Wondering about berberine benefits for your brain?
Berberine is quickly getting a positive reputation as a super-supplement that is generally safe and helpful for a variety of health conditions.
Berberine is not an instant fix if you are looking for a fast-acting supplement to boost your brain power. It can, however, improve your overall health and indirectly help you think more clearly and sharply. It may also have other brain health benefits.
Berberine is not an herb in and of itself. It is an alkaloid compound found in herbs such as golden seal, tree turmeric, European barberry, and gold thread.
Berberine has been used in various forms for thousands of years in both Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and Ayurveda. Ayurveda is the traditional medical tradition of India and has been around for 5,000 years or more.
Because these two medical traditions have discovered many things that work through hundreds and sometimes thousands of years of trial and error, they have a jumpstart on Western science when it comes to finding herbal supplements and compounds like berberine.
Berberine would not have been used strictly in its pure form in ancient times, which would require modern processing, but rather as part of the herb or plant it was found in, such as goldenseal.
4 of the Most Powerful Berberine Benefits
We are still learning about what berberine actually does in the body. However, natural healthcare advocates recognize the following berberine benefits:
1. Berberine May Help with Diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome
Type 2 diabetes affects millions of Americans. Managing the disease is not fun and some of the medications used to treat it, such as the diabetes drug metformin, have side effects. One study found that berberine was just as effective as metformin in terms of controlling blood sugar. Yet, berberine should have fewer side effects than metformin. How does berberine do this? Berberine activates AMPK, an enzyme known as the “metabolic master switch.”
2. Berberine May Encourage Natural Weight Loss
Get this – if you take three doses of 500 mg of berberine each day, over a span of 12 weeks, you could easily lose five pounds. This is the average weight loss by people who participated in a study on berberine. Berberine also lowered blood levels of triglycerides and cholesterol.
3. Berberine Supports Heart Health
As mentioned above, berberine lowers levels of triglycerides and cholesterol, which helps the heart. It also reduces apolipoprotein B, the main protein found in LDL “bad cholesterol.”
4. Berberine Can Help with Lung Healing
If you have been a smoker for many years, or you have some sort of lung inflammation due to any kind of smoke, berberine may help. In one study, mice were given 50 mg of berberine and it was shown to reduce lung inflammation and helped heal smoke-related lung injury.
What About Berberine and Brain Health?
Berberine is not a direct brain-booster for health brains as far as we know. It may help treat neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease by supporting and nurturing neuroprotective factors and pathways. These positive neuroprotective factors directly counteract the neurodegeneration that can occur in these neurological brain diseases. Berberine may possibly help with depression, but that is not its main use.
Does Berberine Have Side Effects?
Like any supplement, berberine has a potential side effect. Berberine is generally safe, but since it can lower blood sugar, you should not take it along with insulin or other blood sugar medications without working closely with your physician.
Berberine can also lower blood pressure, which is great if you have high blood pressure but not so fantastic if your blood pressure is on the low side.
Of course, if you are pregnant or nursing a baby, you should only take berberine with the approval of a physician. The other side effects are fairly minor and include stomach issues such as gas, stomach cramps, diarrhea, and constipation.
Taking Berberine Daily
If you are going to take berberine, you have to take it three times per day because it moves through the bloodstream quickly. This can be extremely inconvenient; however, it may be preferable for people who are trying to replace pharmaceutical drugs with a gentler supplement.
Are the Berberine Benefits Worth It?
Berberine has many positive health benefits, especially for people with diabetes. It is not a powerhouse when it comes to boosting brain function in otherwise healthy people. Because berberine needs to be taken three times daily, and it can cause some stomach discomfort, it is
probably not the best daily supplement choice for people looking to promote brain power.