My Cancer Journey  
– Berberine as a Medicine –

Dr. Al Danenberg Nutritional Periodontist

September 25, 2022 [printfriendly]

If you know anything about me, you know that I am constantly digging for information to tweak my 11 Unconventional Cancer Protocols. In that regard, I’m a geek. However, this is a great way to be when you have nothing to lose and everything to gain!

Once again, I’m embarking on an experiment where N=1. And I’m the guinea pig!

This time, I’m researching a chemical called berberine. And I’m looking at it through the lens of a medicine and not a nutritional supplement.

  • A medicine is a compound for the treatment or prevention of a disease. Medicines have benefits as well as side effects.
  • A nutritional supplement is a product containing one or more ingredients that is taken to remedy a deficiency in one’s diet by providing the missing nutrient or nutrients.



Berberine is a plant-based alkaloid that has been used in Ayurvedic and traditional Chinese medicine for over three thousand years. This alkaloid is found in roughly 500 species of plants. It is extracted from many parts of the plant including the root, stem, leaves, fruit, and bark. Some plants that contain berberine are European barberry, goldenseal, goldthread, Oregon grape, philodendron, and tree turmeric. Berberine consists of nitrogen­-containing substances which have been used to support immune function as well as to reduce inflammation, infection, high blood sugar, gut dysfunction, cholesterol, and triglycerides.

Animal and human researchers are continuing to delve into berberine’s methods of action. These scientists are uncovering the powerful effects that berberine plays in many pathways of the body including acute diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, Alzheimer’s disease, and cancer.[1]

The numbers of revealing published studies prove to me that berberine’s methods of action are basic for overall health as well as the interruption of pathological pathways. I’m not suggesting that berberine is a cure-all for disease. But it appears to be a chemical that has significant potential for wellness.


Berberine’s Anti-Cancer Effects

My special interest lies in the medical studies relating to the cancer fighting effects of berberine.

Berberine has the potential to be an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant agent as well as an effective immunomodulator. Published peer-reviewed research suggests that berberine may become widely used in clinics for cancer therapy.[2]

Specifically, berberine demonstrates anti-tumor activity by interfering in multiple features of tumor development.[3],[4],[5]

Berberine prevents cancer cell proliferation by inducing apoptosis and controlling the cell cycle as well as autophagy. Berberine also hinders tumor cell invasion and metastasis by down-regulating metastasis-related proteins. In addition, berberine is beneficial in the early stages of cancer development by lowering epithelial–mesenchymal transition protein expression.[6]

The therapeutic efficacy of berberine has been reported for specific cancers …

  • bone
  • breast
  • colon
  • cutaneous
  • intestine
  • liver
  • oral
  • pancreatic
  • prostate
  • thyroid


Berberine & Multiple Myeloma

My research uncovered pertinent clinical studies showing that berberine can kill human multiple myeloma cells.[7],[8],[9],[10]

In one animal study[11], berberine treatment significantly suppressed the growth of multiple myeloma tumors. A 66.7% inhibition of tumor growth was noted at day 14 in the experimental group, which was treated with berberine (50 mg/kg) every other day for 2 consecutive weeks.


Side Effects

Berberine is generally well tolerated at recommended dosage levels. In clinical studies at 500 mg 2-3 times daily, side effects were generally mild but included nausea, diarrhea, constipation, abdominal distension and/or abdominal pain. It is not recommended for use during pregnancy.



Berberine may interfere with the absorption of tetracycline, cyclosporine, and related antibiotics.

In addition, berberine produces significant inhibition of CYP3A enzymes in humans. Because most drugs are metabolized by these enzymes, it may decrease the clearance of many medications, thereby enhancing their effect.

People on oral diabetes drugs should monitor blood glucose levels if taking berberine since berberine by itself will decrease blood glucose levels. Because of this, patients may need to adjust the dosage of their diabetes meds.

Other interactions include:

  • Berberine might slow blood clotting. Taking berberine along with medications that also slow blood clotting might increase the risk of bruising and bleeding.
  • Berberine might lower blood pressure. Taking berberine along with medications that lower blood pressure might cause blood pressure to go too low. Monitor your blood pressure closely.
  • Berberine might cause sleepiness and slowed breathing. Taking berberine with sedative medications might cause breathing problems and/or too much sleepiness.


My N=1 Experiment

After reviewing the published science, I concluded that berberine might hold some promise for me.

Caveat: I do not recommend that anyone tries my protocol. This is my own experiment. It has not been proven or approved by the FDA to cure cancer or any disease.

However, I am going to use this product in my personal experiment and share the results as they become available over time. Here’s how I started my individual study …

Based on my weight, I started consuming 3 grams of berberine every other day on 9/12/22. There is some research that suggests that it is best to cycle in and out of dosing berberine. So, my N=1 experiment will be for me to take 3 grams of berberine every other day for three weeks. After that, I’ll give my body at least one week to recover and rebalance itself. Then, I’ll return to cycling on and off my berberine regimen. Every four weeks, I’ll have my blood work checked at my cancer clinic to see if there are any positive or negative changes. The tests my oncologist orders include:

    • CBC (Complete Blood Count)[12]
    • CMP (Comprehensive Metabolic Panel)[13]
    • SPEP (Serum Protein ElectroPhoresis) with immunofixation[14]


My Emotional State

If you’ve been following my cancer journey, you know I have been experimenting with my way of eating, my gut health, and my methods to improve the robustness of my immune system. And my experimentation has included some successes and a few major setbacks.

My new protocol with berberine is just another of my N=1 experiments.

Today, I am confident in telling you that I am doing extremely well!

It is my pleasure to report that once again I have outsmarted my doctors’ prognosis. I am not only on the mend, but I am also beginning to thrive again.

Since my diagnosis in September 2018 of incurable bone marrow cancer with the dire prognosis of 3-6 months to live, I’ve learned so much.

I’ve learned that …

  • No matter how bad things seem to be, you can improve them
  • Everything you put into or onto your body affects every cell in your body
  • If you can improve the function of your immune system, you can prevent and heal most diseases
  • You are in control of your interpretation of the world around you – your attitude will guide you to your success
















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