Best of the Best: Berberine for Health Benefits
I don’t usually pick out a specific nutrient to write about. I am more focused on health problems and how to find the underlying cause and cure them. However, I’m going to make an exception with berberine because it is so good! It’s hard to even say all the benefits of berberine. This is something that can help almost any health problem!
HOW BERBERINE WORKS
Berberine is an alkaloid that comes from many different plants such as golden seal and barberry root. These alkaloids have many different effects such as:
- Turning on or off enzymes and DNA/RNA.
- Influencing how energy is made.
- By turning on a gene called AMPK, it blocks the use of glucose (sugar) for energy, causing the body to switch to fat-burning metabolism. This alone has huge effects on many common health issues.
Since many of the illnesses in the modern world are due to toxicity of glucose, shutting down energy from sugar is a good thing.
The other effects include:
- A direct and indirect antioxidant activity.
- As well as lowering inflammation.
This is probably the most studied and most useful herb with benefits for almost any illness.
BERBERINE FOR CANCER
Berberine promotes cell death (apoptotic activity) in many types of cancer, especially breast and colon cancer.Cancer cells require glucose for energy and if they don’t have it, they stop dividing. Berberine starves the cells of glucose for energy, especially the glycolysis pathway, thus shutting them off.
Breast cancer research is ongoing and very promising. Berberine binds to several proteins and DNA sequences to shut down breast cancer. Interestingly, there is evidence that a low dose can actually be counter-productive to treating cancer. There is one study to show that it is not good to use a low dose of berberine because it can block the normal mechanisms of cell death for the cancer. A full-dose of 1,500mg per day is best.
There have also been multiple studies on colon cancer. Berberine increases life expectancy with colon cancer by causing the cancer cells to get old and die. It seems to do the same with skin cancer.
BERBERINE FOR INFLAMMATION
Berberine decreases inflammation in the body by blocking the receptors for the chemicals that cause inflammation, such as leukotriene B4. This may work for many types of inflammation such as arthritis and hepatitis and colitis.
BERBERINE AS AN ANTIOXIDANT
Berberine has a direct antioxidant effect, and it also increases several genes that reduce oxidative damage to DNA. This is a similar effect to taking multiple antioxidant supplements such as vitamin E, vitamin A, carotenoids, and resveratrol.
BERBERINE FOR NEUROLOGIC DISORDERS
Mostly because of the antioxidant effects, berberine helps prevent and treat neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, schizophrenia, and Multiple Sclerosis.
BERBERINE FOR HIGH BLOOD SUGAR
By blocking the use of sugar, and making the body use more fat for energy, berberine can improve the metabolic problems of type. This is essentially the same effect of the high blood sugar medication METFORMIN (Glucophage). One study comparing berberine to placebo showed significant improvement in numbers:
- The HbA1c dropped from 8.1% to 7.3% (normal is less than 5.7%)
- Fasting plasma insulin decreased by 28.1%
- Total cholesterol and LDL (“bad”) cholesterol also decreased without a decrease in HDL (“good”) cholesterol.
The amazing thing is