Berberine. Never heard of it, right? Don't feel alone, unless you have studied alternative medicine for many years, you would have not had the opportunity to 'bump' into Bernerines.
Berberine is a quaternary ammonium salt from the protoberberine group of isoquinolline alkaloids. Ok, so what is it really? It is an extract from, plants like the Oregon grape, goldenseal, Californian poppy, usually from the root and rhizomes. These you have probably heard of. These extracts have been used for thousands of years to treat problems like Candida overgrowth, yeast infections, parasites, even bacterial and viral infections. Recently, in the past 5 to 10 years, research has come to light showing the many other properties of berberine.
One of the most fascinating aspects of berberine use is in the field of diabetic treatment. This recent research has shown berberine to be very good at helping in the insulin resistance problem associated with diabetes. This is very good news for those suffering with diabetes and even the pre-diabetic syndromes, metabolic syndrome, insulin resistance (that has not yet developed into diabetes), etc. This alone makes berberine a very important tool that can be used in turning these disease processes around. More recent research, just in the past several months actually, bring more to light on this fascinating compound.
There are many problems associated with diabetes, including eye disease, kidney problems and even the dreaded neuropathy of the lower extremities. Let's start with the later, the neuropathy, which is a very common disability for those with diabetes.
An article published in the November, 2013 issue of the scientific journal Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology demonstrated the effectiveness of berberine in attenuating the high glucose induced neurotoxicity. This neurotoxicity is the cause of the neuropathy in diabetic patients. The research even discovered that berberine could and did "markedly enhance nerve growth factor (NGF) expression and promoted neurite (nerve cell) outgrowth in high glucose-treated cells". What this means is that the berberine can cause new nerve cell growth and possible reversal of the neuropathy. That is a big 'WOW' if you are suffering from neuropathy.
Let's move on to the eyes, another known problem with diabetes. In the October, 2013 issue of Molecular Vision, a peer reviewed journal, looked at the evidence of eye pathology due to diabetes. The evidence has been pointing to the fact that leukocytes (white blood cells) are involved in the pathology known as diabetic retinopathy. Another of the dreaded complications of diabetes.
Here the researchers that, indeed, the leukocytes in diabetic patients kill the retinal endothelial cells, the cells lining the blood vessels and lymphatic vessels of the eye. They also found that berberine can inhibit the leukocyte-mediated killing of vascular endothelium. Just a side note; even though this was done on the vessels of the eye, all blood vessels have an endothelial lining, including the heart, a very important organ.
One of the most disturbing problems associated with glucose (sugar) impairment, including diabetes as well as the pre-diabetic syndromes, is the polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) in females. This is the root cause of many of the fertility issues facing the metabolically challenged young female today, and one we see frequently in our practice.
One of the common medical treatments for PCOS is to treat the glucose impairment problem with metformin, a diabetic drug. In a large number of the cases of PCOS metformin can be effective. In the July, 2013 issue of Clinical Endocrinology researchers found "Berberine has a more pronounced therapeutic effect and achieved more live births with fewer side effects than metformin". It seems that with berberine we have a totally new tool to help these female patients with PCOS.
We at Doctor's Nutrition have been aware of the emerging new benefits of berberine and that was behind our development of our recently released formula Berberine Max. In this formula we provide 500 mg of berberine as well as some co-factors needed for proper utilization and further protection of the diabetic or metabolically challenged patient. These include Folate (as 5-MTHF), grape seed extract, phosphatidylcholine, as well as R-lipoic acid. This makes Berberine Max a great tool in the fight against the revenges of high glucose and diabetes. Clinically, we have seen remarkable reductions in the Hgb A1c of those we have used this formula with. Considering all this new and developing research, we have great expectations for this formula. If you, or someone you know, are dealing with diabetes or metabolic syndrome, you need the protection and help provided in Berberine Max.