Berberine shown as effective as metformin for high blood sugar
In functional medicine imbalanced blood sugar is a very common root cause. Luckily, it is is also one of the easiest things to fix. An important strategy in balancing blood sugar is a botanical called berberine.
The US faces an epidemic of blood sugar imbalances
Almost 84 million Americans, or about one third of the population, has prediabetes. This is also known as metabolic syndromes and is a precursor to type 2 diabetes and many common health disorders. The majority of people with prediabetes don’t know they have it. It increases the risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, obesity, autoimmunity, infertility, dementia, and other disorders. High blood sugar is so linked in the research to Alzheimer's that some scientists refer to it as "Type 3 diabetes."
Berberine for high blood sugar and diabetes
A natural plant compound, berberine is found within the stems, bark, roots, and rhizomes (root-like subterranean stems) of numerous plants such as barberry, goldenseal, Oregon grape, tree turmeric, and Chinese goldthread. Berberine is generally well tolerated and has been used in Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years to treat digestive issues and infections. The extract has a deep yellow color and is also commonly used as a dye. Recently, berberine has become known for its ability to reduce high blood glucose. By working at a cellular level, it helps move glucose (sugar) from your blood into your cells where it's most needed. Berberine is also good for you if your blood sugar levels are in normal range. Berberine activates AMPK (adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase), an enzyme that modulates how the body produces and uses energy. AMPK responds to changes in metabolism in the body and regulates fat, glucose, and energy imbalances. Metabolic syndrome, or pre-diabetes, happen when AMPK pathways are turned off by a high sugar diet and a sedentary lifestyle. This activates fat storage, reduced ability to burn fat, high blood sugar, diabetes, and energy imbalances. High blood sugar inhibits AMPK while exercise activates it. The effects of berberine's effect is similar to what you'd see in someone who increased exercise while restricting calorie intake because it activates AMPK, making it a useful tool in the management of type 2 diabetes.
Berberine as effective as metformin
Other known AMPK activators include resveratrol and the diabetes drug metformin. Scientists compare berberine to metformin because it is so effective at balancing blood sugar in both animal and human studies. Berberine also helps with other conditions that respond positively to metformin, such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), the reduction of weight gain from antipsychotics, and potentially cancer.
Berberine's many benefits
While berberine is most frequently considered for pre-diabetes, inflammation, and cancer, it can potentially help manage other conditions, including high cholesterol, obesity, small intestine bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), leaky gut, lung inflammation, Alzheimer's disease, and heart disease due to these actions. Berberine's benefits include:
To balance blood sugar, the recommended dose is 500 mg two or three times a day. Spread your dose out throughout the day because berberine has a short half-life. Take berberine with meals. Studies show gut bacteria is an important factor in transforming berberine into its usable form;supporting microbiome diversity increases its effectiveness. Eat a diet of varied and plentiful produce (go easy on the sugary fruits) and perhaps supplement with short chain fatty acid supplementation (SCFA) to boost your gut microbiome health.
How long can I take berberine?
Because regular use of berberine can affect cytochrome P450 (CYP) enzymes in the liver, researchers recommend using berberine for eight weeks with two to four weeks off before starting back up. Studies show that combining berberine with cinnamon increases its bioavailability. Additionally, cinnamon supports insulin sensitivity.
Cautions with berberine
Berberine does come with some cautions:
Berberine is UNSAFE for pregnant women and nursing mothers as it can pass to the baby's brain.
Berberine can interact with a number of medications, increasing the risk of adverse reactions.
Taking berberine together with medications that lower blood sugar can push it too low.
Berberine can lower blood pressure so use it with caution if you already have low blood pressure.
One of the main goals at RedRiver Health and Wellness Center is to work with patients to improve their health, wellbeing, and quality of life. The RedRiver Health and Wellness Center team is passionate about helping ailing patients achieve optimal health, and we truly care about the success of each and every patient.
RedRiver chiropractic physicians are great advocates for prescribing physicians and endocrinologists. In fact, many of our patients see their prescribing physician(s) more frequently while under our care than they would otherwise. Our goal is not to replace our patients’ primary care physicians and specialists, but to complement their care by providing patients with nutrition, diet, lifestyle and educational support and strategies. This way, patients can learn to manage their symptoms more efficiently. We have developed rewarding relationships with many prescribing physicians across the country, and we strive to continue to building relationships with MDs, DOs, NPs, and NMDs. When health professionals can work together for the benefit of the patient’s health, it becomes a win/win situation for the one who matters most—the patient.