Blood sugar refers to the amount of glucose in the blood. It is measured in millimoles per liter, mmol/l. Blood glucose levels are usually measured to make a diagnosis of diabetes, or to monitor it. You may also need to have blood glucose levels measured if you are pregnant, have pancreatitis or are advanced in age. During the day, blood glucose levels can stay within a narrow range, 4 to 8 mmol/l. It rises after meals, and is lowest in the morning, after a night’s rest.
Importance of keeping blood sugar levels low
It is important to keep blood glucose levels low, as it ensures maintenance of optimal energy levels throughout the day. It also helps in optimal brain function. There is a limited range of blood glucose levels in which the brain is able to function optimally. Keeping blood glucose levels low reduces long-term complications associated with diabetes, for instance, kidney problems, strokes, heart failure, high blood pressure, eye disease, nerve problems, and heart attacks.
Can berberine help manage blood sugar levels?
There are a number of natural ways to lower blood glucose, for instance eating a healthy diet and regular exercise. Another way to manage it is via nutritional supplementation.
Nutritional supplementation comes in handy because elevated levels of glucose result in the loss of substantial amounts of nutrients. If you have type 2 diabetes, you are most likely to suffer from deficiencies in water soluble vitamins and minerals, which undoubtedly have health consequences.
Nutritional supplements can also keep your blood glucose levels at a healthy level, as you intake nutrients that support the use of insulin in the body. One of the most effective supplements is berberine. It is a plant alkaloid. It is vital in traditional Chinese medicine and Ayurvedic medicine as well. It is extracted from a number of plants, for instance from shrubs referred to as Berberis.
How It Works
After you ingest berberine, the blood transports it to the body’s cells. It binds to a number of molecular targets, changing their function. They work in the same way as pharmaceutical drugs. Berberine targets AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK). This is a regulator of metabolism present in animals and plants. AMPK is also referred to as a ‘metabolic master switch’, and is found in the cells of various organs, for instance, kidneys, liver, the brain, and heart. Berberine affects other molecules in the cells, affecting the genes that are turned on or off.
Here are some ways in which berberine lowers blood sugar:
- Stimulates the uptake of glucose by the cells
- Reduces production of glucose in the liver
- Improves insulin sensitivity
- Alleviates insulin resistance, making insulin more effective. Insulin is a hormone that lowers blood glucose.
- Helps the body to break down sugar in the cells
- Slows down the breakdown of carbohydrates in the gut
- Affects other molecules, genes and enzymes related to blood glucose control
Keeping blood sugar levels low is crucial. It ensures that you have energy throughout the day, optimal brain function and prevents or manages diabetes. There are several ways to keep blood glucose levels low: a healthy diet, exercise and nutritional supplementation. A good supplement is berberine.