Berberine – The Ancient Chinese Herbal Superfood and Body Rejuvenator

Article by: David Gracey
what is berberine nootropic?

Berberine; a natural weight loss supplement that helps promote healthy blood sugar levels and gut health. You don’t want to miss out on this one!

Reboot with this superfood nootropic and supplement to get the most out of life. Berberine is a nutritional powerhouse that promises an expansive array of benefits.

Eliminate sugar cravings. Reduce mood swings. Boost your energy levels and stamina. Think, focus, and concentrate better.

Increase your productivity and outshine ‘em all!

What is Berberine?

Berberine is an alkaloid quaternary ammonium salt with a distinctive yellow color and a bitter taste.

It is an active component of many plant species, including goldenseal, Indian Berberry, and Oregon grape.

This magical herb has been around for a long time, its first use dating back to 3000 BC in ancient China.

It was also commonly used in traditional Ayurvedic practices to treat a variety of conditions.

It has numerous therapeutic effects, including antioxidant, anti-tumor, anti-inflammatory, hypolipidemic, hypoglycemic, and hepatoprotective ones.

What are the Benefits of Taking Berberine Supplements?

Lowers Blood Sugar Levels

This powerful herb has shown to be effective at lowering blood glucose levels.

Research has shown that 500mg of berberine taken 2-3 times per day for three months can control glucose levels as efficiently as metformin or rosiglitazone.

Mechanism of action:

It also works to reduce blood sugar levels by activating AMP-activated protein kinase.

This protein helps regulate the utilization of sugar by the body.

Also See: BDNF the neurotrophin that activates the tyrosine kinase receptors

In addition, it also works by the following mechanisms:

  • By decreasing insulin resistance, it enhances the effect of insulin at lowering blood sugar levels
  • By increasing glycolysis, it helps the body break down sugar
  • By reducing sugar production in the liver

Studies have also shown that the combination of anti-diabetes drugs and berberine is better at controlling blood sugar levels than the drugs alone.

Another study concluded that using berberine in conjunction with a healthy change in lifestyle produced better results than lifestyle changes alone.

P.S. Regardless of its countless benefits for diabetic individuals, always speak to a doctor before starting this supplement. 

It may not work for everyone in the same way and also has the potential to react with other medications.

Lowers Blood Cholesterol Levels

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, and raised cholesterol is one of the primary risk factors leading up to it.

High cholesterol causes you to develop fatty deposits in your arteries.

When these deposits continue to grow and enlarge, they can make it increasingly difficult for blood to pass through.

They can also break down to form clots that can occlude the arteries and lead to a heart attack or stroke.

Mechanism of action:

Berberine produces cholesterol-lowering effects by moving excess cholesterol to the liver, where it’s processed and removed by the body.

This helps to bring about a reduction in both cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

Studies have shown it to possess cholesterol-lowering abilities. 500mg of berberine taken twice daily for three months seems the optimal dose for producing a marked effect at reducing blood cholesterol.

It has proven to be effective at lowering LDL (or bad cholesterol), triglycerides, and total cholesterol levels in individuals suffering from high cholesterol.

A great nootropic substance to stack with it would be artichoke extract or luteolin.

Research shows that a change in lifestyle in conjunction with berberine supplementation yield far better results for lowering cholesterol than lifestyle changes alone.

Helps Lower Blood Pressure

Hypertension (high blood pressure) is another major cause of heart disease.

Research shows that taking berberine supplements with your blood pressure medication can be more beneficial at lowering blood pressure than the drugs alone.

Mechanism of action:

Animal studies reveal that it causes vasodilation by activating BK calcium channels.  This helps lower blood pressure.

Aids Weight Loss

Being overweight or obese exposes you to a high risk of developing certain health conditions, such as high blood pressure, diabetes type 2, high cholesterol, heart disease, breathing issues, gallstones, and many more.

Maintaining a healthy weight is crucial for good health.

In addition to lowering your chances of developing many chronic diseases, it drastically improves your mental and physical performance and helps you live your best life!

Diet control and exercise are the key factors that help you achieve and maintain a healthy weight. However, supplements can aid your weight loss journey too.

Studies indicate that berberine has a role to play in weight reduction. They suggest that berberine functions similar to metformin, a drug used to control type 2 diabetes and obesity.

Mechanism of action:

It changes the bacteria in your digestive tract. Imbalances and alterations in gut bacteria (dysbiosis) have a role to play in diabetes and obesity.

By modulating gut bacteria, this natural healer helps control both diabetes and obesity.

Helps Treat PCOs (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome)

PCOs are a common condition in females characterized by an abnormal increase in male hormones.

It is a cause for concern because it may lead to other health conditions, including infertility.

Women who suffer from PCOs may have/or are at increased risk for:

  • increased body weight
  • high cholesterol
  • high blood pressure
  • Diabetes

Most doctors prescribe the drug metformin to treat PCOs.  Since berberine has the same effect as metformin, it is a possible replacement/adjunctive option for the treatment of PCOs.

Promotes Gut Health

Since it’s an antimicrobial agent, it can remove harmful bacteria from the gut and enhance the growth of healthy bacteria, thus restoring the gut microbial balance.

A healthy gut immunity is essential to preventing metabolic disease.

An imbalance in gut microbiota may be a risk factor for many pathogenic infections and may ultimately lead to chronic diseases.

This is the same reason why I drink Green Surge (a superfood greens powder) Every single day.

Research shows that berberine can help prevent ulcers by destroying ulcer-forming bacteria (H. pylori) when taken twice daily for six weeks.

Prevents Cancer

Research has shown that it also possesses anti-tumor effects and can suppress tumor metastasis.

Mechanism of action:

This wonderful herbal substance enhances the production of serotonin and dopamine in the brain, the two hormones that will boost your mood and help you relax!

Although it isn’t strong enough to replace your antidepressant drugs, it can benefit those with mild depression as an adjunctive aid to their medication.

Berberine also activates the sigma-1 receptor that plays a vital role in modulating various neurotransmitters and helps with memory & learning.

Activation of this receptor increases the release of dopamine and BDNF from the hippocampus and frontal cortex of the brain.

BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor) plays a vital role in synaptic activity and plasticity.

This leads to an improvement in mood and cognitive function. It also works to reduce stress and uplift your spirits!

Diabetes may cause some people to lose memory.

Studies show that it preserves long-term potentiation in synapses that have been lost as a result of diabetes.

May Improve Fertility

Some research suggests the role of berberine in improving fertility by improving the process of ovulation in women.

May be Beneficial for Alzheimer’s Disease

By altering beta-amyloid levels in the brain, it can be an effective therapeutic option for the treatment of Alzheimer’s.

Berberine is an anti-inflammatory agent and a neuroprotectant. Therefore, it may help with the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases such as AD.

It can easily cross the blood-brain barrier and affect the central nervous system following systemic administration.

Are There any Side Effects Associated with the Use of Berberine Supplements?

It is found to be generally well-tolerated by the body.  However, as with any medication or supplement, a few side effects are noted.

Listed below are some adverse effects commonly observed in individuals who consume higher doses of berberine:

  • nausea
  • diarrhea
  • constipation
  • headaches
  • cramping
  • bradycardia (slower heart rate)

What is the Proper Dosage of Berberine? (Dosing Guidelines)

The correct dosage depends on several factors, including your age, health status, and other conditions.

Talk to your doctor to work out the appropriate dosage for you that is suitable for you according to your needs and requirements.

The recommended dosage is 500mg twice a day.

To avoid gastric issues common with berberine supplements, try starting with an initial dose of 500mg only once a day.

You can then add another 500mg in the second week, and so on.

This supplement is only safe for short-term use.

Do not consume it for a long period.

(Important!) Berberine Drug Interactions: 

Since berberine has an effect on so many bodily functions, it has the potential to interact with a variety of different drugs as well.

Anti-Diabetes Medication (Metformin)

It has been known to lower your blood sugar levels by a significant amount.

Taking it in conjunction with diabetic drugs may cause your sugar levels to fall dangerously low and cause hypoglycemia.

If you take anti-diabetes medication like insulin, monitor your blood sugar levels while supplementing berberine.

Cyclosporine

Cyclosporine has to be broken down by the body to be eliminated from our system.

Berberine slows down the degradation of cyclosporine, causing it to accumulate in the body.  could pose harmful effects.

Medications metabolized by the liver (Cytochrome P450 2C9 [CYP2C9] substrates)

This herbal substance is to be taken with caution when consuming drugs like celecoxib, diclofenac, fluvastatin, etc.

It decreases the metabolization process of these drugs, thus altering their effects and possibly increasing the adverse effects of these medications.

Medications for High Blood Pressure (Antihypertensive Drugs)

It can also lower blood pressure. Individuals that take medications for lowering blood pressure (antihypertensive drugs) should be cautious and talk to their doctor before supplementing with it.

Taking it in conjunction with anti-hypertensive drugs can cause your blood pressure to drop too low.

Sedative Drugs

Berberine causes drowsiness and sluggishness in some individuals.

Be careful not to take it with sedative drugs as the combination could cause too much sleepiness and drowsiness.

Dextromethorphan

It also affects the breakdown speed of dextromethorphan in the body.  This might increase the effects and side effects of this drug.

Losartan

Losartan has to be activated by the liver to work. Berberine alters the activation of losartan by the liver, thus decreasing the effects of this medication.

Talk to your doctor before starting berberine if you take losartan for your health condition.

Precautions: (Pregant or Nursing)

Pregnancy:

Due to insufficient information regarding the safety of the usage of berberine during pregnancy, it is better to avoid use during this time.

If the mother takes berberine during pregnancy, it is possible for berberine to be transferred to the newborn child through breast milk.

Children (newborns):

It is not safe to be administered to newborns as it delays the liver’s activity in eliminating bilirubin. Bilirubin is a chemical produced by the breakdown of red blood cells.

This could result in kernicterus, a rare type of brain damage that occurs due to the accumulation of high levels of bilirubin in the newborn’s blood.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Below are some of the most common questions related to berberine.

What are the benefits of taking berberine supplements?

Berberine is an effective remedy to help treat a variety of health conditions, including:

  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Hypercholesterolemia (increased  cholesterol levels)
  • Obesity
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Mood disorders
  • Neurodegenerative diseases, such as
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Liver disorders
  • PCOs (polycystic ovarian syndrome)
  • Digestive problems
  • Treatment of certain kinds of cancers

What can I stack with berberine for maximum effect?

It is known to have low bioavailability when taken by mouth.

To increase its bioavailability in the body, we suggest stacking it with silymarin (or milk thistle).

According to WebMDThe terms milk thistle and silymarin are often used interchangeably, even though they aren’t exactly the same thing.  Silymarin is considered an antioxidant and an anti-inflammatory.

This will make it more bioavailable at a lower dose.

The benefits of silymarin combined with berberine make for the ideal combination!

What are some common side effects of berberine supplements?

The following adverse effects are noticed in people who take it for an extended period.

Digestive side effects, including;

  • constipation
  • nausea
  • upset stomach

Other effects include;

  • headaches
  • muscle tremor
  • gastric ulcers

What is the best time to take berberine supplements?

Take 500mg twice a day, preferably half an hour before mealtime.

If you have a medical condition, talk to your doctor to determine the appropriate dose for you.

What is the half-life of berberine?

The half-life of this supplement is approximately 4.8 hours.

My Final Thougts About Berberine as a Nootropic…

Berberine is a natural supplement that offers a plethora of benefits for both your mind and body.

There is a lot of research available suggesting that berberine promises treatments for many health conditions.

It could even be as powerful as some prescription drugs.

To reap the maximum benefits from this wonder supplement, consider adding it to your nootropic stack and thank us later!

About David:

Hey! I’m so glad you’re here. My name is David Gracey. I am a cognitive brain function researcher, avid biohacker, and self-proclaimed nootropic junkie of sorts! (And, yes, a bit of a nerd as well...) I created this website as an outlet to share my passion for self improvement and cognitive brain enhancement. Got questions? Shoot me a message!

 

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