5 Health Benefits of Berberine

Berberine is a compound extracted from several different plants, and has been used in traditional Chinese medicine.

Scientific research has now found berberine to have a variety of rather impressive health benefits.

This informs cells that they are low on nutrients, and should start conserving energy and accessing their energy reserves.

One of berberine's main mechanisms is to activate a 'master switch' for cell metabolism called AMP-activated protein kinase.

Berberine is one of the few supplements with effectiveness comparable that of pharmaceutical drugs. Here are 5 of this compound's most significant health benefits.

Berberine has proven to be very effective at lowering blood sugar, with benefits comparable to those of the antidiabetic drug metformin.

1: Reduced Blood Sugar and Risk of Diabetes

It works mainly by increasing cells' responsiveness to insulin. It also reduces the breakdown of carbohydrates in the gut.

Chronically high blood sugar can damage proteins in a process called 'glycation'. 

Berberine is able to reduce levels of glycated haemoglobin in the blood, which is a marker for average blood sugar levels over time.

1: Reduced Blood Sugar and Risk of Diabetes

While not as impressive as its effects on blood sugar, berberine appears to have a significant effect on cholesterol.

2: Reduced Cholesterol and Risk of Heart Disease

Berberine reduces total cholesterol, triglycerides and LDL ('bad cholesterol') while increasing HDL ('good cholesterol').

Diabetes, high blood sugar and high cholesterol are all risk factors for heart disease, the world's leading cause of premature death.

As such, it is unsurprising that studies suggest berberine to be protective against heart disease.

2: Reduced Cholesterol and Risk of Heart Disease

Some studies suggest that berberine supplementation can aid weight loss.

Berberine helps normalise fat-regulating hormones like insulin, and also appears to inhibit the growth of fat cells.

3: Weight Loss

Though it has yet to be demonstrated in human cancer patients, berberine shows promise as an anti-cancer supplement.

Studies suggest that berberine is able to suppress the growth and spread of various cancers in both animals and human cell culture.

4: Reduced Risk of Cancer

Berberine appears to show activity against a variety of pathogens, including influenza virus and Staphylococcus aureus.

In one study, berberine was found to reduce mortality in mice infected with influenza.

5: Protection From Pathogens