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Berberine compound may play role in treating obesity

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Posted November 27, 2014

Weight-gain warnings are especially uncomfortable during holiday seasons with all the oversized and double helpings of calorie-rich pies, creamy dips and savory holiday stuffings. Nonetheless, problems of obesity are real and pose serious health risks linked to medical conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and increased cancer risk. Researchers from China, with affiliations that include the Shanghai Institute of Endocrine and Metabolic Diseases, now suggest that the compound berberine (BBR), which comes from the Chinese medicinal plant Coptis chinensis, increases energy expenditure, limits weight gain, improves cold tolerance and enhances brown adipose tissue (BAT) activity in obese mice. Berberine could be a factor in treating obesity. This medicinal Chinese plant might contribute to those who seek such support. Their paper, “Berberine activates thermogenesis in white and brown adipose tissue,” was published Tuesday in Nature Communications.

Berberine

Chemical struxture of berberine, a plant alkaloid. Credit: public domain

The authors wrote that BBR was a naturally occurring plant alkaloid present in many Chinese herbal medicines, commonly used for diarrhoea, and it has been found to have “a variety of metabolic benefits in recent years.” They pointed out that in vivo and in vitro studies have shown that BBR can bring about improvements in metabolic disorders, such as insulin resistance and hyperlipidemia.

Read more at: MedicalXpress

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