This month we are talking about the small intestine and the importance of keeping it healthy and what can be done to bring back balance and health to this vital portion of the digestive tract.
Bacteria is necessary for the function of the digestive system but most of the bacteria needs to be in the large intestine not the small intestine. Too many bacteria in the small intestine can cause a condition called SIBO or Small Intestinal Overgrowth. SIBO can cause the small intestine to not be able to keep up with its important job of breaking down food and absorbing nutrients, leading to vitamin deficiencies and uncomfortable symptoms like gas and bloating. Berberine has been found to have great benefits for the small intestine by helping to restructure the balance of the microbiome and reducing bacteria overgrowth.
So what is this Berberine? It may sound like it is something new, but Berberine has been used for centuries by natural health practitioners. It is an alkaloid—a naturally occurring compound—found in plants that have traditionally been used where infections have been present such as Barberry, Goldenseal, and Oregon grape Root.
Modern studies are showing that not only is the Berberine found in these plants beneficial against infection, but this alkaloid may be helpful in other conditions like diabetes, arthritis, hypertension, and high cholesterol. In fact, it was written in the December 2012 issue of Natural Medicine Journal “Any condition that would be favorably impacted by a patient losing weight and or exercising more may be impacted favorably with oral berberine supplementation.”
“It makes sense to consider berberine for clients with insulin resistance, pre-diabetes, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, hypertension, heart disease, dyslipidemia, cancer, depression, and other neuropsychiatric diseases.”
In a 2015 Endrocrinol journal it was stated: “…..modern pharmacological effects of berberine on glucose metabolism…include improving insulin resistance, promoting insulin secretion…..”
Not only has berberine shown to help improve the regulation and function of insulin, but it also appears to inhibit the growth of fat cells. Good news for those of us needing to lose weight!
Losing weight and controlling insulin levels are both great benefits for the heart and the use of berberine is showing some even more positive effects on the heart and high blood pressure by stimulating the release of nitric oxide, a molecule that relaxes arteries. That means better blood flow and lower blood pressure.
High Cholesterol? Yep, berberine may help there too. Eleven clinical trials with a total of 874 participants noted that berberine may reduce LDL cholesterol while increasing HDL. That means down with the bad and up with the good, just what a healthy body needs.
Increase insulin function, inhibit growth of fat cells, stimulate nitric oxide, lower cholesterol, fight infection, and reduce bacterial overgrowth. Could we have a silver bullet here? Maybe not, but when you add in the anti-inflammatory properties of berberine and research showing positive effects on pain reduction in arthritic conditions, we may be getting close
Especially in America where nearly 34 million people have diabetes (95% is Type 2), 54 million people have an arthritic condition, 4 in 10 Americans are obese, and approximately 60% of people diagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrom also have SIBO, supplementing with berberine in either isolate form or in an herbal sounds like something to look in to.
Always be sure to use quality supplements that have been sourced and harvested well. We here at The Healthpatch are always happy to help you find your best supplements.
Health and Blessings,
Kimberly Anderson, ND