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Berberine is one of the most effective natural supplements currently available. It has numerous outstanding health advantages. For example, berberine has been demonstrated to reduce blood sugar, promote weight loss, and improve heart health. It is one of the few dietary supplements that have been proven to be as effective as pharmaceutical drugs.

What Is Berberine?

Berberine is an alkaloid that is found in the twigs, leaves, barks, roots, and stems of numerous plants, including turmeric, Oregon grape, and barberry.  In traditional Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine, berberine has been used as an antibacterial, antiprotozoal, and anti-diarrheal agent.

How Does Berberine Work?

The main way berberine seems to work is by making the enzyme “adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase” (AMPK) work harder. AMPK is a master regulator of cellular energy homeostasis and is involved in a wide range of biological processes, such as controlling proteins, sugar, and lipid levels.

What Are The Benefits of Berberine

Berberine offers numerous health benefits:

1.     Reduces Cholesterol

Regular supplementation with berberine appears to reduce triglycerides, total cholesterol, and “bad” cholesterol in individuals with high cholesterol [1]. It functions differently from today’s typical cholesterol medications; therefore, it may be useful for treating individuals who are resistant to existing cholesterol-lowering drugs.

2.     Improves Heart Health

Heart disease is frequently accompanied by fatigue and irregular heartbeats. According to the studies, combining a berberine supplement with regular heart disease treatments reduces these symptoms[2]. Berberine also reduces the risk of death from cardiovascular disease with no apparent adverse effects.

3.     Helps in Managing Blood Sugar

Berberine has also been demonstrated to reduce glucose levels in diabetic patients. According to studies, it improves the body’s response to insulin and stops the liver from producing additional glucose [3]. Consequently, diabetics may find that berberine reduces their blood sugar levels.

4.     Reduces The Symptoms Of PCOS

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome can lead to insulin resistance, excessive cholesterol, and difficulty reducing weight. According to research, berberine assisted women with PCOS in controlling their cholesterol levels, decreasing their waist-to-hip ratio, and enhancing their insulin sensitivity.

5.     Weight Loss

Berberine is not a magical drug for weight loss, although it may assist those with a body mass index greater than 30 to lose weight. Two trials have demonstrated that three months of berberine supplementation results in increased weight loss[5]. This may be related to berberine’s ability to alter insulin and other hormones that may regulate fat cells.

What Are The Major Drawbacks Of Using Berberine

Even though berberine seems to be safe in normal doses, more research on its safety over the long term is needed. Some people who take berberine supplements have reported gastrointestinal side effects like stomach pain, flatulence, constipation, and diarrhea.

That is because berberine can lower blood sugar, but it may increase the risk of hypoglycemia when taken in large amounts. Berberine is also likely to interact with a number of other drugs, and some of these interactions can make it more likely that serious problems will occur.

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References

  1. Wang, Y., Yi, X., Ghanam, K., Zhang, S., Zhao, T., & Zhu, X. (2014). Berberine decreases cholesterol levels in rats through multiple mechanisms, including inhibition of cholesterol absorption. Metabolism, 63(9), 1167-1177.
  2. Derosa, G., D’Angelo, A., Bonaventura, A., Bianchi, L., Romano, D., & Maffioli, P. (2013). Effects of berberine on lipid profile in subjects with low cardiovascular risk. Expert opinion on biological therapy, 13(4), 475-482.
  3. Li, C., He, J. Z., Zhou, X. D., & Xu, X. (2017). Berberine regulates type 2 diabetes mellitus related to insulin resistance. Zhongguo Zhong Yao za zhi= Zhongguo Zhong Yao zazhi= China journal of Chinese materia medica, 42(12), 2254-2260.
  4. Li, M. F., Zhou, X. M., & Li, X. L. (2018). The effect of berberine on polycystic ovary syndrome patients with insulin resistance (PCOS-IR): a meta-analysis and systematic review. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2018.
  5. Ilyas, Z., Perna, S., Al-Thawadi, S., Alalwan, T. A., Riva, A., Petrangolini, G., … & Rondanelli, M. (2020). The effect of Berberine on weight loss in order to prevent obesity: A systematic review. Biomedicine & Pharmacotherapy, 127, 110137.

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