The Amazing Benefits of Berberine


Phytonutrient of the Month: Berberine


Berberine is remarkable: we’ve long known that it was good to use in infections or liver troubles, but research has been unstoppable in demonstrating new benefits. Berberine is a bitter alkaloid possessing a brilliant yellow color, and plants containing berberine have been used for lending deep gold and bright yellow tints to fabrics and other materials. Plant sources of this versatile phytonutrient include Coptis, Berberis, Hydrastis, Mahonia, and Xanthorhiza species, and Phellodendron amurense is an increasingly common commercial source; berberine is generally found in the roots or bark of these plants.


Among berberine’s recent research findings:


How can one phytonutrient do so much? Berberine interacts with a rich network of enzymes, cytokines, receptors, and even microRNAs (which play important roles in gene regulation), many of which are central to long-term immune balance, cellular aging, and how the body uses or stores energy. As an activator of the master energy-regulating enzyme AMPK (adenosine monophosphate kinase), it may help reduce mitochondrial oxidative stress and modify cells’ life cycles. This effect on AMPK also beneficially influences the inflammatory response, and would also be expected to encourage autophagy (the cellular ‘housekeeping’ program that clears out damaged organelles and encourages renewal) in normal cells under conditions of caloric restriction or intense physical activity.


Though berberine is not considered particularly toxic, it should not be used before or during pregnancy or breastfeeding; additionally, it can interact with and/or decrease the need for several types of drugs, and for these reasons it is recommendable that it be administered by a health care practitioner.



This exciting new information update was provided by the Personalized Lifestyle Medicine Institute.

Posted by Dr.Vojtisek