Berberine is an active compound in various plants used in traditional medicine. Many people claim this compound is beneficial for diabetes, high cholesterol, and parasitic infections. Berberine compounds can be found in several plants such as Barberry (Berberis vulgaris), Oregon Grape (Mahonia aquifolium), Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis), and Chinese gold thread (Coptis chinensis). In traditional Chinese and Indian medicine, Berberine has a history of use of 3000 years.
Berberine is believed to be very good for heart failure, diarrhea, infections, and other health conditions. But according to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH), when people take goldenseal orally (by mouth) very little berberine gets absorbed. Therefore, the results of the studies on berberine may not apply to goldenseal.
Berberine itself is said to have many beneficial effects. Often Berberine is used to alleviate diabetes or cholesterol problems, and some evidence does support these uses. Unfortunately, so far there have been few quality, large-scale studies on berberine.
Alleged Health Benefits of Berberine
Before taking berberine supplements, it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor first. And Berberine should not be used as a substitute for an approved medical therapy.
Likely Effective to help:
In the Thrush study, topical application of Berberine gelatin (5 mg / g) reduced pain and ulcer size in 84 thrush patients.
According to one meta-analysis, berberine may be of benefit in people with type 2 diabetes. However, the authors emphasize that the evidence is weak overall because there were not enough trials included, besides that this study had low methodological quality, small sample size, and a risk of bias. which is not identified.
In one study, berberine (0.5 g, 3x / day for 3 months) worked similarly to metformin (a diabetes drug). This compound reduced hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) levels, fasting blood glucose, post-meal blood glucose, and reduced triglyceride levels in 36 patients with type 2 diabetes.
In another study, 48 patients with type 2 diabetes who were treated with berberine had the same results and also reduced plasma insulin. Total cholesterol and LDL also decreased in these patients.
In another study, consuming 1 g / day of berberine was successful in reducing fasting and post meal blood glucose and levels of HbA1c, triglycerides, total cholesterol, and LDL (subjects were 116 patients with type 2 diabetes).
In mouse studies, berberine increased insulin expression, regeneration of beta cells (cells that make insulin), antioxidant activity, and decreased lipid peroxidation.
3. Lowering High Cholesterol
Both berberine and multi-ingredient berberine supplements (berberine, policosanol, red yeast extract, folic acid, and astaxanthin) administered daily to 40 subjects for 4 weeks reduced total cholesterol, LDL, and triglycerides and increased HDL (40 of these subjects had moderate cholesterol problem).
In another study with 32 subjects with high cholesterol, berberine supplementation for 3 months was very successful in lowering cholesterol, triglycerides, and LDL cholesterol. While plausible, the overall evidence for its beneficial effects on cholesterol is weak. Further large-scale study is required. However, based on laboratory experiments, scientists believe that berberine can indeed lower LDL through:
1. Increase the activity of LDL receptors in the liver.
2. Reducing the hepatocyte core factor 1alpha.
3. Inhibits lipid synthesis through AMPK activation.