Berberine is a yellow-colored alkaloid compound found in several different plants, including European barberry, goldenseal, goldthread, Oregon grape, phellodendron, and tree turmeric. Berberine has antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and immune-enhancing properties. It’s effective against a wide range of bacteria, protozoa, and fungi. It can be used topically on cuts and other wounds, and it’s perhaps most commonly used to treat gastrointestinal issues, including traveller’s diarrhea and that from food poisoning. The compound “Berberine” is found in many different herbal plants including: Oregon Grape, Barberry, Phellodendron, Yerba Mansa, Goldenseal, and a few more medicinal plants.
Berberine For Cancer
“Over a third of the approximately 2,800 studies on berberine listed on PubMed were published in the last 5 years. These studies reveal that berberine may have clinical applications in a range of conditions,” researchers said in a paper published in Natural Medicine Journal. Of these studies, over 500 have been specifically on berberine’s effect on cancer.
How Does it Stop Tumor Growth?
Every living thing needs to convert food into energy through the process of metabolism. Cancer tumors are no exception, although cancer cells tend to get their energy in a way that is the exact opposite of healthy cells. Instead of utilizing the full process of aerobic cell respiration, tumor cells get fuel through glycolysis alone, the process of converting glucose to ATP through anaerobic means. If you want cancer tumors to grow, deprive them of oxygen, stick them in a high-acid environment and they will go to town.
Berberine changes cancer tumor cells on the metabolic level. It is one of the few compounds that is known to help activate the metabolic regulator AMPK, or adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase (Resveratrol is another). When AMPK levels are adequate and the protein is functioning properly, energy homeostasis can be achieved within the body. Glucose levels and lipid productions stabilize, which is also one of the reasons why berberine is so effective for those with diabetes and metabolic syndrome as well.
The loss of AMPK has been directly linked to cancer malignancy. Currently, the most common way that modern medicine has to regulate AMPK for both cancer and other conditions is through the use of toxic pharmaceutical drugs. Research since 2011, however, has shown berberine as a powerful, natural and side-effect free AMPK regulator.
Berberine’s Ability to Halt Breast Cancer
To date, studies have shown berberine to have a positive effect on colorectal cancer, brain tumors and inflammation caused by cigarette smoking – which can lead to lung, prostate plus many other forms of cancer. The latest is a 2015 project sponsored by Lanzhou University in China that points specifically to berberine’s effect on breast cancer tumor growth.
“Our result showed that berberine regulated the reprogramming metabolism through three aspects simultaneously, including mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation, glycolysis and macromolecular synthesis,” the published report states. Basically, berberine’s antioxidant activation of AMPK “turns on” the process of aerobic cell growth (i.e. healthy cell growth) within the mitochondria of the cancer tumors, causing cancer cells to starve and eventually self-destruct.
The Lanzhou University study is significant too because it uses evidence-based medicine to bridge the gap between the centuries-old use of berberine in China with modern conventional medicine. The researchers used a consciously-integrative research approach that should be a model for future cancer research.
“A reasonable cross talk between Chinese medicine and energy homeostasis provided a solid foundation for berberine interference on cancer cells reprogramming metabolism,” the researchers concluded.
Indeed, the recent introduction of berberine as a “big league cancer fighter” over the last few years should give hope to those wishing to heal from cancer naturally and those who are on a healthy breast protocol as well as anyone who wishes to use this powerful substance for metabolic regulation and cancer prevention in general.
Other Health Benefits
Lowers Glucose – Clinical studies with berberine shows berberine has the ability to lower blood glucose levels, thus making it important for those suffering from diabetes. Berberine is just as effective in lowering blood glucose as the prescription drug “Metformin or Glucophage”… which is pretty amazing. Berberine stimulates cells to take in more glucose and slows the production of glucose in the liver… it improves insulin sensitivity dropping insulin resistance by 45%… and A1c levels by 8%.
Lowers Cholesterol and Trigs – Studies show that berberine does a great job of lowering total cholesterol, LDL or Bad cholesterol, and also triglycerides. Thus berberine is important for cardiovascular health, strokes, and cancer. Double blind studies in people show that when taking 500 mgs of berberine once a day their total cholesterol dropped 18 %, their LDL or Bad cholesterol dropped 21%, and their trigs dropped a whopping 35.9 %.
Congestive Heart Failure – Studies show that berberine can help those suffering from congestive heart failure and lower the risk of sudden death. Plus berberine improves heart function, lower back pressure, and helps the heart to function more normally. And in lab animals heart size started to decrease… and it’s also effective for heart arrhythmias such as PVC’s.
Metabolic Syndrome – Because berberine helps with cholesterol, trigs, glucose, inflammation, weight loss, and especially midsection weight loss, berberine is a wonderful herb for treating all the aspects of metabolic syndrome.
Alzheimers and Dementia – A study in China showed that berberine may be able to prevent Alzheimer’s disease and dementia by preventing the oxidation of particular chemicals needed to preserve memory. Plus berberine also helps to lower cholesterol… and that too helps to prevent cardiovascular disease and the subsequent loss of memory.
Anti-Inflammatory – Berberine is a natural anti-inflammatory and helps with joint related inflammation, cardiovascular inflammation, and inflammation that can lead to the formation of cancer.
Antimicrobial – Berberine is a powerful antimicrobial agent that’s able to control infectious agents by not allowing them to attach themselves to the cell wall… thus preventing disease. Berberine helps with viral, bacterial, protozoan, fungal infections, eye trachoma, and chlamydial infections. And studies show that berberine used with traditional antibiotics can rid the body of antibiotic resistant strains of bacteria.
Diarrhea – Berberine is also very effective for treating diarrhea and soothing away intestinal infections.
Weight Loss – In clinical trials berberine helps those with high cholesterol and trigs, and they also lost weight… especially tummy fat.
Lowers Blood Pressure – In clinical trials it was found that berberine lowered blood pressure by 5 to 7 points.
Cancer – In laboratory tests it was found that berberine was effective in inhibiting the progressing of lung tumors, prostate cancer, liver cancer, and some types of leukemia. And berberine also helps to prevent colitis caused by radiation therapy.
Side Effects – To date there have been no ill effects caused by taking berberine… and berberine has been successfully used for thousands of years. But as with all herbs berberine should only be taken for 7 to 10 days, then one week off, then come back to it again.