Berberine is no way new, its history of use dating as far
back as 3000 years where it was used in Chinese traditional and Ayurvedic medicine.
Berberine may support healthy weight management as part of a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle plan.
Whilst Berberine has a series of benefits, one of this important plant extract’s most significant benefits pertains to conditions related to metabolic syndrome.
This is because Berberine is one of the few compounds known to activate AMPK, which is an enzyme in the body’s cells. It’s sometimes called a “metabolic master switch” because it plays an important role in regulating metabolism.
BLOOD SUGAR BALANCE
The unique way in which berberine acts makes it a useful nature-based option for supporting blood sugar balance.
While Berberine has been shown to be as effective as Metformin in lowering blood sugar levels, Berberine has addition beneficial effects including helping to lower cholesterol and blood pressure, as well as reducing the overgrowth of harmful pathogens in the gut which in turn helps detox via the gut.
Both Berberine and Metformin reduced food intake, body weight, and blood glucose and HbA1c levels. Both treatments effectively restored the intestinal SCFA content, reduced the level of serum LPS, relieved intestinal inflammation, and repaired intestinal barrier structure. Intervention with Metformin or Berberine modified the gut microbiome in db/db mice, increasing the number of SCFA-producing bacteria (e.g., Butyricimonas, Coprococcus, Ruminococcus) and reducing opportunistic pathogens (e.g., Prevotella, Proteus). An increased abundance of other probiotics including Lactobacillus and Akkermansia was also observed. Berberine and Metformin can modulate the composition of the gut microbiome and reduce body weight, blood glucose levels, and intestinal inflammation in db/db mice, which demonstrates their effectiveness in the reduction of diabetic complications in this model.
As you know, having comorbidities such as diabetes increase your risk of a poorer outcome if you get COVID. Raised blood sugar and insulin levels predispose a person to diabetes. The Prevention Phases of COVID is the time to work on balancing your blood sugar and insulin levels. Berberine can be useful if used as part of a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle plan.
Berberine as Th1 immune cell support in COVID
(Hyrastis canadensis, Coptidis Chinensis) - Berberine has been shown to have activity across a broad range of viruses.273-280
Berberine has activity against RSV via upregulation of type 1 interferons.281
Type 1 interferons are key activators of NK cells and play a central role in antiviral immunity.282,283
The anti-inflammatory,284-286 cardioprotective,285,287 and antifungal effects of berberine have also been reviewed.288
One mechanism by which berberine downregulates inflammation is through activation of AMP kinase (AMPK).289
AMPK is a known activator of SIRT2,290 a known inhibitor of NLRP3 inflammasome assembly.23
Other mechanisms of berberine inhibition of NLRP3 have also been described.291-293
Berberine-induced AMPK inhibits IL-6-induced inflammation in human liver cells by inhibiting STAT3, the signal transduction factor required for Th17 cell differentiation.294
Berberine promotes the Th1 cytokines IL-12 and IFNγ and inhibits the Th2 cytokine IL-4.295-297
Berberine also has potential advantages in impacting clotting. Hypoxia inducible factor 1 alpha (HIF1α) has been described as a promoter of thrombosis.298-300
As the name implies, HIF1α is upregulated by tissue hypoxia. With poor oxygenation, higher HIF1α levels will drive more thrombus formation. As described before, neutrophil NETs offer an additional base material for clot formation.60
The combination of these factors may be a driving force in the extensive pulmonary microvascular damage seen in severe manifestations of COVID-19. Berberine has been shown to downregulate HIF1α.301-305
In a human trial with 130 acute coronary syndrome subjects receiving percutaneous coronary intervention, those receiving 300 mg of berberine TID for 30 days had significant reductions in matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-9, intercellular adhesion molecule (ICAM)-1, vascular cell adhesion molecule (VCAM)-1, C-reactive protein, IL-6 and monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1), all of which are inflammatory signaling molecules.306
Goldenseal is often used because its high concentration of berberine. In a study examining the inhibition of influenza A by berberine, goldenseal at higher dosages was found to be effective at inhibiting both growth of influenza A and production of TNFα and PGE2.307
It is noteworthy that curcumin, resveratrol, quercetin, and berberine have all been shown to promote AMPK.374
AMPK is a promoter of SIRT2, also known to inhibit NLRP3 inflammasome assembly.23
- Should you have a pre-existing medical condition, consult with a professional before using Berberine.
- Berberine may affect medications metabolized by CYP3A
- Berberine may decrease metabolism of cyclosportin
- Research trials [there are many - here is just 1] have that Berberine can increase insulin senstivity and lower blood glucose levels as effectively as Metformin. Thus, if you are taking Metformin to lower raised blood glucose levels, please check with your doctor before starting Berberine as taking both might result in levels of blood glucose that are below normal.
research for cautions
1. Berberine Lowers Blood Glucose in Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus Patients Through Increasing Insulin Receptor Expression
- DOI: 10.1016/j.metabol.2009.07.029
2. Effects of Berberine and Metformin on Intestinal Inflammation and Gut Microbiome Composition in db/db Mice