Berberine Supplements: What’s the Hype About?

berberine supplements
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News media is having a heyday over berberine supplements right now. As it turns out, the clinical data justifies the hype. 

Carrying excess body weight is not only a vanity issue. Excess body mass is associated with numerous health risks. Putting healthy efforts into maintaining a normal body weight for your size can boost your mood, sleep patterns, and cardiovascular health, and support normal insulin signaling and glucose metabolism [1]. Berberine may help from multiple angles here, including weight management efforts and the maintenance of balanced blood sugar.

Here, we will go over some of the background information that has led to the sudden burst of attention for this nutritive plant extract, and introduce our new, uniquely formulated berberine supplement.

What is Berberine?

Berberine is an isoquinoline alkaloid that comes from the root, bark, or stem of a few medicinal plant species [1]. Specifically, the high-quality berberine HCl in Metabolic Maintenance’s new berberine supplement comes from the bark of Phellodendron amurense, or Amur Cork Tree

Its history of use is ancient and applications varied. However, most clinical data supports berberine’s benefits to normal inflammatory balance, healthy cholesterol and blood sugar levels, healthy metabolism, and weight maintenance efforts [1,3].

Why is Berberine in the News?

Berberine is experiencing a burst of positive press as a plant-sourced alternative approach to simultaneously support metabolic health and weight maintenance. It supports healthy blood sugar levels and weight management efforts. And, as a nutritional supplement, carries no serious health risks when taken as directed.

How Does Berberine Work?

In the gut, berberine exerts positive effects on the microbiome. Berberine supplementation promotes changes in the microbial population in the gut [2]. The specific species of microbes it promotes typically secrete factors like taurocholic acid (TCA) and butyrate [2]. TCA can activate the intestinal farnesoid X receptor (FXR) which can then mediate the metabolism of bile acids, lipids, and glucose in the gut [2]. Butyrate is a short-chain fatty acid that is absorbed through the gut wall into the circulation, balancing levels of lipids and glucose in the blood [2] (read more about the benefits of a healthy gut here). 

Other benefits observed with berberine relate to its action on AMPK (adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase). AMPK is a systemic enzyme that influences how the body creates and uses cellular energy. It has been dubbed “the guardian of metabolism and mitochondrial homeostasis” and triggers a cascading effect on a wide variety of metabolic processes [3].

Berberine’s activation of AMPK is just one of multiple glucose-mediating mechanisms [4]. Berberine can play a role in healthy insulin signaling, regulating glucose metabolism, regulating blood lipid metabolism, protecting islet cells, regulating inflammation, and antioxidant effects [4]. 

Berberine activating AMPK and inhibiting an enzyme called PCSK9 both contribute to its role in balancing cholesterol and triglycerides [5,6]. Through these activities, it supports healthy arteries, a healthy heart, and proper cardiovascular function.

What is unique about Metabolic Maintenance’s Berberine Supplement?

Metabolic Maintenance’s new supplement, Berberine + Chromium is designed with extra support for healthy insulin signaling, glucose metabolism, and weight management. It contains Berberine HCl (from Phellodendron amurense bark extract), Chromium (as Chromium Polynicotinate), and Magnesium (as Magnesium Citrate). 

Supplemental chromium can also support blood sugar balance and healthy insulin response in the body [7]. There is a link between the current state of a persons metabolic health (or lack thereof) and how powerful chromium’s benefits are. More specifically, those who need more support are likely to see more benefits from this nutrient [8]. 

Chromium has also shown promise as a regulator of appetite and food cravings [9]. This benefit may be especially helpful for those who are making an effort to reduce extraneous body fat.

Magnesium is involved in your body’s ability to secrete insulin and may help your cells use insulin more effectively [10]. It also benefits blood sugar regulation in both fasting states and after a meal, for those who may struggle with glucose metabolism [10]. 

Together, berberine, chromium, and magnesium are a triple threat to support your metabolic health. 

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