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19 Sep, 5 tweets, 1 min read
Berberine is notable among "anti-diabetic" herbs/supplements in the fact that it acts as a dipeptidyl peptidase-4 (DPP-4) inhibitor

DPP-4 is responsible for breaking down various peptides, including growth hormone, VEGF, and GLP-1, blocking it increases insulin activity
The "liptin" class of type 2 diabetes medication are based on this mechanism

Berberine shares other mechanisms with diabetes medications as well, such as activating AMPK (similar to metformin), but it is the only herbal compound I could find that inhibits DPP-4
DPP-4 inhibitors are known to increase satiation from food, lower blood glucose, and increase insulin release

AMPK activation may help to promote/maintain insulin sensitivity as well

According to one study, berberine may also reduce elevated total serum cholesterol as well
Herbs that contain berberine include coptis chinesis, various poppy species, phellodendron bark, tinospora cordifolia, and corydalis (my personal favorite)

At this point it's also easy to find pure berberine in supplement form
I forgot to mention that berberine also inhibits PTP1B, another target of anti-diabetic medications

Other herbs usually activate AMPK (black seed oil), and in some cases also inhibit PTP1B (jiaogulan)

Berberine is the only compound I know of that combines AMPK, DPP-4, and PTP1B

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More from @ck_eternity_

14 Sep
Unfortunately, despite niacin raising HDL significantly, it doesn't actually improve heart disease

It originally looked very promising as a treatment for heart disease, but over the past few decades it hasn't panned out despite extensive research…
My theory is because in most individuals niacin raises HDL too much, putting it above the optimal range and actually increasing mortality

In theory, individuals with low HDL may still benefit by using niacin to put it back into this range
That said even in individuals with normal HDL niacin still does not increase heart disease, in the vast majority of cases it just has no effect, so there's no harm in taking it

Niacin is especially potent at increasing neuroplasticity, so there are many other mental benefits
Read 6 tweets
14 Sep
Heart disease stems from a combination of:

- inflammation
- elevated oxLDL cholesterol/lipids
- impaired methyl waste clearance (homocysteine)
- impaired reverse cholesterol transport (HDL)
- dysregulated iron/calcium metabolism
Interestingly, the reduction in heart disease seen with many statins in clinical trials may stem as much from their anti-inflammatory effects as their reduction in cholesterol synthesis, this study found positive effects even in those with normal LDL…
More and more studies suggest that reducing inflammation is an important exis of heart disease prevention, similar to lipid markers…
Read 4 tweets
7 Sep
Dissociation in depression and other mental illness is usually a result of excess glutamate activity, which triggers the release of inhibitory compounds like dynorphin/KYNA to protect the brain

They block dopamine, serotonin, and endorphins, limiting cognitive function
Dynorphin is actually in the endorphin class

It still relieves pain, but causes strong dysphoria, they've tried to create "non-addictive" pain meds that activate its receptor (the KOR) but most are rarely used as they often cause depressive symptoms
Dynorphin is also associated with trauma/PTSD especially

Since it blocks pain signaling while causing dysphoria, it disconnects the person from the traumatic experience

This again serves to prevent neurotoxic over-activation of neurons, another way the brain protects itself
Read 5 tweets
7 Sep
First off, let's look at the data extending back as far as possible

On the scale the dip looks almost meaningless, and likely had little impact on the daily caloric surplus that promotes obesity in the first place
I could take another zoomed in comparison like this and make the case that fat intake causes obesity, despite the fact that it doesn't inherently either

Graphs like these just arbitrarily connect effects of modernization with modern diseases, they're very weak evidence forms
Obesity is caused by taking in more energy than the body can metabolize

Metabolism can be affected by hormone status, circadian rhythm, muscle mass, etc, so these factors can reduce energy demand but caloric surplus is still the root cause
Read 6 tweets
28 Aug
A few additional points I didn't have room to cover in my PUFA thread yesterday:

This is a fantastic study that covers the differences in oil oxidation during frying, and how it's affected by other factors beyond just oil type…
A few key points:

- food included in oil during frying often makes it more resistant to oxidation (for example this has been observed with potatoes)
- oils high in phenols like olive oil or black seed oil are the most resistant to oxidation
- vitamin E content of certain oils may play more of a role in how prone they are to oxidation than PUFA content
- the presence of certain metals (such as iron) around the oils, such as in pans, fryers, or perhaps even food may increase oxidation
Read 9 tweets
28 Aug
There's a lot of debate on PUFA, so I decided to dive into the research with an open mind and see if I can clarify a few things

In this thread I'll be looking at human data on PUFA and inflammation, oil oxidation timelines, and my own views on the subject

First off, many claim that both omega-3 and omega-6 fats are inherently inflammatory for a few different reasons

The most common explanations for this are that the oils are oxidized outside the body, that the oils oxidize in the body, and that they cause inflammation unoxidized
This meta-analysis looks at whether the omega-6 fats are inherently inflammatory in humans

They found that increasing dietary omega-6 does not increase inflammatory markers, and in fact many sources of these fats are anti-inflammatory
Read 35 tweets

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