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Photo of Berberine Complex detailing health benefits

Known for its powerful effects on various aspects of health, especially blood-sugar control, berberine is a yellow compound that can be found in the roots, stems, leaves and bark of several plants. Berberine has a long history of use in traditional Chinese medicine, but today modern science has discovered and confirmed its impressive benefits. So what does the scientific research say regarding the potential health benefits of berberine?

How Does Berberine Work and How Can It Help?

Taken by mouth, berberine is ingested and then transported to the bloodstream before traveling into the body’s cells. It binds to several “molecular targets” (also known as cellular or tissue structures) inside the cells and changes their function. This is comparable to how pharmaceutical drugs work.

Berberine has a cholesterol-lowering effect, which may improve heart health. It also has the potential to help lower blood sugar – prevent Type 2 Diabetes – fight bacteria and help with digestion, and could even aid in weight loss. Berberine is one of the very few supplements that research has shown could be as effective as a drug.

What Are The Potential Health Benefits Of Berberine?

1. Regulates Blood Sugar

One in 10 Americans has diabetes – 90 to 95 percent of those have Type 2. Many studies show that berberine can significantly reduce blood sugar levels in individuals with Type 2 Diabetes. Research suggests the powerful compound does this by:

  • Increasing insulin sensitivity
  • Promoting insulin production
  • Regulating metabolism
  • Increasing glycolysis or its breakdown
  • Reducing glucose production in the liver
  • Increasing nitric oxide production, which helps widen arteries
  • Slowing carb absorption from the gut

Some clinical research also shows that taking berberine, 500 mg two to three times daily for two to three months, can reduce glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c), fasting plasma glucose (FPG) and postprandial glucose (PPG).

A bonus benefit is its affordability. Berberine supplements are usually inexpensive, which could make them an attractive option for many.

2. Berberine Lowers Cholesterol and Supports Heart Health

A leading cause of death in the United States is heart disease, and high cholesterol is a major culprit. As it turns out, Berberine has been shown to improve many things that lead to this.

LDL Cholesterol: LDL is the “bad” cholesterol that attaches to blood vessels and increases the chance of health problems. Berberine is thought to reduce LDL cholesterol. “In a meta-analysis of six trials, 229 patients with high cholesterol who took between 900-1,500 mg of berberine supplements per day saw improved LDL cholesterol levels with reductions of 20-50 mg/dL (about 25 percent reduction from the baseline)….” Read more here.

HDL Cholesterol: Berberine may help with Hyperlipidemia, lowering cholesterol and triglyceride levels while raising the HDL (“good” or “hero”) cholesterol. According to Natural Medicine – “Clinical research shows that taking berberine orally, alone or in combination with other ingredients, reduces total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, and triglycerides, and increases high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol.”

Hypertension: It can also have added benefits for reducing blood pressure when used in combination with amlodipine (a drug used to help treat high blood pressure). A meta-analysis shows that taking 0.9 grams of berberine each day, in combination with amlodipine, for two months lowers systolic blood pressure by 5 mmHg and diastolic blood pressure by 2 mmHg, compared with taking amlodipine alone.

3. Improve Body Composition

Berberine may also be effective in shedding those unwanted pounds. Studies have shown that it can cause significant weight loss and improve all sorts of health markers. For example, over a three-month study, those who took 500 mg of berberine three times daily saw remission of metabolic syndrome and a shrinking waistline.

In another study, 37 men and women with metabolic syndrome took 300 mg of berberine three times a day for three months. The participants dropped their body mass index (BMI) levels from 31.5 to 27.5. They also lost belly fat and saw better overall health.

4. Inhibit Bacteria and Aid in Digestive Relief

Known for its anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, Berberine may support the gut microbiome and keep it in balance. Healthy gut flora can influence many areas of our health.

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H. pylori (Helicobacter pylori) are bacteria that can cause an infection in the stomach or duodenum (first part of the small intestine). It’s the most common cause of peptic ulcer disease and can also inflame and irritate the stomach lining. Evidence in a recent study displayed that berberine can effectively restrict and kill H pylori in vitro, even in strains that have tolerated multiple drugs.

5. Improve PCOS

Berberine may improve some metabolic characteristics in women with the hormonal disorder PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome). Taking berberine has been found to possibly lower blood sugar, improve cholesterol and triglyceride levels, lower testosterone levels and decrease waist-to-hip ratio in those with PCOS.

Fertility: Though more research is needed, the compound is thought to offer benefits, including improved fertility and lowered risk for metabolic complications associated with this condition. A study published in Clinical Endocrinology showed that women who took berberine had higher pregnancy rates than those who took an insulin-sensitizing medication (Metformin).

Increasing insulin sensitivity: Many women with PCOS typically have insulin resistance, which means their cells don’t respond well to insulin, so insulin levels and blood sugar can rise. Research shows berberine may play a role in treating insulin resistance by increasing the body’s production and activity of the compounds known to help minimize insulin sensitivity.

While berberine has been shown to have a number of health benefits, it’s important to remember evidence is still limited. So be sure to talk with your health care provider about any supplements you plan to take.

How Do I Take Berberine Supplements?

Berberine is not typically found in foods we eat but can be taken as a supplement. Cooper Complete offers Berberine Complex for glucose metabolism support and cardiometabolic balance. This custom formulation contains berberine along with alpha lipoic acid to sustain proper insulin function and grape seed extract for additional antioxidant support. Each capsule contains 500 mg berberine HCI, 50 mg alpha lipoic acid and 50 mg grape seed extract.

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Printed from: https://coopercomplete.com/blog/berberine-health-benefits/