Meta-analysis of 27 clinical trials!
In the age of the plague of civilization diseases, the popularity of berberine, an alkaloid obtained from barberry, is increasing. The healing properties of berberine have been used for centuries in traditional Chinese medicine, where it is attributed to its unique action to lower blood sugar and lipids and to normalize elevated blood pressure. What does science say about berberine?
In order to verify the properties of berberine, a team of scientists led by Jiarona Lan did a review. The databases such as PubMed, ScienceDirect, Cochrane library, EMbase, China biomedical literature database (CBM), Chinese Technology Journal Full-text Database and Chinese journal full text database (CNKI) have been thoroughly analyzed. Finally, the 27 most reliable studies conducted on humans concerning the influence of berberine on the blood glucose level, lipid profile and arterial blood pressure were distinguished and confronted. From thousands of studies conducted up to 2011, those that lasted at least a week were selected. Studies in which the participating participants were not healthy were eliminated as this affected the results of the experiment.
The meta-analysis included randomized clinical trials conducted on a total of 2,569 people. The research was divided into 7 subgroups, depending on the parameter tested. We compared the effectiveness of berberine with placebo, the effects of lifestyle changes in combination with and without berberine supplementation, and whether berberine added to the classic pharmacological therapy of type 2 diabetes, obesity and hypertension would increase their effectiveness. The effectiveness of berberine compared to oral hypoglycemic agents (metformin, phenformin, glipizide and rosiglitazone), reducing the blood lipid levels of statins (simvastatin and atorvastatin) and antihypertensive drugs (nitrendipine, amlodipine and metoprolol) was compared. In studies, berberine was administered in doses ranging from 0.6 to 2.7 g / day.
The studies included such parameters as postprandial plasma glucose, measured 2 hours after a meal (PPG, Postprandial Plasma Glucose), glucose after 8 hours after a meal (FPG, Fasting Plasma Glucose), level of glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1c), total cholesterol, triglyceride (TC) level of low density lipoprotein (LDL-C), high density lipoprotein (HDL-C) and systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
The results of the study turned out to be interesting. It was found that berberine combined with a healthy lifestyle and berberine together with hypoglycemic agents to a greater extent lower the level of FPG, PPG and HbA1c than the same healthy lifestyle, hypoglycemic drugs themselves and placebo. Similar, positive results were obtained in experiments on the effect of berberine on hyperlipidemia and hypertension. The addition of berberine to classical drug therapy and a healthy lifestyle resulted in a greater reduction of TC, LDL-C and increasing the level of beneficial HDL-C fraction. A big advantage of berberine is safety of use, natural origin and negligible side effects.
In summary, berberine is a natural food supplement with proven positive effects supporting therapies for civilization diseases – type 2 diabetes, hypertension and obesity. It effectively reduces the level of glucose in the blood, of which too high concentration is the heart of the metabolic syndrome, diabetes and obesity. Additionally, by optimizing the lipid profile of blood, berberine effectively reduces the risk of atherosclerosis. By normalizing blood pressure, this alkaloid relieves the cardiovascular system and reduces the chance of serious diseases in this system. The unique properties of berberine, confirmed by many clinical tests, suggest that this substance is included in its supplementation, especially by people suffering from diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular diseases.