Q. Dear Terry, “My adult son was recently diagnosed with metabolic syndrome. To be honest, I didn’t even know what it was, but I understand it has something to do with him having high blood pressure and blood sugar issues. What can he take?” – Mia V., Anchorage, AK
A. Dear Mia, Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of conditions that includes: high blood sugar (pre-diabetes or type 2 diabetes), low HDL cholesterol (“good” cholesterol), high triglycerides, high blood pressure, and increased waist circumference. The dangers of metabolic syndrome include an increased risk of heart attack, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and other health problems.
When it comes to metabolic syndrome, berberine is one of my favorite choices for dealing with blood sugar, blood pressure, increased weight, and other metabolic health issues. Berberine is a botanical compound extracted from a plant source, just as curcumin is extracted from turmeric. In clinical research, berberine helped lower weight, blood sugar, and triglyceride levels. A separate clinical trial showed that berberine helped lower fasting and postprandial (after a meal) blood sugar levels. These effects occurred in the very beginning of the study and during the entire three-month study period. The results were similar to the group treated with metformin, a drug frequently used for type 2 diabetes. Berberine also helps with vasodilation, which is a huge benefit for lowering blood pressure. Another study demonstrated that berberine reduced triglyceride numbers by 35 percent – in just three months!
I prefer berberine that comes from the bark and root of Indian Barberry (Berberis aristata). I would take 500 mg of berberine three times per day, or with each meal. There are also enhanced absorption methods for berberine, like the plant-based absorption enhancer, called gamma cyclodextrin. Gamma cyclodextrin has a strong track record in improving bioavailability. I would take 250 mg of berberine with gamma cyclodextrin once per day. Regardless of which berberine your son chooses, I would stick with it for at least three months.
Terry . . . Naturally