by Dr. Karl Nadolsky
Berberine, a plant alkaloid herbal neutraceutical, has continued to increase in popularity thanks to great research outcomes and word of mouth anecdotal evidence by patients. Another study has recently been published further confirming the outstanding improvements of glucose metabolism and lipid profiles in overweight patients.
Berberine treatment as a natural alternative to traditional diabetes medications has already been shown in studies to have very beneficial effects for diabetics’ hemoglobin A1c measurements by decreasing numbers 1-2% points along with decreasing LDL and triglycerides while increasing HDL. These findings along with a plethora of laboratory testing of potential mechanisms of action have intrigued wellness practitioners and patients alike for the reduction of cardiovascular risk factors.
One of berberine’s proposed mechanisms of action has been the effects on visceral adipocytes specifically, which are the fat cells within the abdominal cavity and cause the detrimental hormones and inflammatory markers which lead to insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome. This recent study by Yang, et al investigated the effects of berberine directly on preadipocytes obtained from human omental fat and clinically in patients with metabolic syndrome.1 Results of sixteen days of direct adipocyte treatment with induction of differentiation basically showed that berberine inhibits the growth of adipocytes and shifts preference to proliferation thus decreasing the detrimental effect of adipokines (hormones and inflammatory markers from visceral fat which cause the adverse physiology of metabolic syndrome).
The clinical study finished with 37 metabolic syndrome patients taking 0.3mg three times daily for 12 weeks without placebo comparison. The results showed improvement of all metabolic syndrome lab measurements in addition to leptin, adiponectin and HOMA-IR (measure of insulin resistance). There were no adverse changes to liver or kidney function tests. Specifically, waist circumference decreased by an average of 5cm, systolic blood pressure decreased by 12mmHg, diastolic blood pressure decreased by 7mmHg, hemoglobin A1c decreased from average of 7.1 to 6, and average total cholesterol, non-HDL cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, triglycerides, along with fasting glucose decreased from 260 to 223, 218 to 187, 143 to 111, 269 to 165, and 120 to 103 respectively.
Though this overall investigation did not include a randomized, placebo-controlled clinical investigation, the combined in vitro findings plus the consistent improvement of metabolic syndrome parameters is consistent with previous well-designed studies and continues to reinforce the optimistic outlook on berberine being an outstanding natural alternative treatment for metabolic syndrome, diabetes, and dyslipidemia.
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