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Type II diabetes is a metabolic issue characterized by insulin resistance and relatively high blood glucose.
We know that our modern eating habits and sedentary lifestyles are the primary causes.
Athletes and people who have labor jobs don’t have to worry about it as much.
The good news is that for people who are at risk for diabetes, there are ways to avoid it.
And despite the lack of results from most drugs, there is one that seems to help correct the metabolism problem that is diabetes.
Many, many synthetic drugs exist to try to address the issue.
But one of the most powerful anti-diabetic drugs just so happens to be all-natural.
Think of it as medication as Mother Nature intended.
And has a proven track record of safe use over thousands of years in China.
It’s a chemical compound berberine, which is extremely effective.
And lucky us, berberine’s ability to reverse diabetes was “rediscovered” in the 1980s.
As an all-natural compound with a barely existent profit-margin, studies proving its effectiveness didn’t show up until 2006.
Dr. Yun Lee was one of the first people to seriously investigate this compound in rats.
He started with two groups — one group acted as a placebo and the other group ate a VERY high-fat (60%) diet.
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Then he split the high-fat group into two smaller subgroups.
He fed only one high-fat group berberine and noticed an extreme reduction in weight in that group.
Dr. Lee also did many other tests, such as glucose tolerance tests.
Gross inspection of berberine-treated mice indicated a clear reduction in adipose tissue mass.
For a glucose tolerance test, scientists inject glucose into the animal.
And then they see how much glucose the cell absorbs and how much stays in the blood.
The berberine-treated mice on the high-fat diet were able to utilize glucose much better than the mice who didn’t receive berberine.
And a person (or animal’s) ability to use glucose is a classic way to diagnose diabetes.
So, the berberine-treated rats were less diabetic, by definition.
To find out why this happens, the doctor extracted the RNA from the rat fat cells.
Berberine administration resulted in a significant reduction in fasting blood glucose levels combined with a significant improvement in glucose tolerance.
He could then look for differences to see if berberine changes certain RNA fragments.
Dr. Lee found that the berberine group had a powerful nuclear receptor downregulated.
Berberine lowered the amount of PPARy in a cell.
This is nuclear receptor which binds directly to DNA, so activating PPARγ has the ability to change the cell’s entire RNA sequence.
To give an idea PPARy’s influence, it carries messages for a litany of enzymes involved in lipid metabolism.
Most genes involved in lipogenesis were downregulated by berberine treatment.
This receptor is such an important metabolic target that drug companies developed a lot of antidiabetic drugs to target it.
Ligands of PPARs have been used for treating these diseases clinically for decades.
And there are more detailed studies conducted on this process.
In 2006, Dr. Huang put all of his efforts to study just the interaction of berberine with PPARγ.
He extracted the cell’s proteins and found a dose-dependent reduction of this fat metabolite receptor (PPARγ).
Dr. Huang also measured the RNA of eleven of the enzymes affected by PPARγ and noticed a reduction in every one of the enzymes.
Each of these affected enzymes are part of synthesizing and storing fat.
And berberine actually lowers the levels of PPARγ, which in turn lowers these enzymes.
So — the body doesn’t have the tools to store fat.
PPARy also modulates the activity of a protein which transports glucose out of the blood into the cell.
This receptor is so influential in diabetes development that rats bred without it are essentially diabetes-proof.
They used selective breeding techniques to breed mice without PPARγ.
Researchers labeled these mice as PPARy Knock-out or PPARy KO for their research.
They found that mice without PPARγ were largely protected from gaining weight on a high-fat diet.
The PPARγ KO mice even ate more and had a higher metabolism, as measured by O₂ consumption in a sealed chamber.
PPAR adipose KO mice are protected from developing HFD-induced obesity and insulin resistance.
Besides having a quicker metabolism and storing less fat, the rats were apparently normal.
The mice suffered no harm by not having the PPARγ gene.
This finding implies that it could be an evolutionary adaption to a cold climate.
In fact, PPARγ’s involvement in regulating hibernation in certain species is pretty significant.
But PPARγ can be silenced if you silence the enzymes that work with it.
Berberine silences these enzymes.
Similar to PPARα, PPARγ is sensitive to AMPK activity. PPARγ phosphorylation by AMPK represses both the ligand-dependent and -independent transactivating function of the receptor.
Other studies confirmed these same effects and microscopic examinations of fat tissue noted a reduction in fat cell size with berberine.
And many researchers remark on the lack of toxicity of berberine.
Such gene expression alterations in diabetic hamsters were reversed by berberine treatment.
Berberine improves the rate of glucose metabolism as much as it reduces fat storage without any obvious side-effects.
It lowers a key glucose transport protein in fat cells as well and also upregulates glucose in muscle cells.
In this way, berberine funnels energy away from the white adipose tissue (WAT) and into the muscle to be used.
Plus, we’re in luck — there are easy to access sources of berberine.
A few herbs contain berberine such as goldenseal, barberry.
But you can also find it in purified form as berberine supplements.
Liquid supplements are usually preferable since they don’t have binders which the body can absorb.
Natural pharmacology is usually safer, and cheaper than synthetic drugs.
That is the berberine advantage since it has absolutely no known side-effects.
But it doesn’t get too much media attention since Big Pharma can’t make money on it.
And you want to avoid polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs).
Avoiding these can help you avoid diabetes, and taking berberine for weight loss may be helpful as well.
Deletion of PPAR in adipose tissues of mice protects against high fat diet-induced obesity and insulin resistance
Berberine inhibits 3T3-L1 adipocyte differentiation through the PPARc pathway
Modulation of PPAR activity via phosphorylation
Berberine-Improved Visceral White Adipose Tissue Insulin Resistance Associated with
Altered Sterol Regulatory Element-Binding Proteins, Liver X Receptors, and Peroxisome
Proliferator-Activated Receptors Transcriptional Programs in Diabetic Hamsters