Berberine is a compound found in goldenseal, yellow root, Amur cork tree, Chinese goldthread, prickly poppy, and Californian poppy.
I’ve taken berberine daily for years now. While it doesn’t make my Foundational 5 list of the five most essential supplements for health, it would be on my list of the top 10 .
This past week, I got a notice for a new paper published in Inflammopharmacology, titled The role of berberine in Covid-19: potential adjunct therapy.
The average case of Covid-19 is little more than a strong cold now, but other novel viruses will come along, so I thought it would be helpful to share some of the highlights from this paper.
General Health Benefits of Berberine
Before addressing the potential effects of berberine in infections like Covid-19, I want to recap its general health benefits. I go into greater detail on these in my article Berberine: Blood Sugar, Body Fat and Other Health Benefits.
Research shows berberine:
- Improves the heart’s performance by increasing ejection fraction and left ventricle function in cases of congestive heart failure
- Supports normal blood pressure
- Increases cholesterol excretion and helps improve blood lipid levels
- Supports normal blood sugar levels and helps increase glucose transport into muscle cells by acting on Glut-4, which improves insulin sensitivity
- Supports normal androgen levels in women with PCOS
- Suppresses the growth of existing fat cells or the development of new fat cells
- May support cognitive health by keeping blood sugar levels in check, thereby reducing the risk of dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease (often dubbed Type III diabetes)
- Enhances the production of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), stimulating brain cell production and potentially reducing symptoms of depression
- Inhibits the brain’s reward center after using certain drugs and alcohol
- Improves diversity of good gut bacteria
That’s quite a list of health benefits. Now you know why I take berberine every day.
Berberine and Covid-like Conditions
The authors of the new paper summarized berberine’s role in COVID-19 as follows:
The potential role of BBR in Covid-19 is related to improving the immune response in the early phase of SARS-CoV-2 infection, with suppression of SARS-CoV-2-induced hyper-inflammation in the late phase. Therefore, BBR could be a preventive and therapeutic agent in Covid-19 by targeting inflammatory signaling pathways with suppression of entry/infectivity of SARS-CoV-2.Babalghith AO, et al.
Berberine inhibits viral infection early on and may reduce the inflammation-related damage for someone already infected.
Such viral infections cause a significant increase in free radicals. With its research-supporter antioxidant effects, berberine may help reduce or prevent free radical damage.
The following images come directly from the paper. As you can see, berberine plays multiple roles when tackling inflammation, infection, and free radical damage.
Covid is no longer seen as the threat it was once was. Most of the public now realizes that it isn’t as dangerous as it was made out to be, though there are still a small percentage of people worried enough to wear their masks in public still.
I’ve already seen propaganda promoting the flu’s return as this fall’s public health threat. Animal research shows that berberine may reduce influenza infection as well.
Like any other natural therapy, berberine isn’t a miracle cure. If you don’t get enough sleep, drink too much alcohol, smoke cigarettes, or are obese, you’ll have a much harder time protecting your body from infections.
As I often say,
With its vast array of health benefits, berberine is a supplement you might want to consider.