Berberine is a little-known yet powerful supplement that can support gut health and manage blood sugar levels

There are many herbal supplements that you can take to boost your health. One of these is berberine. This alkaloid is naturally found in plants like the Oregon grape, barberry, goldenseal, and tree turmeric. Its medicinal use can be traced back to ancient China, where it was also used as a fabric dye due to its bright yellow color. Nowadays, there are already many studies supporting the health benefits of berberine. However, it is often overlooked because there are trendier supplements that claim to work faster even if they are less proven.

Once you’ve taken in berberine it gets absorbed in the digestive system. From there, it finds its way to the bloodstream, where it is taken into cells. Interactions between berberine and the different metabolic and cellular processes can boost a person’s health in many ways. Some of its most notable health benefits include the following:

  • Improving gut health — Taking berberine supplements can help restore balance in the gut microbiome. Studies have shown that this phytonutrient has potent antimicrobial properties, especially against the ulcer-forming bacteria Helicobacter pylori. It is also effective against other bad bacteria and the gut and fungi like staph and candida. These improvements in the gut microbiome reduce the risk of insulin resistance, diabetes, and obesity.
  • Maintaining healthy blood sugar levels — Conventional antidiabetic medications cause side effects like weight gain, kidney problems, diarrhea, anemia, and weight gain. Fortunately, berberine can be used to reduce blood sugar levels naturally. It is able to do this by enhancing the ability of cells to take in glucose and improving insulin sensitivity. In addition to this, berberine can prevent diabetes complications like nerve damage, slow wound healing, and stroke.
  • Promoting weight loss — Berberine is able to regulate the hormones that control appetite and satiety. It also helps obese individuals to lose weight by speeding up their metabolism. In one study, obese people who took berberine dropped to being overweight after just three months of taking the supplement.
  • Reducing cholesterol — Excessive amounts of low-density lipoprotein and triglycerides contribute to the development of heart disease, stroke, and inflammatory conditions. Taking berberine can help lower lipid levels and consequently reduce the risk of these diseases.
  • Boosting mood — If you’re feeling down, berberine can give you a much-needed boost. This phytonutrient works as an antidepressant and stimulates the production of feel-good hormones serotonin and dopamine.
  • Improving fertility — Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is a leading cause of fertility problems in women. This condition is associated not just with ovulation problems, but with insulin resistance and other metabolic disorders as well. By taking berberine, the effects of PCOS on the reproductive system are reduced. Previous studies have shown that berberine can improve pregnancy outcomes in women. Additionally, it can remedy PCOS without causing side effects like stomach upset, cramping, and diarrhea.
  • Supporting heart health — Berberine can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease by promoting normal blood pressure. When compared to conventional medications for high blood pressure, berberine proved itself to be the superior treatment. It also works by preventing cholesterol plaques from forming and clogging the arteries. (Related: Berberine is an alkaloid that plays an essential role in metabolic and cardiovascular health.)

Guide to taking berberine

There are many forms of berberine on the market. Among these, berberine HCL is known to have the highest quality. Although berberine doesn’t have adverse side effects, it is best to start taking low doses of this and work your way up to a full dose. On average, it is recommended to take 500 milligrams of this supplement two to three times per day. However, this may vary depending on why you’re taking it.

Like with other supplements, there are some people who are not fit to take berberine. Generally, pregnant and breastfeeding women should avoid taking berberine. Additionally, people who are taking medications like blood thinners or antidepressants should be careful of this supplement. This is to avoid side effects from unwanted interactions between the drug and berberine.

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