most research in humans has examined berberine’s effects on markers of glycemic control, blood lipids, markers of liver function, and anthropometric parameters in people with metabolic disorders.

Here are a few health benefits of bererine that will help enhance your health.

Lower High Cholesterol

High levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and triglycerides may increase the risk of heart disease and stroke.

Some evidence suggests that berberine could help lower LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels. According to one review, studies in both animals and humans indicate that berberine has cholesterol-lowering effects.

It may help reduce LDL, or “bad,” cholesterol and increase high-density lipoprotein, or “good,” cholesterol.

A literature review found that berberine combined with lifestyle changes works better than lifestyle changes alone in treating high cholesterol.

Furthermore, a study of hamsters observed that berberine helps move excess cholesterol to the liver, where the body can process and remove it. This, in turn, helps lower total cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

Researchers believe that the effects of berberine might be similar to those of drugs that reduce high cholesterol, while berberine does not cause the same side effects.

Help With The Prevention of Cancer

Berberine can create changes within the molecules of cells, and this could have another potential benefit: fighting cancer.

One review found that berberine has “clear inhibitory effects” on the following cancers:

  • colorectal cancer
  • lung cancer
  • ovarian cancer
  • prostate cancer
  • liver cancer
  • cervical cancer

Another study states that berberine helps treat cancer by interfering with its progression and its typical life cycle. It may also play a role in killing cancer cells.

Based on this evidence, the authors state, berberine is “highly expected to be effective, safe, and affordable” as a cancer-fighting agent.

However, it is important to remember that researchers have only studied berberine’s effects on cancer cells in a laboratory, not in people.

Obesity: The Number One Cause Of Other Health Problems

Obesity is a common condition that can increase the risk of:

  • type 2 diabetes
  • heart disease
  • high blood pressure
  • high cholesterol

One Study reported that people who took 750 milligrams (mg) of barberry twice a day for 3 months had a significant decrease in weight. Barberry is a plant that contains high amounts of berberine.

Also, a double-blind study found that individuals with metabolic syndrome who took 200 mg of barberry three times a day experienced decreases in their body mass index readings.

The team behind another study observed that berberine may activate brown adipose tissue. This tissue helps the body turn food into body heat, and increased activation may help treat obesity and metabolic syndrome.

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Some research suggests that berberine works similarly to the drug metformin, which doctors often prescribe to treat type 2 diabetes. In fact, berberine may have the ability to change the bacteria in the gut, which could help treat both obesity and diabetes.

Is Berberine Safe?

People should speak with their doctor before taking products containing berberine.

Here are some possible risks, according to the NCCIH:

  • Berberine may interfere with other medications, such as metformin.
  • It is not always clear how much of an active ingredient is present in a supplement, which could lead to taking the wrong dose.
  • Adverse effects can occur if people take too much or if a person is susceptible.
  • There is not enough scientific information to prove that goldenseal and other berberine products are safe for long-term use.
  • Taking berberine during pregnancy or while breastfeeding could have a negative impact on the fetus or newborn.

Conclusion:

Research suggests that berberine could be a promising treatment for several conditions, including diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. However, more research is needed to show that it is safe to use as a treatment option.

Berberine is a natural remedy that could be as powerful as some prescription drugs. As such, people should use it with care and speak with a doctor before taking it.

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