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  • I'm a foodie and would never want to give up traditional desserts and pasta, bagels and muffins. That said, if my blood sugar was elevated I would be highly motivated to alter my diet and try natural remedies before prescription drugs or shots. Twenty nine million people in the United States now have Type 2 diabetes and one in three adults have pre-diabetes, blood sugar levels higher than "normal," but not quite high enough to be diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. Having pre-diabetes puts you on the fast track to getting full-blown Type 2 diabetes within five years. Complications include severe nerve pain, heart disease, kidney failure, blindness, stroke, or amputation of the toes, feet, or legs.

    We know that meal choices matter. We also know that exercising works. The big deal is how low thyroid is the number one missed cause for diabetes. I discuss that in my book, Diabetes Without Drugs. As a pharmacist, I'm aware of the side effects and interactions associated with medications, so today I'm going to spotlight berberine.

    Berberine is a compound that scientists extract from the Oregon Grape plant which is the state flower for Oregon in the United States. It grows beautiful yellow flowers and blue grapes (but not the kind of grapes you are thinking of, these are different).

    Medicinal uses of berberine have been documented in China since 3000 BC. More recently, there are scientific papers to show all kinds of cool things! Like how berberine lowers blood glucose (sugar) as effectively as metformin, a popular prescription medicine for diabetes. Doesn't that just blow your mind?! Berberine is just as effective as this strong medicine, but without as many side effects. That gets my attention. A study in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism in 2008 found that berberine caused a significant reduction in hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) and improved cholesterol ratios. In this particular study, 1,000 mg was administered as the total daily dose. Another study (animal) suggests that berberine can prevent pre-diabetes from developing.

    What else you wonder? Berberine kills herpes simplex virus (HSV) which is often treated with the prescription drug acyclovir. Berberine protects neurons in your brain and reduces inflammation, so it helps with a traumatic brain injury (TBI). Amazingly, when combined with the chemotherapy drug cisplatin, berberine displays strong anti-cancer effects against ovarian cancer cells.

    Berberine is completely natural and sold nationwide as a dietary supplement. Most naturopaths recommend 500 mg once, twice or even three times daily. The dosage varies greatly so you should consult a trained professional. Use and dosage depends on your medical history, liver function and the condition for which you are taking it. Keep in mind, berberine is a natural blood thinner. It also enhances the effects of diabetic medications, possibly to your detriment if you blood sugar drops rapidly. It's definitely not recommended if you are pregnant since it's a uterine stimulant. Physicians often underestimate herbs but as far as I'm concerned, plants are medicine too.

  • L-lysine is an essential amino acid. That means that the body cannot make it and must instead get it from outside sources: namely dietary intake of protein foods—although dietary supplements with L-lysine can also serve as a source. The best dietary sources of L-lysine are animal proteins, such as meats, poultry, and milk. Proteins from grains, such as wheat and corn, generally tend to be low in lysine.1 This article will address the clinical research that has been conducted on supplementation with L-lysine—with a focus on its anti-Herpes virus effects. But first, let's quickly review L-lysine's biological functions in our bodies.

    The Biological Functions Of Lysine
    L-lysine serves various important roles in human biology. One of these is its requirement for collagen synthesis.2,3 which in turn makes it important for connective tissues found in bone and skin, among other tissues. In addition, L-lysine is necessary for the synthesis of carnitine and the resultant conversion of fatty acids to energy, as well its playing roles in supporting healthy growth and development in children, and maintaining healthy immune function.4 In particular, L-lysine plays a critical role in the management of Herpes simplex virus (HSV) infections, via its antagonistic relationship with L-arginine.

    Lysine And Herpes Virus Infections
    Lysine appears to have an antagonistic relationship with the amino acid arginine, which is required for the replication of HSV. Lysine competes with arginine for absorption in the intestine, reabsorption in the renal tubules, and transport across the plasma membrane into cells. in vitro, lysine inhibits the growth-promoting action of arginine on HSV. Increasing over all lysine intake or influencing the lysine-to-arginine ratio is the basis for lysine's potential benefit in managing an HSV outbreak,5,6 as demonstrated in various studies.

    Lysine and herpes study 1
    This study7 examined the efficacy of long-term preventive effect of lysine supplementation. Twenty-six volunteers with a history of frequently recurring HSV on their lips (HSV labialis), completed a 12-month double-blind crossover study. The frequency of Herpes recurrences ranged from four to sixteen per year (with many occurring twelve times in the past year). The participants included in the statistical analysis were randomly divided into two groups at the beginning of the study. Group A, consisting of fifteen members, began with lysine tablets. Group B, comprising eleven members, started with a placebo. The experimental group received daily oral supplements of 1,000 mg L-lysine. They were instructed to take two tablets every morning before breakfast. A crossover took place at sixmonths (where the L-lysine group switched to a placebo, and vice versa). At this time, a new 6-month supply of tablets was issued, and the participants were instructed to continue the daily regimen without interruption. At the end of the second 6-month period the study was terminated. Serum samples were analyzed at scheduled intervals.

    Results showed that at the end of the first 6-month period, the frequency of lesions in those subjects given lysine did not differ significantly from the frequency in those given the placebo. Although this was surprising, it was even more surprising that the subjects who began taking lysine during the second 6-month test period reported significantly fewer lesions than those who had reverted to placebo (p < 0.05). In this group, the frequency of herpetic lesion episodes over a 6-month period was 1.18 times versus 4.05 compared to baseline. Similarly, during the second 6-month test period, when Group A was taken off the lysine supplementation, there was a significant increase in the frequency of lesions (p < 0.01). Conversely, patients in Group B, in which lysine was now added, reported a significant decrease in lesion recurrence (p < 0.01).

    In light of the significant differences found between the groups at 12 months, a further examination of the data was conducted to determine if there was any correlation between a patient's serum levels of lysine and the number of lesion recurrences. Results for this sample population indicated that when a person's serum lysine concentration exceeded 165 nmol/ml, there was also a corresponding significant decrease in recurrent lesions (p < 0.05). The results obtained herein tended to corroborate previous in vitro data indicating that lysine is a herpes virus inhibitor. If, 1,000 mg of L-lysine is taken daily over a 6-months period, and if the blood levels exceed 165 nmol/ ml, the number of lesion recurrences is significantly reduced in most cases. When lysine supplements are discontinued, lesion frequency significantly increases again if serum levels fall below 165 nmol/ml. In conclusion, prophylactic lysine may be useful in managing selected cases of recurrent HSV labialis if serum lysine levels can be maintained at adequate concentrations.

    Hence, this study explains why some reports indicate that oral L-lysine administration is effective in the treatment/ recurrence of herpes viral infections, while other reports have not found a benefit. Namely, it's not enough to consume a specific dose of lysine. Rather it is necessary that blood levels of lysine be made to exceed 165 nmol/ml in order to see clinical benefits. Consequently, for some individuals, 1,000 mg of lysine daily may provide the desired prophylactic effect, while others may require a higher dose such as 3,000 mg daily.

    Lysine and herpes study 2
    In this study, researchers also evaluated the preventive effect of L-lysine monohydrochloride 1000 mg daily on recurrent HSV labialis in 65 patients in a double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover study.8 After 12 weeks of lysine treatment the patients shifted to placebo treatment for a similar period. On the whole, lysine had no effect on the recurrence rate of herpes simplex. However, significantly more patients were recurrence-free during lysine than during placebo treatment (p = 0.05), suggesting that certain patients may benefit from prophylactic lysine administration.

    Lysine And Herpes Study 3
    In another double-blind, placebo-controlled, multicenter trial,9 subjects were given oral L-lysine monohydrochloride—this time with 3,000 mg—for the prevention and treatment of recurrent HSV infection. The treatment group was given L-lysine monohydrochloride tablets (1,000 mg L-lysine per dose) three times a day for six months. A total of 27 (six male and 21 female) subjects on L-lysine and 25 (6 male and 19 female) subjects on placebo completed the trial. The L-lysine treatment group had an average of 2.4 (p < 0.05) less HSV infections, symptoms were significantly (p < 0.05) diminished in severity and healing time was significantly reduced (p < 0.05). The researchers concluded that L-lysine appears to be an effective agent for reduction of occurrence, severity and healing time for recurrent HSV infection.

    Lysine and herpes study 4
    In a prospective, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, cross-over study10 of forty-one patients, researchers found that oral ingestion of 1,248 mg a day of L-lysine monohydrochloride shows evidence of decreasing the recurrence rate of herpes simplex attacks in non-immunocompromised hosts. A dose of 624 mg a day was not effective. L-lysine may also be capable of decreasing the severity of symptoms associated with recurrences.

    Lysine and herpes study 5
    In a fifth clinical study,11 45 patients with frequently recurring herpes infection were given 312–1,200 mg of lysine daily in single or multiple doses. The clinical results demonstrated a beneficial effect from supplementary lysine in accelerating recovery from herpes simplex infection and suppressing recurrence. Tissue culture studies have demonstrated an enhancing effect on viral replication when the amino acid ratio of arginine to lysine favors arginine. The opposite, preponderance of lysine to arginine, suppresses viral replication and inhibits cytopathogenicity of herpes simplex virus.

    Lysine and herpes study 6
    To test the effect of lysine supplementation on herpes infection, 1543 subjects were surveyed12 by questionnaire after a sixmonth trial period. The study included subjects with cold sores, canker sores, and genital herpes. Of these, 54 percent had been diagnosed and treated by a physician. The results showed that the average dosage used was 936 mg of lysine daily. Eighty-four per cent of those surveyed said that lysine supplementation prevented recurrence or decreased the frequency of herpes infection. Whereas 79 percent described their symptoms as severe or intolerable without lysine, only 8 percent used these terms when taking lysine. Without lysine, 90 percent indicated that healing took six to 15 days, but with lysine 83 percent stated that lesions healed in five days or less. Overall, 88 percent considered supplemental lysine an effective form of treatment for herpes infection.

    L-lysine, an essential amino acid, has important roles to play in human biology. With regard to human clinical research with supplemental L-lysine, perhaps the most significant contribution that this amino acid has made is in managing HSV outbreaks. Multiple studies have indicated that L-lysine supplementation is effective in reducing the frequency of HSV outbreaks and speeding up their healing time when an outbreak does occur. For most people with the HSV, supplementation with 1,000 mg/day is recommended for preventive purposes. Once an outbreak occurs, however, intake should be increased to 3,000 mg/day.


    1. L-Lysine monograph. Altern Med Rev. 2007;12(2):169–72.
    2. Flodin NW. The metabolic roles, pharmacology, and toxicology of lysine. J Am Coll Nutr1997;16:7–12.
    3. Hall SL, Greendale GA. The relation of dietary vitamin C intake to bone mineral density: results from the PEPI study. Calcif Tissue Int 1998;63:183–9.
    4. L-lysine. Monograph. Altern Med Rev. 2007 Jun;12(2):169–2.
    5. Tankersley RW. Amino Acid Requirements of Herpes Simplex Virus in Human Cells. J Bacteriol. 1964;87(3):609–613
    6. Thein DJ, Hurt WC. Lysine as a prophylactic agent in the treatment of recurrent herpes simplex labialis. Oral Surg Oral Med Oral Pathol. 1984 Dec;58(6):659–66.
    7. Milman N, Scheibel J, Jessen O. Lysine prophylaxis in recurrent herpes simplex labialis: a double-blind, controlled crossover study. Acta Derm Venereol. 1980;60(1):85–7.
    8. Griffith RS, Walsh DE, Myrmel KH, Thompson RW, Behforooz A. Success of L-lysine therapy in frequently recurrent herpes simplex infection. Treatment and prophylaxis. Dermatologica. 1987;175(4):183–90.
    9. McCune MA, Perry HO, Muller SA, O'Fallon WM. Treatment of recurrent herpes simplex infections with Llysine monohydrochloride. Cutis.1984 Oct;34(4):366–73.
    10. Griffith RS, Norins AL, Kagan C. A multicentered study of lysine therapy in Herpes simplex infection. Dermatologica. 1978;156(5):257–67.
    11. Walsh DE, Griffith RS, Behforooz A. Subjective response to lysine in the therapy of herpes simplex. J Antimicrob Chemother. 1983 Nov;12(5):489–96.
  • Moducare® is a patented blend of plant sterols and sterolins, and the only sterol/sterolin product clinically proven to be effective in immune modulation. Moducare can be considered an adjunct to help shift immune responses to a more balanced state. It enhances the activity of various immune cells and increases the killing ability of specialized cells, called Natural Killer cells, responsible for immune surveillance. Moducare also has anti-inflammatory properties and helps reduce the effects of stress on the immune system by managing the release of cortisol, a stress hormone. Moducare is well-tolerated, with no known interactions with either prescribed medications or natural supplements. Plus, long-term studies have found that it has no significant negative side effects.

    Human Research Proves Plant Sterols Action
    We call sterols the forgotten nutrient because although thousands of research studies have been preformed on this nutrient, it has not been given the recognition it deserves.

    Over 4,000 published studies to date have examined phytosterols and 140 of these studies are double-blind, placebo-controlled human trials. Rheumatoid arthritis, cervical cancer, diabetes, immune function, prostate problems, HI V, herpes, hepatitis C, allergies, stress-induced immune suppression, chronic fatigue, tuberculosis, breast cancer, and high cholesterol are only some of the diseases where sterols and sterolins have been shown to be extremely effective.

    Plant sterols and sterolins are essential for modulating (balancing) the immune system, enhancing it if it is under active, and reducing it when it is over stimulated. They perform the balancing act very effectively. Patrick J.D. Bouic, Ph.D., has shown in his research that plant sterols and sterolins are effective in enhancing an under active immune system and/or decreasing an overactive one. This happens without the side effects associated with pharmaceutical substances such as interferon, prednisone or methotrexate. Sterols and sterolins have been evaluated in a 25,000-person safety study and found to have no side effects, no drug interactions, and no toxicity. It is safe for children, as well as pregnant and nursing mothers. Only those who have had an organ transplant cannot take plant sterols because they may stimulate rejection.

    Plant sterols and sterolins also increase the number and action of natural killer cells (our cancer fighters) and increase our DHE A levels naturally. They are also able to reduce the stress hormone cortisol and the proinflammatory immune factor, interleukin-6, and tumor necrosis factor alpha (TN F-a). Interleukin-6 and (TN F-a) are increased in autoimmune disorders, osteoporosis, over exercising, fibromyalgia, and osteoarthritis. Reduction of this inflammatory agent is the key to halting symptoms and pain. This is exactly what plant sterols and sterolins do.

    Sterols—Great Stress Busters
    Chronic stress is so negative that it can promote and exacerbate most disease. Numerous studies have linked our ability to deal with stress to our susceptibility to the common cold as well as more serious diseases such as cancer. Adults who have recently lost a loved one or have been divorced or separated tend to have the highest cancer rates. Unrelieved stress gradually weakens and suppresses our immune system, causing disease. Stressful situations promote the release of cortisol, the stress hormone which in turn causes the secretion of a negative immune factor interleukin-6. Abnormal levels of IL-6 are associated with osteoporosis, autoimmune disease, asthma, inflammatory diseases including arthritis, and more. We know that phytosterols are effective in reducing IL-6, cortisol and other negative immune factors. They also improve DHEA, a hormone known to help fight the effects of stress.

    An overview follows of a few of the outstanding studies published.

    Sterols Lower Cholesterol
    The rapid cholesterol-lowering effects of phytosterols have been reported in over 400 studies. Beta-sitosterol is very similar in structure to cholesterol except that it has an extra ethyl group on the side chain. Due to this similarity, it interferes with the absorption of the cholesterol found in our foods as well as the cholesterol produced by the body. By including phytosterol-rich foods or supplements containing sterols, we can normalize cholesterol much faster than with the common cholesterol-lowering drugs.

    Sterols Halt Hepatitis C
    Hepatitis C is now occurring in epidemic proportions. Over four million North Americans are infected with hepatitis C. Liver specialists are overwhelmed as they struggle to deal with the increase in the incidence of this disease. Hepatitis C is the leading cause of liver transplants in North America. Physicians using sterols and sterolins to treat hepatitis C have already shown that with 90 days of the sterols and sterolins treatment liver enzymes and viral load normalize.

    Sterols, Heart Disease and DHEA
    A team of Canadian researchers discovered that an error in the regulation of certain immune cells that fight bacterial infections may be implicated in heart attacks and strokes. In a study published in the International Journal of Immunopharmacology, plant sterols and sterolins are shown to improve the ability of the immune system to fight bacterial infections. Sterols and sterolins, not antibiotics, may be the way to treat bacterial-induced heart disease.

    Prostate Problems Eliminated
    Urologists in Germany have been using plant sterols and sterolins for over two decades for the treatment of enlarged prostate. In one double-blind, placebo-controlled study of 200 patients with an average age of 65 and with BPH, subjects were given sterols and sterolins for six months. The treatment group showed a rapid reduction of the symptoms mentioned above and an increase in peak urinary flow and a decrease in inflammation. When does a health food product become mainstream? Do 4,000 medical studies constitute good scientific evidence of a nutrient’s effectiveness? We believe plant sterols and sterolins will change the way we treat disease in the future. Instead of treating symptoms, we will get directly to the source of the symptoms and repair the cause of the disease.