Berberine: Blood Sugar Aid, Antimicrobial, and Yeast Tamer

antifungal antimicrobial blood sugar candida candida albicans Category_Women's Health diabetes yeast yeast infection

Berberis vulgarisBerberine has fascinating therapeutic qualities in multiple areas – some of which are blood sugar control, antimicrobial activity, and yeast overgrowth inhibition. Berberine is a botanical alkaloid extracted from the roots, stems, and bark of many plants, including: barberry (Berberis vulgaris), Coptis chinensis (Berberis aristata), goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis), Oregon grape (Berberis aquifolium), Phellodendron amurense, and Yerba mansa (Anemopsis californica).1 Owing to its efficacy, this phytochemical constituent has an extensive history of use in Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine (two of the world's most ancient medicine systems).

Berberine and Blood Sugar Control

There is evidence that Berberine has the ability to stabilize as well as lower blood sugar. Berberine has shown similar results to a widely prescribed diabetes medication, in that it can significantly decrease fasting blood glucose, as well as A1c (a test that measures average blood sugars over a 3-month period, used in conjunction with fasting blood glucose to gauge how a diabetic is doing).2 There has been a great deal of research as of late about the human microbiome (gut bacteria (primarily), its composition and role in the immune system). Various types and amounts of gut bacterium have been focused upon as a possible contributor to metabolic diseases such as obesity and diabetes.3 It has been found that berberine actually modifies gut bacteria thereby helping the body and its cells to become less resistant to the effects of the hormone, insulin. This is important because when the body is resistant to insulin, the pancreas has to make more and more insulin in an attempt to keep blood sugar controlled. The spikes in the insulin level act as an anabolic hormone for fat (much like testosterone is an anabolic hormone for muscle) and pack on the pounds. So any substance that can make the body less resistant to the effects of insulin would then allow the body to make less insulin to handle the same blood sugar and prevent insulin spikes.4

Berberine as an Antimicrobial Agent

You've probably heard that antibiotic resistance is a world-wide dangerous and growing problem.5 Berberine has been found to have antimicrobial effects,6 as well as anti-viral effects.7 Berberine's antimicrobial properties are currently being studied (especially in concert with common allopathic antimicrobial drugs) to use against multidrug-resistant pathogens.8,9 When looking at traditional Chinese medicine, one of the oldest medicine systems in the world, it is found that over 140 Chinese herbs have been commonly utilized to treat bacterial infections for over 2000 years; one extract of a number of these herbs is berberine.10 The fact that berberine has positive effects on the gut microbiota (as stated earlier in this blog post) tells us that it can be of benefit to the immune system in general, which is after all, the goal!

Berberine as an Inhibitor of Yeast Overgrowth

Candida (candida albicans) is a type of yeast present in the gut flora.11 It can quite often become out of balance and overwhelm the system becoming evident in various mucous membranes of the body, i.e., a yeast infection. We all know that sugar feeds yeast, so I want to first say that the first course of action a person can take to assist his/her body's ability to fight yeast overgrowth is to not ingest too much (or any) sugar! Yeast overgrowth can also be a much worse problem for people with compromised immune systems. Once again, antibiotic resistance also comes into play where yeast overgrowth is concerned as many yeasts now cultured from vaginal and other specimens are resistant to Diflucan, the medication most commonly used to treat these infections orally. In the search for natural medicinal agents, “berberine has been proven to have broad antibacterial and antifungal activity12 by actually “affecting the cell membrane.13

Berberine Supplementation

Berberine Supreme Candida Yeast XpelAs mentioned above, candida albicans is normally present in our gut flora. It becomes problematic, however, when it gets out of control and becomes yeast OVERgrowth. If you are prone to yeast infections or have a combination of some of the issues listed above, you may want to consider dietary supplementation with berberine to aid your body's natural defenses. Doctor Emi's Berberine Supreme Candida Yeast Xpel helps support healthy microbial activity in the gastrointestinal tract, healthy immune function, GI mucous membrane health, and stimulates circulation. Berberine Supreme Candida Yeast Xpel is non-GMO, soy-free, gluten-free, made in the USA, and manufactured in a GMP-compliant facility. Our berberine is extracted naturally with water from Berberis Aristata Roots, and is sourced from the beautiful, pristine Kerala, India, whose Western Ghats mountain slopes also support tea, coffee, many spices, and coconuts. As an aside, much of the berberine sold in the US comes from very industrial parts of China where air pollution levels are high.

Please first discuss with your physician this or any other dietary supplement you are taking or wish to take. Dietary supplements can react with prescription drugs as well as with one another.

The Doctor Emi Team
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References

1. www.RaySahaliean.com. http://www.raysahelian.com/berberine.html
2. Yin J, Xing H, Ye J. Efficacy of berberine in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus. Metabolism. 2008 May;57(5):712-7. doi: 10.1016/j.metabol.2008.01.013.
3. Andrea M. Caricilli, Mario J. A. Saad. The Role of Gut Microbiota on Insulin Resistance. Nutrients. 2013 Mar; 5(3): 829–851. Published online 2013 Mar 12. DOI: 10.3390/nu5030829. PMCID: PMC3705322.
4. Dan Liu, et al. Berberine Modulates Gut Microbiota and Reduces Insulin Resistance via the TLR4 Signaling Pathway. Exp Clin Endocrinol Diabetes. DOI: 10.1055/s-0043-125066.
5. Antibiotic resistance. World Health Organization. Fact sheet. Updated November 2017.
6. Yan D, Jin C, Xiao XH, Dong XP. Antimicrobial properties of berberines alkaloids in Coptis chinensis Franch by microcalorimetry. J Biochem Biophys Methods. 2008 Apr 24;70(6):845-9. Epub 2007 Aug 9.
7. Hayashi K, Minoda K, Nagaoka Y, Hayashi T, Uesato S. Antiviral activity of berberine and related compounds against human cytomegalovirus. Bioorg Med Chem Lett. 2007 Mar 15;17(6):1562-4. Epub 2007 Jan 4.
8. Jonghoon Shin, Vasantha-Srinivasan Prabhakaran, Kwang-sun Kim. The multi-faceted potential of plant-derived metabolites as antimicrobial agents against multidrug-resistant pathogens. Microbial Pathogenesis. Volume 116, March 2018, Pages 209-214. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.micpath.2018.01.043.
9. Stermitz FR, Lorenz P, Tawara JN, Zenewicz LA, Lewis K. Synergy in a medicinal plant: antimicrobial action of berberine potentiated by 5'-methoxyhydnocarpin, a multidrug pump inhibitor. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2000 Feb 15;97(4):1433-7.
10. Ben Chung-Lap Chan et al. Chinese medicinal herbs against antibiotic-resistant bacterial pathogens. Science against microbial pathogens: communicating current research and technological advances A. Méndez-Vilas (Ed.) PDF.
11. Qi Hui Sam, Matthew Wook Chang, Louis Yi Ann Chai. The Fungal Mycobiome and Its Interaction with Gut Bacteria in the Host. Int J Mol Sci. 2017 Feb; 18(2): 330. Published online 2017 Feb 4. doi:10.3390/ijms18020330. PMCID: PMC5343866.
12. Anderson Ramos da Silva et al. Berberine Antifungal Activity in Fluconazole-Resistant Pathogenic Yeasts: Action Mechanism Evaluated by Flow Cytometry and Biofilm Growth Inhibition in Candida spp. Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2016 Jun; 60(6): 3551–3557. Published online 2016 May 23. Prepublished online 2016 Mar 28. doi:10.1128/AAC.01846-15. PMCID: PMC4879420
13. Nataša Zorić et al. Membrane of Candida albicans as a target of berberine. BMC Complementary and Alternative MedicineBMC series – open, inclusive and trusted201717:268 https://doi.org/10.1186/s12906-017-1773-5. Published: 17 May 2017.

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