The Phytochemical With Numerous Metabolic Benefits
Betulin is a phytochemical that is extracted from the bark of the white birch tree. The use of the white birch tree bark to relieve pain, especially pain associated with headaches and rheumatism, can be traced back to centuries ago. Johann Tobias Lowitz, a German-Russian chemist and pharmacist was the one who discovered, characterize and eventually isolate betulin as an active plant ingredient or phytochemical. Animal-based studies like the one that will be cited below reveal that betulin possesses a myriad of metabolic benefits, such as the ability to improve insulin sensitive, lower cholesterol, and prevent obesity. It has even been discovered that betulin possesses antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and wound-healing properties.
The study “Inhibition of SREBP by a Small Molecule, Betulin” claims that betulin targets sterol regulatory element-binding proteins (SREBPs). It is because of SREBPs that specific genes are activated, which enable cholesterol, fatty acids and triglycerides to be biosynthesized. It was seen in the study that several metabolic diseases tend to target the SREBP pathway.
Based on the study, it has been revealed that betulin acts directly on SREBP and it switches “off” the genes that are activated by SREBPs. Cellular lipid levels were also reduced by betulin. In this animal-based study, the mice that were given betulin along with a Western high-fat diet burned more calories and gained less weight. Lipid levels in blood, fat tissue, and the liver were also reduced by betulin.
Researchers like these have concluded that betulin possesses quite a few metabolic benefits. When it comes to the treatment of high cholesterol, betulin is even being considered to be similar to or even better than lovastatin, which is a widely prescribed modern day statin drug for lowering cholesterol. By affecting the synthesis of fatty acid and triglyceride as noted in the study, insulin resistance was also improved by betulin.
Apparently Betulin also happens to be an active ingredient in skin care products, such as Imlan products. Birken AG, the company behind Imlan skin care products, claims that betulin results in the formation of a stable emulsion as a result of binding itself to beneficial oil and water.
The "Anti-inflammotory Properties of Betulin" claims that the ideal anti-viral dosage for betulin is 6.1 μM. The study “The dose dependent effects of betulin” also recommends 0.32 μg/mL of betulin as an optimum dose. Other than these, the relevant dose of betulin also depends on several factors, such as how old the user is, whether or not they are healthy, and/or whether they are suffering from specific health conditions. There is not much scientific evidence to specify a more specific range of doses for betulin, but it is safe to use.
Betulin Side Effects
The study “Inhibition of SREBP by a Small Molecule, Betulin” also points out that the toxicity of betulin is very low, so it is overall safe and its use in similar studies has not resulted in any serious or severe adverse effects. In fact, the study claims that research on a derivative of betulin, which could be even more potent, is underway and perhaps this could lead to the clinical use of betulin by humans.
Some people tend to suffer from birch pollen allergy. However, it is not the bark but the flowers of the birch tree that contain the allergens, so the use of betulin has never resulted in any allergic reactions.