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Saturday, May 16, 2015

Berberine / PROS AND CONS / You Decide

I recently read about the benefits of taking berberine (long used in Chinese medicine for lowering blood glucose levels among a variety of other benefits. I am a BIG FAN of most supplements using a naturopathic approach to the problem. I am NOT saying to rush out and purchase a supply of berberine with the goal being to eliminate your diabetes medicines such as Metformin and Glipizide for example. I am also NOT telling you NOT to look into berberine benefits and side effects. I am currently NOT on berberine and for me the jury is still out on this product.

Genesis 1:28-31English Standard Version (ESV)

28 And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” 29 And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food. 30 And to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the heavens and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so.31 And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.
I am not a scientist or a herbalist and even though I lean heavily on the side of natural medicine, vitamin and mineral supplements, green foods, amino acids etc. etc. I think each person has to research changes like this themselves and check with their type 2 diabetes doctor before stopping your current meds and jumping on the berberine band wagon. GO SLOW AND STUDY IT AND ASK QUESTIONS.

I first discovered an article on berberine in a book written by Dr. Mark Stengler, entitled "Natural Healing Encyclopedia".

page 204 / Research has found that the plant extract berberine can control type 2 diabetes as well as, or better than, common medications such as metformin (Glocophage), and Rosiglitazone (Avandia). and it does this WITH NO SIDE EFFECTS, WITHOUT DAMAGING THE LIVER AS SOME MEDICATIONS DO.

"Berberine is a naturally occurring compound found in the roots and stems of several plants, including Hydrastis canadensis (goldenseal), Coptis Chinesis (Coptis or goldenthread) and Berberis aquifolium (Oregon grape).

page 205 / In 2008 Chinese researchers published a study in Metabolish in which adults with newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes were given 500 mg of either berberine or the drug metformin three times a day for three months.  Researchers found that berberine did as good a job as metformin in regulating glucose metabolism as indicated by hemoglobin A1C (a measure of blood glucose over several weeks),,,Fasting blood glucose...blood sugar after eating...and level of insulin after eating. Berberine reduced the amount of insulin needed to turn glucose into energy by 45%! In addition triglyceride and total cholesterol levels were noticeably lower that those taking metformin.

The short article goes on to mention other studies and is essentially VERY favorable to berberine, It makes sense to CHECK WITH YOUR PERSONAL DOCTOR before going on this product or attempting to replace your metformin or other medicines on your own.

(THE OPPOSING VIEW) Courtesy of the following blog site:


Berberine Works But May Very Well Be Harmful

I have been getting a lot of email of late about the supplement Berberine, which appears to be the latest miracle cure being sold to those people with diabetes who believe that completely unregulated herbs imported from countries with long histories of food and drug adulteration are somehow safer and "more natural" than the tightly regulated pharamceuticals.

Berberine does appear to work to lower blood sugar. The problem is that we really know very little about how it does it or what its long term effects are on the body.  I see many mentions on sites promoting berberine supplements of the fact that berberine has a long history of use in Chinese medicine. However, quite a few of the traditional Chinese herbs have turned out to be highly toxic, and it's worth noting that the incidence of kidney and other urinary tract cancer among Chinese herbalists is far greater than that of the population at large.

(MY INPUT) There are a LOT of ways to lower one's blood sugar including exercising more and eating less carbs and sugar laden foods. Here are some the author of the BLOG does NOT recommend for obvious reasons:

You can lower blood sugar by damaging your liver as happens with severe alcoholism.  You can lower blood sugar with drugs that raise the likelihood of heart attack, as is the case with most sulfonylurea drugs.

You can lower blood sugar with drugs that over time damage the pancreas as is the case with the incretin drugs.

And you can lower blood sugar by taking drugs that turn bone precursor cells into fat cell, as happens with Avandia and Actos, which, over a decade of use of these drugs can lead to your developing bones so brittle that they are prone to breaking. 

Many of these severe, life-ruining side effects did not show up until people had taken these drugs for five to ten years. So the fact that a drug lowers blood sugar for three months in a small population without major harm tells you nothing about its actual safety.

Several mainstream studies claims to have found that berberine inhibits DPP-4 and raises the concentration of the incretin hormone GLP-1 which is the mechanism used by the incretin drugs Januvia,  Onglyza, and Trajenta. As discussed elsewhere, inhibiting DPP-4 can turn off a mechanism the immune system uses to kill cells that have become cancerous, which may make these a poor choice of drug. In addition, accumulating evidence is pointing to the possibility that artificially raising GLP-1 levels over a long period of time leads to the growth of abnormal cells in the pancreas which may grow into the ducts and cause pancreatitis or turn into precancerous tumors.

1 comment:

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