Diabetes Type II and Berberine: Dosage and Research

on Mar 25, 2021
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Beberine for Diabeters

Diabetes is a common disease that affects many Americans, and 90 to 95% of people with diabetes have Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus ("T2DM").

I will be discussing T2DM and one herbal option to help deal with it effectively based on multiple studies. Since Type 1 Diabetes (T1D) is significantly less common, I will focus this discussion on Type 2 Diabetes.


T2DM occurs in 1 out of 10 in the US, while pre-diabetes occurs in 1 in 3, illustrating what a considerable health concern T2DM is. (1)

Treating T2DM effectively early in the disease process can go a long way in preventing many of the health complications seen in advanced stage T2DM, which can be very disabling.

Today, I would like to discuss the supplement Berberine and the studies that show how it can help fight against Type II Diabetes through multiple methods of action.

Berberine for Type II Diabetes

1. In this first study, Berberine shows somewhat similar effects as the common T2DM drug, Metformin.

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29515798/

2. The following study is interesting because it shows that Berberine can also protect against Metformin-associated lactic acidosis (MALA).

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5478779/

3. The next study abstract shows that Berberine lowers blood glucose in T2DM patients by increasing insulin receptor expression.

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19800084/

4. In this study, Berberine is shown to be synergistic with Metformin, where both together are better than either one alone at lowering high glucose induced lipogenesis. For those who are not familiar with Metformin, it is considered a first line pharmaceutical for treating T2DM. Here is a quote from the study:

>>> The combination of Metformin and Berberine exerted synergistic lipid-lowering effects on HepG2 cells by reducing total lipid content, triglyceride level, and the expression of the genes involved in lipogenesis.<<<

5. This next abstract adds more data to the idea that Berberine and Metformin may work well together.

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30428337/

6. This is an older study (2008), but it goes into significant detail of many of the ways in which Berberine may be beneficial for patients in the fight against T2DM. It also discusses the lipid and triglyceride-lowering effects of Berberine and discusses the dosing used in the study as 1,500 mg total Berberine per day in 3 divided doses of 500 mg each dose spread throughout the day.

Here is a quote from the study :

>>> In conclusion, this pilot study indicates that Berberine is a potent oral hypoglycemic agent with beneficial effects on lipid metabolism.<<<

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2410097/

7. The following Meta-Analysis determines that Berberine is able to lower hyperglycemia, lipids, hypertension and raise HDL cholesterol while exhibiting a good safety profile.

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25498346/

Berberine Dosage for Type II Diabetes

In this article, dosing of Berberine at 1,500 mg per day divided into three equal doses of 500 mg each during the day is mentioned as a possible dosing schedule, along with an explanation of why.

There are many more studies discussing the use of Berberine as an adjunctive treatment for T2DM, but the above should give you a good idea of how helpful Berberine can be.

Conclusion

The above studies and information illustrate that Berberine has hypoglycemic effects, lipid-lowering effects, and synergy with the front-line T2DM pharmacological treatment, Metformin, in T2DM patients worth discussing with your doctor for pre-diabetes and T2DM.

If you search the internet, you will also find plenty of anecdotal evidence suggesting that Berberine is useful in T2DM.

As always, I am not a doctor and, as such, cannot recommend Berberine as a treatment for T2DM, nor can I offer dosing advice, but fortunately, dosing advice is given in one study and one article above! In any case, given the serious nature of T2DM, consulting your doctor or healthcare professional before starting Berberine is needed.

----------------------------------------

Where to Buy

Berberine can be found in most health food stores and online. The product you choose should offer capsules that are pure Berberine with no additional active products in it and each capsule should contain 500 mg each of Berberine in order to try and replicate dosing used in studies.

Here are 2 good companies on Amazon.



Thorne Research - Berberine-500 - Botanical Compound to Support Blood Sugar Metabolism - 60 Capsules

Integrative Therapeutics - Berberine 500mg - Metabolism of Blood Sugar Support Supplements - HCL - Vegan - 60 Capsules


Update

12/28/2021:

I wanted to update my above article because a new meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials just came out that adds further confirmation to the value of Berberine for diabetes.

This new meta-analysis (MA) of RCTs( December 2021) of the use of Berberine for T2DM is very enlightening and clearly illustrates that Berberine is a very good adjunctive treatment or possibly even a primary treatment option for T2DM :

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/labs/pmc/articles/PMC8696197/

Here is an important quote from the full MA :

>>> ' Forty-six trials were assessed. Analysis of berberine applied alone or with standard diabetic therapies versus the control group revealed significant reductions in HbA1c (MD = −0.73; 95% CI (−0.97, −0.51)), FPG (MD = −0.86,95% CI (−1.10, −0.62)), and 2hPG (MD = −1.26,95% CI (−1.64, −0.89)). Improved insulin resistance was assessed by lowering FINS (MD = −2.05,95% CI (−2.62, −1.48)), HOMA-IR (MD = −0.71,95% CI (−1.03, −0.39)), and BMI (MD = −1.07,95% CI (−1.76, −0.37)). Lipid metabolisms were also ameliorated via the reduction of TG (MD = −0.5,95% CI (−0.61, −0.39)), TC (MD = 0.64,95% CI (−0.78, −0.49)), and LDL (MD = 0.86,95% CI (−1.06, −0.65)) and the upregulation of HDL (MD = 0.17,95% CI (0.09,0.25)). Additionally, berberine improved the inflammation factor. ' <<<

This multitude of positive health enhancements including reduction of inflammatory mediators IL-6 and Tnf-alpha as well as positive heart and kidney effects accompanied by a very good safety profile make Berberine a "must consider" option for people with diabetes. The added lipid improving effects are just the icing on the cake.

It seems likely that pulsing of Berberine dosing may prolong the effectiveness of Berberine over the longer term, helping to prevent the body from becoming resistant to its effectiveness.

Art


About The Author

Art Solbrig is a researcher who has been reading scientific studies and testing natural remedies for over 30 years searching for useful studies and alternatives that apply positively to human health issues and natural treatments using minerals, vitamins, amino acids, essential oils, herbs, homeopathy, colloidal silver, combination treatments and other alternatives to improve the quality of life of others by writing about his findings and test results in places like Earth Clinic. He documents and writes about many of his experiences in helping others. Art is a native of sunny California.

Related Links:

Diabetes Type I: Home Remedies and Holistic Treatment
Diabetic Neuropathy Remedies
Natural Remedies for Diabetes Type II


Berberine

2 User Reviews
5 star (2) 
  100%


Posted by Nana Monster (Hannibal, New York) on 08/08/2016
5 out of 5 stars

I was using glyburide and my numbers were going up to around 300+ with a high of 429. The doc wanted me on Januvia which I refused so he kicked me out of his practice. THEN I found a new one and he switched me to Glimpiride...BAD stuff. After 3 weeks on it I was having headaches, severe muscle spasms, joint pain, chest pain (have heart issues), sugar numbers were going up and it kicked in the glucoama real bad to the point everything was fuzzy. He then wanted me on Farxiga which is super bad so I asked him about Berberine. He didn't know anything about so I went ahead and did more research and decided it was something I wanted to try.

I've been on it for 5 weeks now and my lowest starting number was 110 and the highest nite time was 189. I'm staying between 120-170 on an average low to high range. I can definitely live with this as it's well over half of what I was running with big pharma's stuff. I feel a lot better, more energy, skin is soooooo soft.

Still have some residual from the Glimpiride with the headaches and chest pain mainly but every now and then the muscles let go. I'm hoping that the numbers continue to improve. I go in 2 weeks for a blood draw for the A1C and then the following week for a checkup. I'll let you know how the doctor handles me not doing the drug and instead going for the plants. I use a brand which has Barberry and Oregon Grape Seed. Will post again in about a month and let you know how I'm doing. Dropped about 10 pounds so far too :)


Berberine
Posted by Adele (Portland, Or) on 04/28/2014
5 out of 5 stars

I have cured my Type 2 diabetes by taking Berberine. 500mg 3 times daily, before or with food. I take no medication.

Replied by Om
(Hope, Bc Canada)
04/29/2014

Adele from Portland, Or-- thank you very much for your post. I hope I can get Berberine from the health food store. Congratulations. Namaste Om

Replied by Adele
(Portland, OR)
08/19/2014

There is a selection of berberine on Amazon. I use Dr Whitaker's or Glyco, any one will do. Make sure it is pure and made in the US. One of them comes with Banaba too, I am using this now and have gone to 400 mg from 500.


Berberine, ALA

2 User Reviews
5 star (2) 
  100%


Posted by Rc Hoppy (Winamac, Indiana Usa) on 03/26/2021
5 out of 5 stars

Berberine works well by itself at lowering blood sugar.

My wife has DM2 and along with it, all the other problems. The doctors had her taking several hypertension meds, as well as Metformin and a water pill. I had heard of Berberine in the past, and really wanted to try it with her, but was a little hesitant. On a recent trip to the doctor's office, her bloodwork showed that her kidney function was dropping and the doctor told us to drop the Metformin and water pill because they were too hard on her kidneys. I had tried a combination of Metformin and Berberine before, without good results, so I still had the Berberine on the shelf and ready for action.

I started giving her Berberine twice a day with breakfast and dinner, and also added 300 mg of alpha-lipoic acid at breakfast and bedtime for water retention. Within a very short period of time, we saw such a difference.

Her fasting sugar dropped to 100 + or - 10 and we had to reduce her nightly insulin injection by 10 units to keep it from going too low. (One morning her sugar was down to 60 and very scary.) The ALA also reduced the swelling in her legs and feet. Now her shoes don't look like they are two sizes too small and her ankles no longer have marks from the elastic in her socks.

The combination of the two ( both available on Amazon) has made a real difference in her blood sugar as well as the edema that goes along with hypertension.

Replied by Becca
(Sacramento)
03/28/2021

Hi, what dose and brand do you recommend for the Berberine? Thanks.

Replied by Rc Hoppy
(Winamac, Indiana Usa)
03/29/2021

The bottle says the dose is two capsules, for a total of 1 Gr., or 500 mg. each.

I give my wife 1 capsule with breakfast and 1 with dinner, and the results are better than Metformin, without any of the harmful side effects, such as destroying her kidney function.

Carri
(WA)
03/29/2021

I thought berberine was supposed to be taken on an empty tummy? Perhaps I was mistaken.

Andri
(Florida)
03/31/2021

Can you please tell me the brand name? Thanks.

Paula
(FL)
04/01/2021
5 out of 5 stars

My husband and I are successfully using "Amazing Formulas" Berberine and it was touted as one of the best by Consumer Lab. We take it with food two times per day. It is 1,000 mg.

Debbie C.
(AU)
04/21/2021

Paula, are you taking it for Type 2 Diabetes?


Research Updates

2 User Reviews
5 star (2) 
  100%


Posted by Art (California) on 12/28/2021 1058 posts
5 out of 5 stars

I wanted to update my above article because a new meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials just came out that adds further confirmation to the value of Berberine for diabetes.

This new meta-analysis (MA) of RCTs( December 2021) of the use of Berberine for T2DM is very enlightening and clearly illustrates that Berberine is a very good adjunctive treatment or possibly even a primary treatment option for T2DM :

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/labs/pmc/articles/PMC8696197/

Here is an important quote from the full MA :

>>> ' Forty-six trials were assessed. Analysis of berberine applied alone or with standard diabetic therapies versus the control group revealed significant reductions in HbA1c (MD = −0.73; 95% CI (−0.97, −0.51)), FPG (MD = −0.86,95% CI (−1.10, −0.62)), and 2hPG (MD = −1.26,95% CI (−1.64, −0.89)). Improved insulin resistance was assessed by lowering FINS (MD = −2.05,95% CI (−2.62, −1.48)), HOMA-IR (MD = −0.71,95% CI (−1.03, −0.39)), and BMI (MD = −1.07,95% CI (−1.76, −0.37)). Lipid metabolisms were also ameliorated via the reduction of TG (MD = −0.5,95% CI (−0.61, −0.39)), TC (MD = 0.64,95% CI (−0.78, −0.49)), and LDL (MD = 0.86,95% CI (−1.06, −0.65)) and the upregulation of HDL (MD = 0.17,95% CI (0.09,0.25)). Additionally, berberine improved the inflammation factor. ' <<<

This multitude of positive health enhancements including reduction of inflammatory mediators IL-6 and Tnf-alpha as well as positive heart and kidney effects accompanied by a very good safety profile make Berberine a "must consider" option for people with diabetes. The added lipid improving effects are just the icing on the cake.

It seems likely that pulsing of Berberine dosing may prolong the effectiveness of Berberine over the longer term, helping to prevent the body from becoming resistant to its effectiveness.

Art

Replied by Betty
(CA)
12/29/2021
5 out of 5 stars

Hi Art,

My brother is T2D borderline T1 now. I have him taking Berberine complex by Swanson, VitD3+K2+A, ALA, Iodine. And a couple more supplements I can't think of at the moment. He has been on them for one month. Sugar has gone from 560 to 220 so far. He is hoping to get off some of the meds.

His pancreas function is at 30%. What do you recommend, if anything?

Berberine is the best!

Art
(California)
12/29/2021
1058 posts

Hi Betty,

I am currently working with a friend who has type 1 diabetes. Blood sugar levels were out of control and hba1c was at a new all time high. This can only mean damage elsewhere in the body as well as beta cell damage. That is a cycle that has to be broken as quickly as possible.

I mentioned about Xylitol, straight Berberine and I.F. and the glucose numbers have come down dramatically to almost normal in about a month. A blood panel is scheduled for early February so we will get to see how the new levels are doing soon. My friend is very happy as the current glucose readings haven't been seen for years.

Art

Art
(California)
12/29/2021
1058 posts

Betty,

I forgot to discuss your brother.

The berberine complex is fine, but you probably want to make sure you use additional straight berberine to make sure he is getting equivalent dosing to equal effective dosing used in studies.

Melatonin is protective of the pancreas and at just 30% function in conjunction with the elevated inflammatory mediators associated with diabetes 1 & 2, melatonin is worth discussing with his doctor.

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15683461/

High Dose Melatonin (HDM) is beneficial for diabetes itself via improvement in many of the markers and parameters associated with people with diabetes. Here is a study that illustrates the rapid effects of HDM of 250 mg/day in just 8 weeks :

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/labs/pmc/articles/PMC7995760/

Intermittent Fasting (IF) should also be quite useful, but it may be worth waiting until his pancreas function has improved a bit. This combo of supplements is likely to improve insulin resistance which is going to be very important in the long term.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/labs/pmc/articles/PMC6194375/

Another good adjunctive will be fermented foods and I highly recommend that you read P. Raghavan's posts on that subject on Earth Clinic here :

https://www.earthclinic.com/kefir-for-type-ii-diabetes.html

There are many others, but these are relatively safe and once your brother has better pancreatic function, you can add some of those such as chromium and vanadium among many others.

As always, I am not a doctor, I am not giving medical advice, I am not giving dosing advice, I am giving ideas for your brother to discuss with his doctor to see if they can be helpful in improving his diabetes and to make sure these are compatible with all that your brother is taking, especially with the glucose numbers you mentioned as even the improved numbers are still very high.

Art

Betty
(CA)
12/30/2021

I look forward to the update on your friend.

I will add xylitol to my brother's regime.

He told me last mnth what his A1C was and I want to say it was in the 30's maybe. He said he was almost in a coma and had to go to the hospital.

Thank you!

Betty
(CA)
12/30/2021

Thank you, Art!

Kefir is now on the list. I have not heard of it before now.

He also takes NAC and melatonin (20mg B.I.D) but need to up the melatonin dose for sure.

We will also add straight Berberine and stay on the complex to since it seems to be working also.

I really do thank you for all your knowledge shared!

Art
(California)
12/31/2021
1058 posts

Wow, Betty, that number is really high!

Normal range is 4% to 5.6% and he is 30 something!

He is lucky to have you to help guide him back to a healthier path!

Art

Art
(California)
12/31/2021
1058 posts

Betty,

He can use the xylitol in place of sugar such as in coffee or tea. It comes closest to the taste of sugar, has a much lower glycemic index and acts as a prebiotic in the gut to help increase short chain fatty acids such acetate, butyrate and propionate. This will help improve the gut microbiome which is needed because gut dysbiosis goes hand in hand with diabetes.

As his blood glucose level comes down, his A1C will come down also and then he can add in IF as it is also very useful in lowering the glucose level as well as his elevated inflammatory levels and this will improve insulin sensitivity and relieve the burden being placed on his pancreas and beta cells to produce insulin.

If you notice, in that high dose melatonin study, melatonin improved many parameters toward heart protection and some of the parameters that lead to diabetes itself. These are important for the long term health of your brother as diabetes is very hard on the heart and kidneys, which melatonin in studies has shown the ability to help protect both. In general, diabetes increases oxidative stress levels in many of the bodies organs including eyes and skin which melatonin offers protective benefits to all of them in varying degrees.

Art

Jgny
(Ny)
12/31/2021

Please make sure if he has pets to keep them away from Xylitol! It can kill them.

Betty
(CA)
12/31/2021

Thank you very much, Art! He was in a dangerous critical position but came thru is why I got involved. I had no idea how bad it was, he kept it from us, smh.

He finally believes me that SOC will probably kill him if he doesn't advocate for himself and find high potency supplements to help. Proof is in the bloodwork.

I will find out what his A1C is as of now. I forgot to ask last time I talked with him.

Betty
(CA)
01/01/2022

Ah yes, I did read that. He has no animals.

Thank you for the information.