If you are diabetic, or on your way with insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, or pre-diabetes, or know someone who is, listen up. There is an herb called berberine, that could replace drugs for type-2 diabetics. I had never heard of berberine until I read an article written by Dr. Frank Shallenberger in his Real Cures newsletter, April 2011.

Berberine is a plant chemical (phytochemical) found in many plants. The usual sources are barberry, Goldenseal, or Oregon grape. It is used in Asia as a folk medicine to treat diabetes. Berberine is also used to treat heart disease, immune disorders, digestive problems, eye infections, and other infections. Dr. Shallenberger writes “I had never heard of berberine being all that effective treating diabetes, but after reading several well-written scientific articles, it seems that you can use it as a substitute for insulin.”

The scenario for insulin release from the pancreas is this: You ingest foods, carbohydrates are broken down into glucose and released into the blood (blood sugar). When you are actively exercising, muscle cells take up the glucose with the help of insulin. When you’re not, insulin needs to be present in order to usher the glucose into the cells. Health issues arise when you don’t either have enough insulin, or when the insulin you do have doesn’t work very well (insulin resistance). Both of these conditions lead you well on your way to type-2 diabetes.

In a recent study, researchers exposed rats to berberine, and what they found was amazing. Berberine had the same effect on the muscle cells as insulin! Berberine activates the same pathway as insulin, and signals the muscle cells to take up glucose, and this happened in the absence of any insulin.

Another study compared berberine to the drug metformin, the most popular oral medication for diabetes-2. Regarding blood sugar control, both worked equally as well. Fasting blood sugars went down 30%, and the sugar levels after eating (post-prandial levels) went down even more-45%. Berberine dosage was 500 mg, 3x/day.

But, with berberine, these results happened within two to four weeks, and, there were no side effects. In addition, A1c levels went down a full 20% (A1c is a blood test that measures your blood sugar levels over a three-month span). In addition, berberine trumped metformin another way. It reduced triglycerides by 21%. Triglycerides are fats found in the blood that cells use for energy. Type-2 diabetics do not metabolize fat very well, which is why they get fat.

You don’t need a prescription to get berberine. According to Dr. Shallenberger, “You can get an excellent source of berberine in 500 mg capsules from www.truebotanica.com. The product is called Berberine Plus.”

Stay well, John R Blilie, M.S.