Berberine is an alkoloid present in a number of plants incuding barberry, tree tumeric, oregon grape, goldenseal, and goldenthread.
In recent years, the botanical extract berberine has been pushed from relative obscurity to the forefront of nutritional medicine.* Over a third of the approximately 2,800 studies on berberine listed on PubMed were published in the last 5 years. This important plant extract demonstrates significant benefits for glucose metabolism, maintenence of healthy lipid levels, insulin sensitivity, cardiovascular support, weight management, gastrointestinal health, immune function and cognitive support.
Berberine has strong antimicrobial effects against a wide range of intestinal bacteria and parasites.
Research has shown it can help to relieve irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), diarrhea and help repair leaky gut. In a study published in the journal Phytotherapy Research, 132 patients were randomized to either receive 400 mg of berberine twice daily or a placebo for 8 weeks. Symptoms of diarrhea, abdominal pain and any urgent need for defecation were recorded daily. The researchers also looked out for any side effects the patients may have experienced.
After all the patients completed the study, they were assessed for IBS symptom scores, depression and anxiety as well as quality of life. The participants in the berberine group experienced a reduction in diarrhea frequency, abdominal pain frequency and the urgent need for defecation frequency. The patients also noticed a reduction in anxiety, depression and improved quality of life, as can be expected when they received significant relief from their digestive problems. The majority of cases of irritable bowel syndrome are due to small intestinal bacterial overgrowth and/or dysbiosis, therefore it’s not surprising that berberine would be helpful.
One of the most celebrated studies on berberine compared taking 500 milligrams (mg) two to three times daily for three months with the diabetes drug metformin. Berberine was able to control blood sugar and lipid metabolism as effectively as metformin, with researchers describing berberine as a “potent oral hypoglycemic agent.”
*For further information about Berberine, see Dr Cabot’s book Healing Autommune Disease
*This statement has not been evaluated by the U.S. Food and Drug administration. The product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.