Berberine and Blood Sugar

April 24, 2018

Berberine and Blood Sugar

There are a lot of people who are struggling with blood sugar issues in this country. To put things in perspective, 1 out of 3 adults have prediabetes, and 9 out of 10 of that number don’t know they have it. Without proper intervention, they could easily risk becoming one of the 29.1 million people in the United States with serious blood sugar issues.1 There are also several factors that can increase risk, including age, family history, dietary choices, and even certain ethnicities.

Blood sugar support is something that everyone should try to invest in, both through dietary choices and appropriate supplements.  A great example of this is berberine. Read on to learn about where to get berberine and all the things it can do for you.

What Is Berberine?
One appealing thing about berberine is that it is a natural compound, found in several different plants. The most common source is barberry, but it can also be found in goldenseal, goldthread, and Oregon grape. Historically, it has been used as a dye, as well as a part of the ancient Chinese healing tradition, where it has been used to treat digestive issues and diarrhea. Recently, interest has grown in its other characteristics.

A major reason why berberine is so popular as a supplement is that it’s been shown to help with a wide variety of health situations. Among its many functions are activating an enzyme within cells called AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK), which plays a major role in the body’s metabolism.2 A lack of APMK is one of the primary causes of metabolic syndrome, which is a root of several conditions, including elevated blood sugar and obesity. Berberine is one of the few natural compounds confirmed to be able to activate this important enzyme.

One thing to remember when we talk about berberine is that not all sources and delivery systems are created equal. To increase your chances of success, it’s a good idea to invest in supplements that give you the best quality of berberine and the highest chance of absorption in the stomach.

A great example of this is Enzymedica’s Berberine for Blood Sugar Metabolism. Using berberine made from barberry seeds, this supplement is enteric-coated. This prevents self-aggregation and formation of berberine crystals that can reduce absorption. It also comes in targeted delivery capsules to increase absorption. This is particularly important because it had been thought that the body had difficulty absorbing berberine. Later tests revealed that it is well-absorbed, provided you get it from the right source. However, it metabolizes so fast that some blood tests failed to measure it.

The Blood Sugar Question
Metabolism is one of the major factors behind berberine’s use for maintaining proper blood sugar levels. Several studies have shown that berberine can help significantly in reducing blood glucose levels.3 This appears to happen in several different ways, according to a variety of studies on berberine’s effectiveness.  These include:

  • Helping the body break down sugars inside the cells
  • Decreasing insulin resistance (which causes the effects of insulin to be greatly reduced or neutralized)
  • Decreasing sugar production in the liver
  • Slowing the breakdown of carbohydrates in the gut
  • Increasing beneficial bacteria in the gut

One nice thing about berberine is that it appears to complement other forms of blood sugar support. It can also do a lot to support other health areas.4

We mentioned some digestive benefits in the previous list, and there have been some studies testing berberine as a part of a weight management regimen. In one study, 37 men and women with metabolic syndrome took 300 mg of berberine three times a day over the course of three months. They recorded a drop in BMI from 31.5 to 27.4. The study authors believed that this may stem from the ability of berberine to improve the function of hormones that manage fat, including leptin and insulin.5 Its heart support benefits can also stem from its role with AMPK, which helps dilate the blood vessels and slows the release of free fatty acids.

Berberine’s potential may extend even further. Studies have shown that it has applications for heart support via potentially lowering levels of cholesterol.6 It may even help support proper mental health and liver health.7,8

Berberine’s versatility means that it’s great for supporting a variety of health functions, but it also means there’s plenty of opportunities to interact with other foods, medicines and supplements that you may be taking. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but you want to know exactly what is going on. Before taking berberine or any other supplement, be sure to let your doctor or medical professional know.

  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Working to Reverse the US Epidemic At A Glance 2016, https://www.cdc.gov/chronicdisease/resources/publications/aag/diabetes.htm. Accessed 4/10/18.
  2. Tillhon M, Guamán ortiz LM, Lombardi P, Scovassi AI. Berberine: new perspectives for old remedies. Biochem Pharmacol. 2012;84(10):1260-7.
  3. Chang W, Chen L, Hatch GM. Berberine as a therapy for type 2 diabetes and its complications: From mechanism of action to clinical studies. Biochem Cell Biol. 2015;93(5):479-86.
  4. Dong H, Wang N, Zhao L, Lu F. Berberine in the treatment of type 2 diabetes mellitus: a systemic review and meta-analysis. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2012;2012:591654.
  5. 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. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2012;2012:363845.
  6. Dong H, Zhao Y, Zhao L, Lu F. The effects of berberine on blood lipids: a systemic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Planta Med. 2013;79(6):437-46.
  7. Yan HM, Xia MF, Wang Y, et al. Efficacy of Berberine in Patients with Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease. PLoS ONE. 2015;10(8):e0134172.
  8. Kulkarni SK, Dhir A. On the mechanism of antidepressant-like action of berberine chloride. Eur J Pharmacol. 2008;589(1-3):163-72.

Related Posts

  • Enzymes to Help with Your Ketogenic Diet
    Enzymes to Help with Your Ketogenic Diet

    The foundation of a ketogenic diet is the proportional regulation of your macro-nutrient intake. It requires your daily macro consumption to be high fat (60-80%), moderate protein (15-30%), and low carbohydrate (5-10%). This diet is popular f...

  • Probiotic Potency
    Probiotic Potency

    You may have heard about the benefits of probiotics and want to try it for yourself. So, you are determined to find a high-quality probiotic that is effective. The problem is that you may have no clue what CFUs are and why there are billions ...

  • Amylase – An Essential Digestive Enzyme
    Amylase – An Essential Digestive Enzyme

    As nutritional science advances, we are learning more and more about the important role that carbohydrates play in our overall health – whether you are eating too much of them, the wrong kind of them, or need to load up on them for athletic a...

  • How Cooking Affects the Nutrients in our Food
    How Cooking Affects the Nutrients in our Food

    It’s a common statement that we are what we eat, and there’s a bit of truth to it. However, stats show that we can actually absorb only from 10% to 90% of the nutrients available from any given food.1There are many things that factor into how...




Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.


Also in Articles on Natural Digestive Health and Wellness

Enzymes for Joint Health
Enzymes for Joint Health

May 25, 2018

Research has shown that living an active lifestyle can be beneficial for your musculoskeletal, pulmonary and cardiovascular health, but there can be a downside. High impact, repetitive physical activity can be taxing on your joints. But did you know that supplementing your diet with enzymes can help protect your joints?

Continue Reading

Apple Cider Vinegar: Better in Liquid or Capsules?
Apple Cider Vinegar: Better in Liquid or Capsules?

May 24, 2018

Apple cider vinegar has become one of the most popular natural health items lately, being touted for a variety of health benefits. It’s believed that one of the most important components of apple cider vinegar is something called “the mother.” Mother is composed of strands of proteins and enzymes that are found only in organic, unfiltered apple cider vinegar, which give it a murky appearance.

Continue Reading

Enzymes – Help for Occasional Digestive Gas
Enzymes – Help for Occasional Digestive Gas

May 23, 2018

You treated yourself to a mouthwatering three bean chili and a deliciously creamy milkshake. Now comes the dreaded gas and bloating to ruin your after-meal bliss. Has this ever happened to you? If it has, I can imagine that it has left you feeling extremely embarrassed. Occasional after-meal gas and bloating are signs of a digestive issue, and digestive problems can be caused by a variety of reasons.

Continue Reading