In the field of plant-based alternative medicine, berberine is one of the most renowned substances. Berberine provides a variety of potential physiological benefits. Here is a look at five of the most popular benefits of berberine.
The Background on Berberine
Berberine is an alkaloid compound
that occurs naturally in some plants. It is harvested from the roots, leaves, and stems of barberry, tree turmeric, and Oregon grape, among other plants. Berberine has a history of use in Eastern medicine traditions, namely in Chinese natural medicine, and in the Indian Ayurvedic tradition.
Berberine has been scientifically studied, and has an established niche in plant-based medicine. It performs several different specific functions in the body, which contribute to a variety of potential benefits. Berberine activates an enzyme in cells known as AMP-activated protein kinase
. As a result, berberine helps regulate metabolism, and energy production at the cellular level.
Benefits of Berberine
The regulating effects of berberine can produce various benefits in your body. Some of these apply to specific conditions, such as diabetes. Other benefits help in a more general sense, by promoting overall health and wellbeing.
: Berberine has the potential to work against Alzheimer's disease. This benefit has been well-studied, and it is part of what makes berberine so unique. Berberine, per a scientific review, works against Alzheimer's by limiting the pathogenesis of extracellular amyloid plaques and intracellular neurofibrillary tangles. Its glucose-lowering and anti-inflammatory properties also work against Alzheimer's. Current science suggests berberine helps to prevent Alzheimer's disease, and to delay the onset of Alzheimer's symptoms after a diagnosis.
: Studies have shown that berberine can help work against various types of bacterial infections
. Among these is Staphylococcus aureus, also known as MRSA, a type of staph infection. Berberine has been shown to damage the DNA of certain bacteria.
: Berberine has the potential to reduce cholesterol
that is too high. Studies show that berberine can help reduce negative LDL cholesterol (low-density lipoprotein), as well as raise positive HDL (high-density lipoprotein). Other studies suggest that berberine helps move cholesterol to the liver, where it is processed. Berberine's positive effects on cholesterol levels can be as significant as that of some cholesterol medications.
: Berberine can be helpful for those with diabetes because of its ability to reduce blood sugar levels
. Some studies suggest it is just as effective as some diabetes medications, including metformin and glipizide. It does this in a few different ways: lowering insulin resistance, increasing glycolysis (the breakdown of glucose), and decreasing sugar production in the liver.
If you or someone in your family is at risk of Alzheimer's, has diabetes, or experiences high cholesterol, then berberine could be instrumental in improving health outcomes. Talk to your healthcare provider before taking berberine for the first time.