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What Is Berberine? Health Benefits, Risks, More – Everyday Health

May 12th, 2023

More studies are needed to explore berberines potential benefits, but there is a wide range of research on the supplement, because it's been used for such a long time. There are numerous health benefits to berberine, with hundreds of studies that contain evidence of berberines efficacy, says Davis.

Still, as Nebraska Health notes, there has never been a large-scale, randomized controlled study on berberine (in which a large group of study participants get a placebo and the others take berberine). As with most nontraditional, complementary remedies, more research is needed in this area, Retelny says.

Here, discover some of the potential health benefits of berberine based on research conducted thus far.

One of the most talked-about potential perks of berberine is its purported ability to help people with type 2 diabetes. Berberine has been shown to assist with glucose and lipid metabolism, says Davis. That means it may lower blood sugar levels for some people.

For example, past research shows that berberine decreased hemoglobin A1C (a measure of your average blood sugar levels over the past three months, according to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention [CDC]) and fasting blood glucose.

Also, a review of research published in April 2021 in the journal Frontiers in Pharmacology noted that berberine may improve insulin resistance in people with type 2 diabetes, thus potentially improving their type 2 diabetes condition. A study published in October 2020 in Nature Communications found that a probiotic and a berberine supplement taken together significantly impacted the study participants hemoglobin A1C levels (compared with groups who took a placebo or just a probiotic).

Other research, published in February 2018 in the journal Oncotarget, found that berberine was a potential treatment for type 2 diabetes and noted that it showed similar benefits to the type 2 diabetes prescription drug metformin.

For people with high blood pressure or other cardiovascular issues, it might be worth talking to your doctor about berberine. Berberine has also been found to have therapeutic effects for hypertension, arrhythmia, and heart failure, says Davis.

A review published in September 2021 in theAmerican Journal of Chinese Medicine found that berberine was beneficial for heart disease. It does this by helping to combat inflammation and oxidative stress as well as by assisting with regulation of electrical signals and ionic channels in the body, Davis says. The study authors noted that it may be beneficial for people who dont tolerate statins (a type of drug that reduces cholesterol in the body, Mayo Clinic notes).

Canker sores, or aphthous stomatitis, can be a real pain in the mouth, but berberine may ease the discomfort. One past study found that when a gel containing berberine was applied to the sore four times per day for five days, patients reported that it reduced the size and pain of the sore.

Berberine might be helpful for people suffering with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), one review of research published in February 2020 in the journal Archives of Gynecology and Obstetrics found. PCOS happens when the ovaries produce much more of a certain type of hormone called androgens, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine. People with PCOS often cant utilize insulin well, which can cause a greater number of androgens to build up, per Johns Hopkins.

One study, published in January 2022 in the journal Cureus found that 500 milligrams (mg) of berberine taken twice a day improved study participants hormone status and cardiovascular profile, as well as other factors involved in PCOS (like weight, BMI, fasting glucose and insulin ratio, total cholesterol) more than metformin.

There is preliminary research in animals showing that topical berberine may have antimicrobial properties. One study, published in March 2022 in the Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy found that when a berberine cream was applied to mice infected with parasites, it was safe to use and stopped the parasite progression.

Still, more research needs to be done, and it might be hard to find a topical berberine cream. Past research found that while a topical berberine may be beneficial for skin infections and inflammation, an effective formula is still a work in progress.

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What Is Berberine? Health Benefits, Risks, More - Everyday Health

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