You’ve probably been asked at least once that if you were to end up on a deserted island and could only take one thing with you (short of a boat or helicopter), what would it be? Well, let’s take a variation of that question – one that is much less daunting – and it goes like this: If you could pick only one nutritional supplement to take with you to that deserted island, and assuming an endless supply, what would it be, and why? We can think of several, but one great choice would be berberine.
Why? Because not only has berberine been used for health and medicinal purposes for hundreds of years, establishing a great track record of success not easily debated, but also because it has proven effective in benefiting our health in so many ways. Berberine is a true Jack (or Jill) of all trades when it comes to supplementation that covers most, if not all the bases. It’s a proven commodity, both in terms of being time-proven and results-oriented.
Berberine: Bright Color, Bitter Taste
Berberine is a yellow, bitter-tasting alkaloid compound that can be sourced from several types of herbs and plants (such as goldenseal, barberry, and Oregon grape), per articles.mercola.com and draxe.com, and it has been a staple used in Ayurvedic and traditional Chinese medical practices dating back centuries. It plays a key role in many of the body’s physiological processes, a trait attributable to its rare ability to activate AMPK (adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase), an enzyme also known as the “metabolic master switch.”
As an alkaloid, berberine belongs to a group of organic plant-based compounds that contain ample supplies of basic nitrogen atoms that produce vivid physiological actions on people. And it’s not like this is all just professional speculation or science based on a few studies with little volunteer participation – reams of research on this alkaloid involving repeated double-blind clinical trials are already in the books.
8 Great Berberine Health Benefits
It’s a long list when you take stock of the robust health-generating powers of berberine, but let’s look at a “great eight” of the popular chemical’s various, verifiable benefits:
- Diabetes. One study referenced at draxe.com found berberine able to reduce blood glucose, an asset that makes berberine useful in helping to treat type 2 diabetes, a disease that, per drweil.com, is approaching epidemic proportions in the US. Other studies have found berberine capable of delivering benefits equal to what the diabetes drug metformin can accomplish.
- Heart disease. Berberine has shown potential in helping to ward off heart disease by lowering your chances of getting diabetes and becoming obese, two factors that bring increased risk of heart disease, per articles.mercola.com.
- Joint problems. Berberine has been shown helpful in animal models in helping to alleviate issues related to inflammation related diseases like osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, per selfhacked.com.
- Weight control. This is one of those health areas where berberine’s ability to activate AMPK is so helpful. By regulating metabolism, AMPK effectively stimulates fat burning in the mitochondria, thus helping to eat away at the body’s fat accumulations, per draxe.com.
- Gastrointestinal issues. For one thing, berberine is one of several compounds used in an herbal treatment that works just as well as an antibiotic treatment in helping patients suffering digestive issues like SIBO (small intestine bacterial overgrowth) symptoms, which are due to excessive bacteria in the small intestines, per draxe.com.
- Immune system issues. Berberine can play a role in bolstering immune system function by sustaining healthy gut flora, supplying antioxidant properties, and stimulating white blood cells that work to ward off infections, per articles.mercola.com.
- Depression. Berberine can ease the symptoms of depression through its apparent ability to raise the levels of serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine in the brain.
- Improved cognition. Per selfhacked.com, berberine might improve learning and memory by “stimulating cholinergic enzyme activity and reducing inflammation.” It can also thwart neuron destruction in patients that have a weakened flow of blood to the brain.