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Natural Plant Demonstrates Benefits for Treating Diabetes

Chinese, Korean, and Australian scientists at Sydney’s Garvan Institute have come together to uncover findings that the natural plant product berberine could be a valuable new treatment for people suffering from type 2 diabetes.
Found in the roots and bark of a number of plants, berberine has been an alternative treatment for many conditions including healing wounds and diarrhea. Chinese literature has also documented berberine to lower glucose when administered to diabetics. The method in which it does so has remained a mystery, until now that is.
“Our studies in animal models of diabetes show that berberine acts in part by activating an enzyme in the muscle and liver that is involved in improving sensitivity of the tissue to insulin – this in turn helps lower blood sugar levels. In addition, it seems berberine can help reduce body weight” said Garvan scientist Dr Jiming Ye.

Metformin and the TZD group of drugs are currently being used by many medical professionals to treat Type 2 diabetes. The problem however, is that many patients cannot tolerate metformin and the TZD patients can gain unwanted weight. For these reasons, many experts are in search of alternative treatments.
“Berberine has been used for decades, if not centuries, with few reported side effects. Given the limitations of existing medicines we are excited to have evidence that berberine may be a helpful new treatment for type 2 diabetes; however, despite its widespread use in traditional medicine practices, it will still have to be evaluated properly following the defined clinical trials process”, said Professor James, head of the Garvan’s Diabetes & Obesity Research Program and co-author of the Diabetes paper.
Next on the agenda is an investigation to understand how berberine activates the enzyme that mediates these ‘insulin-sensitising’ effects.

Frank Mangano’s commentary:
Diabetes is a serious problem worldwide. One of the reasons why it becomes a bigger problem is because of the conventional methods used to treat it, which in reality aren’t solving the problem. 
Here’s a partial list of natural supplements one can take to help treat
Alpha Lipoic Acid (treats peripheral nerve damage and helps control blood sugar levels), Spirulina (helps control diabetes), Chromium Picolinate (improves efficiency of insulin), Garlic (increases immunity and stabilizes blood sugar), L-Carnitine (mobilizes fat), L-Glutamine (decreases sugar cravings), Stevia (a healthy substitute for artificial sweeteners). We can now add berberine to the list!

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Comment from Carol Ray
Time March 11, 2007 at 10:55 am

Dear Frank,

We have a small number of elderly and not so elderly people who meet monthly for our “Eagles Nest Healing Circle” gatherings.
We have lunch, share the latest health and family things, music, crafts, native plants and native healings and have LOTS of laughter.
While I have sent your site to them all I sometimes print out and pass out some of your very informational articles
Thank You so much for this article about berberine. I will ask around and see if any of our native plants have this chemical in them. Many are used for diabetes control already and I bet this is the reason they work !

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