Berberine is an alkaloid found in plants. It has neuroprotective, anti-inflammatory and
hypolipidemic activities. The research proves that it also strongly impacts carbohydrate
metabolism. The compound also protects pancreatic β-cells and increases sensitivity to insulin in
peripheral tissues via the induction of GLUT-1, GLUT-4 and insulin type 1 (Ins-1) receptors activity.
It also stimulates glycolysis and leads to a decrease in insulin resistance by macrophages polarization,
lipolytic processes induction and energy expenditure enhancement (by reducing body
mass and limiting insulin resistance caused by obesity). In liver berberine inhibits FOX01,
SREBP1 and ChREBP pathways, and HNF-4α (hepatocyte nuclear factor 4 alpha) mRNA that hinder
gluconeogenesis processes. In the intestines it blocks α-glucosidase contributing to glucose absorption
decrease. Its interference in intestinal flora reduces levels of monosaccharides and suppresses
diabetes mellitus complications development.
Keywords: Berberine, alkaloid, diabetes mellitus, metabolism, nutrition, review.
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