Berberine – The Powerful Nutrient Partitioner

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Metabolic syndrome is the combination of a number of health conditions, including high blood pressure, obesity, type II diabetes, etc., that contribute to cardiovascular disease and death.

Rates of metabolic syndrome incidents have been steadily rising in recent years, with as much as 35-40% of adults in the United States being diagnosed with some form of metabolic syndrome. Even worse, it’s estimated that nearly 50% of people over the age of 60 have the condition as well. [16]

Related – Berberine for Overall Health: Benefits, Side Effects and Dosage

As the number of cases increases, so too does health care costs and prescription medications. Add all this together, and it makes for a very bleak outlook for those dealing with this disease.

However, researchers have uncovered an all-natural remedy that’s not only safe and effective, but also better than pharmaceutical drugs!

We’re talking about Berberine, and we’ve got a full breakdown as to how it can help you stay fit and even support muscle building.

What Is Berberine?

Berberine is a naturally-occurring plant extract with a long history of use in both Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine. Additionally, berberine has been used as a natural dye due to its rich yellow color.

It’s prevalent in the roots, stems, bark, and rhizomes of a wide variety of plants including tree turmeric (Berberis aristata), phellodendron (Phellodendron amurense, barberry (Berberis vulgaris), goldenseal (Hydrastis Canadensis), goldenthread (Coptis chinensis), and Oregon grape (Berberis aquifolium). [1]

Berberine’s glucose-regulating properties were first observed back in 1988 when researchers were investigating its use as a treatment for diarrhea in diabetic patients. [2] What’s really important to note is that berberine is one of the few supplements available with human evidence proving it to be as effective as pharmaceuticals. [3]

Now, let’s find out how this wonder compound works!

How Does Berberine Work?

Berberine is an incredibly exciting compound backed by numerous human clinical trials demonstrating its efficacy when it comes to enhancing glucose disposal. Berberine has the unique ability to increase an enzyme called Adenosine Monophosphate-Activated Protein Kinase (AMPK), while also inhibiting Protein-Tyrosine Phosphatase 1B (PTP1B). [15] When AMPK is stimulated, glucose uptake in muscle cells increases via the GLUT-4 transporter.

The end result of this cascade of reactions is heightened insulin regulation and glucose transportation – two characteristics which pay HUGE dividends for building muscle and warding off fat gain.

Additional Effects of Berberine

A number of other human and animal studies have uncovered several other mechanisms through which berberine enhances overall health, including:

  • Delays breakdown of carbohydrates into simple sugars [4]

One of the ways in which Berberine helps control blood sugar levels is by slowing the digestion of carbs from disaccharides to monosaccharides, thereby preventing release of glucose (a simple sugar) and subsequent spikes in blood sugar.

  • Improves memory and learning [5]

Berberine has been shown to enhance Long Term Potentiation (LTP) — an increase in the strength of synaptic connections in the brain benefitting memory and learning. Additionally, berberine also is able to reduce the rate of diabetes-induced memory lost via its antioxidant effects. [6]

  • Prevents fat storage [7]

One very interesting piece of research showed that showed that berberine can enhance human fat cell proliferation and inhibit fat cell enlargement. Obesity is primarily due to the increased volume of fat cells which are abnormally hypertrophic (i.e. large). [8] Researchers believe this can help reduce inflammation responses, improve insulin sensitivity, and speed fat loss.

Basically, it’s better to have a bunch of small fat cells than a few really big ones when it comes to shedding fat.

  • Combats diabetes [9]

Berberine lowers blood glucose in patients with diabetes by several methods, including reducing glucose production in the liver as well as lowering fasting glucose, postprandial glucose, fasting insulin, and HbA1c (a critical marker in tracking the progression of Type II Diabetes) by creating new insulin receptors.

Some research has shown that the powerful plant extract is able to increase insulin receptor expression as much as four-fold. [10] That’s extremely remarkable for an all natural product.

  • Enhances Weight Loss [11]

Not only does Berberine help control blood sugar and regulate insulin, but it can actually help with weight loss too. One intriguing piece of research had obese patients consume 500mg of berberine 3x per day (total 1,500mg / day) for 12 weeks. At the end of the trial, patients lost an average of 5 lbs – all without adding in any exercise or changing their diet.

Even more noteworthy is the fact that the patients receiving berberine also experienced a 23% decrease of triglyceride and 12.2% decrease of cholesterol levels. Not only is berberine great for weight loss, but also cardiovascular health too.

More Effective than Prescription Drugs

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a metabolic and reproductive disorder frequently associated with insulin resistance. A study of 89 Chinese women compared the effects of Berberine and Metformin on a variety of metabolic and hormonal markers.

Berberine was shown to be more effective than Metformin (or placebo) at reducing waist circumference, waist-to-hip ratio, triglycerides, LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, and total cholesterol. [12] Furthermore, Berberine also increased HDL (“good”) cholesterol and Sex Hormone-Binding Globulin (SHBG) more than Metformin.

Fights Fatty Liver Disease

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a disorder brought on by prolonged intake of high-calorie foods (imagine living on supersized fast food all day, every day). A critical side effect of fatty liver disease is impaired lipid metabolism, which can lead to a number of issues including vitamin and essential fatty acid deficiencies.

Clinical studies have shown that berberine can reduce liver fat content by > 50%. That same study also demonstrated berberine to be more effective than pioglitazone, a commonly used prescription for Type II Diabetes, at improving lipid markers and reducing body weight. [13]

Neuroprotective

Berberine isn’t just about making you look better and improving your metabolic profile, it’s also good for the brain too. Specifically, berberine may protect against certain neurological disorders including schizophrenia, depression, anxiety, cerebral ischemia, and even Alzheimer’s. [14]

Berberine Benefits

In all likelihood, your head’s spinning from all the dense reading you just completed learning how and what berberine does in the human body. Don’t worry, we’ve distilled the science mumbo-jumbo up top into an easy to read list of benefits that berberine offers.

Think of this as the “quick reference” guide to what berberine does:

  • Regulates blood sugar
  • Improves glucose disposal
  • Enhances glycogen stores
  • Prevents fat gain
  • Supports lean muscle mass
  • Combats type II diabetes
  • Limit weight gain
  • Enhance brown adipose tissue (BAT) activity
  • Protects against oxidative stress
  • Lowers triglycerides
  • Raises HDL (“good”) cholesterol

Dosage

Clinical research conducted in both humans and animals demonstrates that 1,500mg of berberine, split across 2-3 doses, is effective in improving blood glucose markers and controlling Type II Diabetes.

Any Side Effects?

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Fortunately, berberine has extremely low toxicity and no serious side effects, the same can’t be said for prescription drugs. [17]

One thing worth mentioning is that high doses of berberine have been none to result in some minor GI distress (cramping, constipation, etc.). To avoid this, it’s generally recommended to split your berberine doses across your day into 2-3 equivalent doses.

Best Berberine Supplement

So you’re ready to give berberine a shot, and wonder where you can get the full, legit dose of this all-natural wonder?

MTS Nutrient Driver provides the full clinical-backed dose of 1,500mg of berberine HCl in two servings. Not only will you get the nutrient partitioning powers of berberine, but you’ll also get a host of other glucose disposal agents including chromium picolinate, banaba, and r-alpha lipoic acid for optimal glucose disposal and blood sugar regulation.

References

1) Yin, Jun, Hanjie Zhang, and Jianping Ye. “Traditional Chinese Medicine in Treatment of Metabolic Syndrome.” Endocrine, metabolic & immune disorders drug targets 8.2 (2008): 99–111.
2) Ni YX. Therapeutic effect of berberine on 60 patients with type II diabetes mellitus and experimental research. Journal of Integrated of Traditional and Western Medicine. 707;8(12):711–713. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3478874/
3) Lan J, Zhao Y, Dong F, et al. Meta-analysis of the effect and safety of berberine in the treatment of type 2 diabetes mellitus, hyperlipidemia and hypertension. J Ethnopharmacol. 2015;161:69-81. doi:10.1016/j.jep.2014.09.049. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25498346
4) Liu L, Yu Y-L, Yang J-S, et al. Berberine suppresses intestinal disaccharidases with beneficial metabolic effects in diabetic states, evidences from in vivo and in vitro study. Naunyn Schmiedebergs Arch Pharmacol. 2010;381(4):371-381. doi:10.1007/s00210-010-0502-0. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20229011
5) Yin J, Xing H, Ye J. Efficacy of Berberine in Patients with Type 2 Diabetes. Metabolism: clinical and experimental. 2008;57(5):712-717. doi:10.1016/j.metabol.2008.01.013. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2410097/
6) Bhutada P, et al. Protection of cholinergic and antioxidant system contributes to the effect of berberine ameliorating memory dysfunction in rat model of streptozotocin-induced diabetes. Behav Brain Res. (2011)
7) Yang J, Yin J, Gao H, et al. Berberine Improves Insulin Sensitivity by Inhibiting Fat Store and Adjusting Adipokines Profile in Human Preadipocytes and Metabolic Syndrome Patients. Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine : eCAM. 2012;2012:363845. doi:10.1155/2012/363845.
8) Yin J, Xing H, Ye J. Efficacy of berberine in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus. Metabolism. 2008;57(5):712–717
9) Cicero, A. F., et al. “Antidiabetic properties of berberine: from cellular pharmacology to clinical effects.” Hospital Practice (1995) 40, no. 2 (2012): 56-63
10) Zhang, H., et al. “Berberine lowers blood glucose in type 2 diabetes mellitus patients through increasing insulin receptor expression.” Metabolism 59, no. 2 (2010): 285-292.
11) Hu, Y., et al. “Lipid-lowering effect of berberine in human subjects and rats.” Phytomedicine 19, no. 10 (2012): 861-867.
12) Wei, W., et al. “A clinical study on the short-term effect of berberine in comparison to metformin on the metabolic characteristics of women with polycystic ovary syndrome.” European Journal of Endocrinology 166, no. 1 (2012): 99-105.
13) Yan, H. M., et al. “Efficacy of Berberine in Patients with Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease.” National Center for Biotechnology Information. PLoS One, Aug. 2015
14) Kulkarni SK, Dhir A. Berberine: a plant alkaloid with therapeutic potential for central nervous system disorders. Phytother Res. 2010;24(3):317-324. doi:10.1002/ptr.2968.
15) Lee YS, Kim WS, Kim KH, et al. Berberine, a natural plant product, activates AMP-activated protein kinase with beneficial metabolic effects in diabetic and insulin-resistant states. Diabetes. 2006;55(8):2256–2264.
16) “High Prevalence of Metabolic Syndrome Found in U.S.” ScienceDaily, www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/05/150519121529.htm.
17) Tang J, Feng Y, Tsao S, Wang N, Curtain R, Wang Y. Berberine and Coptidis rhizoma as novel antineoplastic agents: a review of traditional use and biomedical investigations. J Ethnopharmacol. 2009;126(1):5-17. doi:10.1016/j.jep.2009.08.009.

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