What is Berberine?
Berberine is a bioactive compound extracted from many different plants, including a group of shrubs called Berberis. It’s an alkaloid compound present in the roots, stems, rhizomes, and bark of a variety of plants, including Californian poppy, goldenseal, cork tree, Chinese goldthread, Oregon grape, and several plants in the Berberis genus. It is also widely available as a dietary supplement. Berberine has a long history of use in the ancient and traditional medicine systems of India, China, and Persia.
How does Berberine work?
Let’s understand the Berberine mechanism a little better before commenting on its anti-aging property. Many mechanisms of action have been proposed as promoters of the beneficial effects of Berberine, but the primary mechanism of Berberine revolves around its activation of adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase, or AMPK, in multiple cell types, including endothelium, smooth muscle, cardiomyocytes, cancer cells, pancreatic beta cells, hepatocytes, macrophages, and adipocytes. AMPK serves as the master regulator of cellular energy. Its activation influences gene expression and inhibits cellular processes that drive oxidative stress, glucose metabolism, and energy generation in cells.
Let's understand aging a little more.
Aging is a biological process and is the greatest risk factor for human diseases, as it results in cellular growth arrest, impaired tissue function, and metabolism, ultimately impacting life span.
Clinical evidence supporting anti-aging effects of Berberine.
Berberine exerts anti-aging effects in cell culture, insect, and rodent studies. A multiple-model study of the effects of Berberine on aging found that the compound improved several aspects of aging in human lung fibroblasts by promoting the cell's progression through the cell growth cycle. The cell’s capacity to replicate was longer, and their overall shape was more like that of younger cells.
In another study, the lifespan of naturally-aged subjects that were given Berberine was nearly 17 percent longer, and nearly 50 percent longer among chemotherapy-treated subjects given Berberine. In addition, the subjects showed improvements in health span and behavior.
Berberine has attracted attention in recent years owing to its wide spectrum of pharmacological effects, particularly in aging-related diseases, including that against hypertension, hyperglycemia, hyperlipidemia, cancer, arrhythmia, depression, etc. thereby can potentially alter aging-associated cellular processes.