How Does Berberine Work for Diabetes?


Quick Answer

Berberine stimulates the body's metabolism through the activation of the AMP- activated protein kinase, reports Dr. Julian Whitaker. Increased AMPK activity improves diabetic symptoms through improving insulin sensitivity, thus increasing the amount of glucose removed from blood. Increased AMPK activity reduces the amount of glucose produced by the liver.

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Full Answer

AMP-activated protein kinase is a basic and general regulator of metabolism found in all plants and animals, reports Dr. Julian Whitaker. Berberine has a stimulatory effect on AMPK, and thus has a multitude of favorable effects on the body due to the general nature of AMPK. In diabetics, insulin sensitivity is improved, more glucose is taken up from the blood, and less glucose is produced by the liver. As of 2015, clinical studies indicate that berberine had identical results in improving blood sugar and hemoglobin A1c values as the prescription drug metformin.

In addition to these benefits for those suffering from diabetes, berberine has significant effects on heart health, adds Dr. Whitaker. In another scientific study, berberine lowered LDL cholesterol by 21 percent, triglycerides by 35 percent and total cholesterol by 18 percent. Participants taking berberine also experienced weight loss, especially in abdominal fat, as well as a drop in heart pressure. Other benefits of berberine include improved cartilage and bone density, and protection against neurodegenerative disorders.

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