Berberine (BBR) is the active ingredient in goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis or the Chinese huanglian) root and in coptis (Coptis chinensis). BBR is an alkaloid that stabilizes mRNA to increase the production of a protein, called low-density lipoprotein receptor (LDLR), which takes up LDL-cholesterol. About 70% of LDL-cholesterol is removed from the blood by the liver in this way.
The purpose of the study was to evaluate the ability of BBR to lower total cholesterol and LDL-cholesterol in hamsters.
The treatment of hamsters with BBR and a high cholesterol diet showed that the BBR greatly reduced the blood cholesterol and LDL-cholesterol levels. The BBR also reduced the fatty liver storage usually seen with a high cholesterol diet.
Another three-month study with humans showed that 1 gram per day of BBR reduced total cholesterol by 29%, reduced triglyceride by 35% and LDL-cholesterol by 25%.
The authors found two new isoquinoline compounds in goldenseal with properties similar to BBR, as follows: Canadine (CND) and palmatine. From their studies, the authors found that CND may be even better for lowering cholesterol than BBR.
CONCLUSION: LDL-cholesterol elevation is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease and is therefore a legitimate treatment target. Goldenseal has total cholesterol and LDL-cholesterol lowering effects with protection of the liver from fatty accumulation.
BBR and CND are alkaloids found in goldenseal that greatly reduce serum free fatty acids and total triglycerides. CND strongly reduces cholesterol beyond the level of activity of BBR alone.
NOTE: An alkaloid is part of a large group of nitrogenous, basic chemicals found in plants, which includes caffeine and strychnine.
Messenger RNA (mRNA) acts as a template for protein. This study demonstrates how goldenseal works at the molecular level and goldenseal is shown to work in a manner different from that of Statin drugs.
Read about St. John’s Wort herb and it’s effect on LDL-cholesterol.
ASK YOUR DOCTOR FOR: Blood total cholesterol and LDL-cholesterol determinations.