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Berberine

Discussion in 'Alternative Treatments' started by graj0, Sep 17, 2015.

  1. graj0

    graj0 · Guest

    Having been told by my GP that my metabolism is knackered and losing weight is next to impossible no matter how little I eat or how much exercise I do (I'm not trying starvation and running marathons), I'm not happy because I want to mend it, whatever it is.
    I'm not sure how I stumbled across Berberine, probably one of those Health eMails that I can never remember signing up to, but I was intrigued to find that as well as helping the metabolism this stuff is supposed to be better than Metformin for BG control (where Metformin is the only medication used) and they have scientific papers to back this up ( http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2015/06/22/berberine-benefits.aspx, if you'd like to read further).
    My question though is has anybody any experience of taking Berberine, either for what I think is called metabolic syndrome, or to help BG control.
     
  2. ButtterflyLady

    ButtterflyLady Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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  3. Brunneria

    Brunneria Other · Moderator
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    Hi
    I found the same info as you, read up on it and decided to try it (no one will prescribe me metformin at the moment, and I was sick of my dawn phenomenon raising my level above 'the zone' when I control by diet all the rest of the time)

    I read the safety interactions too, and decided that they weren't really relevant to me.

    Took it for a while, and struggled to remember to take the dratted tablets, so never got the build up that would have enabled it to be beneficial. Then, I needed to reorder the tablets. Ordered what I thought was a reputable brand, and when they turned up, they clearly were not. Label was photocopied ffs! No way was I putting those into my body. Heaven knows what white powder was contained in the capsules.

    And that was the end of my Berberine experiment.

    Which probably doesn't help you very much, does it? Except to suggest that you are very careful about your source of reputable Berberine - there is a lot of adulteration that goes on, and different brands use different herbs, which contain varying or questionable amounts of Berberine, although they all say that they are wonderful. Of course.
     
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  4. graj0

    graj0 · Guest

    It does help thanks. I'm more interested in repairing a knackered metabolism, but If I try it, I will be aware of some shady manufacturers (I'll have to look up the sign used on herbal meds that have been scientifically tested, somewhere in my brain, maybe lost LOL). I'm also going to have to be careful because I take Metformin anyway and as far as BG control is concerned I'm inclined to think "if it ain't broke . . . . . ". I'm not looking for a replacement . . . . . . yet . . . . . probably.
    Everyone's experiences will be different, so I appreciate all answers.
     
  5. graj0

    graj0 · Guest

    Thanks for pointing me there. Metformin gave me enough grief over the years, really don't need a repeat of that. Interesting interaction with certain antibiotics, hopefully I'm finished with my little lot but I better not speak too soon.
     
  6. tim2000s

    tim2000s Type 1 · Expert
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  7. Indy51

    Indy51 Type 2 · Expert

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    I took a couple of different brands that were reputable - Thorne Research being one brand I really trust. But honestly didn't find they made any difference to blood glucose or weight. I got gastritis pains from higher doses, which was exactly what happened with Metformin SR, though I was managing OK with the lower dose Thorne brand. Didn't bother reordering it when it made no difference to me.

    You might want to check into list list of supplements that are meant to help with insulin sensitivity, @graj0

    http://examine.com/topics/Insulin+Sensitivity/
     
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  8. reidpj

    reidpj · Well-Known Member

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  9. graj0

    graj0 · Guest

    Not when they last checked.
     
  10. reidpj

    reidpj · Well-Known Member

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    The standard tests miss an awful lot of people (myself included). They usually only check for TSH (which says more about the pituitary than the thyroid); T4 and FT4 (free T4). The most biologically active thyroid hormone is T3 (which they don't usually test for??). The thyroid (if working properly) secretes a little T3 along with a lot more of T4. T4 is converted to T3 (mostly in the liver); so T4 is really a pro hormone. Any T4 not converted to T3 has to be converted to rT3 (reverse T3) before it can be excreted. rT3 can block the action of T3 in times of stress, illness, famine, etc - the reason why the metabolism slows down during dieting. Body builders 'supplement' with T3 to get that 'ripped' look.
     
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  11. graj0

    graj0 · Guest

    Thanks for that, I remember when my Thyroid Stimulating Hormone was checked, they did it again to double check and got something different, so it was done a third time which seemed to agree with the second one and I was "deemed" OK. I have paid for a wider range of tests as part of my consultation with a Nutritional Therapist and although she can't interpret them, my GP has a copy and it seems OK. I like the idea of looking ripped (LOL), but it might be just a bit too late for me (LOL).
    That's interesting about the effect on the metabolism. The Harris Benedict Formula (or similar) seems to be used by several dieting organisations to calculate one's basic metabolic rate and even takes into account exercise levels. However it seems to me that if the metabolism can slow down, and therefore speed up, the BMR calculated can only ever be a rough estimate.
     
  12. reidpj

    reidpj · Well-Known Member

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    Most GPs know less about the thyroid than they do about diabetes . You could post your thyroid numbers on Healthunloced (thyroid UK section); the people on there (like here) are a mine of information. Agree re. BMR; a guess at best. Another thing to take into consideration, is that the calorie count on food labels can be up to 20% out..
     
  13. graj0

    graj0 · Guest

  14. tim2000s

    tim2000s Type 1 · Expert
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    It was short and disappeared down the boards quickly. I always find the search function useful in place of memory. ;)
     
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  15. graj0

    graj0 · Guest

    I need my memory to remember to use the search function. LOL Thanks for the reminder, I've found some other bits and pieces that go back a bit further. What I'm interested in is, if this stuff is so good, and I can see there are side effects, why isn't it more mainstream? I suppose pharmaceutical companies don't make so much money on anything that comes from unprocessed herbs. Arguable a lot of pharmaceuticals are derived from processed herbs and plants.
     
  16. ButtterflyLady

    ButtterflyLady Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    There may be issues getting enough supply of the plant. It may not be financially viable to extract the active ingredient from the plant. (Just speculating). Many drugs come from plants, so I don't think it's a blanket resistance to plants. I imagine they have analysed the financial pros and cons and it just wasn't worth it for them. It costs an estimated US$1 billion to take a new drug through the approvals process. So the potential return on investment needs to be worth it.
     
  17. phoenix

    phoenix Type 1 · Expert

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    Herbal remedies are very big business. The US laws in particular allow the sale of these products without anything like the testing that has to be done for something marketed as a drug (and even that as we know isn't an infallible indicator of long term problems) EU laws are a bit stricter particularly about claims http://www.bbc.com/news/health-13215010
    You can purchase Golden Seal in this form in the UK.http://www.nealsyardremedies.com/remedies/herbal-remedies/dried-herbs/7844.html#tab2 It's one herb that contains berberine but if you contemplate it see also what Boots says http://www.webmd.boots.com/vitamins-and-minerals/goldenseal
    Extracting it and putting it into high strength tablets though is surely processing.

    Metformin is a drug based originally on a traditional herbal remedy and seems to be very safe and may have wider benefits than lowering glucose levels. However, there were other forms of this class of drug synthesised and at least one was more powerful than Met but proved to have serious side effects. In consequence Met wasn't allowed in the US until 1995 which was many years, after it started to be used in the UK and Europe. http://www.diapedia.org/management/biguanides
    I would guess that the cost benefit to the pharmaceutical industry of developing Berberine just isn't there when Metformin is no longer patented and very cheap.
     
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  18. graj0

    graj0 · Guest

    No worries, I'm really more interested in Berberine as a way of kick starting my metabolism which seems to be one of it's claims. Having said that I'd like to know what the problems might be if I take it on top of Metformin. Might have to suck it and see.
     
  19. Indy51

    Indy51 Type 2 · Expert

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  20. ButtterflyLady

    ButtterflyLady Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for posting those links, very interesting.

    I think Ruhl's blog post does a nice job of outlining her reasons for questioning the safety of many supplements. Of course, the makers of Glycosolve are invested in selling their product, and that also may colour their response.

    I agree with being hesistant about taking Berberine with Metformin. Chances are most doctors do not know enough about Berberine to be able to say taking both together is safe, so their response is likely to be cautious.
     
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