Berberine is a compound derived from a variety of different herbs. Berberine-containing herbs have been used for thousands of years by various herbal medical traditions. Research into the effects of berberine show it is very effective for lowering high blood sugar, as well as treating many of the complications associated with diabetes mellitus.
Berberine-containing herbs historically have been used to treat toxic liver conditions such as hepatitis, as well as a compendium of conditions and symptoms associated with “liver heat”, fungal (such as candida) and bacterial infections (such as MRSA and staph) (1).
There are a variety of herbs around the world that contain berberine. Most of these include: goldenseal, Oregon grape root (US), barberry (US), greater celandine (US), coptis (China & Asia), phellodendron (China & Asia), guduchi (India), cardosanto (Mexico), California poppy (US).
From an herbalism perspective, herbs that contain berberine are “cold and bitter”. These types of herbs have historically been used to treat “heat” conditions, which according to various herbal traditions, often originate from or involve the liver.
Diabetes: Effective Herbal Solutions
Plants possess powerful medicinal properties. This is absolutely true of berberine-containing herbs. Diabetics who are searching for non-toxic, and non-drug alternatives can benefit greatly from berberine and herbs that contain this powerful medicinal compound.
Diabetes mellitus is a multi-factorial disease that involves many different complications. Its hallmark is chronically elevated blood sugar levels, with secondary complications involving highly inflammatory cardiovascular issues, and dysregulation of blood lipids.
Berberine herbs have been shown to attenuate a variety of biochemical activities. They truly are a remarkable class of herbs. Some of these include:
- Modulation of Blood Lipids – Unlike toxic statin drugs, berberine does not lower LDL via Coenzyme A inhibition. Instead, berberine acts to increase LDL expression in the liver via a pathway known as ERK, as well as through post-transcriptional down-regulation of LDL-R (2, 3). Studies have also shown berberine capable of lowering triglycerides and apolipoproteins B.
- Improved Endothelial & Mitochondrial Function -It is well known that the longterm effect of type 2 diabetes involves cardiovascular disease, associated endothelial dysfunction, and inflammation. Berberine has been shown to improve blood vessel integrity, reduce inflammatory cytokines and increase an important protein known as AMPK (activated AMP kinase) (4).
- Modulating Glucose & Insulin – Through a number of different mechanisms, berberine increases glucose uptake by cells and improves insulin utilization (4, 5, 6). Berberine increases GLUT-4 and GLUT-1, two different glucose uptake pathways in cells. Importantly, berberine decreases FFAs (free fatty acids), which are known to damage pancreatic function and insulin production (8). Berberine has been shown to be so safe and effective, researchers have demonstrated its ability to replace potentially toxic diabetic drugs such as Metformin (7).
Natural Solutions for Diabetes
Besides the use of powerful herbal compounds such as berberine, the most effective strategies and solutions for controlling hyperglycemia and insulin resistance is individualized nutrition. This means that the type of diet needed for you may be very different from the next person. From our experience, we have seen how high protein diets can work remarkably for some people, and terribly for others. And the same is true for vegetarian or plant-based diets. The apparent discrepancy is resolved when you realize that “one person’s food is another person’s poison”. Your metabolism is unique to you.
We’ve found that when supporting individual metabolism, blood sugar levels can be effectively controlled, inflammation reduced, function restored and outcomes improved.
Blood Sugar: 4 Steps To Optimizing Metabolism
When you consider the myriad of factors influencing your health on a moment by moment basis, you begin to realize how much there really is. We have found the 4 factors below absolutely essential for managing blood sugar naturally:
- Optimal foods for your type of metabolism – Important is balancing your macro-nutrient ratios. The correct ratio of protein to fat to carbohydrates is an individual affair. Once this is dialed in, your metabolism is becoming more efficient.
- Exercise & stress reduction – The benefits of exercise on blood sugar and cardiovascular health is well established. Remember also that regular exercise has a very positive effect on your stress hormones and mood. Stress hormones such as cortisol are out of balance for many diabetics.
- The use of powerfully supportive supplements and herbs – There can be tremendous benefit to various nutrient therapies for diabetics. Customized protocols can involve supporting every level of function including: blood sugar handling, anti-inflammatory, micro-vascular circulation, nitric oxide synthesis, liver and kidney function, stress reduction and hormone balance.
- Positive mental attitude – We are what we think. Both conscious and unconscious thoughts can sabotage our healing potential. Having a positive mental attitude has a powerful impact on our physical bodies, and researchers are beginning to understand the inseparable connection between our mind and our health.