Barberry or berberi, contains a library of compounds, some with strong medicinal activity.
The active ingredients are thought to be the isoquinolone alkaloids, especially berberine.
Berberis vulgaris (barberry) cotains berberine, an alkaloid present in other plants beside barberry.
These plants include Berberis aristata (tree turmeric), Berberis aquifolium (Oregon grape), Hydrastis canadensis (goldenseal), and Coptis chinensis (goldthread).
Although most well-known for its antimicrobial activity, it is claimed that this plant extract also provides benefits in blood-sugar management, lipid profile, insulin sensitivity, cardiac strength, weight management, gastrointestinal health, oncology support, immune modulation, and cognitive support.
That is one heck of a claim.
Berberine is an antimicrobial agent used to treat intestinal, yeast and fungal infections.
Berberine reduces hepatic fat content and may prefvent fatty liver disease.
Berberine helps to restore intestinal function
Berberine lowers LDL cholesterol and blood sugar levels.
Berberine has been shown to help modulate some of the factors associated with metabolic syndrome (MetS).1,2Although there is no agreed upon definition of MetS, a consensus between the International Diabetes Foundation and the American Heart Association/National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute defines MetS as the presence of any three of the following: increased waist circumference (≥102 cm in men and ≥88 cm in women), elevated blood pressure (≥130/85 mmHg), elevated blood sugar (fasting glucose ≥100 mg/dL), low high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol (<40 mg/dL in men and <50 mg/dL in women), and high triglycerides (≥150 mg/dL). MetS increases the risk for cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, fatty liver, and other sequelae.
In a small pilot study of adults (n=7 in final analysis) with a body mass index (BMI) of ≥30, subjects were given 500 mg berberine HCl three times daily for 12 weeks. Several aspects of metabolic syndrome improved, including a 23-percent decrease in triglycerides (from 134.9 mg/dL to 103.4 mg/dL), a 12-percent decrease in total cholesterol (from 197.6 mg/dL to 173.4 mg/dL), and an average weight loss of five pounds (not statistically significant).3
Thirty-two hyperlipidemic patients were given 500 mg berberine twice daily for three months, while 11 patients received placebo. Subjects taking berberine experienced a 35-percent reduction in triglycerides, a 29-percent reduction in total cholesterol, and a 25-percent reduction in low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol (all statistically significant); HDL-cholesterol was unchanged.4
In a study of 89 women with polycystic ovary syndrome and associated insulin resistance, berberine significantly decreased waist-to-hip ratio and LDL-cholesterol compared to metformin. Compared to placebo, berberine significantly decreased the area under the curve for insulin, triglycerides, total- and LDL-cholesterol, and increased HDL-cholesterol.5
Rats with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) developed increased glucose, insulin, and body fat, and hepatic steatosis concomitant with a down-regulation of insulin receptor substrate-2 (IRS-2) in liver tissue. Administration of berberine up-regulated IRS-2 mRNA, indicating berberine might benefit insulin resistance associated with NAFLD.6 Further animal research supports this mechanism and demonstrates that insulin receptor gene expression occurs via a protein kinase C-dependent pathway.7
Berberine was shown to improve lipid dysregulation - decreasing fat mass and improving fatty liver in obese rodent models.8 Berberine appears to inhibit adipogenesis in obese mice fed a high-fat diet - reducing weight gain, food intake, glucose, triglycerides, and total cholesterol levels.9This occurs in part by inhibiting peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-gamma (PPAR-γ) target genes associated with adipocyte differentiation.10
Tune-in to learn more
As you can see from this brief overview of just one of Berberine's many applications, the clinical possibilities are certainly exciting. Watch your email - we'll send you a link to our berberine webinar this Thursday, September 20, where you will learn more about this versatile plant extract and hear about a special offer that will enable you to incorporate high-dose Berberine-500 into your patients' wellness plans