There’s a good chance you’ve never heard of berberine, but this natural alkaloid can be found in many traditional herbs. Similar to turmeric, berberine was first used in traditional Chinese medicine, as well as Ayurvedic medicine practiced in India. When you look for its dark yellow pigment, you will find this compound in plants with a golden hue. While berberine supplements are known for their powerful antibacterial properties, benefits also include the ability to lower high cholesterol, support heart health, boost lung health, fight obesity, and more.
What is Berberine?
So what is berberine exactly? Berberine is an alkaloid found in a variety of traditional herbs. Goldenseal, barberry, goldthread, and tree turmeric all contain berberine. The alkaloid contains basic nitrogen atoms that have healing properties. In fact, berberine can be used as a natural medicine for many different health conditions.
1. May Help Treat Diabetes
So what is berberine good for? Studies suggest that berberine benefits may include the ability to treat diabetes. For example, research has shown that berberine is able to lower blood glucose to help prevent and treat type 2 diabetes. Berberine benefits also include the ability to treat type 2 diabetes complications, such as diabetic cardiovascular disease and diabetic neuropathy. Thanks to its ability to naturally improve insulin sensitivity, berberine may also be able to help reverse diabetes. (1)
2. Lowers High Cholesterol
Berberine benefits also include the ability to reduce cholesterol levels. In a study published in the journal Metabolism, researchers found that berberine was able to reduce serum cholesterol and triglyceride levels in type 2 diabetic patients. Furthermore, studies have shown that berberine benefits include the ability to decrease high concentrations of fats and lipids in the bloodstream and promote the excretion of cholesterol from the liver.
3. Combats Obesity
Wow – this simple compound combats obesity? Yep, berberine benefits include the ability to fight obesity. The alkaloid is able to activate AMPK, an enzyme in cells that plays a key role in regulating metabolism. So by activating AMPK, berberine naturally boosts fat burning and promotes weight loss. (2)
4. May Protect Against Alzheimer’s Disease
Turning to brain health, studies suggest that berberine benefits include the ability to protect the brain from neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. For instance, research has shown that berberine has neuroprotective abilities that work to counteract neurodegeneration. (3)
5. Treats SIBO
Berberine benefits include the ability to treat small intestine bacterial overgrowth or SIBO. People who suffer from SIBO have excessive bacteria in their small intestines, which can cause unwanted symptoms, such as poor digestion. According to a study published in Global Advances in Health and Medicine, an herbal treatment that included berberine worked just as well as antibiotics in treating SIBO.
6. Supports Heart Health
Berberine benefits the heart by maintaining healthy blood sugar levels and fighting obesity, both of which can help reduce the risk of coronary heart disease. Berberine also works to stimulate the release of a signaling molecule called nitric oxide. Nitric oxide helps to relax the arteries, increase blood flow, lower blood pressure, and protect against arteriosclerosis.
7. Boosts Lung Health
Last but not least, what is berberine good for? Berberine benefits include the ability to naturally boost lung health. Berberine has powerful anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce inflammation in the lungs related to smoking. Studies have shown that berberine supplementation can help protect the lungs from injury linked to inflammation. (4)
If you choose to use berberine supplements, find the highest quality and use them with guidance from a trusted health professional. But also focus on organic whole food sources for this amazing alkaloid.