• Dr. Bill Rawls


    Dr. Rawls' groundbreaking approach to wellness comes from decades of practicing medicine, extensive research in alternative therapies, and firsthand experience helping thousands find their path to wellness. Dr. Rawls is a best-selling author, Medical Director and Co-Founder of Vital Plan, a holistic health company and Certified B Corporation.
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  • Berberine
    By Vital Plan
    Reviewed by Bill Rawls, MD
    Medical Director of Vital Plan

    Berberine is a bioactive compound known as an alkaloid, a naturally-occurring compound produced by living organisms. It is found in the stems, bark, roots, and rhizomes of a variety of herbs. Sources of berberine include goldenseal, yellowroot, barberry, goldthread, Oregon grape, tree turmeric, coptis, and phellodendron.

    Plants rich in berberine have been used for thousands of years in Chinese, Ayurvedic, and other traditional medical systems for supporting the digestive tract and promoting healthy lung function.

    Today, berberine is isolated and extracted as a potent herbal therapy. Clinical research supporting the benefits of berberine is extensive and robust. In the past five years alone, there have been 585 scientific journal articles published concerning berberine for human health.

    Benefits of Berberine:*

    As a supplement, berberine is used for a wide range of purposes. It is particularly known to support:

    • Metabolic function
    • Gut health and a balanced microbiome
    • Liver health
    • Healthy blood glucose levels
    • Healthy circulation

    How Berberine Works*

    Alkaloids have demonstrated pharmacological properties, and this is certainly true of berberine.

    One of the most important effects of berberine is to support an enzyme called Adenosine Monophosphate-Activated Protein Kinase (AMPK). AMPK supports healthy blood sugar levels, liver function, digestion, and energy levels.

    Berberine also appears to promote a balanced gut microbiome, soothe the intestines, and promote healthy bowel movements.

    Side effects: Berberine is overall very safe. However, you should speak with your doctor before taking berberine if you are on medications that lower blood sugar or blood pressure.

    Berberine is best used for 1-6 months to restore balance to the gut microbiome and support digestion. Once digestive function is restored, berberine can be discontinued.

    Do not take berberine if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

    Avoid using berberine if you are taking cyclosporine (Neoral, Sandimmune).

    If you experience GI discomfort when taking berberine, consider taking smaller servings spread throughout the day and after meals.

    *This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Always consult your qualified healthcare provider before beginning any diet or program.
    The Cellular Wellness Solution

    Discover more in Dr. Bill Rawls’ new #1 Bestselling book: The Cellular Wellness Solution: Tap Into Your Full Health Potential with the Science-Backed Power of Herbs.

    An eye-opening and empowering book that the world needs right now: The Cellular Wellness Solution will fundamentally change how you think about herbs and the powerful role they play in cultivating wellness at the cellular level.”

    Mark Hyman5 stars
    Mark Hyman, MD
    Fourteen-time #1 New York Times Bestselling Author

    1. Cicero AF, Baggioni A. Berberine and Its Role in Chronic Disease. Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology. 2016; 928:27-45.
    2. Chu M et al. Berberine: A Medicinal Compound for the Treatment of Bacterial Infections. Clinical Microbiology. 2014; 3:150.
    3. da Silva AR et al. Berberine Antifungal Activity in Fluconazole-Resistant Pathogenic Yeasts: Action Mechanism Evaluated by Flow Cytometry and Biofilm Growth Inhibition in Candida spp. Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy. 2016 May 23; 60(6):3551-7.
    4. Habtemariam S. Berberine and inflammatory bowel disease: A concise review. Pharmacological Research. 2016 Nov; 113(Pt A):592-599.
    5. Sun R et al. Orally Administered Berberine Modulates Hepatic Lipid Metabolism by Altering Microbial Bile Acid Metabolism and the Intestinal FXR Signaling Pathway. Molecular Pharmacology. 2017 Feb; 91(2):110-122.
    6. Wang Y et al. Berberine-induced bioactive metabolites of the gut microbiota improve energy metabolism. Metabolism. 2017 May; 70:72-84.
    7. Winder W et al. AMP-activated protein kinase, a metabolic master switch: possible roles in type 2 diabetes. American Journal of Physiology. 1999 Jul;277(1 Pt 1):E1-10.
    8. Xu JH et al. Berberine protects against diet-induced obesity through regulating metabolic endotoxemia and gut hormone levels. Molecular Medicine Reports. 2017 May; 15(5):2765-2787.
    9. Zhang X, et al. Structural Changes of Gut Microbiota during Berberine-Mediated Prevention of Obesity and Insulin Resistance in High-Fat Diet-Fed Rats. PLoS One. 2012; 7(8): e42529.
    Published online 2012 Aug 3.

    About the Medical Director
    Dr. Bill Rawls
    Dr. Rawls is a licensed medical doctor in North Carolina and a leading expert in integrative health. He has extensive training in alternative therapies, and is the Medical Director of Vital Plan, a holistic health and herbal supplement company in Raleigh, NC.

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