How would you like to take a safe, effective natural supplement that could help you with symptoms of perimenopause and menopause? If you would, then read on! First, we want to tell you about berberine, a substance found in various plants and is also available as a supplement.
What is berberine?
A variety of plants contain berberine, an isoquinoline alkaloid which, according to a 2015 study, “has been recognized as being capable of decreasing oxidative stress, LDL [low-density lipoproteins], triglycerides, and insulin resistance and of improving the mood.” Some of the plants that contain it include goldenseal, goldthread, greater celandine, Oregon grape, European barberry, tree turmeric, and Phellodendron.
How Berberine works
Berberine helps the body use glucose better and makes cells more sensitive to insulin. It does this by activating a pathway called AMPK, which helps move glucose from the bloodstream into cells for energy. This can happen even without a lot of insulin around. Berberine also reduces insulin resistance by lowering inflammation and stress in the body. Exercise and eating better nutrient dense foods can also activate the same pathway, helping with glucose and insulin control.
Berberine may also help control blood sugar in other ways, such as reducing the production of glucose by the liver, promoting the metabolism of glucose for energy, increasing insulin release, and decreasing the absorption of glucose in the intestines. Research has shown that berberine can enhance glucose metabolism by stimulating glycolysis, which is the process of breaking down glucose. This helps the body use glucose more effectively and can contribute to better blood sugar control.
Why do people use berberine?
Among the uses people turn to berberine for are:
The perimenopausal syndrome includes irregular periods, mood swings, hot flashes, bladder issues, sleep problems, etc. According to the authors of one review that looked at the benefits of using berberine in managing perimenopausal syndrome, “this molecule could be an effective natural supplement to ensure a smooth peri- and postmenopausal transition.” These benefits are associated with the ability of berberine to help with oxidative stress, inflammation, high cholesterol, hyperglycemia, and depression.
In fact, the study’s authors specifically noted that “there is growing evidence that berberine can, at least partially, minimize the negative consequences…caused by low estrogen levels, without the unwanted side effects associated with commonly prescribed HRT.”
High cholesterol, although you will need to be patient to see significant results. For example, after taking berberine for up to two years, researchers saw a decline in total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triglyceride levels. These heart-related factors are important among women in the menopausal years as their risk of heart disease increases. The use of berberine also was associated with changes similar to those seen among people who took cholesterol-lowering drugs.
Diabetes, a condition often seen among women of menopausal age. Some research indicates that taking 500 mg of berberine two to three times daily for up to 90 days may control blood sugar and take the prescription medications metformin and rosiglitazone. In Oncotarget, the reviewers noted that “metformin and berberine share many features in actions…and both could be excellent drugs in treating T2DM [type 2 diabetes].”
High blood pressure, which is an important risk factor for heart disease. A study that compared the use of berberine and the blood pressure-lowering drug amlodipine with amlodipine alone found that the combination was more effective than the use of the prescription drug alone.
How to use berberine
Some suggested doses of berberine are as follows:
- Perimenopause and menopause: 0.6 to 1.5 grams daily for a time period to be discussed with a healthcare professional
- Diabetes: 0.9 to 1.5 grams taken in divided doses every day for two to four months
- High blood pressure: 0.9 grams daily for two months
- High cholesterol: 0.6 to 1.5 grams taken in divided doses every day for six to 24 months
Berberine may be a natural alternative treatment for helping manage symptoms associated with perimenopause and menopause. More research is needed in this area, but limited studies thus far have provided promising results.