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mccoy
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Hi all,

lately my fasting (early morning) blood glucose is drifting toward higher values, not prediabetic but between 90 and 100 mg/dL. Now, I wouldn't like to cut drastically on carbs, since I don't like the idea to renounce healthy and micronutrient-rich foods like fresh fruit and whole grain cereals. I also confess I like to add dark honey to my hot cacao beverage. Exercise alone is not cutting it. There may be other factors at work like poor sleep and so on, the result is the above drifting though.

So, after discarding the idea of taking metformin, mainly due to the fact that it has some proven detrimental effects upon athletic performance (and muscle hypertrophy), pending the results of the TAME study, I'm thinking about berberine, a supplement which has been extensively studied, seems not to exhibit the detrimental effects of metformin on respiratory fitness and muscle hypertrophy, with the drawback that its long time effects have not been studied. 

My question: in this forum I found berberine mentioned only in the context of cold exposure. Is anyone using it to lower blood glucose concentration, in which amount, which brands?

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McCoy I am currently using it experimentally for ldl lowering. I considered niacin but it tends to raise insulin resistance which is curious considering it also lowers triglycerides?? My numbers for fasting glucose are similar to yours even with a bmi of 22 and at least two hours of brisk walking along with almost daily resistance exercise splitting upper and lower body workouts so they are on different days. I also never sit for more than 45 minutes continuously. I have FH and take maximum Crestor which is the most powerful statin and my ldl is still 105. I’d like to get it down. I also eat a plant based diet and very low fat. That’s a lot of carbs, but of course these are all high Fibre Whole Foods. My post prandial is always below 120 within an hour, so that is not a problem, but the fasting level should be lower. Crestor has a tendency to raise insulin resistance, so that may be another factor. I hate taking substances that don’t have any long term clinical trials. So I’m only taking 1000mg eod and hoping to at least nudge my ldl down to 90 or so. I’ve tried policosanol and plant sterols both of which were useless. The brand is AOR. Consumer labs has not done a test on berberine unfortunately, but the company has Michael Rae blessings and so I trust it. I know I taunt MR occasionally but I do respect him. We are all human and I admire his tenacity, but no one always gets it right including Michael.

Edited by Mike41
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Thanks Mike, I'm still pondering the issue, a drawback is that the American brands are usually not available here and direct orders get stuck at the custom. Pretty interesting that such a supplement can lower both blood glucose and LDL. I also tend not to have large postprandial spikes, but I have to watch my glycated hemoglobin. 

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19 hours ago, mccoy said:

Thanks Mike, I'm still pondering the issue, a drawback is that the American brands are usually not available here and direct orders get stuck at the custom. Pretty interesting that such a supplement can lower both blood glucose and LDL. I also tend not to have large postprandial spikes, but I have to watch my glycated hemoglobin. 

You might try cinnamon. A 1/2 teaspoon with meals has some decent evidence based on consumerlabs reviews. They tested a bunch for coumarin which is a toxic substance that can reach scary levels in some brands. However if you stick with Ceylon cinnamon like frontiers organic brand your safe. There’s had .1 mg per gram of coumarin whereas simply organic cinnamon brand had 6.8 mg per gram which was close to the limit and a tsp is about 1.7 gms not something I would want to take,

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18 hours ago, Saul said:

Hi Mccoy!

Take care -- elevated serum glucose and elevated LDL can be a sign of approaching metabolic syndrome, which, uncontrolled, might lead to diabetes.

  --  Saul

Hi Saul, thank you, no way I'm going to let metabolic syndrome approach, get behind me Satan!

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On 11/23/2020 at 4:42 PM, Mike41 said:

You might try cinnamon. A 1/2 teaspoon with meals has some decent evidence based on consumerlabs reviews. They tested a bunch for coumarin which is a toxic substance that can reach scary levels in some brands. However if you stick with Ceylon cinnamon like frontiers organic brand your safe. There’s had .1 mg per gram of coumarin whereas simply organic cinnamon brand had 6.8 mg per gram which was close to the limit and a tsp is about 1.7 gms not something I would want to take,

Thanks for reminding me about cinnamon, that's another issue, finding a reliable source of low-coumarin Ceylon cinnamon, outside the USA.

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On 11/25/2020 at 1:44 PM, Mike41 said:

I’m surprised Amazon isn’t shipping from warehouses in Italy

What seems to happen is that many American supplements are not stocked by European warehouses, as far as I've seen. Buying those products directly from America, or Canada, besides being more expensive is at risk of being checked in the custom. That means, for supplements, sheets to be filled out, additional costs, much longer time. It's a no-no.

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9 hours ago, mccoy said:

I didn't find iHerb

https://www.iherb.com/shipping/it

Tons of products.   Excellent service. 

 

Quote

for supplements, sheets to be filled out, additional costs...

iHerb generally handles all of that and tells you any limitations up front.

I get stuff shipped from the U.S. to Siberia and it sails through the notoriously bureaucratic Russian customs regime. 

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Thanks Sibiriak, I meant I couldn't find iHerb products on Amazon but on their site I see they have pretty much optimized logistics. I don't know who would win in a bureaucracy contest, though, whether Russia or Italy, probably it would be a draw.

How have you assessed the reliability of iHerb supplements? Consumers' labs or else?

I might as well have a try at it and see what happens.

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OK, I've noted that iHerb si a distributor of various brands. Now foods for example has many products for sale at amazon Europe. At this point the basic question remains: which brand to buy? I didn't research any consumers lab reports, just remember that Rhonda Patrick cites as reliable ones Pure Encapsulation and Thorne, Peter Attia cites Jarrow,  other sources cite more brands but I don't remember them,

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  • 5 months later...
On 11/20/2020 at 7:59 AM, mccoy said:

I'm thinking about berberine

 

On 11/21/2020 at 10:36 AM, Mike41 said:

I’m only taking 1000mg

mccoy, Mike, how did your experiment with berberine go?

Mine has been an unmitigated disaster. I tried taking between 1g and 2g of berberine per day, for about 5 months.

My blood panel shows the highest glucose I've ever had, at 107mg/dL, as well as the highest insulin, at 5.8uIU/mL. 10 months ago they were 91 and 4.2 respectively. HOMA-IR cuts off the "healthy" range at 1.4 and my result is 1.5.

HG-A1C is 5.0, which is at least OK.

In addition, my lipids have gone considerably worse, with Apo B at 78mg/dL (it was 64 before).

HDL has dropped to 53, from 61. LDL has gone up to 85 from 71. Total cholesterol has gone to 155 from 137. And triglycerides are at an unusually high for me 77, up from 28mg/dL.

And then there is IGF-1, which has gone to 203 (the highest ever) and IGFBP-3 has actually dropped.

Perhaps I took it for too long of a period, as I see that it stops lowering glucose in most users after a while. But now that I am searching more closely, I also saw that it may raise IGF-1, may negatively affect muscles, and potentially cause DNA damage.

I also reduced my fat intake a bit over the last three months, but the results are not consistent with that. And I have somewhat increased my hiking and strength exercise.

In any case, I personally am staying away from berberine in the future.

Edited by Ron Put
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On 5/12/2021 at 11:21 PM, Ron Put said:

mccoy, Mike, how did your experiment with berberine go?

I never started berberine because I couldn't find a reliable product to buy. But now it remains to be seen if those effects are really due to berberine, maybe the next analyses, after you've quit for a few months will give an answer to that. I never heard of such detrimental effects but individuals are different...

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5 hours ago, mccoy said:

maybe the next analyses, after you've quit for a few months will give an answer to that. I never heard of such detrimental effects but individuals are different...

Yes, I have stopped berberine, as well as moringa (less likely to be the cause, IMO, as I took it for a much shorter period). I will test again in a couple of months and see if there is a change.

Now that I am taking a closer look, almost all of the berberine studies are from China (with possible financial pressure to publish), the vast majority are pretty shoddy, and many cite each other. Most of the sites, even reputable ones, simply repeat those.

I already noted that berberine appears to boost IGF-1 (which may or may not be detrimental). There is also an indication that whatever beneficial effects there are, subside after a couple of months. There may not be beneficial effects in those over 60. And virtually all of the above studies are on people who already have metabolic problems and/or type 2 diabetes.

Here is a bit on DNA damage:

"Highlights

•The toxic potencies of five goldenseal alkaloid constituents were compared.

•Berberine appeared to be the most potent DNA damage inducer,

•DNA damage was directly associated with the inhibitory effect of Topo II.

•The extent of DNA damage was positively correlated to the berberine content in goldenseal products."



Here is something from India:

"Berberine and sanguinarine are traditionally used alkaloids with multispectrum pharmacodynamic properties. On the basis of extensive literature survey, berberine, and sanguinarine have been reported to cause toxicity in different living system. In molecular structure of berberine and sanguinarine, both contains a positive moiety which interacts with a number of nucleophilic and anionic moieties of many biomolecules that distort their structure and further resulted in to altered function of biomolecules. Instead of antitumor activity of berberine, it has potential to treat diabetes mellitus. They have been implicated in the occurrence of dropsy. The toxicity of pure compound is greater than the toxicity of plant extract or plant extract fractions. The sub-acute concentrations of berberine lead to altered liver function, gastric troubles, hepato and hematotoxicity, hemorrhagic inflammatory consequences, damage to immune cells and induced apoptosis. The in vivo and in vitro studies have reported that sanguinarine may induce apoptosis and adversely influence the embryonic development (both in the pre-implantation and post-implantation conditions) of mouse. Sanguinarine toxicity is also reflected in terms of increased SGPT and SGOT activities and reduced microsomal cytochrome P-450 and benzphetamine N-demethylase activities. On the other hand, the cytotoxic properties of both of these alkaloids reveal the use of these alkaloids in treatment of cancer. Berberine treatment may improve insulin resistance, promote insulin secretion, inhibit gluconeogenesis in liver, stimulate glycolysis in peripheral tissue cells, modulate gut microbiota, reduce intestinal absorption of glucose, and perturb lipid metabolism. However, more work is required to assess their anticancer potential under different environmental and clinical conditions to ascertain this possibility."

And this is a weird bit on muscle growth, with a positive spin:

"Berberine impairs muscle metabolism by two novel mechanisms. It impairs mitochonidrial function stimulating the expression of atrogin-1 without affecting phosphorylation of forkhead transcription factors. The increase in atrogin-1 not only stimulated protein degradation but also suppressed protein synthesis, causing muscle atrophy."

 

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5 hours ago, Mike41 said:

I gave up on it as the reading were discouraging as you have discovered 

I wish I had read more before I took it for 5 months :(

Most of my markers relating to lipids and blood sugar have deteriorated, and taking Berberine is really the single significant change I've made. The reduction of fat was more recent, and I can't imagine it as the cause, since previous reductions in fat intake (like EVDO) resulted in notable improvements.

The only other new variable other than Berberine is the SARS Cov-2 vaccine in early February, but it is highly unlikely to affect stuff like IGF-1, lipids and blood sugar, all of which are supposedly affected (albeit positively) by Berberine, according to the web write ups.

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  • 1 month later...

I stopped Berberine and after the tests I mentioned above and just retested. My fasting glucose is back to 84, from 107 on Berberine.

I can't e certain that Berberine was responsible, but it was the main change that is supposed to significantly impact glucose, so I'll stay away from the stuff.

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21 hours ago, mccoy said:

I also ordered the freestyle libre CGM sensor, so I' may have a way to observe its effects real-time-

I'd e curious how it works longer-term, like three months or so. That's what I did.

Most of the studies seem to be short-term, and rather shoddy, too.

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