AMPK, Metformin, Berberine, and Gynostemma

ampk activators

 

 

 

 

 

 

AMPK plays a very significant role in the control of blood sugar, and low AMPK levels have been implicated in diabetes.  AMPK, an enzyme,  is considered the metabolic master switch and is particularly important in providing feedback to the liver as far as whether our blood sugar should be raised and the extent that it should be raised.

So given that diabetics tend to have persistently high blood sugar a lot of the time, broken AMPK signaling, from lack of AMPK expression, can be a big deal indeed.

Diabetes is a metabolic disorder and what we need to realize is that when we look at the heart of the matter, a lot of the effects that we see, such as high blood sugar, high insulin levels, high glucagon levels, high adrenal hormone levels, insulin resistance, glucotoxity and lipotoxity, and so on, are all symptoms of a metabolic disturbance, defects in metabolism that cause these hormones and other things to go awry.

It can sometimes be helpful to treat the symptoms, but in the end, unless we treat what's really wrong, unless we at least focus on a higher order dysfunction, things that are behind the symptoms that we see at a higher level, we're not really going to fix the problem very much.

In a sense, some of these symptoms, like high blood sugar, may actually be the body's attempt to deal with the problem, and the symptoms that we are trying to address may be our bodies' attempt to actually deal with the situation, like for instance our getting a fever with an infection.  So the fever actually assists in killing off the pathogens that are making us sick, and if we just reduce the fever without tackling the real problem, we aren't going to get better, we're going to get worse.

So we might actually be better off with the higher blood sugar given our condition, for instance being in a situation where our cells require higher blood sugar for proper metabolism, and we may be starving them to a certain degree by artificially reducing it.  So this is something we do need to bear in mind when we look to just address symptoms.

Low AMPK expression isn't a symptom though, it's a cause, or at least it's further up the causal chain.  So increasing this is a good thing, and one of the ways to increase this is through regular exercise, and although this tends to increase AMPK modestly, it does so enough that people get real benefits from it.

So I don't want to get into too much of a technical discussion of this, other than to mention that we now suspect that low AMPK detection by the hypothalamus, the body's master gland located inside the brain, may be behind the whole cascade of hormonal problems that play an huge role in our disease.

So AMPK is something that we are low in so to speak, as diabetics, and it's also something we want to raise, and when we raise it, our diabetes improves, not just in the short term, but in the long term as well, provided we keep levels more healthy.

So what else besides exercise can we do to restore AMPK?  Well intermittent fasting can also help, we exercise too little and eat too much these days and especially eat too often, 3 meals a day plus snacks, they even recommend this for diabetics, that doesn't allow for proper AMPK restoration even if you don't have problems with this, in other words being low anyway, and we surely are, especially eating like this.

What about medications to raise AMPK?  Well this is the main way that Metformin works, and this is how it helps cut down on liver dumping, which is the main problem we have, and it is pretty effective, reducing about a third of our excess liver dumping and reducing our A1C by about a percentage point on average.

Berberine, a non prescription supplement, has been shown to  work equally as well in both increasing AMPK and reducing blood sugar, without the side effects that Metformin is so famous for, which generally aren't serious but they can prevent people from being able to tolerate it.  I can't tolerate Metformin for instance, but I have no issues with berberine, a few people might experience minor gastrointestinal discomfort while they adjust it but nothing like the stuff that you very often see with Metformin.

So the dosage here is similar, 1000 to 2000 mg a day, and 1500 mg of Metformin is comparable to 1500 mg of berberine, for instance.  Berberine has additional health benefits beyond Metformin, including promoting intestinal health and healthy lipid levels.

The most exciting thing that you can take to raise AMPK that we've discovered so far is something called gynostemma pentaphyllum, also known as Southern Ginseng.  Ginseng has been shown to reduce blood sugar modestly, but this is not your normal ginseng, and its antidiabetic properties are much more potent, particularly the way it increases AMPK.

So in studies, gynostemma has been shown to be superior to not only Metformin, but any other antidiabetic medication, prescription or supplement, and reduces A1C by about twice as much as your typical diabetes med, without side effects.

This showed very promising results in reducing excess liver dumping in rats, and they've done a couple of double blind human studies now, and A1C has been reduced by an average of 2%, an amazing amount, blood sugar readings are put down significantly, insulin sensitivity has been significantly improved, and all of this has been done not by looking to artificially circumvent things, but by restoring healthy AMPK levels, which is the most exciting part of all.

We've been brainwashed by big pharma to only pay attention to pharmaceuticals prescribed by doctors though, anything else is just snake oil, but at least people these days do have the internet, and can go out and learn the real truth about a lot of things.  Still though, there are few diabetics who even know about the benefits of berberine and far fewer who have ever heard of gynostemma, or know that creatine, a bodybuilding supplement, has been shown to work as well as prescription meds as well, as discussed in a recent article here.

The great thing about supplements are that you can pretty much stack these all you want, you could take creatine, berberine, gynostemma, and whatever else you like, and combine all the benefits without really needing to worry much about things like life threatening interactions or serious side effects, some meds do interact with supplements though so you need to be careful if you're on prescriptions and check this all out.

People an't dying from taking the stuff like they do with prescription meds, 100,000 deaths a year in the U.S. alone from this stuff, people's chronic diseases like diabetes made worse and worse instead of better, it's no wonder why I prefer natural supplements for my own treatment.

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78 Comments on “AMPK, Metformin, Berberine, and Gynostemma

  1. Pingback: poker uang asli
  2. I do not know if it’s just me or if everyone else experiencing problems with your blog.

    It seems like some of the text on your content are running
    off the screen. Can someone else please comment and let me know if this is happening to them too?
    This may be a problem with my internet browser because I’ve had
    this happen previously. Many thanks

    1. Sorry you are having problems, I’m going to say it’s your browser, the settings on this aren’t adjustable, maybe try Chrome.

      1. Hi Ken.
        Stuie from Australia.
        T2 on 2 DiabexXR x 1000mg and 1 Keytone.
        I have just stumbled across the use of berberine, gynostemma,and quercetin

        I think many people have asked this question.
        Can we take these with the current medication??
        also, do we have to buy the pills that in cooperate these 3 in 1, or can we buy these separately and take certain doses of them?
        Reason I ask, is because these are all USA based, and not freely available here in Oz.
        are these all the same??
        nutri-thrive
        active-pk
        LA-3

        Where can we see the PERCENTAGE LEVELS of each ingredient on these products?
        Would appreciate your thoughts.

        and yes, thank you for bringing this info to us.It is hopeful.

        1. Hi Stuie. Looks like you’re taking metformin and something else, no idea what keytone is. It’s always a good idea to look up what things interact with any prescription med you are on. There are people who take berberine with metformin but the main idea people have here is to replace the metformin. Berberine, metformin, and gynostemma do basically the same things to reduce your blood sugar, the natural stuff does have additional benefits and don’t have the nasty side effects that berberine does. I would buy them separately myself, that way you can get a therapeutic dose.Each formula has its own level of ingredients but they are generally below the amounts proven to help people, therefore you need to take a lot, and this isn’t cost effective really.

          1. Ken…Thank you so very much for your prompt reply.
            In your reply, you say BERBERINE has NASTY side effects?
            is this a typo? or am I missing something?
            so looking fwd to your reply.

            cheers

          2. No Stuie, it’s the Metformin that has the nasty side effects. The worst people get from berberine is some minor GI complaints when they first start it but this only happens to some people and you just back off on the dosage for a bit. Good luck with your valve business 🙂

      2. Hi, Ken, thanks for all the information. I am a Type 2 diabetic on insulin. I was diagnosed with Cushing’s disease in 1993 due to a micro-adenoma on the pituitary, had surgery for it, and was symptom free for 3 years (no diabetes, lost weight, etc.). I started with the diabetes again and all the other problems with high cortisol levels and was advised that there is a 15% re-occurrence of the tumor, which then would have to be operated on again. Needless to say I did not have the insurance coverage at that time, so have dealt with the symptoms all these years. I was reading the article above which said that the gynostemma pentaphyllum can act as a blood thinner. I had to have a stint last year and am on a blood thinner, so I am assuming that I cannot take the gynostemma pentaphyllum. I am also on Invokanna to help excrete excess sugar through the kidneys, Crestor for high cholesterol, a diuretic HTZ, and two BP meds, Clonidine and Losartin. Would these supplements have any interaction with these medications? I cannot take Metformin due to side effects, so I was excited to find that these supplements would help, but, now with the blood thinning properties of gynostemma pentaphyllum, I am concerned about interactions with the other meds. Would you have any information about that?

        1. Hi Lynn. I avoid looking to say too much about side effects of things, mostly because it’s easy to look this stuff up yourself and that’s something that people need to get in the habit of. You’re right about having to proceed cautiously with blood thinning medications, but mostly because the dosage would need to be monitored, this is a lot like making yourself better but not wanting to go too far the other way. So they just tell you to say no and if they aren’t going to want to monitor this closely enough well that’s a problem. Metformin by the way is something you need to be careful with as well for similar reasons, but they tend to be more willing to accommodate it. Anyway you are on quite a lot of meds and it is very important that you look into this, which isn’t hard to do actually, people just search for the interactions with this or that natural medicine, but it’s important to search for interactions with berberine or whatever the supplement is rather than interactions with the drug as the natural stuff is often left off those lists. Best of luck!

  3. Awesome information!! Thank You !
    There is a new pill called LA-3 that contains 3 ingredients berberine gynostemma and quercetin. All only 650 mg
    Not enough after reading several articles

    1. Nutri-Thrive’s Metabolic Edge contains both Berberine and Gynostemma (Jiaogulan) at the exact doses proven in humans and came out before the LA-3. It’s on Amazon and also contains fucoxanthin which is much more metabolically beneficial than quercetin.

      1. This is more of a weight loss formulation, although having berberine and gynostemma in it does help blood sugar. Not sure what the dosage is for the gynostemma though. Fucoxanthin is a very interesting supplement in itself and is excellent for liver health, something diabetics tend to have issues with. Thanks for bringing this product up for the benefit of our viewers.

  4. Glad people are finding this article helpful. Thanks so much for your comments. The LA-3 pill sounds fabulous, although the problem with multiple formulas is that the dosage for them does tend to be below therapeutic amounts. However this is pretty close, 2 of them would give you 1300 mg of berberine which is a good dosage. It all depends on the type of berberine though I would say. I have personally found berberine derived from Indian barberry to be significantly superior. I’m using Solaray now which is the preferred form, not looking to plug them though, I’ve also found good results from Thorne Research berberine which is Indian barberry derived as well, haven’t really found the ones that aren’t to be that effective with my blood sugar. It is sad but understandable that so many people take metformin instead, natural substances don’t stand a chance against the megabillion pharmaceutical marketing machine, with their creating such blind trust in their sales agents, medical doctors, and all the negative stuff they’ve been able to create with their competition, natural based medicine. Not everyone is fooled though 🙂

      1. You can take both, although it’s not clear that additional benefits may be obtained, but we haven’t looked into this all that much. It was shown though that 1500 mg of berberine works as well as either 9 metformin or the standard dose, so it does replace the benefits of metformin. We haven’t studied whether more than 1500 mg of berberine provides additional benefits though, or whether stacking berberine and gynostemma does. For people who still want to take metformin though, some do just add the berberine without adjusting their metformin dose.

        1. thanks..

          do you have any feedback on the Chinese use of MetaPhase and its lowering of blood glucose compared with Berberine ?

          1. We don’t have any real evidence for metaphase other than its effects on a few patients, but like a lot of things it may be worth a try and this is how you really decide how much something may help you, you take it for a month or two and see. You could compare this to the effects berberine has for you if you did have to choose between them.

  5. I am from the Philippines and I have been trying to look for a place where I could buy the LA-3 of Live Cell Research.
    I think it is a good product worthy of being tried out for weight management.
    Would really appreciate it if someone could furnish us a local sourcDee of the LA-3 supplement containing quercetine, berberine and gynostemma.

    1. Don’t know where you can buy this in the Philippines but it’s available from a number of online suppliers and I wouldn’t think it would be that difficult to get it shipped there. This looks to be a decent enough supplement but I would look to get the ingredients separately, which would provide a better dosage for less money actually.

  6. I would like to start taking Gynostemma for several reasons. Are there any medications you cannot take with Gynostemma? I take Dilacor XR for an AFib incident last August and I cant find answers to my concerns

    1. If you look up interactions with gynostemma and I encourage you to do that because I’m not out to advise people specifically here, but I can speak on this generally, you will see that there are two classes of medications that interact with this, drugs that suppress the immune system and anti clotting meds. It’s a blood thinner and also strengthens the immune system, so if you are out to thin the blood and take a prescription blood thinner the combo may be too much. Anything that enhances immunity is going to make immune suppressant drugs not work as well. So Dilacor XR is a calcium channel blocker, you want to be careful taking large amounts of calcium or vitamin D with it, gynostemma isn’t mentioned on any of the sites. However, since gynostemma is effective somewhat at lowering blood pressure, you do want to make sure that the cumulative effects don’t drive your blood sugar too low, and as is the case with a lot of meds, when you are taking something natural you do want to adjust the dosage of the prescription as needed, although this is something you should be monitoring anyway and then consult with your prescriber should this condition improve.

  7. I have been looking into the benefits of taking berberine, gynostemma, and quercetin — for many different reasons. I’m a 67 yr old female and have been taking sleeping pills for 2 years now because of not being able to sleep at all – once for 10 days straight. So with them I sleep fine for 7 hrs. I still work full time and will be doing so for a few more years so I really need to have a full night’s sleep to be able to get up and function. But, I want to get off this Rx. It can’t be good for me long-term. I have a stressful job and work 10 hours a day so I am also taking anti-anxiety pills and I want to be able to get off those, too. Even though I can sleep for 7 hours, I’m still not energetic enough to do much else besides my job – like any exercise or even get out and do things. Just want to collapse when I get home and on week-ends. I have no life! I am not overweight but have been told I have a fatty liver! Not sure why. So, I’d really like to try something different that may just help all these things. If I look into taking them separately, what doses/day should I be looking for for each? Thanks, in advance, for your consideration!

    1. I’m impressed by your knowing that these things can help you with these particular concerns. Berberine is actually one of the best things you can take for fatty liver, in one study it reduced fatty liver by over 50% in just 16 weeks, in addition to all it’s other benefits. Gynostemma also has been shown to be helpful for this, they both increase AMPK which improves a whole host of things. By the way I wrote a couple more articles on AMPK today in case people are interested in learning more, AMPK and Type 2 Diabetes, and Benefits of AMPK Activation for Diabetics, and these are good reads for non diabetics as well. Not a lot of people know that quercetin also helps fatty liver, and all of these should help address these other symptoms as well. Low energy is a difficult thing to pin down as it’s involved in virtually every condition, but AMPK activators are just great for you period. As far as which someone would want to take, this would depend on what someone could afford to spend and they could take all 3 if possible. There are some other things that are worth considering, any time there’s something amiss with your liver then milk thistle is always a good choice, less known is pantethine which might be the best thing for fatty liver period. It’s actually possible that the medications may be contributing to this, I can’t say because I don’t know to what extent this all has worsened on the meds, and obviously being able to function well on less or none at all is ideal. There are some things worth looking at here, 5-HTP for sure, which elevates serotonin, a lot of people try melatonin but people need to be careful of the dosage with this as they usually take too much but if someone is low on this then this can help. This can be pretty complicated and can arise from a bunch of things, but managing stress is always at the forefront since this does play a big role, but it’s not just a matter of someone telling you to chill out more. Subliminal recordings might be worth looking at here, I use ones from Indigo Mindlabs myself for a number of different improvements and have found them to be the best by far in the market, and there are some free ones to try including one called stress relief which would be good for you to try perhaps. Thanks for commenting and best of luck!

      1. Thank you for taking the time to reply, Ken. I know about these products mainly because, when I was diagnosed with a fatty liver, I went on line and tried to learn what I could about how to “get rid of it”. My glucose levels are elevated, as well. I have always been someone who takes care to eat right and take natural vitamins and minerals (most of them liquid and sublingual so as to be absorbed better) — all my life. I am not a “pill popper”! So, when I was prescribed all this medication 2 years ago that I was told I had to take and have been on for so long, I’m just really worried. I was also prescribed thyroid medication, too. Dr. said that was the reason for my lack of energy. (Rx hasn’t helped much – even though we’ve tried several and a several different doses.) I’ve also been reading how these medications can kill people, especially senior citizens! So, I’m thinking, after reading about these other natural ingredients, that maybe I don’t really need to be taking them if there’s a more natural way to live well without them and am determined to wean myself off of them — with the dr’s knowledge, of course. I’m just not sure how knowlegable these dr’s are on more natural protocols or if they even agree with them. (They make more $ prescribing all the drugs! I don’t think they’re bad people; just the only way most have been taught and so it’s what they think is right. I know better.) My question to you is, where/how can I find out the DOSES of each of these individual products I could start taking and where is the best source for getting them. I haven’t found out how much is good and how much is not enough to do any good. If you’re not taking the correct amount of any medication – natural or not – if you’re not taking the right amount, it won’t help and could perhaps even hurt! And, besides, I don’t have money to waste on things that are more about advertising than healing. Can you help me with this? Maybe you already know or could point me in the direction of where to find it on the internet. (Web MD hasn’t really been helpful in this area. Too mainstream information about what to do about a condition.) I will definitely look into your other suggestions, as well, so thank you for those! Your answers on these 3 ingredients just might help a lot of other people take their own control of their diabetes, too. Again, thanks so much for your time.

        1. I do like your positive attitude Suzette and your eagerness to learn and to help yourself. There’s a lot of info on natural medicines on the internet, some better sources than others, I wouldn’t really count WebMD among the better ones, their knowledge is quite limited and you have to go off road a lot more to really get good sources. The problem with medical doctors is that they are not trained at all in natural medicine although they use their ignorance to discount it often times, it isn’t taught in medical school though. It’s important to get the dosage right with this stuff though as you say, and also select the right products. So to answer your question, what we want to do is to look at what dosages produce the intended results, which for instance with berberine range from 1000 to 1500 mg a day. 1500 seems to work a bit better but 1000 is fine if someone is on a budget. With gynostemma, as little as 450 mg has been shown to be effective, although the dosage on the label may be higher, for instance Dragon Herbs recommends a total daily dose of 6 450 mg capsules. So 1 would probably help, and one could take up to 6 as desired. With quercetin, 1000 to 2000 mg daily is the range most often used, with 2000 being better if someone could manage it. Such a protocol would certainly help elevate AMPK among other benefits, these are among the best medicines we’ve ever discovered.

          1. You are awesome. And I can’t wait to check on the de-stressors! I will keep tuned in here for any additional info people have. Live long and healthy!

        2. Hello Suzette, I am posting this information and suggestions because I have been down the same road you have. if you are on Thyroid medication, be very careful about weaning yourself off, as suddenly stopping can leave you thyroid deficient until your body can compensate. As you have not had any improvement in your symptoms by trying the thyroid meds, that is probably not the cause of the problem. Thyroid hormone secretion is controlled by what is called a negative feedback, in other words, if you have a high level of thyroid hormone, the thyroid gland reduces the amount it secretes, and vice versa. So the oral thyroid is reducing your natural secretion of the hormone. Your doctor should have run several tests to verify if you were thyroid deficient, rather than just start you on meds, your body is probably adjusting your thyroid levels to keep them even and that is all the tests would now show, that your thyroid levels are ok. If he is trying to find out why you are feeling tired and having high blood sugars he should be monitoring your stress or cortisol levels, which can also affect your sleep cycle, and give you a fatty liver and high cholesterol levels and insulin resistance and high blood sugar levels due to gluconeogenesis. Insulin resistance is a condition in which the cell walls cannot transport the blood sugar into the cells. The insulin resistance makes you feel exhausted because your cells are not being fed the energy they need even though your have an excess of blood sugar in your blood stream. If your doctor is not willing to investigate your cortisol production to rule out Cushings disease or even the high cortisol levels (with a 24 hr urine collection for cortisol) you should get a second opinion of someone that specializes in Cushings

          1. I don’t recall the original comment from Suzette but yeah you do need to be careful when you adjust thyroid medication. I will say though that relying almost exclusively on TSH is a big mistake. We should be doing full thyroid panels in every case. There’s so much more that goes on with this hormone. Cortisol testing is super important but the big question is, what are they going to do for you if it’s too high? I’m not even sure the average MD has much of an idea here. I do want to point out that insulin resistance isn’t a condition where glucose doesn’t get transported into cells, it’s more like they resist levels of glucose that are toxic to it, and peripheral insulin resistance is actually a protective mechanism. The problem with T2 is always that there is too much sugar being put into the blood period and once that happens there’s just no good place to put it from there. You don’t need to have extreme cortisol levels like Cushings to have a big problem with excess cortisol though, especially if you are a type 2. There is some good material on this on the internet which is easy to find, and there’s a number of good functional medical practitioners who can provide people with some good general advice to educate them about this and other matters that conventional medicine ends up falling well short of, which includes just about everything to do with hormones actually.

  8. Ken, please reply to me. I just turned 50, I have been a borderline diabetic for years Never took any meds for it, but my sugar does run high. I am very interested in taking those 3 medications you have listed, maybe in a form of all 3 together because I hate swallowing pills. I have some questions. I have psoriasis, and I am on prescription anti depressant, and I also have arthritis and lupus for which I am taking Suboxone film 6 mgs a day. Suboxone is usually used for former opiate addictions but I chose it because I did not want to go the narcotic route and because it helps with pain. anyway, could I take those meds you have listed in combination with the meds I am on? Also, I am a smoker (I know) I keep trying to quit but until I succeed I am a smoker and do have risk for lung cancer and already have low grade COPD. I have heard about AMPK having something to do with cancer, is it good or bad? I don’t want to take something that could make tumors or cancer grow fast. I await your reply and thank you very much for taking the time to read my comment, (Please no nasty or rude replies from anyone).

    1. Hi Kristy, thanks for commenting. Borderine diabetics don’t need that much help really. As for the interactions, check out the meds you are taking specifically, you can just look these up on the internet. AMPK has tumor suppressing activity so it’s good for that not bad. High insulin is bad for this and the best way to control this is to make sure you’re not consuming too much carbohydrate. People struggle with diabetes way more than they have to from not making the right dietary changes, that’s always the best place to start. Aside from that, berberine may help, I don’t think you need to do too much here, berberine is just plain good for you even without diabetes. You do need to carefully check for intetactions though. Berberine also helps treat opiate addiction, you can do a search on this if you want to learn more. It won’t help you with quitting smoking though of course, I smoked for over 30 years and have switched to vaping and my lungs are great now, a lot of smokers have had success with this, it’s the smoke that does your lungs in not the nicotine. Anyway best of luck with all this!

      1. Thank you so much for your response Ken, I truly appreciate it and will look into the interactions and also, your tip about Berberine helping opiate addiction, well, I have a cousin with a serious addiction and this info may help her too! Thanks again.

  9. This is great information. I’ve read all the studies on Gynostemma in humans and THEY ALL USE HEAT TREATED GYNOSTEMMA OR TEA WHICH IS HEAT TREATED. Taking a raw gypenoside extract WILL NOT have the metabolic or AMPK effects. There is a supplement by Nutri-Thrive called Metabolic Edge that has both Berberine and a heat treated Gynostemma extract (ActivAmp) in the exact doses shown to be effective in humans. It also contains fucoxanthin in the right dose which is also very metabolically useful in the adipose (fat) tissue specifically. It is available on Amazon:https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B012EOBW6A?ref_=ag_dp_usw2_LLowI
    http://www.Nutri-Thrive.com has all the links to the studies (pubmed studies) on their Metabolic Edge product page if you go down to their works cited. I wanted to I’m really glad you are letting people know how these two natural supplements can greatly mitigate Type ll diabetes.

    1. I can see you are promoting this through an affiliate link and I don’t normally allow this stuff but I am in this case, because your post does add value to the article. I’m not aware of the need for heat treatment of gynostemma though, just because tea was used in studies does not mean that this is required, and none of this follows logically. The many testimonials we have with non heat treated formulas also provides counter evidence to this. Still though this is a supplement that some may be interested in trying, particularly those looking to lose weight. I love these two anti diabetics and I’m all for people promoting them.

  10. Ken,
    Great information and thank you for taking the time to post. I am T2 and on both long acting and fast acting insulin along with Metformin. I will be finding these suplements today and starting a therapy with them. I have to get off this medication, it is not helping only making me worse. Have you any posts or comments from people who are taking insulin who have tried these AMPK activators?
    Thank you,
    Janelle

    1. Hi Janelle. You can think of natural AMPK activators as clean versions of Metformin, and although they do have a number of other benefits, they work similar to Metformin as far as their anti diabetic properties go, as Metformin primarily works by activating AMPK. Taking an AMPK activator with insulin therapy is certainly better than just the insulin therapy alone. The first question that comes to mind when I see a type 2 on insulin is, do you actually have an insulin deficiency? If not, why are you on this stuff? Do you know how high this is driving your insulin levels? Your doctor probably doesn’t care about such things but anyone who thinks this doesn’t matter has a poor understanding of diabetes. All your typical MD knows about it is what he or she is told to prescribe. I can tell you though that the key to better diabetes management is the right diet, the right one for you, the one that manages your blood sugar best, supplements can help but if you don’t have that going for you, you are simply screwed, but that’s just the way they want you, on meds for life that make your insulin resistance worse and worse each year. Too many carbs though and too much insulin is a prescription for disaster, both are bad for us, the goal needs to be to reduce not worsen insulin resistance. You can only do this by looking to restore hormonal balance, not make it even more imbalanced, and unless you have an insulin deficiency, this means, and absolutely requires, looking to reduce insulin down to more healthy levels and stop assaulting our bodies with toxic amounts of this stuff. It is rarely enough to just say well I’ll get off the insulin though, because this just puts you back where you were in the first place, with insulin levels probably still way too high, and this is where diet comes in, looking to normalize these levels further and start to heal. Natural AMPK activators help this as well and one of the benefits is that they lower the need for insulin, and on their own, will lower secretion, normalize it in other words. That’s what we want and need, normalization. There are a lot of supplements that have shown to help and often dietary changes aren’t enough, and we really want to be helping ourselves with such things even when it is, as they are healthy for us. However, most diabetics do not use diet as a tool to manage their diabetes, as this requires that one eat to one’s diabetes, and hardly anyone does that, and once they get you on the meds, it becomes more difficult to get off them, and care must be exercised. In the end though, unless we actually look to diagnose what’s wrong with us, which in almost all cases is the disease of too much insulin, we’ll just be playing pin the tail on the donkey and putting the pin in our own butts actually instead of the donkey’s. You actually have to monitor insulin levels though to do that, and understand that the goal HAS to be to seek healthy levels, normal levels, otherwise we’re being both stupid and reckless.

  11. Hi , can you recommend anything natural for acid reflux, I hate taking prescription drugs, but have chronic acid reflux. Thank you.

    1. Hi Diane. The number one cause of this by far is lack of digestion. You hear a lot about people trying betaine HCL, stomach acid essentially, I personally believe that a lack of enzymes is behind this more than we think, and I would start with that, adding digestive enzymes and seeing what that does. Betaine HCL can also be tried and in both cases you can just try the stuff and see how you feel after a few days. Sometimes we do simply make too much acid, a lot of people are deficient in magnesium, most people actually, so if we determine it actually is from too much acid, this is a good place to start, and in this case you’d take it with meals where normally you wouldn’t. Getting enough magnesium is a super good idea in any case though. Greens such as spirulina and chlorella can also help. The first step is figuring out whether this is from too much or not enough digestion and usually it’s from not enough, where acid backs up from things not getting digested properly, like a blocked toilet.

  12. for Ken

    I am a type II diabetic working on diet and exercise to bring down my weight and AIC. I do take 1,000 mg of metformi twice a day (BTW, I get a 90 day supply at CVS for less than a penny a day) . do you think I can taking either one of Berberine, Gynostermma or Quercitin on top of metformin would be beneficial or would it be overkill… and if beneficial which one would be best..

    1. Hi Rick. Metformin works well too other than the side effects. Some people take berberine with it as well and this may lower your A1C even more, it’s more of a try and see thing. You can’t really get to “overkill” although if you ended up with an A1C in the 5’s you may want to look to cut something, cutting back on the metformin perhaps. I would try adding 500 mg of berberine twice a day and see how that goes. Quercetin isn’t as strong an AMPK activator but it has a lot of other benefits, and it’s something that everyone could benefit from, especially a diabetic. There are a bunch of other things to try, once you max out what you can get from AMPK activators, or maybe just add some other things anyway, I like black seed and creatine in particular, R-ALA is good too, cinnamon extract, and a few other things have all helped people. It’s an individual thing though, one thing may help one person and someone else might benefit more from something else, it’s all a matter of trial and error, but nature’s pharmacy can provide a bunch of medicines that are also healthy for you. Good luck!

    1. Inositol does activate AMPK to a certain extent, and has been shown to have other diabetic friendly properties as well, especially its prevention and treatment of neuropathy. There are better AMPK activators (e.g. berberine, gynostemma), there are things that increase glucose transport better (e.g. creatine), there are things that better protect against nerve damage from diabetic complications (e.g. benfotiamine, ALA), there are better insulin minickers (e.g. vanadyl sulfate), but this supplement does do all this stuff and would certainly be at least worth a try for someone looking to add something else. Inositol is particularly beneficial in protecting against gestational diabetes and in its treatment of PCOS, and blood sugar is just one of the benefits of it with this condition, so if someone has PCOS it’s a no brainer. This is a pretty good all around anti diabetic nutrient I would say.

  13. Thank you so much for all this information. We are racking our brains, trying to find better ways to treat my husband’s diabetes, high blood pressure, depression, low potassium, arthritis (tail bone & shoulders), osteopenia (hips), fatigue & allergies. As you can imagine, he is a walking pharmacy! He has been on handfulls of pills for years. I hope we can get him off some of them so that he can feel like a human being again instead of being in constant pain & so tired he cant accomplish anything. I am grateful for this site & everyone else’s comments too. Thank you. Kathy

    1. Thanks Kathy! This is not always a simple disease to treat, and a big source of the problem is actually leaky gut, this may play a role in diabetes but it sure does in a lot of other things too. What happens with this is that a lot of crap enters our bloodstream that doesn’t belong there and this causes our immune system to get overactive, causing a lot of inflammation and autoimmunity. I would say that the solution always must start with the diet actually, with diabetes and with a lot of other things too, especially if someone is consuming too many grains. Supplements can help this quite a bit but the real plan is to eliminate the problem at the source, which often is eating things that don’t suit us so well. Don’t ever get discouraged and keep making the effort and I’m sure things will turn around for the better for him. With your will to help I’m sure it will!

  14. Interesting information. Is it okay for me to take these if I have an autoimmune issue-? My thyroid was elevated after my first son was born (18 years ago), and one other time, but generally it tests in the normal range (for whatever that is worth). I was having daily hives which the doctor links to the thyroid. I am not on medication for this as again, it reads in the normal range. I changed my diet four years ago to align with the paleo plan as the claim is that it is good for autoimmune issues, and I have had very few hives–maybe one on my palm if I am very stressed. I am 53, exercise, am relatively fit, and do not have diabetes. I am acquiring some belly fat which I attribute to menopause mostly (and a love of almonds and dark chocolate).

    1. Berberine has been shown to be helpful as an immune modulator and therefore could help autoimmune conditions. Autoimmune thyroid (Hashimoto’s) doesn’t cause hives in itself although when one’s immunity is compromised this can occur. The most important thing to do with any autoimmune disease is to repair one’s leaky gut, and it’s not a question of whether you have it, this always accompanies autoimmune disease and causes it. Berberine helps with this and this is likely the pathway that it helps autoimmunity. Things like glutamine, colostrum, and probiotics are even better. Giving up grains is extremely helpful as this is the main culprit. That alone can resolve this condition. Moducare can be helpful to take as well. Quercetin is both an AMPK activator and a natural antihistamine, so if someone wanted to address both, this would be a real good choice. Things like sugar and nuts aren’t the best for this. With the hives, what you want to do is try to figure out what is triggering this, it’s an allergic reaction of course, and you want to discover what you are allergic to. Good luck!

  15. Looking for delivery in UK or where to buy either Nutri Thrive metabolic edge or Lcr Active PK previously La-3

    Can’t get a response from either Lcr or nutri thrive.and Amazon state metabolic edgedge under valuable and eBay won’t ship to UK from US.

    Has anyone manage to get a supplier for UK

    Thanks

    1. I’ve never heard of any issues with taking any of the ingredients in it with Metformin, although if one were concerned about side effects, it’s the Metformin that they would want to be concerned about. I wouldn’t touch the stuff myself, although at one time I did and it made me very sick 🙂

  16. All the above discussion is very interesting. I have Type 2, am 74 years old. Also have asthma, low thyroid, and heading for a total knee replacement in two weeks. Heard about this three-in-one product, but when tried to order it, no Australian address accepted, only US. I also take anti-depressant, which is just for a chemical imbalance; I’m not a depressed person in the usual sense. Interest in your comments about using Berberine with Metformin. After coping for some years with the dreadful diahorrea that Metformin gave me, I had to give it up and go on to insulin. Lately, I have (with my great GP) been trying an alternative as I was having no success in losing weight. I would like to try this product. Can you give me an address that will service me here in South Australia? Such information would be very gratefully received. Thank you in anticipation of your advice. Carmel

    1. Hi Carmel. If you are on insulin, you’re not going to have success losing weight I’m afraid, people gain weight on this stuff because it stuffs too much stuff into cells and they get fat. Of course people need to decide for themselves if they want to be on insulin therapy but one should go out and learn about this stuff rather than just comply with what their doctors tell them to do, who are just told what to do by the pharmaceutical companies, and profit is the motive here, your health and well being be damned. Metformin/Berberine isn’t replaced by insulin, these meds actually put insulin down a little, that’s how some people can lose weight on them. I wouldn’t bother with combo products myself, they do send them here but it’s better to get the actual ingredients, so you just go out and buy a bottle of berberine, a bottle of gynostemma, and a bottle of quercetin, which doesn’t do a hell of a lot for blood sugar but is really good for overall health. Anyway this way you can get the proper dosage, your therapeutic dosage that is, and tailor this stuff to your needs. Combo neutraceuticals are convenient but it should not be seen as inconvenient to have to take several things or buy several things with our health at stake. I’m not sure what’s available in Australia but I would expect that you could get this stuff shipped to you. Good luck!

  17. I have just been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes with an A1C of 6.6. Just started meta form in and was wondering if I should also take berberine. I am overwhelmed with what to eat and generally what to do. First time I stuck my finger today and it was 152. I am freaking out. I also have a tendon problem in my foot and have been wearing a boot for 4 weeks now and I am not able to get out and walk. Any suggestions

    1. I would suggest that you read Jonathan Wright MD’s article on berberine, and I have an article on my site referencing his article as well as a couple more on berberine if you want to check those out. That’s a pretty mild case though, barely diabetic, I would never freak out at 152, that’s actually well within the ADA guidelines of under 180 after a meal if that makes you feel any better. With the tendon problem this will tend to raise your blood sugar just from that. If I had that problem there are some things you can take to help it heal but the biggest thing I would worry about is not stressing it too much, walking doesn’t do a heck of a lot for you as a diabetic anyway, it’s more important to fix your foot.

  18. hi, I have a bottle of AMPK Activator and Berberine and wondering if you can take them both together … thank you

    1. There’s no reason why you can’t stack any supplement, and that’s the beauty of supplements, it’s the prescriptions that you need to be careful with due to the possibility for interactions, including interactions between supplements and prescriptions. It comes down to whether or not doing this will provide any additional benefit. AMPK activators do produce diminishing returns once you get to an effective dose, but the AMPK activator only provides a very modest dose of the two active ingredients and some berberine added in is certainly going to provide the additional benefits of berberine, whether or not you will be able to notice, e.g. lower blood sugar, feeling better, etc. With supplements, there’s always what’s called an opportunity cost, what you could spend your money on and take instead, whether that be another supplement or something non health related. That’s really the only consideration I would say.

      1. Hi Ken, , Thank you for the article. I was about to go purchase Dr Rand McClains LA-3, after reading everything here, I will go get these products individually. Any suggestions on where the best place will be to get them? Online or maybe a local health Food store? I am 55, T2 taking long acting, short acting and metformin. I have a few other issues too.I am just looking for the right thing to do to help. I think I have tried and fell for just about every so called cure on the market with no results so far. I know I have to find a way to get off the insulin if possible and I definitely need to get away from the metformin and high blood pressure and cholesterol meds. Also, I did purchase Dr McClains Active Stem product. I was wondering if you had any thoughts on that product. I just read a lot about Stem Cell therapy as the new big thing and Active Stem is supposed to help your body make new stem cells and distribute them to different parts of your body to help repair any damaged cell. Your thoughts are greatly apprciated

        1. Hi Terry. There are no “cures” out there, just things that either help treat the disorder, or things that treat blood sugar that make the disorder worse, for instance by worsening insulin resistance. So things like berberine, gynostemma, even metformin do treat the condition and your blood sugar goes down from getting better. Formulations like LA-3 just fill the gap with people who just are too lazy to take several capsules and want to get the stuff in one formulation, and you get way less bang for the buck that way. Often the dosages aren’t even high enough to matter. The main method of treatment though is diet, period. Get this wrong and you will be trapped. It’s just stupid to tell people to eat a diet they can’t tolerate, not even close, and then say here’s some meds for you. That’s only wise if the goal is to sell meds. Guess what though, it is. So among the things they give you is insulin and this is not unlike a drug dependence, the insulin itself worsens insulin resistance and you just need more and more to maintain good control. This is what happens naturally when one gets the disease, your insulin levels go way up, you get worse and worse, then you get diabetes, then the diabetes gets worse and worse, and they have found a way to trick people into keeping the party going. Since our condition is insulin resistance, the only sensible approach is to look to improve that, not worsen it. Since this is caused primarily by too much insulin, more isn’t the answer, less is, and this is why low carb diets work, they lower insulin levels, period. As far as Vital Stem goes, it doesn’t really matter how trumped up this is, and it is, just read the ingredients, if you want to add these things, in the amounts listed or even more, that’s pretty easy to do. $50 for this is ridiculous. Of the stuff in it, carnosine is the star, it’s hard to say how much they put in it because they don’t tell you but I’m guessing it’s not a lot, 500 to 1000 mg a day can help diabetics though, especially if you have or are worried about microvascular damage, and we all should be with diabetes. Finally, buying supplements online from a place like Vitacost, iHerb, Swanson, etc tends to provide better pricing due to the volume they do, so the markups tend to be a fair bit less. Anyway good luck and thanks for the comment!

          1. Hi. I have addissons disease (non functioning adrenals) and am/have been taking hydrocortisone/dexamethasone and Fludrocortisone since I was 17.(31 yrs) I also have Hasimoto Thyroditus/hypo-thyroid and have been on Synthroid/Levothyroxine for the past 8 years. I also have non functioning ovaries (diagnosed at 21 yr) was on Premarin but am no longer. As you cam giess always a struggle with my weight. Up until 40 I had done a good job but since then it has been nearly impossible. Since 40 as well I have had bouts of fatty liver and slightly elevated cholesterol and sugars…(sometimes it goes down as I am a very healthy eater, active, and work out) I am so sure these supplements will work for me because not only age seems to decrease one’s AMPK but metabolic disorders as well. Are there any concerns for drug interaction with the ones I take mentioned above? Thank you for your time.

          2. Hi Mikaela. Berberine interacts with a number of things, it’s best to look these things up for yourself, for instance here’s a link to berberine: http://www.rxlist.com/berberine-page3/supplements.htm#Interactions. You can also do a search for berberine interactions with medications, as well as gynostemma interactions with medications, or for whatever you are considering taking. It’s very important for people on prescription medications to check this stuff out first. That’s quite a collection of conditions there, this might be a case where you might not even be able to stay at a healthy weight, but it’s good to try. The fatty liver and the cholesterol isn’t so much from lower AMPK, but from higher insulin. I would get my insulin checked here, fasting levels are fine for this, the optimal level is 3-5, I’ll bet you’re a lot higher than that, and most people are actually, especially with fatty liver. Excess insulin and excess carbs are the recipe for this. AMPK supplements could help you as well, you just want to be careful because this isn’t a situation, like T2 diabetics, where you can just toss the meds and have that be a good idea actually, you could die if you tried that. So you need to supplement within the constraints of the meds. While berberine interacts with quite a few things, gynostemma is an issue with immune suppressant meds as well as anticoagulant meds, those are the only two you see mentioned, so if you’re not on either of these, this might be worth checking out. Good luck!

          3. Thanks so much. And no I would never stop my meds. Very aware tey keep me alive. Butvthey are pretty much what keep me simply at the levels of the normal person. I my endocrinologist. The other one I was lookinto was Quercetin? Sp? Thanks so much and thank you for providing a place to talk about natural supplements.

          4. Quercetin is generally thought to only interact with blood thinners, although WebMD takes a more cautions approach, and you can check this out by clicking on the interactions link at http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-294-quercetin.aspx?activeingredientid=294&. It’s a good idea to at least try to look into some of the things that are behind conditions people get, for instance Hashimoto’s is an autoimmune condition and it’s a good idea to look to treat that rather than just replace T4. So the first thing you look at is leaky gut because it’s a big factor in autoimmunity, as well as possible food intolerances like grains. As far as AMPK, you can take things to raise it, but if you want to address the cause then you have to look at how much food you eat. People eat way too much and this is the biggest reason low AMPK is such a problem. Moderate exercise helps this as well. It’s not as hard as you think to adapt to eating less, once you get past the adjustment period. Taking glucomannan (e,g, PG-X) can help with the adjustment period, if you find that this is you, and it’s a lot of people.

  19. I Steven i been reading about ampk im in remession of breast cancer for 5 years i had chemo and radiation and im taking arimidex i not diabetic but im trying to loose belly fat can i take ampk?

    1. Hi Fran. As I’ve been saying, you can look these things up on the internet, for instance interactions between berberine and whatever drug you’re on, and the same with gynostemma although this is also known as jiaogulan so it’s a good idea to search for both. So someone could tell you that they were not able to find anything but people still need to the responsibility upon themselves for doing this. Anyway, what I can tell you is that both berberine and gynostemma are believed to help with risk reduction for cancer including breast cancer. So this calls for more searches, for berberine and cancer prevention or breast cancer or whatever the case may be. As far as the belly fat goes, they might help with that, there are a lot of things that go into belly fat and it’s mostly hormones, insulin and cortisol primarily. AMPK inhibitors do lower insulin a bit but when people are eating too much carbohydrate it still tends to be way too high. So these things can help in the sense that they supplement a diet that keeps this hormone in check but they won’t substitute for it. This is why people always need to look at their diet first when looking to lose weight or fat as this is the primary cause of it.

  20. I have doubts as to how insulin resistant I am. Lately, I have been worried about the long term effects of the Metformin and want to replace with Berberine.

    1. Metformin is pretty safe as far as pharmaceuticals go, although there are some concerns, which you don’t get with berberine. As for how insulin resistant people are, any time you have high blood sugar and you’re not insulin deficient than you know you are insulin resistant. If you weren’t, then a normal amount of insulin would produce normal blood sugar. So any time either is high you know you’re insulin resistant. Berberine does help this somewhat though but its main function is looking to cut down on the amount of excess glucose your liver puts out, which is where high blood sugar comes from.

  21. Hi Ken

    I take metformin 2000 mg / day and Invokana for my diabetes type 2. I also take metoprolol because I have a fast pulse. Lately I have had elevated blood pressure and my liver is considered fatty but my cholesterol has now came in normal range. I am obese and trying to lose weight and ran across ampk video selling active pk pills and searched to see if I could find something cheaper and found your article. So my question to you is the 3 ingredients in the active pk are berberine, gynostemma, and quercetin, if bought do you think with the medication I am on it would be safe to take all 3 or any of them? I am really trying to make sure I do right even though in the past I let myself slide. Thanks.

    1. As I always say, people need to do their homework with these interactions and it’s not hard to look up things, for instance you can search for berberine interactions. Some natural medicines interact with some pharmaceuticals and people always want to check but it’s easy to do. As far as managing your diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, and fatty liver, these are all caused by excessive insulin levels, so in addition to looking to increase ampk, it would seem good to look to help yourself by lowering insulin. Things like berberine and gynostemma do lower insulin a bit but it’s of little use when people do not eat to their diabetes. By the way eating to your diabetes is easy, you just don’t eat things that put your blood sugar up, not eat them and take prescriptions to make up for this, that’s an absolutely horrible idea but they make billions of extra dollars misinforming us this way. Good luck!

  22. I am very impressed with your knowledge of Berering and Gynosmma Extract. These two items have.been recommended to me by a friend in my church. My goal is to lose weight and bring my blood sugar down. My no is around 185/86 and my weight is 245lbs both of which is too high for an eighty two year old man. I am diabetic w/o insulin. I do take Metformin and have just purchased Betbering 500mg and Luz Gunostmma (Jiaogulan Extract). In your opinion , am I on the right track?

    1. HI Carl. Berverine and Gynostemma can certainly help both these issues. They both work similar to metformin, and also provide other benefits. Being overweight and having high blood pressure are symptoms of excess insulin, so looking to improve your diet to manage these things, as well as your diabetes, is something to seriously consider as well. When we are overweight, this is because we store too much glucose as fat, and this is the primary function of insulin actually, it’s the storage hormone. Sometimes it can take quite a while though to restore levels to healthier ones, but there’s nothing that helps your weight like limiting the amount of carbohydrate intake. We also need to be careful not to eat too much. Intermittant fasting can really help, as well as eating smaller portions, and especially looking to reduce carbs. Thanks for your comment and good luck!

  23. My main concern is not knowing what natural medications and how much to equal what I am taking now? I take 1000/50 mg janumet 2x daily and 4 mg Amary 2x daily, so how much would I take. I started tying Nutricology Glucevia Complex with Chromium 2x daily 500 mg Berberine HCI , 500 mg European Ash, 300mg Milk Thistle, 250 mg Resveratrol daily, yet it seems like a need something else with it? Any suggestions??

    1. Hi Dolly. European Ash is pretty interesting, they used 1000 mg in the studies though and it’s generally a good idea to shoot for what has been shown to work. The rest is pretty basic other than that’s a pretty low dose of berberine, I wouldn’t expect much from that although it wouldn’t hurt I’m sure. 1500 is the dosage that’s been shown to work, 1000 has as well if that’s all someone could manage. There are lots of things that one could add to this list, it really comes down to what someone is willing to spend and how many things they are willing to swallow. If money is no object, benagene is pretty interesting, although it’s dose dependent and something like 4 a day is going to be real expensive. Some more reasonably priced things to consider would be Amazing Herb Black Seed, or a good cinnamon extract. This is a long list really, and a lot of it is trial and error, and a lot of the best things aren’t found among the typical suggestions you see online. Not many people know about how good creatine is for diabetes for instance and is the best thing for correcting glucose uptake issues. PQQ is a marvelous supplement for diabetes and helps restore mitochondrial function which is at the heart of the problem, along with its partner CoQ10, although the ubiquinol form is much preferred, especially with diabetics or people middle aged or older. Finding the right dosages of things is pretty easy though although you don’t always want to go with what’s on the bottle, you want to take what’s been shown to work. Hopefully you find this helpful.

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