Tags: berberine | arrhythmia | fibrillation | supplements

Berberine: Natural Heart Savior

By Wednesday, 08 June 2016 04:59 PM Current | Bio | Archive

Unlike many compounds found in plants, berberine is well-absorbed when taken orally. It is then rapidly metabolized into a number of related compounds, many of which could be even more beneficial and powerful than berberine itself.

These metabolic compounds are manufactured in the liver, the first place substances absorbed from the intestines go.

Berberine has been used in Chinese medicine for thousands of years with few side effects, and is now available as an over-the-counter purified supplement.

In recent decades, this incredible compound has been the subject of extensive research all over the world. Newer research indicates that berberine can significantly improve overall heart function, and can benefit people who are suffering from conditions such as congestive heart failure and damage suffered after a heart attack.

One of the things that happens after a heart attack is that the heart’s cells are damaged by a wave of free radicals and lipid peroxidation products created by the blockage of the blood supply.

This damage can not only result in inefficient pumping of the heart muscle, it can also trigger irregular heartbeats, which are called arrhythmias. In fact, most deaths after a heart attack are caused by arrhythmias.

Studies using heart attack models in animals that have had one of their coronary arteries tied off have shown that berberine can significantly reduce heart damage and strongly inhibits arrhythmias in the animals.

Other studies have shown that berberine can counteract pathological processes that occur following heart attacks.

These processes include remodeling of the left ventricle and leakage of calcium from heart cells — both of which can lead to heart failure if not corrected.

One of the things that damages heart cells after a heart attack is an excess of sympathetic nervous system activity in the heart, caused mainly by a rush of norepinephrine, the neurotransmitter associated with that system.

One study found that berberine could significantly inhibit the heart damage that is caused by excess norepinephrine.

Sympathetic neurotransmitters are elevated in the blood and the heart muscle of people who are suffering a heart attack. This increases the likelihood of an arrhythmia that can lead to progressive, pathological damage to the heart muscle.

One animal study found that berberine could lower the level of sympathetic neurotransmitters — both in the blood and in heart tissues — and offered considerable protection against congestive heart failure.

I have written in the past about balancing input to the heart from the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems. Berberine helps bring these opposing neurotransmitters back into balance by increasing the cholinergic (parasympathetic) receptors on the heart’s cells.

One of the most deadly types of arrhythmia is called ventricular fibrillation. Berberine has been shown to reduce the risk of this arrhythmia.

In addition, berberine improves heart contraction strength and reduces the irritability of cardiac nerves and muscles.

Thus, it protects against the deadly events that can follow a heart attack.

A few human studies have also been conducted with berberine. In one, researchers examined 156 patients with congestive heart failure. They also studied 90 people with a type of abnormal heartbeat called ventricular premature complexes (VPCs) as well as sustained tachycardia, which is a faster than normal heartbeat at rest.

All of the patients received conventional treatment, and one group also received 1.2 to 2 grams of berberine each day for eight weeks.

The patients who took berberine had significantly greater left ventricular function (strength of heartbeat), improved shortness of breath symptoms, a decrease in VPCs, and a significant decrease in mortality over a long-term follow-up period.

They also had no significant side effects with berberine, and reported a significantly improved quality of life.


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Berberine has been used in Chinese medicine for thousands of years with few side effects, and is now available as an over-the-counter purified supplement.
berberine, arrhythmia, fibrillation, supplements
Wednesday, 08 June 2016 04:59 PM
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