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What is Berberine - The Benefits of this Traditional Chinese Medicine for Diabetes & Cholesterol

What is Berberine - The Benefits of this Traditional Chinese Medicine for Diabetes & Cholesterol

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) there are 22 herbs used to treat metabolic syndrome. Of these herbs, the compound berberine stands out as a potent medication in the treatment of metabolic syndrome.

Metabolic syndrome is a precursor to a wide range of chronic illnesses. For example diabetes, obesity and high blood pressure are all intricately linked. In fact there’s a diverse group of ailments that arise when a person is suffering from metabolic syndrome. For example high cholesterol, and increased blood pressure. As well as an increased risk for developing heart disease.

Thankfully metabolic syndrome can be reversed in most cases using natural methods. Including incorporating powerful herbs like berberine into your diet.

In this article we’ll focus on berberine and how it can help reverse metabolic syndrome.

  • Berberine

    Firstly, What Is Berberine & What Is It Used For?

    Berberine or berberine hydrochloride is a naturally occurring alkaloid (salt) that provides many health benefits. Several plants contain this phytochemical. Such as tree turmeric, goldenseal, Oregon grape and barberry. Despite tree turmeric and turmeric sounding the same, they’re not. Berberine is the main active compound in tree turmeric and has powerful anti-diabetic properties. Plant turmeric on the other hand is a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory food thanks to the compound curcumin.

    Berberine is a bitter tasting compound that is yellow in colour. Although used for hundreds of years in TCM, modern science is now catching up with the health benefits of berberine. In China, berberine has been used to treat type 2 diabetes and hypertension. There’s growing evidence that berberine can be used in the treatment of infections, depression, fatty liver and heart disease. As well as helping in weight loss. Which we'll delve into later in this article.

    Related: 9 Proven Turmeric Benefits for Skin, Arthritis, Diabetes & More

    Is Taking Berberine Good For You?

    Berberine provides many impressive health benefits. People with metabolic syndrome or diabetes are most likely to benefit from taking berberine. It can also be taken as an anti-aging supplement or to prevent the onset of chronic illness. Berberine has a short half-life, so you’ll need to take the supplement several times a day. It’s normally recommended to take 500mg three times a day, before meals.

    Berberine is an AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) activator that can balance blood sugar and insulin levels. It also activates the AMPK pathway. The AMPK pathway controls cell growth and autophagy (cell death). AMPK is an energy-sensing enzyme. Berberine is a supplement that has many healing properties such as being anti-diabetic, anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, and it may also reduce cholesterol. Popular in Ayurveda and traditional Chinese medicine, and has been for thousands of years.

    Related: Fulvic Acid - Is This The New Wonder Supplement?
  • Does Berberine Reduce Belly Fat?

    One of the more obvious signs that a person may be suffering from metabolic syndrome (or syndrome X) is belly fat. Or as the scientists call it visceral fat. That’s because, before you see the signs on the outside, there are layers of fat that build up on the internal organs. A good way to check is to measure abdominal fat. A waist circumference of more than 35 inches for women and more than 40 inches for men is one of the main signs of the onset of metabolic syndrome.

    The good news is that making simple lifestyle changes. Such as exercising and eating a balanced diet can begin to reverse metabolic syndrome. Berberine may also help speed up this process. One study found that patients lost an average of 3.6% of their body fat after taking berberine three times a day for 12 weeks. Another study found that taking just 300 mg three times a day reduced the participants body mass index from 31.5 to 27.4. Meaning they went from obese to overweight and many health markers improved.

    Related: Can Precision Nutrition Help With My Weight Loss Plan?

  • Berberine Lower Blood Suga

    How Does Berberine Lower Blood Sugar?

    High blood sugar levels is a tell-tale sign of type 2 diabetes. What's worse, is that high blood sugar levels can be corrosive to internal organs and tissues over time. Adding insult to injury. Additionally, many allopathic drugs cannot be used in diabetic patients due to contraindications in heart and renal health. That's where natural healthcare products like berberine can be life saving. An interesting study found that consuming berberine daily reduced fasting blood sugars by a whopping 20%.

    Studies have shown that berberine slows the breakdown of carbohydrates in the blood while boosting good bacterial growth. This is important, as carbohydrates break down to sugar. Therefore balancing carb breakdown will reduce the amount of sugar circulating in the blood. Blood sugar levels need to be kept within a tight band, much like the pH of the blood.  Berberine can also decrease sugar production in the liver and decrease insulin resistance. While also helping the body break down any sugars that might be inside cells.

    Learn more: 7 Tips for Naturally Controlling Your Blood Sugar Levels

    Possible side effects of taking berberine

    There are no known serious side effects from taking berberine. Notably, one meta-analysis of 27 studies on berberine that included 2569 patients found that there were no side effects. However other studies have concluded that there can be some gastrointestinal adverse effects in some people. Including stomach cramps, flatulence, diarrhoea and possible headaches. For this reason, it’s a good idea to talk to your healthcare provider prior to including berberine in your daily routine. Especially if you’re on other medication.
  • Conclusion

    Berberine has some powerful healing abilities

    Modern science is just beginning to catch up with ancient wisdom. Used for thousands of years in China, berberine has some powerful healing abilities. The main attributes come from the fact it can help stabilise the metabolism. In turn, this can lower blood sugar, reduce belly fat and help people with type 2 diabetes. With the sharp rise in both metabolic syndrome and diabetes worldwide, berberine is a potent herb that’s important in modern times.

    Written by Rowanna Watson, who has a passion for natural health. Rowanna is an expert in all areas of holistic health, plant-based nutrition, detoxification Written by best-selling author and integrative nutrition health coach and personal development.

    Water for Health Ltd began trading in 2007 with the goal of positively affecting the lives of many. We still retain that mission because we believe that proper hydration and nutrition can make a massive difference to people’s health and quality of life. Click here to find out more.