If you are carb-sensitive, you may wish there was a “magic pill” that you could take that would make weight loss easier. Even better, this pill would mimic the effects of low-calorie dieting and exercise, while staving off metabolic diseases, cancer, and diabetes.
Incredibly, such a remedy exists… and has existed for hundreds of years!
Whether you just want to lose weight or if you have ongoing health conditions that limit your vitality, it can help to know of the benefits of an amazing herbal supplement used for over 1000 years in the Far East with great success. This supplement is natural and safe and can help combat insulin sensitivity and many other health risk factors, as science has now proven.
This natural herbal remedy is berberine.
What is it? Berberine is a yellow-colored plant extract (technically, an alkaloid) with several research-proven benefits to human metabolism. The berberine we sell is derived from plant bark. Used for hundreds of years in Ayurvedic and Chinese Medicine,[i] berberine acts as a natural antibiotic and anti-inflammatory, that also has anticancer[ii] and anti-diabetic effects. Safe and cost-effective,[iii] it can also help lower blood sugar and cholesterol[iv] and make weight loss easier.
Berberine can also be extracted from a number of different medicinal herbs, including goldenseal, barberry and Oregon grape root. Although quite bitter, when taken in capsule form you get all the benefits without the unpleasant taste.
How does it work? Berberine helps to burn fat, lower cholesterol and blood sugar, increases your ability to fight illness and stress, and can even delay aging.[v] It activates the same biochemical pathways that are triggered by fasting (caloric restriction) and working out. Here’s more on how it enhances health.
Berberine triggers AMPK: Research has shown that berberine activates a special enzyme known as AMPK, which promotes longevity and reduces fat storage. The AMPK mechanism helps the body fight obesity and diabetes,[vi] and enhances fatty acid oxidation and decreases glucose production in the liver.
AMPK helps regulate energy metabolism, stress resistance, cellular health, and ultimately the aging process. AMPK activation is enhanced by exercise, caloric restriction, medication such as the drug Metformin, and botanical extracts such as berberine.[vii]
The AMPK system may be partly responsible for the health benefits of exercise[viii] and AMPK is considered an exercise mimetic. Amazingly, research on mice has shown that a certain AMPK pathway can be targeted by orally active pills to enhance running endurance by 44%, even in sedentary subjects.[ix]
AMPK also helps mimic the effects a low-calorie diet. Lower calorie diets help fight aging; long-term caloric restriction without malnutrition has been shown to reduce age-related and all-cause mortality in primates.[x]
Further, AMPK activates certain short-term and long-term ATP-producing catabolic pathways (such as fatty acid oxidation and glycolysis) and switches off ATP-consuming anabolic pathways (such as lipogenesis, or “fat building”).[xi] In other words, it helps the body shift from energy storage to energy expenditure, which is great if your goal is to lose weight.
AMPK helps stimulate the effects of leptin (the “satiety hormone” that inhibits hunger) and adiponectin (which helps regulate glucose levels and fatty acid breakdown). In this way, AMPK helps regulate appetite, food intake and energy expenditure at the whole body level.[xii]
Thus through AMPK activation, berberine helps you mediate appetite, burn fat and lose weight!
The biochemical background: AMPK stands for AMP-activated protein kinase, and it plays an important role in the regular “cleaning up” of your cells. Cellular death, clearing and regeneration is a normal part of life. Known to biochemists as the process of autophagy, this is an essential physiological process that allows the orderly degradation and recycling of cellular components.
Experiments in mammals have shown that AMPK controls autophagy (this cellular “recycling”) through several complex signaling pathways, such as mTOR (explained in detail below), all of which enhances the quality of cellular housekeeping.
A loss of sensitivity of AMPK activation impairs metabolic regulation, and increases stress at the cellular level (via increased oxidative stress and reduced autophagic clearance). [xiii] Because of these properties, AMPK is at the forefront of much new research into longevity and disease prevention.
Berberine inhibits mTOR signaling: Berberine is able to inhibit the mTOR signaling pathway, which may decrease your risk of developing common diseases, such as cancer, type 2 diabetes, and obesity.
The biochemical background: The mTOR cascade (which, for any total biochem techies out there, stands for mammalian or mechanistic target of rapamycin) is an important and complex signaling pathway in the human body.
A biochemical signaling pathway is a series of chemical reactions that occur between cells. These “signals” serve as messages that tell cells what to do: what functions to increase or decrease at the cellular level. Essentially, signaling pathways govern how our bodies operate and age. Being able to regulate signaling pathways is therefore one way to change cellular functions. There are many types of signaling pathways continuously at work in the human body.
The mTOR signaling pathway is a process that is important to the regulation of a cell’s cycle (the cell’s “lifespan”), and therefore to organismal growth and metabolic balance (homeostasis). The mTOR pathway regulates many major cellular processes. Indeed, mTOR deregulation has been associated with an increasing number of disease conditions, such as cancer, obesity, type 2 diabetes, and neurodegeneration (a category of neuron-related pathologies that includes Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s).[xiv]
Thus many common pathological conditions, including cancer and neurodegeneration, might benefit from mTOR inhibition[xv], although research on this topic is ongoing. Through the actions of AMPK, Berberine helps inhibit the mTOR signaling pathway.
What else does Berberine do?
Berberine affects the body at the molecular level and has many proven pharmacological benefits, including lowering blood glucose and lipids.[xvi] Recent studies have also suggested it may be able to kill cancer cells[xvii] and block their proliferation,[xviii] and have a possible potential role in the treatment and prevention of osteoporosis (porous bones).[xix] Here are more conditions that berberine may improve.
Obesity: Berberine has been shown to correlate with reduced body mass index and waist circumference in study subjects.[xx] Researchers have concluded that it has a moderate weight loss effect[xxi] and may have potential in treating the metabolic mechanisms that contribute to obesity.[xxii]
Type 2 diabetes: Berberine helps regulate blood sugar in type 2 diabetes patients as well as Metformin does (Metformin is a common brand of the drug glucophage).[xxiii] Berberine reduces the amount of glucose produced in the liver, and improves insulin sensitivity, which in turn reduces insulin-production burden on the pancreas. Research shows it is a potent oral hypoglycemic agent. [xxiv]
Insulin resistance: Conditions that typically correspond with insulin resistance include type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and polycystic ovarian syndrome. Insulin resistance can make weight loss very challenging. However, because berberine improves insulin sensitivity, it can help reverse this effect and enhance weight loss in people with these chronic conditions.[xxv]
Hyperlipidemia: Too much “bad” cholesterol and triglycerides (a type of fat) in your blood is associated with an increased risk of heart disease and stroke. Berberine has been shown to have a therapeutic effect on hyperlipidemia,[xxvi] reducing these risk.
How should I take it? Have one capsule in the morning, unless you eat carbohydrates after 3pm. If the latter, then have one capsule at night or with the carbs. Berberine capsules are now available in the Julian Bakery online store.
Note: if you are diabetic, consult with your doctor before taking berberine about how this herbal extract might help you lower your needs for conventional medications. Many diabetics can safely take berberine, but we recommend you do so under a doctor’s supervision.
Written By: Heath Squier / CEO / Julian Bakery. Inc.