Although all health struggles can be heartbreaking, reproductive issues are particularly difficult. Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) affects roughly 1 in 10 women worldwide. Some natural supplements may be able to provide support to women battling the hormonal imbalances associated with PCOS. Many of the supplements growing in popularity among holistic Western medicine have their roots in the ancient practice of Ayurveda. Ayurvedic medicine centers around the concept of bringing balance to your inner dosha — the person you are predisposed to be. In Ayurveda, optimal health is achieved through working to know yourself fully in mind, body, and spirit. Using exercise, diet, and supplements to support your unique journey, this practice can provide you with a comprehensive look at your reproductive and health journey.
The supplement berberine is a versatile extract with potential health benefits for your reproductive system and beyond. This beneficial alkaloid has been used for centuries in Ayurvedic medicine, read on to learn more about berberine and what it could do for you.
What is Berberine?
Berberine is an alkaloid derived from natural plants such as Oregon grape, goldthread, barberry, tree turmeric and phellodendron. Berberine extract is a rich, yellow powder generally taken in capsule form. The ancient Ayurvedic healers believed that berberine supports a healthy internal response and can also support heart, gut and blood health.
The Berberine PCOS Connection
PCOS or polycystic ovary syndrome is a relatively common hormonal imbalance among women of reproductive age, affecting roughly 5-10% of the population. PCOS can lead to irregular menstrual cycles and infertility. PCOS is linked with insulin resistance, meaning that women with PCOS are resistant to the normal about of insulin in the body. This, in turn, causes the body to produce more insulin that is normal, which causes the ovaries to produce extra testosterone, leading to PCOS symptoms. Researchers looked into the effects of berberine on PCOS and found that “Intake of berberine improved some of the metabolic and hormonal derangements” in the women that participated.
Potential Berberine Benefits
Berberine has a list of potential benefits and a list of clinical studies citing its efficacy. Berberine may support insulin and blood levels already in the normal range, leading to balance in the heart and bloodstream. Because of its natural, qualities that support a healthy internal response, berberine may also support healthy gut flora and can be used to treat burns, cuts, and skin infections. Berberine may also assist in ocular health and is available as a natural eye drop.
How to Take Berberine
Berberine is best taken after meals and is thought to be most helpful when taken 2-3 times a day to keep levels consistent in the bloodstream as berberine has a short half-life in the body. Berberine is available as a standalone supplement as well as part of a supplement blend to meet your unique health needs. It can be applied directly to the skin as well to assist with the discomfort associated with infections, burns and minor cuts.
Find out more about berberine and how it can potentially help with weight loss and support your immune system.