Berberine side effects and benefits - Pros and Cons

Berberine Pros and Cons

Berberine pros and cons: Earlier used to dye wood, leather, and wool due to its yellow color, now is used as a medicine. Who knew this small alkaloid compound would be full of many surprises. If you haven’t found the properties and benefits of b e r b e r i n e yet, it’s time you took a look for such now.

As of the modern age, Berberine is still in active use for dyeing wool and threads in India. But do you know this natural compound is beneficial for your health too? Let us dive into the applications, risks, and advantages of Berberine.

Alkaloid Berberine is a common constituent of many plants, namely tree turmeric, barberry (Berberis Vulgaris), Oregon Grape (MahoniaAquifolium), goldenseal, yellowroot, Chinese goldthread, and others. Other natural forms you can intake this compound in are Goldenseal Tea and Oregon Grape.

Uses and Applications

The uses of Berberine as medicine dates back to ancient times in China when people used it as an oral medicine against gastrointestinal infections. Recent studies have shown that this compound is also effective against inflammation, heart failure, and diabetes.

What are the Advantages of Berberine?

Out of many interpretations and evidence-based research, results emerged in favoring the use of Berberine for different diseases, including cancer, fungal, and bacterial infections. Its chemical compounds can be taken as medication. Here are some supportive facts vouching for the health benefits of Berberine.

1. Advantages of Berberine for Diabetes Patients

This botanical product helps improve Glycemic and lipid parameters if used over a long period. It is clinically proven that long-term use of berberine benefits in insulin secretion for hypoglycemic patients. Taking 500 mg of this product twice/thrice a day slightly reduces blood sugar levels by balancing your blood and glucose levels. Berberine is a proven alternative to Rosiglitazone or Metformin.

2. Inhibits Cancer and Tumor formation

According to a Journal published on BMC Cancer, a series of studies conducted (2000-2008) resulted in favor of Berberine, it emanates anti-tumour effects and can help patients with breast cancer, lung cancer, prostate cancer, colorectal cancer, and gastric cancer as a natural anti-carcinogen prohibiting tumor formation.

More theories and proofs commemorate to form a concrete base for encouraging its capsules, powder, and other constituent medicines to reduce the size of a tumor to a significant extent.

3. Treats NAFLD (Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease)

NAFLD has become a common disease of the 21st Century, which is a metabolic stress-induced liver injury closely related to insulin resistance and genetic susceptibility. If not treated timely, patients are at risk of liver failure. The latest researches revealed that Berberine Hydrochloride is an effective drug to cure NAFLD and enhances liver functions alongside increasing body immunity.

4. Protects from Bacterial Infections

Turmeric is an antimicrobial-antifungal agent to combat bacterial infections. Turmeric Rhizome contains Berberine that inhibits the growth of Streptococcus agalactiae, which causes several health issues like sepsis, skin problems, meningitis, pneumonia, etc.

A drug based on Berberinealkaloids is effective in the cessation of growth of pathogenic bacteria without harming or damaging the host cells because of antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties.

5. Reduces High Cholesterol

Increased Low-Density Lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and Triglycerides escalate the risks of heart diseases and stroke. Berberine mitigates the risks by reducing the High Cholesterol levels and increasing the high-density Lipoprotein to better your heart’s health.

This natural compound allows the excess cholesterol to move to the liver and further processing and removal, eventually balancing the Triglycerides and cholesterol levels.

What are the Berberine side effects?

Direct intake of Berberine is considered safe for adults but can cause some complications among infants and mothers during pregnancy/lactation. Diabetic patients are not recommended to consume it as a whole or its supplements as it may recede the blood-sugar levels.

1. Health Risks among Infants

Berberine can advance the level of bilirubin (chemical produced when old blood cells break down) in kids’ blood. This increased level can turn their skin yellow, worsening jaundice, and eventually, lead to Kernicterus (a rare type of brain damage). Therefore, Berberine is unsafe for infants, whether fed directly or indirectly.

The same effects can show up if you consume it during pregnancy, as the alkaloid can travel through the placenta and affects the fetus adversely.

Special care must be taken during breastfeeding asBerberinecan also transfer from the mother’s milk to the baby.

Discoloration of the skin (skin turns yellow) is the earliest sign to detect the berberine side effects in infants.

2. Overconsumption can aggravate diabetes

If you are already on Metformin for diabetes, do not consider taking Berberine. It can affect your blood sugar level adversely and may also counter the effects of Metformin.

3. Berberine Side Effects on Blood Pressure

People with low blood pressure need to stop long-term use because prolonged use of drugs based on Berberis Vulgaris can dip your blood pressure.

4. Other reported Berberine side effects

  • Hypertension
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Paresthesias
  • Respiratory failure
  • Headache
  • Bradycardia
Berberine side effects and benefits - Pros and Cons

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a natural source of berberine?

Berberine alkaloid is a chemical found in several plants namely European barberry, goldenseal, goldthread, Oregon grape, Phellodendron, and tree turmeric and can be obtained from Rhizome, stem, and bark of these plants. All these are the natural source of Berberis Vulgaris.

What are the side effects of berberine?

Side effects of Berberine include Hypertension, Vomiting, Nausea, Paresthesias, Respiratory failure, Headache, and Bradycardia. The significant disadvantages of berberine can result during pregnancy, breastfeeding, or Low blood pressure. Long-term or short-term use of berberine can cause drastic harms.

Is berberine safe to take long term?

Provided you don't have any chronic medical condition; you can continue taking berberine or berberine-based supplements for a long period. If the symptoms mentioned above start showing up, you need to cease consuming berberine and consult your health specialist right away.

Is berberine good for the liver?

Yes, Medical researches have proved that berberine can improve liver health and blood lipids in patients with NAFLD (Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease) also balancing the blood sugar level. Studies have also shown that Berberine could be a permanent cure for NAFLD patients.

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