Berberine as an alternative to Metformin

Metformin (Glucophage) is currently a popular drug prescription for treating Type 2 Diabetes and Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. However 3 clinical trials from Chinese researchers suggest that Berberine, a substance found in several plants and historically used medicinally, is as good or better than Metformin. Summaries of the 3 studies and their references are listed below.

Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus

Compared with metformin, berberine exhibited an identical effect in the regulation of glucose metabolism, such as HbA1c, FBG, PBG, fasting insulin and postprandial insulin. In the regulation of lipid metabolism, berberine activity is better than metformin. By week 13, triglycerides and total cholesterol in the berberine group had decreased and were significantly lower than in the metformin group.

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)

Treatment with [Bererine] in comparison to [Metformin] showed decrease in waist circumference and waist-to-hip ratio (WHR; P<0.01), total cholesterol (TC), triglycerides (TG), and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDLC; P<0.05) as well as increase in high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDLC) and sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG;P<0.05). Similarly, treatment with [Bererine] in comparison to placebo showed decrease in WHR, fasting plasma glucose, fasting insulin, homeostasis model assessment for IR, area under the curve of insulin, TC, LDLC, and TG (P<0.05) as well as increase in HDLC and SHBG (P<0.01).

In vitro fertilization (IVF) and PCOS

Compared with placebo, greater reductions in total testosterone, free androgen index, fasting glucose, fasting insulin and HOMA-IR, and increases in SHBG, were observed in the berberine and metformin groups. Three months of treatment with berberine or metformin before the IVF cycle increased the pregnancy rate and reduced the incidence of severe ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome. Furthermore, treatment with berberine, in comparison with metformin, was associated with decreases in BMI, lipid parameters and total FSH requirement, and an increase in live birth rate with fewer gastrointestinal adverse events.

Further Reading

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