Berberine is an alkaloid extracted from a variety of herbs. It is often used for its anti-diabetic effects, which seems to be competence in potency to many of today’s popular pharmaceuticals.
What is Berberine?
Berberine is an alkaloid compound and ammonium salt that is found in various plants in the berberis genus. Berberine has a distinct bright yellow color and was widely used in traditional practices as a dye for many textiles. Berberine has an extensive history in Ayurveda, being used for promoting immune system function. Plants like Goldenseal (Hydrastis Canadensis) and Chinese goldthread (Coptis Chinensis) are natural sources of Berberine. They have been used in Traditional Chinese practices and Ayurvedic practices.
Berberine actually has low bio-availability when consumed orally. This is why some people pair coconut oil with Berberine. Coconut oil contains sodium caprate, a fatty acid that increases the effectiveness and absorption rate of Berberine. When taken as a nootropic, Berberine carries various potential benefits to cognitive function and physical health.
Benefits and Effects
- Support optimal cellular function
- Help promote metabolic function
- Help support balanced inflammation levels
- Help promote feelings of well being
- Help support cognitive function
Mechanism of Action
How Does Berberine Work?
Berberine may benefit both physical health and mental faculties. Early studies suggest that Berberine may inhibit telomerase, a protein associated with the life cycle and proliferation of cells. Yet recent Berberine research leads toward AMPK modulation as one of Berberine’s primary mechanisms of action.
AMPK, also known as Adenosine monophosphate kinase, is an enzyme that helps support cellular energy and regulates cellular nutrients within cells. AMPK activation increases the uptake and breakdown of glucose through glycolysis. What also makes Berberine so interesting is that it also slows down glucose production through gluconeogenesis while also lowering insulin secretions coming from pancreatic beta-cells.
This ultimately means that insulin sensitivity increases. Some research finds that enhanced insulin sensitivity may promote optimal body composition and may help support exercise performance. Interestingly enough, insulin plays a vital role in the brain, as well.
Studies have shown that increased insulin sensitivity may help promote cognitive function.
Although elevated insulin sensitivity may be a more indirect effect on cognition, research finds that Berberine benefits to cognition might also be directly attributed to Berberine’s ability to activate sigma-1 receptors. Activation at these receptors raises BDNF levels and helps optimize NMDA activity.
Research on BDNF activity found that decreased levels of BDNF may lead to low mood and diminished cognitive function, thus supporting evidence that Berberine may help promote overall cognitive function and positive attitude. What makes Berberine’s effects even more interesting is that BDNF and NMDA activity are also highly correlated to memory creation.
Further research has also found that Berberine may promote acetylcholine levels by inhibiting acetylcholinesterase, the enzyme that breaks down acetylcholine.
By blocking acetylcholinesterase, Berberine may help improve higher acetylcholine levels in the brain.
This, combined with AMPK modulation and sigma-1 receptor activation, makes Berberine an excellent option for those looking for a well rounded and all-natural nootropic!
AMPK activation also speeds up the breakdown of fatty acids through fatty acid oxidation. As an added bonus, AMPK activation has dual effects.
It may also decrease fat acid production by inhibiting fatty acid synthesis.
Berberine AMPK activation suggests that there may be Berberine benefits on weight loss. However, research finds that taking a Berberine supplement alone will not promote significant weight loss than pairing a Berberine supplement with a healthy diet and exercise routine.
How To Take Berberine?
As a dietary supplement, take 380mg (capsules) twice per day, preferably 20 minutes before a meal.
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