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I want to talk about berberine, cuz the research on it is quite amazing. Berberine has been used in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine for over 2500 years, but research in the West on the antihyperglycemic activities of berberine were first observed in 1986. Berberine is a mixed nutraceutical, meaning that it has several effects that we can divide into the broad categories of lowering blood sugar, lipids, and body weight. It seems to be effective for all the conditions involved in metabolic syndrome. I have several clients on it for cholesterol, insulin resistance and blood sugar. And the other day I was talking to someone with Diabetes 2 about it for their blood sugar balance and they asked me how does it work? So here we go down that rabbit hole. Berberine regulates glucose metabolism possibly through multiple mechanisms and signal pathways, such as increasing insulin sensitivity. Now for our listeners remember insulin is the key that unlocks to door to let glucose into the cell to be burned as fuel..
It also, apparently activates the adenosine monophosphate- (AMP-) which improves insulin resistance and promotes thenbreakdown of glucose, releasing energy otherwise known as glycolysis. By upregulating insulin receptors, it seems to lower the fasting blood glucose and fasting serum insulin
And also, the activated protein kinase (AMPK) pathway which is a major energy-sensing/signaling protein, which by monitoring cellular energy levels, it acts as a fuel gauge thus preventing metabolic imbalances. Both berberine and the diabetic medicine metformin, activate AMPK.
And this is interesting: Owing to AMPK inhibition, berberine is what is called normoglycemic, which means it only reduces elevated blood sugar.
Moreover, berberine’s antioxidant activity promotes insulin secretion and protects pancreatic islet cell (which are the cells that make insulin), from being damaged from Diabetes 1 and 2.
And Berberine may also reduce intestinal glucose absorption to lower the blood glucose, by modulating gut microbiota.
It also promotes intestinal glucagon-like protein secretion. And for those of you who aren’t familiar with glucagon it’s the opposite hormone to insulin. Insulin is a fat storing and cholesterol producing hormone and glucagon is a fat burning hormone.
In fat and muscle cell, several researches demonstrated that berberine may stimulate glucose uptake into cell by upregulating glucose transporter type 1 (GLUT1) expression which can act as an effective insulin sensitizing function. I really like Metabolic Xtra by Pure Encapsulations because it has additional blood sugar support with chromium, alpha lipoic acid and resveratrol. Clinical trials show 500 mg 2 times per day benefit blood sugar, microbiome, hot flashes, and cholesterol panels. I recommend 1 Metabolic Xtra, 3 times daily for three months. You can’t take berberine all at once because of poor intestinal uptake. But as with most herbs, it’s better to take berberine in multiple doses throughout the day anyway.
I recommend taking berberine for only 8 weeks at a time and then take a 2-week holiday so you can give your liver a rest.
And I do not recommend taking berberine when pregnant and be careful if you are already taking a diabetic medicine.
Talk to your health care practitioner.