Berberine, an herbal supplement that’s typically extracted from the roots, rhizomes, stems, and bark of several different Berberis plants, is no exception. Berberine and similar plants like Golden Seal or Barberry have been used as antimicrobial remedies in traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine since the BC times.
Berberine has been found to limit weight gain, for example, and enhance brown adipose tissue (BAT) activity in obese mice. It’s also been linked to an improved cold tolerance. Some also use Berberine for its anti-diabetic effects. Specifically, Berberine has been shown to reduce glucose production in the liver.
In fact, in one recent test, Berberine was shown to be equally as effective at regulating blood glucose as a popular diabetes medication. When tested on humans and animals, a 1500 mg daily dose of Berberine was found to be equally as effective as taking 1500 mg of Metformin or 4 mg of Glibenclamide – two popular modern pharmaceuticals used to treat diabetes.
There is also evidence that Berberine has anti-depressive effects and works in synergy with anti-depressant medication. There may also be a link between Berberine and anti-inflammation.
How Does It Work?
Berberine primarily works by targeting an enzyme called AMPK. AMPK, which stands for AMP - Activated Protein Kinase, is a primal metabolism regulating enzyme in the body. Our bodies naturally secrete AMPK to boost our energy, especially during times when our natural energy levels are low, like in a time of crisis or when we experience a “fight or flight” response.
After Berberine raises our AMPK levels, it lets the AMPK enzyme take over the rest of the way. AMPK signals your cells to start taking in more blood sugar, which in turn improves their insulin sensitivity.
At the same time, AMPK reduces your liver’s production of extra blood sugar. Type II diabetic livers typically overproduce blood sugar. This same mechanism also reduces the release of free fatty acids, also known as triglycerides, into the bloodstream while boosting natural fat-burning in your mitochondria, which are the energy factories of your cells.