The Amur cork tree, (phellodendron amurense) is a tree that is native to eastern Asia, in particular countries like China (northeastern region), Korea, Japan and the Ussuri and Amur regions of Russia.
Although planted in North America, it is considered an invasive species by many states.
The bark of the tree, known as huáng bó in traditional Chinese medicine, is considered one of 50 fundamental herbs. It has been used as treatment for meningitis, pneumonia, tubercolosis, jaundice and a host of other diseases.
Compounds in the bark such as the various alkaloids and flavonoids contribute to the many health benefits that can come from consuming extracts from the amur cork tree.
Phellodendron amurense may also be very helpful in controlling weight issues in obese people. Read on to see how amur cork bark can help you lose weight.
How Phellodendron Helps With Weight Loss
The main compound in phellodendron amurense is berberine. Berberine is a plant alkaloid with a yellow color which may be responsible for the color of the inner bark of the amur cork tree.
In recent times berberine, though it has been around for a long time, has become very popular as a supplement. Berberine it seems is a very effective for weight loss and has been studied quite a bit for it’s potential benefits.
Berberine works by going into the bloodstream after ingestion before going directly to cells. Inside the cells it activates an enzyme called the AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK). This enzyme is sometimes referred to as the “metabolic master switch” and plays a huge role in regulating metabolism.
With this in mind, here’s how berberine, the main compound in amur cork bark, can help with weight loss.
1. Berberine activates brown adipose tissue
The rediscovery of brown adipose tissue in adults is a relatively new and exciting development in the treatment of obesity. Scientists now think that this could be a way of successfully treating weight related issues.
Brown adipose tissue, also known as brown fat, through a process called thermogenesis, uses stored fat as fuel to create energy in the form of heat. Burning through fat stores causes reduction in fat mass.
Berberine has been shown to have anti-obesity effects by activating brown adipose tissue and converting white adipose tissue (regular fat) into brown fat. It can also cause glucose metabolism and lipid metabolism which is great news for obese individuals with type 2 diabetes and other weight related issues.
2. These Studies Prove Weight Loss Possible
Like phellodendron amurense, barberry (berberis vulgaris) is a plant that is highly rich in berberine.
Barberry has been used in studies to show that its most active compound, berberine can cause weight loss in people with obesity.
In one study, people who took 750 mg of barberry twice a day for three months lost a significant amount of weight. Decreases in triglycerides and cholesterol were also observed.
The BMI of another group of individuals used in a double-blind study, decreased after taking 200 mg of barberry three times a day. The individuals who experienced the decrease all had metabolic syndrome.
Another small study of 37 men and women with metabolic syndrome published in a journal called Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, showed positive results. The group were given 300 mg of berberine three times a day for three months. After the study ended, their body mass indexes dropped from an obese to an overweight range. The also lost belly fat and improved in other areas.
These studies, though some have small sample sizes, prove that berberine is in fact a valuable compound that could help in the fight with obesity.
Does Phellodendron Have Side Effects?
Berberine is safe for most adults but may have side effects if used in the long term. Women who are expecting or breast-feeding should not take berberine as it may be harmful to infants.
Always consult with a physician before taking any supplement containing berberine.
Berberine can cause digestive side effects such as upset stomach, constipation and nausea. It can also cause a rash or headaches in some people.
The compound has be observed to work similar to metformin, a pharmaceutical drug used to treat diabetes. Berberine may interact with this drug and should be avoided if you’re taking metformin.
Amur Cork Bark or phellodendron has some great health benefits and may be used to treat conditions such as bacterial infections, metabolic syndrome, high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, inflammation and more.
It has been proven effective in the treatment of obesity and weight related issues as evidenced in a number of studies. Berberine activates brown adipose tissue and inhibits fat cells enabling individuals to lose weight.
You can find berberine in supplements either as the main ingredient or combined with other natural ingredients that work together to help with weight loss. For example, amur cork bark is one of the main ingredients in Exipure, a supplement containing ingredients used to activate brown adipose tissue in adults.