Berberine Aids in Insulin Sensitivity and Weight Loss
08-13-2006 03:04 AM
Berberine Aids in Insulin Sensitivity and Weight Loss
Chinese medicine 'aids diabetics'
A traditional Chinese medicine may be beneficial for people suffering from type 2 diabetes.
Berberine, found in the roots and barks of some plants, has been documented in Chinese literature as being able to lower glucose levels in diabetics.
Now scientists have found that studies on rodents support this claim.
Writing in the journal Diabetes, they added that berberine reduced the animals' body weight, suggesting it could also be used to treat obesity.
We have now obtained scientific evidence that shows berberine helps insulin to work much better
Professor James, Garvan Institute
Berberine is a compound found in several plants, including goldenseal, the Oregon grape and barberry.
It has been used by a number of different cultures for medicinal purposes, most commonly to treat diarrhoea.
It is also being employed, particularly in traditional Chinese medicine, to treat diabetes.
To investigate its reported glucose-lowering effects, an international team examined the effect of berberine on mice and rats.
The researchers found that a dose of the compound, given orally, caused blood sugar levels to go down, led to fewer fats circulating in the bloodstream, made insulin work better and lowered the animals' body weights.
Professor David James, head of the diabetes and obesity research programme at the Garvan Institute, Sydney, Australia, said: "We are interested in type 2 diabetes, which is caused by a malfunctioning of insulin action, causing blood sugar regulation to go haywire.
"We have now obtained scientific evidence that shows berberine helps insulin to work much better.
"It helps insulin to control blood sugar. But it also helps to clear fats out of the bloodstream, and we think that this leads to one of its other major end points, which is reduction of body weight."
The team believes the plant product is "turning on" an enzyme found in body tissue, which improves the body's sensitivity to insulin, in turn lowering blood sugar levels and reducing the level of circulating fats.
We would not recommend that anyone attempts to use this as a treatment in its current form
Cathy Moulton, Diabetes UK
Professor James said: "This is a very nice example of how there is validity to some of these traditional medicines.
"Type 2 diabetes and obesity are a huge problem and, although there are some nice medicines on the market, they have their limitations and there is a tremendous need for new therapies.
"This represents a potential new therapy for treatment of diabetes and obesity."
However, he cautioned that more clinical studies were needed on humans before berberine should be recommended for diabetics, particularly to investigate how the compound interacts with other drugs.
Cathy Moulton, a care advisor at Diabetes UK, said: "There are already many treatments for type 2 diabetes available but this research is slightly different as it's based on a natural remedy.
"We would not recommend that anyone attempts to use this as a treatment in its current form as this research only focuses on animals.
"We will wait to see the results of further research with interest."
Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/08/12 23:00:13 GMT
08-15-2006 02:39 PM
interesting, I have been looking into this and thinking of trying it.
08-15-2006 02:56 PM
Diabetes 55:2256-2264, 2006
© 2006 by the American Diabetes Association
Berberine, a Natural Plant Product, Activates AMP-Activated Protein Kinase With Beneficial Metabolic Effects in Diabetic and Insulin-Resistant States
Yun S. Lee1,2, Woo S. Kim1,2, Kang H. Kim1,2, Myung J. Yoon1, Hye J. Cho1, Yun Shen3,4, Ji-Ming Ye3, Chul H. Lee5, Won K. Oh5, Chul T. Kim5, Cordula Hohnen-Behrens3, Alison Gosby3, Edward W. Kraegen3, David E. James3, and Jae B. Kim1,2
1 Department of Biological Sciences, Seoul National University, Seoul, Korea
2 Research Center for Cellulomics, Seoul, Korea
3 Diabetes and Obesity Research Program, Garvan Institute of Medical Research, Darlinghurst, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
4 Shanghai Institute of Biological Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai, China
5 Korea Research Institute of Bioscience and Biotechnology, Taejon, Korea
Address correspondence and reprint requests to Jae B. Kim, PhD, Department of Biological Sciences, Seoul National University, San 56-1, Sillim-Dong, Kwanak-Gu, Seoul, Korea. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; or David E. James, PhD, DiabetesObesity Research Program, Garvan Institute of Medical Research, 384 Victoria St., Darlinghurst, Sydney, New South Wales 2010, Australia. E-mail: email@example.com
AICAR, 5-aminoimidazole-4-carboxamide riboside; AMPK, AMP-activated protein kinase; DMEM, Dulbecco’s modified Eagle’s medium; FAS, fatty acid synthase; MAPK, mitogen-activated protein kinase; PI, phosphatidylinositol; PPAR, peroxisome proliferator–activated receptor; TZD, thiazolidinedione; UCP, uncoupling protein; WAT, white adipose tissue
Berberine has been shown to have antidiabetic properties, although its mode of action is not known. Here, we have investigated the metabolic effects of berberine in two animal models of insulin resistance and in insulin-responsive cell lines. Berberine reduced body weight and caused a significant improvement in glucose tolerance without altering food intake in db/db mice. Similarly, berberine reduced body weight and plasma triglycerides and improved insulin action in high-fat–fed Wistar rats. Berberine downregulated the expression of genes involved in lipogenesis and upregulated those involved in energy expenditure in adipose tissue and muscle. Berberine treatment resulted in increased AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) activity in 3T3-L1 adipocytes and L6 myotubes, increased GLUT4 translocation in L6 cells in a phosphatidylinositol 3' kinase–independent manner, and reduced lipid accumulation in 3T3-L1 adipocytes. These findings suggest that berberine displays beneficial effects in the treatment of diabetes and obesity at least in part via stimulation of AMPK activity.
Berberine, a Natural Plant Product, Activates AMP-Activated Protein Kinase With Beneficial Metabolic Effects in Diabetic and Insulin-Resistant States -- Lee et al. 55 (8): 2256 -- Diabetes
08-15-2006 05:02 PM
Nice article....thanks for the follow-up research.
08-22-2006 11:08 AM
i know i have seen it some where before. It is in venom lean dreams.
08-22-2006 11:15 AM
This was on the alri site, the bererine description.
Berberine: GH stimulation by way central cholinergic system, sleep aid/CNS depressant
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