There are a host of supplements that are available over the counter which continually promise the notion of better health. However, there is one specific supplement that stands out from the others, and that is berberine. It has been receiving a lot of attention recently, which would make one think that it is new to the market; however, this is far from the truth. It has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries, it is a yellow compound that is found in the roots and stem barks of a variety of plants, such as barberry, Oregon grape, and goldthread. Following are the possible health benefits of berberine.
Reduced Blood Sugar
One in ten individuals across America is considered to be suffering from diabetes, of which ninety to ninety-five percent have been diagnosed with the type II variant. Studies conducted recently on the possible health impact of berberine have caught the eye of health care experts that are seeking ways to combat diabetes.
According to research released in the 2018 Oncotarget review and Dana Hunnes, a senior dietitian at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, it appears as if berberine might decrease the blood glucose levels slightly and might be an effective solution such as metformin, the drug typically prescribed for diabetics. Even though additional research is required, it would appear as if a combination of metformin and berberine may allow for the reduction in the dosage of either drug and result in fewer side effects.
The leading cause of death in the United States is heart disease, and a major culprit for that is high cholesterol. As fatty deposits build up as a result of high cholesterol, they could result in arteries that become clogged and therefore this obstructs the flow of blood to the heart and other parts of the body. Reducing cholesterol aids in combating heart disease.
A study in Phytomedicine discovered that the obese participants, who were given 500 milligrams of berberine, three times a day for twelve weeks, saw a decrease in the levels of blood lipids and a slight reduction in weight. For individuals that are unable to tolerate statins, which is the main type of drug prescribed for high cholesterol treatment, berberine might be a safe substitute that they could consider.
Stop Recurring Cystitis & UTIs
Berberine has the potential to aid females in avoiding the burning and pain of recurring urinary tract infections or UTIs and cystitis which is the inflammation in the bladder. A randomized trial was conducted in 2018 and then published in the Journal of Chemotherapy, which provided three groups of different plant extracts in order to assess the impact they have in preventing the recurrence of UTIs.
Group A was given proanthocyanidins, which are compounds from the cranberry’s fruit juice that researchers believe are responsible for its ability to treat UTIs. Group B was provided with berberine, forskolin, birch, and arbutin, while Group C received berberine, birch, and arbutin. During the trial groups, B and C were reported to have reduced numbers of recurrent cystitis with a fewer median bacterial load while having the treatment and also after during follow-up, as compared to the group A participants.
Keeping our weight down and manageable protects us from heart disease, osteoarthritis, stroke, type II diabetes, and certain types of cancer. Berberine might aid with losing weight and help in the shrinking of belly fat. At the end of a study that provided thirty-seven males and females with 300 milligrams of berberine, three times a day for twelve weeks, the body mass index or BMI of these individuals dropped from within the obese range to the overweight range and they lost as the average of two inches from around their waists. Obese and overweight individuals might want to try out berberine in combination with an exercise regimen and a healthy diet in order to increase the loss of weight.
Provide Digestive Relief
The antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties of berberine might support the stomach microbine of individuals that have diarrhea, gastrointestinal illnesses, and bacterial overgrowth because of ulcerative colitis, IBS or irritable bowel syndrome, and various inflammatory bowel diseases. In a placebo-controlled study that was released in the Phytotherapy Research, individuals suffering from diarrhea-predominant irritable bowel syndrome were given 400 milligrams of berberine each day for eight weeks, which caused an improvement in the frequency and urgency of diarrhea and the pain in the abdominal area.
Might Aid In Preventing Certain Cancers
Colorectal polyps could be reduced by using supplemental berberine, as documented by a placebo-controlled, double-blind trial conducted in 2020 in The Lancet Gastroenterology & Hepatology. This study had approximately 900 individuals in China ranging in ages from 18 to 75 that had polyps taken out during a colonoscopy. Subsequent to the surgery, the individuals were assigned randomly to 300 milligrams of berberine two times a day or placebo and a follow-up was conducted one to two years after.
There were no individuals that developed colorectal cancer while in this study, however, those individuals that had the berberine had reduced recurrent polyps as compared to those that had the placebo. Researchers have documented that berberine could be a safe and inexpensive choice to aid in preventing colorectal cancer. There were also no severe side effects documented.